On June 15th we celebrate the foundation of the Daughters of St. Paul. The testimony of Blessed James Alberione and Venerable Mother Thecla Merlo to the humble beginnings of the Institute are moving:
"The Daughters of St. Paul had an even more humble and hidden beginning than the Society of St. Paul. They too came into being without a name, without a house, without anyone being aware of their presence. The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds. On June 15, 1915, a year after the Little Workers' Typographical School opened, the Institute of the Daughters of St. Paul began. At that time it was called the Feminine Workshop. The Theologian's idea was clear and the path sure, but those looking at things externally would not have been able to grasp the guiding thought behind everything. The Daughters of St. Paul came into being to dedicate their lives to the Good Press, even though they did not have a typography. In fact, they began by making shirts and pants for military suppliers.... When the little world [in which they lived] saw this Institute, it was very disparaging in its judgments. But the world is foolish, even when it thinks it knows what is going on. The [Feminine] Laboratory was opened in the Degiacomi house in Piazza Cherasca--the building vacated by the boys of the Typographical School" (UCBS, 8).
Learn more about how Mother Thecla's yes to the Founder's idea for the Daughters of St. Paul
From the writings of Maestra Thecla: "When I met the Theologian [Bl. James Alberione] for the first time, he spoke to me about a new institution of Daughters who would live like sisters but who, for now, would start by working for the soldiers. On my part, I was immediately enthusiastic.... We had complete trust in the Theologian. Our hearts were at peace because we knew we were guided by a good Father who sought only our good" (Our Beginnings, pp. 7,10).
From a circular letter of Blessed James Alberione: "As far back as 1910...you Daughters of St. Paul were thought about, desired, prepared for, brought to life and raised.... Remember your beginnings because the purpose for which the Lord called you lies in that concept, as does your name, your program, your duty, your prayer, your path, your heart, your reward" (CVV67).
From a letter of Mother Thecla to the Daughters of St. Paul, Christmas, 1961: "I am praying abundantly for all of you: may we all reach the degree of holiness to which we are called. I write these words to you not only with my pen but also with my heart. I want you all to become saints: for this I have offered my life--that we may all reach the degree of holiness the Lord wants of us."