Blessed Ursula Haider

Blessed Ursula HaiderAlso known as

  • Ursula of Leutkirch
  • Ursula of Villingen

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Orphaned soon after her birth, Usula was raised by her maternal grandmother and her uncle, Father Johannes Bör. In 1422, at age 9, she moved to the Franciscan monastery of Reute at Bad Waldsee in modern Germany to attend their school. She made her first Communion there, and became the spiritual student of Blessed Elisabeth Achler. Her life at Reute led her to be drawn to the religious life. Returning home at age 17, she received, and turned down a series of marriage proposals, and spent her time searching for the proper monastery to enter religious life. On 29 July 1431 she entered the Poor Clare convent of Valduna, Vorarlberg (in modern Austria). There she cared for the sick, especially cancer patients. Chosen abbess at Valduna in 1449.

In 1465 Mother Ursula heard a voice that prophesied that she would die in Villingen, a place she’d never heard of before. On 25 January 1480, she received an order from Pope Pius VI to go to the Black Forest village of Villingen (in modern Baden-Württemberg, Germany) to take over and reform the Poor Clare monastery there. On 18 April 1480, she and seven of her Franciscan sisters set out for the new town, and on 29 April 1480 they took over the monastery of Saint Klara. The new house was set up under the strictest form of Poor Clare discipline, and six of the sisters returned to their home convent within the first three months, but under Mother Ursula’s leadership, the house flourished, attracting many young pious women, large endowments, and developing a reputation for its piety, choral prayer, quality needle work, herbal medicines and baked goods. During a monstrous storm, her praying of the Psalms and willingness to give herself in place of the townspeople led to a vision of Mary and the Infant Jesus, placing the town of Villingen under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which saved it from the storm, and explains why the town has never been overrun in the wars that have plagued the region for centuries; the Pslams were prayed at the cloister every Lent as a commemoration of this blessing.

In 1489, ill health forced Mother Ursula to resign the abbacy, and she spent her final years as a prayerful sister, often in and out of hospital. She kept a written record of her life, visions and insights into the faith, but it has been lost.

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MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Ursula Haider“. CatholicSaints.Info. 14 January 2019. Web. 18 November 2019. <>