By age 26, Angela had lost most of her wealthy Italian family to death. As a Franciscan tertiary, she performed good works and taught catechism to girls in her home in Desenzano del Garda. Two visions inspired her to found a congregation dedicated to the religious training of young women; she began this mission with a school in Brescia. Earlier she had endured an episode of blindness while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and had rejected a papal request to run all charities in Rome. In 1535, she founded the Ursulines and served as superior until her death. This mystic, a patron of catechists, reportedly was fascinated from childhood by the legend of St. Ursula, an early virgin-martyr.