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History and Tradition

Called by God
Sent to the World

Chapter 1

Heroic Faith


“Become great saints! May the great sacrifices awaiting you be rendered sweet by the thought of heaven and by the hope of bringing many souls to the Lord.”

Venerable Mother Thecla Merlo

Venerable Thecla Merlo

Co-foundress of the first Daughters of St. Paul sent to North America
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Daughters of St. Paul Founded


Daughters of St. Paul Established in the US

Humble Origins in Italy

The Daughters of St. Paul had humble beginnings in Italy. In 1915, Blessed James Alberione invited Mother Thecla Merlo to join him in his vision of founding a community of religious Sisters to communicate the Gospel through the “apostolate of the Good Press.” The young Sisters’ missionary zeal soon led them beyond Italy. After establishing themselves in Brazil and Argentina in 1931, they chose an unlikely third overseas foundation: the United States of America, in the midst of the Great Depression.

Early Years in the US

Mother Paula Cordero (age 24)  and another Sister arrived in the bustling city of New York in June 1932. They settled in a small apartment on Glover Street in the Bronx. Immediately they began door-to-door evangelization, visiting families, factories, and businesses with the word of God. After moving to a larger apartment on Byron Avenue and acquiring some secondhand bindery machines, they started producing books.

First American Vocation

The first American vocation, Sr. Mary Celeste Carini, joined the community in October 1934 and was soon followed by many other young women. To accommodate the growing community, the Sisters bought a spacious residence on Fort Place in Staten Island in 1938.

Chapter Two

Taking Root


“Jesus Christ taught us not to wait for people, but to search them out. Like the Master, the apostle must propagate the divine word in the cities, the towns, the houses, even in the most remote places. The apostle must cross mountains and traverse the seas to bring the light to all.”

Blessed James Alberione

Blessed James Alberione

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As more Sisters arrived from Italy and the number of American vocations increased, the Pauline mission established a firm foundation in North America.

Expanding the Mission

The Sisters expanded their publishing ministry significantly with the acquisition of printing equipment from the Society of St. Paul. From their convent in Derby, New York, where they had moved in 1949, they printed hundreds of thousands of Bibles, books, papal encyclicals, magazines, and bulletins. Their publishing efforts continued to grow after moving to the new provincial motherhouse in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1956.

In the same year, the Daughters of St. Paul opened their first house in Toronto, Canada. They initially lived on St. Clair Avenue, before moving to their current location on Dufferin Street in 1969.

Where Our Mission Has Taken Us

The Sisters continued to establish Book and Media Centers throughout North America. In each Center the Sisters offered guidance, formation, and hope to everyone who walked through their doors. They assisted people in the journey of faith through trustworthy spiritual reading and faith formation resources for the entire family, events, book studies, children’s story times, and more. From these Centers, the Sisters continued door-to-door and parish outreach, forming strong local communities of volunteers, benefactors, and Pauline Cooperators.

International Teamwork

Through international collaboration, the Daughters of St. Paul enhance their ability to serve diverse communities in North America.

Chapter Three

New Pentecost


“Our apostolate will never grow old, for when new means of communication are invented, we will use them.”

Mother Paula Cordero

Mother Paula Cordero

The first Daughter of St. Paul in the United States

As modern media technology evolved, the Daughters of St. Paul leveraged these new opportunities to communicate the Gospel.


Starting in the 1970s, the Sisters expanded their publishing ministry into audiovisuals. They produced slides, filmstrips, 16mm films, cassettes, radio programs, records, and even several hand-drawn animated movies.


In 1987, the award-winning Daughters of St. Paul Choir was established, marking the start of a decades-long music recording ministry and annual concert tours.


To accompany the people of God in using these new means of communication for evangelization, the Pauline Center for Media Studies was founded in 1995 to teach media literacy skills in the light of the Gospel.

International Missionary Collaboration

This period also saw significant international collaboration among the Daughters of St. Paul to better serve the spiritual needs of North America’s diverse communities. In 1989, the Daughters in Toronto, Canada, merged with the U.S. province to form the Province of the United States and English-Speaking Canada. As Sisters from other provinces worldwide came to serve as missionaries in North America, the province’s multilingual outreach expanded with new initiatives. These included the Korean outreach team, launched in 1989; and Radio Paulinas, a Spanish-language radio initiative produced with a Sister from our Colombian province since 1993. Later on, the Aparecida Center, a Portuguese-language book center in Boston served by Sisters from our Brazilian province, would be established as well.

Chapter Four

Open to God’s Future


Grateful for our rich history, and deeply conscious that our brothers and sisters in this beautiful and suffering world need our prophecy, our boldness, and our hope, the Sisters are stepping forward in mission with multimedia projects:  Media Apostle Retreats for men and women on the front lines of the media and entertainment industries, the Dare to Dwell Podcast which features down-to-earth Catholic conversations about finding God and dwelling in God’s love, as well as video series such as Nuns React, Bible Read-Alouds, the Mysterion Video Series, and Scripture Minutes. Instagram and TikTok and other social media platforms are places where the Sisters meet others online and share with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Pauline Charism: A Gift to the Church

Attentive to the Holy Spirit, and with hearts open to the needs and the sufferings of the world, we seek ever new ways of communicating the love of God.

Led by the Spirit

Today more than ever, our call to holiness is a call to love—a call to give our lives so that the world may know Jesus Christ. Like Blessed James Alberione, man of the Spirit, we are called to be women of the Spirit, with hearts always open and ready to respond to his call and to the needs of our times.

You’re Invited

All over the world, God is enflaming hearts with this desire to share his love and hope with the world. If you have touched this call in your own heart, we would love to hear from you.

Support Our Mission

Your generous contributions empower us to spread the seeds of God’s word far and wide, both through our physical Pauline Book and Media Centers and our engaging online platforms.