TESTIMONIES OF LIFE

My Memories of Prima Maestra Thecla

For me, sharing my memories of Prima Maestra Thecla is like talking about a beloved family member who, in various ways, enriched my life, consolidated my Pauline vocation and helped me to “think big” in order to open me to the vast horizons of our mission. Universality was a dimension of the Pauline vocation that […]

Revisiting Prima Maestra

It was November 26, 1957, when I entered the community of the Daughters of St. Paul in Via Antonino Pio in Rome. The first few days were quite full as I tried to adapt to a lifestyle that was so different from what I was used to and to familiarize myself with the various areas […]

Sr. Veronica Doss  Testimony

19-02-2021 Dearest Sr Anna Caiazza, Praise the Lord with me for His great mercy is without end. My heart is full of deep gratitude and praise to Him who gave me a second life and a second chance to praise Him, love Him and serve Him now and for all eternity. About a year ago […]

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 […]

Three Characteristics of Maestra Thecla

Like many Daughters of St. Paul of my generation, I got to know Maestra Thecla through her writings and the testimonies of FSPs of the “first hour.” A particularly precious moment for me in this journey of discovery occurred in 1994 when, among the initiatives organized to celebrate the centenary of her birth, an international […]

My Experience with Maestra Thecla

April 1952: I was thirteen years old and had just entered the Congregation. The FSP community of Porto Alegre, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, was bursting with young girls, the majority of them from big Catholic families descended from Italian, German and Polish immigrants…. Everyone wanted to become a nun, even though […]

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. […]

Woman Associated to Priestly Zeal

Many terms have been used to describe the action of Prima Maestra Thecla alongside Blessed James Alberione in building the Pauline Family. In my opinion, the most expressive of these is the phrase, woman associated to priestly zeal, the title of a fundamental book written by the Founder. In fact, when Fr. Alberione decided to […]

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. […]

Her “Yes” Accompanies Me

This accompaniment began in 1948, when I arrived in Rome as a young aspirant to the Congregation and found Prima Maestra waiting to welcome me with a big hug and smile. I lived in our huge Via Antonino Pio community during the years in which Prima Maestra was always among us: in chapel, for meals, […]

I carried you on my shoulders…

My first meeting with Prima Maestra Thecla took place even before I entered the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul because in all the encounters organized by the sisters of the Cagliari community, they spoke about Prima Maestra, her role in the Congregation and what she meant to each of its members. Even before […]

Who Prima Maestra was to me

Prima Maestra Thecla was a Mother to me, to all the Daughters of St. Paul and to the whole Pauline Family. She was a great woman–very human, humble and simple; a woman of immense faith; a saint! Her eyes shone with the light of God and it seemed to me that her penetrating gaze was […]

“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, […]

Talking about Prima Maestra…

I am a Daughter of St. Paul but not a sister of the “first hour,” like many of the FSPs who lived in direct contact with Maestra Thecla. I consider myself to be part of the “second half” of our 100-year history, grateful to have known Prima Maestra personally, even though this knowledge derived from […]

Remembering Prima Maestgra Thecla

When I entered the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul in 1957, the Institute was experiencing a great influx of vocations and was under full missionary expansion… ConTecla-srMonica-ita-3 ConTecla-srMonica-esp ConTecla-srMonica-eng-1 ConTecla-srMonica-fra ConTecla-srMonica-por

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 […]

“My” Prima Maestra Thecla

I had already been in the Alba community for some time so I surely must have seen Prima Maestra and listened to her. But I hadn’t “met” her in the full sense of the word. I was one of the “Immacolatine,” the youngest members of the community. I spent my days attending classes scheduled to be […]

Maestra Thecla’s tenderness

19 March 1955, the Feast of St. Joseph, was an unforgettable day for me because it was the day of my first religious profession. On that day, I also had the chance to personally experience Prima Maestra’s tenderness toward her daughters… TenerezzaMaestrattecla-it-4 TenerezzaMaestraTecla-eng-2

My meeting with Prima Maestra Thecla

Our life is marked by innumerable encounters: some, even though fleeting, brighten our existence; others create friendship and communion, while still others–very significant ones–give direction to our journey through life and make a deep impression on our minds and hearts. My first meeting with Prima Maestra falls into this last category because she left a […]

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 […]

Thecla, Woman of Faith

From the Testimony of Fr. Carlo DraGone1 I always admired and esteemed Maestra The- cla from the time I first met her, shortly after I entered the Society of St. Paul in 1925. I saw her as a prudent, capable and virtuous person and my esteem for her grew at our every en- counter. I had the chance […]

Maestra Thecla Merlo’s Faith

(Testimony of Sr. Nazarena Morando, fsp) When the Daughters of St. Paul were still without a name, an identity or a house, Prima Maestra believed. She surrendered herself to God with complete trust and was docile to the point of heroism. Her faith led her to accept the will of God and the dispositions and […]

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 […]

Testimony of Fr. Carlo Dragone

Sr. Thecla Merlo and the Test of Illness Testimony of Fr. Carlo Dragone, her spiritual director during the last months of her life Fr. Carlo Dragone, a priest of the Society of St. Paul (1911-1974), entered his Congregation in 1925. From 1957 onward, he was in contact with M. Thecla above all for apostolic reasons. […]

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 […]

We must have faith…strong faith!

Testimony of Sr. Rosaria Visco[1] In September 1947, Maestra Thecla called me [to her office] and asked me to launch the cinema apostolate in collaboration with the Society of St. Paul. Our work consisted of choosing films to reduce to 16mm. format so that they could be viewed in parish and public halls. It also […]

She hugged me with deep affection…

Testimony of Sr. Elena Ramondetti Maestra Thecla loved every sister very much. Each time we saw her, she was always very concerned about us. She would ask not only how things were going in our communities but she would also inquire about our health and about how we were doing personally. Her great desire was […]

Testimony of Sr. Assunta Cocchiara

Maestra Thecla’s Big Heart Testimony of Sr. Assunta Cocchiara Abbess of Santa Scholastica Monastery Cassino, Italy   In February 1944, recounts Sr. Assunta, who at that time was Mother President of the Benedictine Sisters, [the town of] Cassino was destroyed. That same night, Montecassino and our monastery were bombed. The devastation was so great that […]
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