by Gabriella Collesei, FSP
Sr. Thecla Merlo, to whom Fr. Alberione gave the title “Prima Maestra,” was the silent protagonist of a new adventure in the history of the Church. She carried out an extraordinary role of mediation at the side of Fr. James Alberione, Founder of the Daughters of St. Paul and the whole Pauline Family, in docile and creative communion with him. Through her humility, faith and constant search for the will of God–the secrets of her life–she was the very faithful and intelligent collaborator of this 20th century prophet. With great discretion, she also made a maternal contribution to the birth of the other Pauline Institutes.
Blessed James Alberione urged the Daughters of St. Paul to follow the trail blazed for them by Sr. Thecla. “Your Institute is in the will of God,” he said. “Move ahead along the path traced out by her. No deviations… Get to know her better so as to imitate her. Ask God for her same spirit. She opened a profound channel for you. God will always be with you.”
The message of Sr. Thecla Merlo is very up-to-date. May she, who wished she had a thousand lives to dedicate to the Gospel, offer guidance and inspiration to the many young women who feel called to spend their lives ensuring that the Word of God, communicated in the complex world of communications, shines in the lives of the people of today.