On January 4th, 1309, Blessed Angela of Foligno died. Angela was a tertiary–a secular Franciscan, who would now be part of the Third Order Regular, I imagine–mystic, and “Mother of Theologians. Below are three short bios of this remarkable woman:
Umbrian penitent and mystical writer. She was born at Foligno in Umbria, in 1248, of a rich family; died 4 January, 1309. Married at an early age, she loved the world and its pleasures and, worse still, forgetful of her dignity and dutiesas wife and mother, fell into sin and led a disorderly life. But God, having in His mercy inspired her with a deep sorrow for her sins, led her little by little to the height of perfection and to the understanding of the deepest mysteries. Angelahas herself recorded the history of her conversion in her admirable “Book of Visions and Instructions”, which contains seventy chapters, and which was written from Angela’s dictation by her Franciscan confessor, Father Arnold of Foligno. Some time after her conversion Angela had placed herself under the direction of Father Arnold and taken the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis. In the course of time the fame of her sanctity gathered around her a number of Tertiaries, men and women, who strove under her direction to advance in holiness. Later she established at Foligno a community of sisters, who to the Rule of the Third Order added the three vows of religion, without, however, binding themselves to enclosure, so that they might devote their time to works of charity. Angela at last passed away, surrounded by her spiritual children. Her remains repose in the church of St. Francis at Foligno. Numerous miracleswere worked at her tomb, and Innocent XII approved the immemorial veneration paid to her. Her feast is kept in theOrder on the 30th of March. Bl. Angela’s high authority as a spiritual teacher may be gathered from the fact thatBollandus, among other testimonials, quotes Maximilian Sandaeus, of the Society of Jesus, who calls her the “Mistress of Theologians”, whose whole doctrine has been drawn out of the Book of Life, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
From Catholic Online:
Franciscan tertiary and mystic. Born in Foligno, Italy, in 1248, Angela married and had several children. Wealthy, she took part in the social events of the city until 1285, when she had a vision. Following that mystical experience, Angela became a member of the Franciscan Third Order. When her husband died, she gave away her possessions and started a community of tertiaries devoted to the care of the needy. Her visions, which were recorded by her confessor, demonstrated a mature mystical union withChrist and the gift of revelation. She is sometimes called “the Mistress of Theologians.” Her tomb is in the church of St. Francis in Foligno. Many miracles have been recorded there.
From Wikipedia: Angela of Foligno
The Blessed Angela of Foligno, T.O.S.F., (1248 – 4 January 1309) was a Christian author, Franciscan tertiary and mystic. She was noted not only for her spiritual writings, but also for founding a religious community which refused to accept becoming anenclosed religious order that it might continue her vision of caring for those in need.
Early life and conversion
Almost nothing is known about the details and circumstances of Angela’s life. Except for the date of her death, virtually all the information we have about her must be deduced or inferred from her ‘Libro’. From the scant information about the external context of her life that can be gleaned from this ‘Libro’, we do know that Angela was born into a wealthy family in the city of Foligno, in Umbria, about ten miles from Assisi. She married at age twenty, had children, and before her conversion lived a well-to-do and, likely, a conventional life – even if in her eyes a very sinful one. However, Angela’s lifestyle abruptly changed around 1285. She prayed to St. Francis of Assisi, who then appeared to her in a dream.
Some time after her conversion, Angela placed herself under the direction of a Franciscan friar named Arnoldo, who would serve as her confessor. She dictated in her Umbrian dialect an account of her conversion, known as the Memoriale, which was transcribed in Latin by Brother Arnoldo. This work, was finished by 1298; it has come to us as the Book of Visions and Instructions. Shortly after her conversion, her husband and children died. In 1291 Angela joined the Third Order of St. Francis. 
In the course of time, the fame of Angela’s sanctity gathered around her a number of other tertiaries, both men and women, who strove under her direction to advance in holiness. Later she established at Foligno a community of Sisters, who added to the Rule of the Third Order a commitment to a common life without, however, binding themselves to enclosure, so that they might devote their time to works of charity.
Dome of Foligno Cathedral
Angela died surrounded by her community of disciples. Her remains repose in the Church of St. Francis at Foligno.
Many people attributed miracles to her, which were accomplished at her tomb. Pope Clement XI approved the veneration paid to her in her beatification on 11 July 1701. Her feast day is celebrated by the Third Order of St. Francis, both Secular and Regular, on 4 January (7 January in the United States).
Blessed Angela’s authority as a spiritual teacher may be gathered from the fact that Bollandus, among other testimonials, quotes Maximilian van der Sandt, of the Society of Jesus, as calling her the “‘Mistress of Theologians’, whose whole doctrine has been drawn out of the Book of Life, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.”
- ^ “Angela of Foligno”, Franciscan Women: History and Culture, St. Bonaventure University
- ^ Robinson, Paschal, O.F.M.. “Bl. Angela of Foligno”. Catholic Encyclopedia.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01482a.htm. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
- ^ “Chiesa di San Francesco a Foligno”. SanFrancesco.org.http://www.sanfrancescopatronoditalia.it/rubrica_singola.php?id_articolo=4512&tipo=. Retrieved 26 December 2012.(Italian)
- The Book of Divine consolation of the Blessed Angela of Foligno translated by Steegmann, Mary G., Chatto and Windus, London, 1909