Saint Angela of Foligno (1248-1309)

Angela was born in 1248 in Foligno, near Assisi (Italy). She married around 1268 and led a rather frivolous life. Her conversion began in 1285, after a good confession. Three years later, in the year 1288, she lost her mother, her husband and her children. She then focused on her spiritual life, and in 1291 was admitted to the Third Order of Saint Francis. She died in 1309.

Her spiritual journey was marked by a good general confession, followed by a conversion that gradually became more profound.

She was a visionary who would often fall into a trance, being pulled into the presence of God and the Virgin Mary. She used to say: "My heart belongs to God and God’s heart is mine."

Encouraged by these special graces, she wished to continue to repair her past sins by a more fervent love, but felt that by herself she could not give anything to God.

And now, on her mystical path, Angela deeply understood the central reality: what would save her from her "unworthiness" and the "hell she deserved" was not her "union with God" and possessing the "truth," but Jesus crucified, "his crucifixion for me," his love [1]. In other words, at the end of her life, what she gave to God was really what God himself gave to her.

In a word, "in the spiritual journey of Angela, the passage from conversion to mystical experience, from what can be expressed to the unspeakable, takes place through the Crucifix." [2] She therefore has a very modern message to convey in our day when many are attracted by Muslim mystics (sufis) or Eastern religions, and tempted to seek a union with God or the divine without Christ.

Angela of Foligno (d. 1309) was declared blessed in 1701, and canonized on October 9, 2013, by Pope Francis.

Her feast day is January 4.

[1] All this is explained in detail in the audience of Pope Benedict XVI, below.

[2] Benedict XVI, general audience of October 13, 2010