St. Angela Merici founded the Company of St. Ursula in Italy in 1535. As an alternative to marriage or cloistered religious life, membership offered women an opportunity for ministry to other women. Originally the members lived in their own homes, but from 1585 on they were required to live together in community. In August 1912, a group of Ursulines came to Winnipeg from Germany. They began teaching, but the pre-war anti-German atmosphere made life difficult for them. In 1913 they came to Saskatchewan, where they eventually established three independent congregations with motherhouses in Bruno, Prelate and Vibank. In 1922 the Bruno Ursulines opened St. Ursula Academy, a boarding school for girls, which served the area for sixty years. At one time they numbered more than 100 sisters in Saskatchewan and taught in twelve locations in the former Muenster Abbacy area. Currently, most of the twenty-eight members live in the Humboldt area, with four serving in Brazil. The Sisters are involved in various ministries, with a view to faith education and the promotion of healthy family life.
In 1919 the Prelate Ursulines founded St. Angela’s Convent and boarding school, which was renamed St. Angela’s Academy and continues to thrive today. Offering Grades 9–12, the school attracts girls who wish to take their high school within the context of a residential Christian community. In its 85-year history, more than 230 Ursulines of Prelate have served in educational ministry in eighty-six different locations, mainly in the western half of the province. Today the congregation has seventy members in Saskatchewan and Alberta. In 1969, the General Administration moved to Saskatoon, which since then has been the centre of the congregation’s ministries.
In 1919, a group of Ursulines opened a convent in Vibank; over the years more than eighty sisters have served in twenty locations, mainly in the Regina area. The Vibank Ursulines amalgamated with the Ursulines of Chatham, Ontario in 1953 and gradually reduced their Saskatchewan missions until today five Sisters remain in pastoral ministry in Regina.
Marian Noll, Magdalen Stengler, Teresita Kambeitz