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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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An order of nuns, founded originally by St. Angela, of Brescia, in the year 1537, and so called from St. Ursula, to whom they were dedicated. At first, these religious did not live in community, but abode separately in their fathers' houses; and their employment was to search for the afflicted, to comfort them; for the ignorant, to instruct them; and for the poor, to relieve them; to visit the hospitals, and to attend upon the sick; in short, to be always ready to do acts of charity and compassion. In 1544, pope Paul III. confirmed the institution of the Ursulines. Sir Charles Borromeo brought some of them from Brescia to Milan, where they multiplied to the number of four hundred. Pope Gregory XIII. and his successors Sixtus V. and Paul V. granted new privileges to this congregation. In process of time, the Ursulines, who before lived separately, began to live in community, and embrace the regular life. The first who did so were the Ursulines of Paris, established there in 1604, who entered into the cloister in the year 1614, by virtue of a bull of pope Paul V. The foundress of the Ursulines of France was Madame Frances de Bermond, who, in 1574, engaged about twenty-five young women of Avignon to embrace the institute of St. Angela of Brescia. The principal employ of the Ursulines, since their establishment into a regular order, were to instruct young women; and their monasteries were a kind of schools, where young ladies of the best families received their education.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Ursulines'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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