Seeds of the Ursuline Charism were planted in Matamoros Mexico in 1997 when five Ursuline Sisters arrived in Brownsville, Texas to serve at the Border. Sisters Maria Teresa DeLlano (Roman Union Central), Michelle Guerin (Roman Union East), Elizabeth Miller (Ursulines of Chatham), Gia Mudd (Maple Mount), and Norma Raupple (Youngstown) gathered in order to live among the people and offer service. Within the first year there were women who were attracted to the spirit and vision of St. Angeal Merici. They soon began a process to become Ursuline Associates. Silvia Alonso was one of these women. Silvia came with a friend to the house where the Sisters lived to participate in “Via Cruces” during Lent of 2000.
In 2006 Sister Norma and four Associates made a pilgrimage to Italy sponsored by two Ursulines from Brown County. The highlight of the trip was spending time with two members of the Company of Angela known as “The Secular Institute of St. Ursula”. Through research of Mary Cabrini Durkin, we were connected with Mirella Turri, the Director of the Company in Trent, who speaks Spanish. Mirella spent the afternoon with us giving us an orientation to the original model of Angela’s Company. This was the beginning of Silvia’s discernment to learn more about the Company. Eventually the Company in Trent, Italy, discerned that they would give birth to a new Company in Mexico.This would be the first in a Spanish-Speaking Country among the International Federation of Secular Institutes.
Silvia began the formation process three years ago. Silvia has become accustomed to living her new way of life which is similar to religious life. She has been in dialog with Mirella each month and has reflected with Sister Josefina Granada from Iguala, Mexico,regularly. She visits the Mexican Ursulines for community gatherings and retreats in Puebla. Sister Miriam Fidelis from the Cleveland Ursulnes and the Associates in Brownsville also support Silvia. Since she retired after 28 years of teaching, she has dedicated herself to evangelization, religious education and pastoral ministry. She serves in “Los Pinos”, a very poor area where the people are trying to build a small church in their colonia. Silvia’s mother , Santos, who is also an Ursuline Associate, lives with her.Their home is the gathering place for immediate and extended family where all find a place of welcome and love.
Silvia made her vows of poverty,chastity and obedience on November 25, 2010. This is the day that St. Angela officially started the first Company in Brescia, Italy in 1535. At this time the women did not live together in convents but gathered for prayer and support. This original model is the model of the members of the Federation which Silvia has become a part of. Mirella and two other members from Trent, Italy, the priest from the diocese of Matamoros, Silvia’s family and two Associates witnessed her profession of vows.