History of the Ursuline Sisters
In 1535, in Brescia, Italy. St. Angela Merici founded the Order of Saint Ursula (more commonly known as the Ursuline Sisters). She gathered a group of women and offered them a new way of religious life: one in which the woman was to live in the midst of family, workplace and local community instead of being a nun in the cloister. Angela placed this group under the special patronage of Saint Ursula who was considered to be the patron of learning at that time.
These Ursuline sisters committed themselves to service and love of all people and agreed to meet regularly for prayer and dialogue. They became leaders in the community and promoted responsible Christian family life and the advancement of women. Soon Ursuline Sisters were found throughout all parts of Europe and became known as strong educators. In North America they were pioneers in education founding schools in Canada in 1639, New Orleans in 1727 and the Academy of Mount St. Ursula in Bronx, New York in 1855.
Pope Leo XIII invited the different small independent Ursuline communities to join together to form one larger international institute for assistance and collaboration with one another. The convent connected to the Academy of Mount St. Ursula quickly joined this international group which took the name of the Roman Union of the Order of Saint Ursula. Their headquarters are in Rome and all follow a common Constitution. The Roman Union of the Order of Saint Ursula has found strength in unity through living out of Angela’s vision that crosses nationalities, cultures and ethnicities. Today, the Roman Union of the Order of Saint Ursula can be found on six continents and in thirty-seven countries.
The Ursuline Sisters who sponsor and administer the Academy of Mount St. Ursula are known as the Ursuline Sisters of the Eastern Province United States, Roman Union. Today this group of women minister in four states, and serve in many educational institutions but are also involved in various ministries of the arts, chaplaincy, counseling, health and hospice care, parish work, and spiritual direction. They serve as advocates for victims of human traffic and provide service to the aged, homeless, immigrants and the poor. The Ursuline Sisters work for integrity of creation, peace and justice and respond to the needs of the time.
A main focus of the Ursuline Sisters mission is the promotion of women as can be seen in their educational work at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula where all work to make sure each student reaches her full potential and grow to be the best woman leader she can be!
How Our Faith Meets Education
St. Angela Merici left her wishes and educational approach in documents she dictated to her male secretary: her Rule, Counsels and Testament. As a person of rich and practical experience, her principals were full of wisdom and common sense. These documents formed the first Ursulines and continue to guide the Ursuline sisters throughout the centuries in their education mission. AMSU pulls from these documents for their weekly words of wisdom.
All Ursuline schools of the Roman Union follow the SERVIAM Motto. Serviam means I will serve and students are encouraged to serve God, neighbors, families, friends, local communities, our country and our global world. All connected to the Ursuline family work to bring Angela’s vision and the Ursuline charism of service, care for all creation, strengthening of family unity, and the importance of women leadership to all parts of our world.
The total educational program at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula is based on unchanging spiritual and moral values of care, respect, service and unity actualized in a curriculum and co-curriculum designed to meet the needs of today's students. It is a Catholic school that stresses Gospel values of service, courage, justice, hope, love towards God, self and others, reconciliation and community. Throughout its long history, AMSU's nurturing and family spirit has always fostered deep interpersonal bonds among students, faculty, parents, alumnae and benefactors.
Strong emphasis on academics with exposure to the arts, commitment to service and leadership in our global world and living of a life centered on values are emphasized at AMSU. We teach our young women to act with integrity, believe in themselves and work with hope for a better world!
Core Values of an Ursuline Education:
§ Academic Excellence
§ Service to Society
§ Emphasis on the Individual
§ Family Atmosphere
§ Women as Leaders
§ Open to Change
§ Spiritual Awareness
§ Heritage of St. Angela
Characteristics of an Ursuline Education:
§ A personal concern for each individual.
§ The development of the whole person to her full potential.
§ The importance of religious education and the integration of values in every part of our lives.
§ Academic Excellence.
§ A strong family and community spirit.
§ Encouragement of community service.
§ The presence of St. Angela’s spirituality as a guiding force for us.
The Academy of Mount St. Ursula is a Catholic high school, conducted in the Ursuline tradition, that serves college-bound women of diverse cultures through its programs in Academics, Arts and Service. By instilling a love of learning and a broader global view, in a safe and nurturing environment, we strive to empower young women for leadership in society.