Greetings! Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Marta here.
We’re two of the new novices in formation to become Daughters of St. Paul. We are truly blessed to be writing to you on such a special day! Today is the 115th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of St Paul by Blessed James Alberione in 1914 in Italy, which gives us a great reason to celebrate. The Society of St Paul was the first congregation founded by Alberione. All the congregations and institutes founded by Alberione make up the Pauline Family and celebrate this day in a particular way as the beginning of the realization of God's call to this young priest in the early 1900s to "do something for the new century."
When the Daughters of St. Paul began a year later, Father Alberione invited a young woman, Teresa Merlo, to join him as he founded a new group of religious women to serve the Church in the work of “the good press.” His vision was that these sisters would print good reading material that would help people to encounter God to help combat the harmful media that was being produced. Young Teresa Merlo, our future Mother Thecla, joined him with great trust and enthusiasm as she agreed to give her life to evangelize through the media.
Our founder had a great vision for the work that the Daughters of St. Paul would do to help people to know the love of God. But in 1915, Europe was in the midst of World War I, and so our first sisters were asked to sew uniforms for the soldiers. That was a little bit different (and perhaps less exciting) than what they had originally signed up for.
But our first sisters trusted in God’s plan and they did exactly what was asked of them. The war ended and they started using the printing presses and working with the media. Their work continued to require them to trust that whatever situation was before them was God’s will and to accept it with great peace.
As novices, we have so much to learn from these first sisters. These sisters ended up doing truly incredible things for the love of God, founding a congregation of religious sisters that is now in over 50 countries and reaching countless souls with the love of Christ. When they began sewing uniforms for soldiers, they had no idea that today there would be more than 2,300 Daughters of St. Paul around the world working with such a wide array of media to spread the Gospel. Their humility and trust, seeing no task as too small for them, made this possible.
So wherever you find yourself today, whatever it is that is asked of you today, ask God to help you to do it with great love. When we accept God’s will in what is ordinary, whether it is an unexpected pile of dishes that needs to be cleaned or a last-minute schedule change, He prepares us to accept His will in more trying times. And that is what will give us the greatest peace even in the scariest storms of life.
Let us pray for each other. Let us pray that wherever we are, in whatever God asks of us, we will respond like Mary who said, “Let it be done unto me according to your word.”
In Jesus through Mary,
Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Marta