Daughters of St. Paul
Evangelization through the media
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Sr. Emily Beata, 703-549-3806
New York, NY;
New Orleans, LA;
St. Louis, MO;
Menlo Park, CA;
Los Angeles, CA;
Patron Saints/Famous Saints of the Community
St. Paul the Apostle
Blessed James Alberione (founder)
Blessed Timothy Giaccardo (first Pauline priest)
Venerable Mother Thecla Merlo (co-foundress)
Venerable Francesco Chiesa
Venerable Mother Scholastica Rivata (foundress of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master)
Venerable Andrew Borello
Venerable Maggiorino Vigolungo (the "Dominic Savio" of the Pauline Family)
The mission of the Daughters of St. Paul is to give Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, to every person using all forms of media. Passion for the mission springs from our interior life—from our vital relationship with the Master and our loving response to the important question that inflamed the heart of our Founder: “How many times do you ask yourselves: where, how and toward what is humanity moving, this humanity that is constantly renewing itself on the face of the earth?”
At the turn of the last century, Blessed James Alberione, founder of the Daughters of St. Paul and the entire Pauline Family, observed the power of the press and of newspapers to reach and move the masses. These people who were leaving the Church in ever increasing numbers, could be powerfully influenced by what they read. He wanted to put these same means at the service of the Gospel. He saw the mission of communication in the Church not as a "business," but as "preaching," as an exercise of the ministry of salvation.
What makes our “publishing” in fact “preaching”? Alberione often told us that our mission was a written “preaching” alongside the oral preaching of priests. Our books, CDs, DVDs, podcasts, radio programs, Facebook pages, blogs, YouTube videos, apps and e-books are places where people can encounter the God who is forever seeking them out. Alberione told his followers to leave the sacristies and to go out where people live their lives and to make God present there. He believed that saints were needed to tread this new path of holiness and mission in the Church. He declared: “Missionaries are needed–new missionaries for this new and fruitful apostolate!”
If St. Paul were to come to earth today, he would immediately take up a microphone, begin podcasting, create an Instagram profile, publish books and create apps—because he would want to use the fastest, most efficacious ways of reaching the largest number of people with the message of God’s incredible love for us shining on the face of Christ.
At the end of the Holy Year of 1900, James Alberione, a sixteen-year-old seminarian, underwent an experience that would give direction to the rest of his life. On the night of 31 December 1900, the night that divided the 19th and 20th centuries, he prayed for four hours before the Blessed Sacrament and contemplated the future in the light of God. A “particular light” seemed to come from the Host and awakened in him a sense of obligation “to do something for the Lord and for the people of the new century: he felt “obliged to serve the Church” with the new instruments provided by human ingenuity.”
Alberione was ordained on 29 June 1907 (Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul), and became a parish priest in Narzole. While studying for his doctorate in theology and because of which he was commonly called “The Theologian,” he also dedicated himself to intensive preaching. He was the Spiritual Director and a professor of the Seminary in Alba. Moreover, he was the Bishop’s Master of Ceremonies, a professor of Church and civil history and a catechist. As of September 8, 1913 by appointment of Bishop Re, he was made director of the weekly diocesan paper, the Gazette of Alba. “In this work, he directed and assisted me, with wisdom and firmness, for about twenty years. Everything else developed from this.” “Behold the main way: in Christ and in the Church.”
On August 20, 1914, Alberione founded the Society of St. Paul for priests and brothers. Then on June 15, 1915, Father Alberione founded the Daughters of St. Paul when he opened the Feminine Workshop in Piazza Cherasca. What had previously been a print shop for the younger members of the Society of St. Paul, now became a place where young women would be temporarily be sewing clothing for the members of the army. (It was wartime.)
Not long after James Alberione went to meet Teresa Merlo, the sister of Costanzo Leone, a student at the seminary where Alberione taught theology, for he heard from him of her good reputation as a catechist.
Father Alberione explained to Teresa that he opened up a sewing shop and that there were already three women working in it. They have a contract for sewing uniforms for the military. It’s a temporary job, which will be replaced by a print shop where we would produce religious books and magazines. I want to begin a congregation of sisters who will write, print and distribute books about our Catholic faith. She wanted to become a sister. Would this, now, be her chance to be accepted into religious life? In the past she had not been admitted to other congregations because of her frail health.
Teresa Merlo, (who later would be given the name Thecla for her profession name), wrote of those first days of the congregation, “We’re doing the Lord’s work. We’re helping to make books that will teach many people about God.”
The Daughters of St. Paul continued to grow and expand. In 1932, Mother Paula Cordero and one other Sister arrived in New York City to begin the congregation in the United States. The Daughters of St. Paul are now in more than 50 countries around the world.
Saying YES to God’s plan for our life is never easy. The young Mother Thecla found the strength for her continual and faithful YES in prayer. This precious prayer she prayed and wrote in the early days of the congregation:
“Beginning right now, I unite my prayers and sufferings to the intentions of Jesus in the holy Host, and I want to renew this offering with every beat of my heart. At night, may every breath I take while asleep be an act of continual communion with you, my God. With every breath I take, I want to say: Jesus is with us and we are with Jesus.”
Daily we seek to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” to be gradually transformed in him. We begin each day at Mass, which roots us in the gift of love, the Eucharist. At the celebration of the Eucharist we encounter Christ glorified, whom we then receive as the humble nourishment that dissolves within us to sustain us.
The hour of Eucharistic adoration, called the Visit with Jesus, is the spiritual treasure of the Pauline life. It is here that a Daughter of St. Paul enters into the deep bond of love the Word shares with the Father. It is here that she takes on the face of Jesus, his desire to save all people, his love to the point of death. The hour of adoration is a time of vital, direct contact with the Master in which the Master penetrates us and transforms us into light: “I am the light of the world. You are the light of the world” (John 9:5; Matthew 5:14). It is before the Eucharist that all our apostolic projects are born.
Individually and communally, we nourish ourselves also on the Bread of the Word, heeding the Lord’s invitation to allow his words to remain in us, allowing ourselves to be evangelized by the “all-surpassing knowledge of Christ.” Gradually our lives are transformed by the living voice of God. The Word becomes rooted in us, and it is out of this word that we speak, write, design—create.
It is from Christ the Master, then, that we expect everything, according to a promise that he made to our Founder: “Do not fear: I am with you. From here [the tabernacle] I will cast light. Be sorry for sin.”
Daily prayer for each Daughter of St. Paul includes:
-Eucharistic Hour of Adoration
-Meditation for one half hour on the Gospel
-Morning and Evening Prayer
-A half hour of personal prayer before Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
Some of our traditions/devotions include: devotion to Jesus Master, Way, Truth, and Life. Jesus defined Himself most fully when He said in the Gospel of John, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life." Within our spirituality, we desire Jesus Truth to live in our minds, Jesus Way to live in our wills, and Jesus Life to live in our hearts.
Devotion to Mary, Queen of Apostles: Mary, Queen of Apostles is always pictured giving Jesus to the world. She is our Mother, Teacher, and Queen, and the one who teaches us to give Jesus to the world through our mission of evangelization. Blessed Alberione encouraged us to live our days in the "climate" of Mary, Queen of Apostles.
Devotion to St. Paul, the Apostle: Blessed Alberione said that St. Paul is not only the patron of our congregation, but its father and true founder. St. Paul is our model for mission; like him, we want to take the message of the Gospel to the whole world. But he is also our model for prayer and the spiritual life; like him, we want to reach the goal of "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."