Though the Daughters of St Paul had been allowed to remain in New York, the sisters had never received permission from the Archdiocese of New York to build a novitiate house, so Maestra Paula set out to find a diocese where the hierarchy would understand and accept the Pauline mission. This led her to follow the Society of St. Paul into the Buffalo diocese where the mission was understood and welcomed by Bishop John F. O'Hara CSC. So it was that on September 29, 1949, the aspirants and postulants transferred to “Derby on the Lake,” as it was fondly called, situated on the banks of Lake Erie.
On the sisters’ property were a two-story frame house, a greenhouse, a stable, a gatehouse, and another small summerhouse. The frame house contained the chapel, kitchen, dining area and professed bedrooms. The summerhouse was used for classes. The gatehouse accommodated the postulants. The greenhouse and stable became apostolate areas, with the novices sleeping above the stable. The entire property comprised approximately twelve acres. The Sisters purchased a printing press, a cutting machine, a linotype machine and other equipment from the Society of St. Paul.
In Derby the sisters began to make significant strides in their apostolate. From 1949 to 1955 they printed: 22,000 Bibles; 56,000 Gospels; 55,000 Marian books; 124,000 papal encyclicals; 220,000 prayer books; 156,000 lives of saints; 105,000 books of religious instruction and spiritual reading; 265,000 books for children; 600,000 Family magazines; 800,000 bulletins; 400,000 leaflets; 400,000 promotion pieces about the congregation.
During these years Mother Paula also dedicated herself to assisting with the global expansion of the congregation. Thus in the Philippines, the Daughters of St Paul were able to re-found their community after Filipino sisters spent time in New York learning English, helping with evangelization, and acquiring machinery, books, and rights to reprint. In 1947, once Mother Paula obtained permission to begin a community in Mexico City from Archbishop Luis María Martínez (1881-1956), the new foundation was outfitted with what it needed. This pattern of cooperation was repeated in Japan, Colombia, Congo, Korea, and Pakistan. In 1950, Mother Paula accompanied the Daughter of St Paul pioneers to India and remained for four months, having arranged for the community’s first shipment of supplies before leaving the United States. In 1951 she obtained permission for Mother Basilia and two other sisters to establish the congregation in Montréal, Canada. On January 2, 1952, she accompanied them to their first apartment, staying with them briefly to see to their immediate needs.
The founder and Mother Thecla also encouraged the community to begin branching out to other locations in the United States. So between 1952 and 1956 Mother Paula established communities in Alexandria, Louisiana, San Antonio, Boston, and San Diego.
The Founder and Prima Maestra Tecla visited Derby twice. On their first visit, Fr. Alberione encouraged the community to move elsewhere. “This is a beautiful place,” he said. “You are near the water; you have fresh air; you have large grounds where you can build. But, you know, you are apostles of the city—so see what you can do to get out of here. God will help you. Pray, put faith, and you will see.”
Maestra Paula asked two of the sisters stationed in Boston, Sr. Mary Angela and Sr. Sabina, to speak with Cardinal Cushing, the Archbishop of Boston, about opening a novitiate in his diocese.
At first, Archbishop Cushing simply replied, “I’ll keep you in mind.” But soon he came to a decision. “Your apostolate is important,” he wrote to Mother Paula, “I want it in the archdiocese. Come!”
After looking at several possible spots on which to build, Mother Paula chose the property on which the Novitiate House in Boston still stands in Jamaica Plain. “It was nothing but a hill,” Sr. Sabina remembers when they first saw the property, “but Mother Paula was emphatic, ‘This is it. We are going to be here.’”
The sisters broke ground in 1955, and on June 15, 1956 the Daughters of St Paul definitively left Derby. An unusual sight met commuters at Boston’s South Station on the morning of June 16, 1956. Thirty-five postulants, novices and professed sisters of the Daughters of St. Paul spilled out of a train . . . each carrying a pillow. The sisters had left Buffalo at 10:30 p.m., June 15 and arrived in Boston at 9:30 a.m. on June 16 after traveling the entire night from New York to begin their foundation in Jamaica Plain. The machines soon followed.
About three weeks after the sisters first arrived in Boston, a group of novices received the habit and five sisters made their perpetual profession. Archbishop Cushing took the occasion to officially welcome the Daughters:
“We extend to the Daughters of St. Paul a hundred thousand welcomes to the archdiocese of Boston. We offer them every opportunity to grow, to expand, and to do the works of their Congregation without any restrictions at all. We bless them and we give them our love and our prayerful mementos. May they always be as beautiful in the eyes of God as they are today.”