Follow her always!

When I arrived in Rome from Alba for my novitiate in 1954, I was placed for my three hours of daily apostolate in the so-called Centre. It was situated on the ground floor of the new Divine Master House, inaugurated in 1950. It was a large rectangular room, where the Sisters of the book centres […]

A Mother and Beacon

The word “mother” is non-temporal in character because it is a reality that goes beyond space and time. This is true of both physical and spiritual motherhood. A mother is a person who welcomes life in all its stages and expressions. A mother is a person who knows how to understand and love, even when […]

Letter to Sr. Thecla

I was asked to write an article–actually, a testimony– about Venerable Thecla Merlo. I accepted the request because it is hard for me to say “no” to people. But when I started to think about what to write, I realized that I could not offer a testimony because I know Sr. Thecla only through the […]

The Warmth of Her Gaze

Memories of Prima Maestra Thecla Merlo When I was young, I lived on Volpi Hill on the outskirts of Rome. The lower part of the hill was marked by the Via Alessandro Severo compound of the Society of St. Paul and the upper part by the Via Antonino Pio compound of the Daughters of St. […]

Prima Maestra, save us!

It was December 1991. Even though many years have gone by since then, something happened on that occasion that struck me so deeply it has always remained in my heart. I was in Kisangani, Congo, and the city was under siege. It had been invaded several days earlier by a horde of soldiers, dressed for […]

Onward! An Ascending Road

Life is often compared to a journey, whether it is viewed as heading toward a specific goal or as a chance to meet and get to know people and experience new situations capable of changing one’s life. I have to confess that when I was young I seized every opportunity that came my way to […]

A True Apostle

When I was asked to speak about Sr. Thecla Merlo, Co-Foundress and first Superior General of the Daughters of St. Paul, I was reminded of the words the Apostle Paul wrote at the beginning of the third chapter of his letter to the Colossians: “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. […]

“I’ll take care of things…”

For me, remember-ing Maestra Thecla is like remembering my mother because Prima Maestra was not only our Superior General, to whom we owed respect, obedience and docility, but she was also our mother-a mother who understood the strong and weak points of the persons entrusted to her by divine Providence. … ITA-Al_resto_ci_penso_io-3 SPA-Al_resto_ci_penso_io ING-Al_resto_ci_penso_io-1 FRA-Al_resto_ci_penso_io […]

Maestra Thecla and My Garden

I could compare my relationship with Prima Maestra Thecla–a rapport of affection, trust and docility on my part–to a beautiful garden filled with flowers of all different sizes and colors. During my years of formation (1949-1956), many little “buds” sprouted in the form of chance encounters during which the two of us would exchange simple greetings and smiles, […]

Book displays and anoraks

When I lived at Via Antonino Pio, Rome, during the 1950’s, everyone took Maestra Thecla’s presence in the community for granted. She was there… Testimonianza-TeclaMerlo-SrSergia-ita-3 Testimonianza-TeclaMerlo-SrSergia-esp Testimonianza-TeclaMerlo-SrSergia-eng-1 Testimonianza-TeclaMerlo-SrSergia-fra Testimonianza-TeclaMerlo-SrSergia-por

Dearest sisters…

Dearest Sisters, With joy I leave this space to Signora Anna, who wrote a very moving letter to share with us what happened to her husband, who, through the intercession of Maestra Thecla, received the great grace of healing. It was just a few days before Christmas–the end of a difficult year for us. My […]

A thousand lives for the Gospel

The summer of 1915 had just begun when, in Alba, Piedmont, Italy, a fertile land of saints, a young woman prepared for an encounter that would change her life and also history. Her name was Teresa, and then became Thecla. Fr. Alberione chose her and opened unexpected horizons to her by asking her to participate in his project to flood the world with […]

Toward Supreme Self-Offering

With Maestra Nazarena Morando, Maestra Thecla was “an open book,” to the point that she asked M. Nazarena to serve as her corrector. And it was precisely to M. Nazarena that Prima Maestra confided her desire to offer her life for the Daughters of St. Paul. She wrote: Dearest M. Nazarena, I want to tell […]

