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Celebrating Our Centenary in Tacloban

The Daughters of St. Paul of Tacloban launched the Congregation’s Centenary of foundation with a Eucharistic Celebration on Easter Sunday in Santo Nino Church in the Archdiocese of Palo. During the Liturgy, a representative of the Local Church gave a moving homily and thanked God for the presence of the FSPs in the Philippines and throughout the world.

After the Mass, the sisters, their Cooperators and Lay Mission Partners visited the children who had experienced intense trauma as a result of Typhoon Yolanda. The presence of the sisters, their empathy with the sufferings of the people and the joyous proclamation of the resurrection were all visible signs of the risen Christ in the midst of his flock.

                   

 

 
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Pilgrimage on Foot from Castagnito to Alba

On Sunday, 12 April, the Daughters of St. Paul led a pilgrimage on foot from Castagnito to Alba in memory of Venerable Thecla Merlo, who was born in Castagnito and became one of the first followers of Fr. James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline Family. 

A hundred years ago (27 June 1915, to be exact) Thecla walked from her hometown to Alba to meet the Founder for the first time at the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. There, she said yes to Fr. Alberione’s invitation to take Christ to everyone by means of the press and the modern instruments of communication. After that meeting, she and several other young women, under the guidance of Alberione, helped to launch the Daughters of St. Paul, the first feminine branch of the Pauline Family. Sr. Thecla became the Institute’s first Superior General. 

To celebrate the Centenary of the Congregation’s foundation (1915-2015), more than 100 people took part in a pilgrimage retracing the footsteps of Thecla. Among the participants were young people and families from the Alba-Castagnito area, some religious from the Alba diocese, a group of young FSP temporary professed sisters from 14 different countries (Colombia, Pakistan, Philippines, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Romania, Madagascar, Singapore, United States, Malaysia and Mozambique), who are preparing to make their perpetual profession in the Congregation, and also a group of nine prospective FSP candidates from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

After a Eucharistic Celebration in the parish church in which Thecla was baptized, the pilgrims set out on their journey, accompanied by the mayor of Castagnito, Pierfelice Isnardi. En route, they stopped for a guided tour of the house in which Sr. Thecla was born and raised. Arriving in Alba, they visited the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, where they were joined by town councilor, Leopoldo Foglino, and from there they visited the Motherhouse of the Daughters of St. Paul.

A large Bible was carried on the pilgrimage from start to finish, borne in turn by different pilgrims, to celebrate the millions of steps taken by the Daughters of St. Paul along the streets of the world over the past 100 years. Our sisters tell us that the pilgrimage–a time of joy and fraternity, universality and faith–was an unforgettable experience for everyone.

 
 
                         
 
 
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Continual Reading of the Gospels

Among the events organized by the Daughters of St. Paul of the Congo to celebrate our Centenary of Foundation was the continual reading of the Gospel beginning the evening of 27 March and lasting up until late morning of the following day. This significant event, in which the public participated with great fervor, was held in the parish of Our Lady, Help of Christians, Kinshasa.

The evening opened with the enthronement of the Bible, carried to the altar by the parish priest, and accompanied by a reverent dance on the part of the FSP postulants. The reading of the Bible was then solemnly initiated by Sr. M. Justine, fsp. Twenty-four readers took turns proclaiming the Word throughout the night up until 11:00 a.m. the following day.

The many Christians who attended the Bible reading expressed their joy and satisfaction at being able to hear the Word announced continuously instead of in small excerpts, as is the usual case. Our sisters tell us that this unique event was also a golden opportunity for them to manifest the Pauline vocation in the Church.

           

 

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Night of Light

The FSPs of Curitiba (the capital of the state of Parana), joyfully celebrated the Centenary of the birth of the Daughters of St. Paul by organizing a night of light for young people in collaboration with the archdiocesan vocation office. The itinerary of Eucharistic adoration, prayer, music, animations and reflections filled the hours from dusk to the following dawn.

Especially significant moments in the program were the opening Eucharistic Celebration, a creative presentation of the history of the Congregation, the songs of Hemerson Jean, a Marian prayer entitled Onward!, a conference on digital communications and the Pauline charism, and a meeting between the young people and all the sisters of the community.

The participants say the experience kindled new hope in them and they warmly thanked the sisters for the chance to get to know more about the very up-to-date Pauline charism, which brings the Gospel to the heart of the world of communications.

 

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Biblical Meetings in Honor of Our Centenary

In keeping with the words of Blessed James Alberione: “You were born from the Word, for the Word and in the Word,” the FSPs of La Paz are celebrating our Institute’s Centenary of foundation by holding a series of biblical meetings.
 
The monthly encounters, which are being held in a conference room adjacent to the book center, give special emphasis to the Letters of St. Paul and are designed to help the participants reflect more deeply on some of their themes: joy, the cross, faith, the charisms of the Christian community, the leadership role of women, etc.
 
