Our History

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St Angela Merici 
Feast Day: 27 January.

The Ursulines were founded by St Angela Merici who lived in Italy in the 16th century. St Angela was born around 1475 in Desenzano on the shores of Lake Garda in Northern Italy. She was left an orphan in early life and spent several of her early years at Salo with her uncle. She acted as an advisor to the rich and influential and was known for her ability to reconcile those with differences. She was a ready helper of the poor and needy and she took a foremost place in what was very much a man's world. She moved to Brescia - the scene of her main work and where she eventually founded her company.

On the 25th November 1535 St Angela founded the company of St Ursula, putting the company under the patronage of this early English saint, who was popular in the middle ages as the Patroness of learning. This was a particularly appropriate choice, as it reflected her concerns for the development and fulfilment of women. Her companions lived in their own homes but were consecrated to a life of poverty and virginity. 

After St Angela's death in 1540 her company became involved in evangelisation especially through education. Many branches of St Angela's company flourished and spread.

There are many ways in which St Angela had a lasting effect on the company she founded and on the Church. Like St Paul she made herself all things to all people for the sake of the Gospel to bring all people to Christ. In her writings there is a great emphasis on prayer and all through her life St Angela was known as a woman of prayer. She also made a clear stand against the luxury of the world around her. She emphasized true poverty of spirit and trust in God alone. St Angela was also an educator in the widest sense of the word and in particular in the Christian context of leading people to find Christ in the circumstances of their lives.

Ursulines

Today groups of Ursulines are founded all over the world. Many of them are grouped together in the Roman Union. In England, Ursulines of the Roman Union are found in Wimbledon, Forest Gate, lford, Greenwich, Westgate, Surrey Docks, Lancaster and Wythenshawe . In recent years, an association of lay people, Serviam, has also been established.

Ursuline High School

Ursuline High School, Wimbledon was founded when four nuns from Forest Gate came to Wimbledon to establish a tiny school with three pupils in a private house called Delaware at 68 Worple Road on the 26th April 1892 (which is also the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, a statue of whom, sculpted by Mr Lindsay Clark, is at the Crescent Road entrance). The school soon expanded and moved to a large house called Claremont, pictured above, which is still visible from the school grounds but is now privately owned and separate from the main school site. New buildings have been added over the years to accommodate the growing school population.  The school has been through various phases, from a private boarding school to a voluntary-aided grammar school in 1944, and on to become a 13-18 comprehensive school in 1968. In September 2002 the High School expanded to become an 11-18 comprehensive school.

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