Conqueed by her goodness

I got to know Maestra Thecla under extraordinary circumstances when I was nine years old. My mother had died and my father wanted to entrust me to the care of the Daughters of St. Paul, who had opened a house in Susa. In his letter asking if they would accept me, my age was mistakenly […]

Homily 2013

(Martedì della IV settimana) 1. La lettera agli Ebrei ci fa pensare alle situazioni di difficoltà che vive la società, alle quali non è estranea la Chiesa né la nostra Famiglia religiosa. E lo fa con una immagine sportiva: siamo allo stadio, c’è la gara e ci sono gli spettatori, cioè i santi, quelli che hanno raggiunto la meta […]

Associated Artists

The following testimony is by Sr. Giuseppina Balestra, one of the oldest members of our Congregation. For many years she served as Maestra Thecla’s driver and in this capacity accompanied her to many communities in Italy and other parts of Europe. Maestra Thecla’s charity toward the sisters was very discreet. More than once it happened that I was a […]

I love you all very much

Maestra Thecla, Sister and Mother  Maestra Thecla was a woman who  communicated with others on a profound level. She treated every sister as a unique individual, establishing bonds of communion by relating to each person objectively and as an equal, recognizing the individual’s positive qualities and showing her that she trusted her. Maestra Thecla created […]

The Trinity is my family

Maestra Thecla was fully aware that “it is Jesus who lives in me, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. To remain united to the Divine Master….” As early as October 1951, she wrote: “The Trinity is my family.” Guided by her spiritual director, Blessed James Alberione, Maestra Thecla opened her life to the […]

Act quickly…

Urged on by the need to do good, M. Thecla invited the Daughters of St. Paul to be very courageous. To her way of thinking, if an initiative could benefit the people, then the sisters should let nothing stop them from forging ahead in the spirit of the Pact: “By myself I can do nothing, but with God I can do […]

The people in her heart

Returning to Rome from her trips abroad, Maestra Thecla spoke enthusiastically about the customs, climate and natural beauty of the countries she visited, but at the same time she always underscored the sufferings and moral miseries of the people. “If only those multitudes of people could know the Lord!” she exclaimed. Aware that indigenous Daughters of St. Paul could approach their own […]

Lessons learned from her travels abroad

Between 1936-1963, Maestra Thecla made fourteen long journeys abroad by land, sea and air. These trips served to deepen her apostolic fervor. While the first ones were colored by amazement at what she saw, the later ones carved into her heart the profound need of human beings for salvation-a need she felt to the point […]

As clear as glass

In his homily for Maestra Thecla’s funeral liturgy, Cardinal Arcadio Larraona said, “You don’t know–you can’t know–how much [your Prima Maestra] suffered, worked and prayed…. At this point, you find everything done. But things didn’t get done by themselves. How much hard work, how many inspirations, how much correspondence [to grace], how many sacrifices, and […]

Homily of S. E. Rev.ma Card. Angelo Amato, Prefetto della Congregazione per le Cause dei Santi

OMELIA NELL’ANNIVERSARIO DELLA NASCITA AL CIELO DELLA VENERABILE MADRE TECLA MERLO1 S. E. Rev.ma Card. Angelo Amato 1. Nella voluminosa Positio che tratta delle virtù eroiche della Venerabile Madre Tecla Merlo2, confondatrice e prima superiora generale delle Figlie di san Paolo, si legge: «Tecla Merlo […] è stata una grande donna, una perfetta religiosa, una […]

Boundless Love

Only now do we grasp your stature, which was as commonplace as bread, and–like bread–very nutritious and necessary. Without you, we would not have developed as we did. Perhaps your death was necessary to bring this truth home to us. You never allowed us to stop and admire you when you were a simple, quick […]

I’ll be your mother…

Testimony of Sr. Nazarena Morando             From the very beginning, Maestra Thecla was keenly aware of the principle that authority is service. She knew how to make herself all to all. She helped the sisters in their work: from the kitchen to the sewing room, from the typography to the bindery. She also helped to […]
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