The first meeting took place at the end of March and was attended by consecrated persons, the laity and friends of the book center. The good turn-out delighted our sisters and has filled them with hope for the sessions to come.
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We are here, today as yesterday

Our being 100 years has made us experts in the communication of the Gospel, the only thing necessary. However, often even art is of great help. For this, on March 27 in the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Rome, the community of the Daughters of St. Paul of Via Castro Pretorio, wanted to celebrate the Centenary, by giving prominence to the story of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, making use of words and music. The title of the show was, I was there, Reading theater and music of Michael Casella and with the special participation of Mariella Nava. Both artists have given a touch of genius and beauty, combined with lights and sounds that have created an evocative setting.
 
The large audience present followed in silent concentration, resulting in a long final applause.
Proclaimers of the good news on roads always new and different, but the same in substance, bringing the charity of truth to the whole person, made use of Facebook with the hashtag: #wearehere#todayasyesterday, thus preparing for the event beforehand, stimulating curiosity and interest and, at the same time, encouraging participation.
 
We have journeyed since 1915, adapting to cultural, social and technological changes that make the world a small village. But from the beginning, and even today, we safeguard communication more as a human fact than technological.
 
                                          
 
 
 
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Celebrating the FSP Centenary in Livorno

The Daughters of St. Paul were welcomed by Fr. Gabriele Bezzi, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Livorno, where they participated in a Eucharistic Liturgy celebrating their Centenary. Many members of the Pauline Family participated in the concelebrated Liturgy, which was presided over by Bishop Simone Giusti.
 
As an introduction to the Mass, Sr. Teresa Braccio, fsp, recounted the story of the Congregation: 100 years of committed service in every corner of the earth as apostles in the world of communication, striving to bring everyone “the charity of the truth.”
 
The Daughters of St. Paul, who have been present in the Livorno diocese for almost 70 years, are looking to the future with joy and hope, their gaze fixed on Jesus Master and their hearts filled with a burning desire to make him known to the people of today, who hunger and thirst for the Word of God–the only thing able to make contemporary society more human, united and happy. 
 
At the end of the Eucharistic Liturgy, Fr. Guido Colombo, ssp, warmly thanked the participants for their solidarity with the Daughters of St. Paul and the whole Pauline Family.
 
 
                        
 
 
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Enlarged Council Meeting

From 15-17 February 2015, our Delegation of Southern Africa (Mozambique, South Africa and Angola) held an enlarged council meeting in Johannesburg guided by FSP Bursar Gen-eral, Sr. Gabriella Santon. The theme of the encounter, Pauline Poverty and the Economic Situa-tion of Africa and the World, was integrated with the circular letter, Guidelines for the Admin-istration of the Assets in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, published in 2014.
 
The voice of the Church reinforces the principles that underlie a sound management of goods in view of the mission of each religious Institute and Society. The participants in the meeting deeply appreciated the openness and apostolic vision with which the subject was treated. Afterward, Sr. Gabriella visited the communities of the Delegation to reflect with the sisters on the practical aspects of our management of goods, especially with regard to several apostolic projects currently underway.
 
During those days, Superior General Sr. Anna Maria Parenzan made a brief stopover in Johannesburg on her way to the Congo. The sisters wel-comed her joyfully and she took advantage of the opportunity to guide them in a reflection concerning the FSP Centenary of foundation and the multitude of gifts our Congregation has received from its beginnings up to the present.
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Opening of the FSP Centenary in Alba

On 5 February the Centenary of Foundation of the Daughters of St. Paul opened with a simple and joyous Eucharistic Celebration in the Church of the Divine Master, Alba, Italy, the city of our origins. Special attention was given to the figure of Maestra Thecla, whom the Holy Spirit associated to Fr. Alberione in realizing the charism he transmitted to our Institute.
 
During the prayer intentions, many motives for praising and thanking God were expressed: the grace of belonging to the Pauline Family, the gift of Prima Maestra to the Congregation and the Pauline Family, our sisters and brothers of the “first hour” who believed the Founder and launched out on the Pauline journey, the countless people who accompanied us over the past 100 years, and the presence of many parishioners and friends, who joined us in praying that the Daughters of St. Paul would continue to believe, hope, love and proclaim Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life to the world.
 
 
                                           
 
 
 
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Opening of the FSP Centenary in Kinshasa

 The pastor, his vicar and numerous members of St. Peter’s Parish, Kinshasa, joined the Daughters of St. Paul in celebrating the solemn opening of the FSP Centenary of foundation. The church literally overflowed with people, including members of other branches of the Pauline Family, friends and families of our sisters, and many other well-wishers who joyfully participated in the event.
 
The Liturgy was enriched by the enthronement of the Bible, carried “in state” to the altar after the singing of the Gloria, accompanied by a group of dancing FSP postulants. Auxiliary Bishop Edward Kisonga, the main celebrant of the Mass, encouraged the FSPs to live their Centenary Year as a time of grace and updating of their charism, underscoring that our Pauline communities should be characterized by three attitudes: joy, quickness and efficiency. He reminded everyone of Maestra Thecla’s words: “It might not always be possible to live in joy, but one can always live in peace.”
 
He concluded his sermon by inviting all those present to pray for the Daughters of St. Paul and thank the Lord for their dynamic presence in the Congo, in the Church and in the world of communications.
 
 
                                                         
 
 

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