Spirituality & Mission
Blessed Alberione recognised the natural capacity of the media to permeate the lives of people and to reach large sections of society in every culture. He gave the Daughters of St Paul a specific mission of using the most effective and suitable means of communication available in each time and context to proclaim the Gospel. This involves the publication, marketing and distribution of books, music cassettes, CDs, videos, DVDs, magazines, periodicals and posters. We maintain bookshops and, where possible around the world, produce radio and TV programs, and publish web sites, all of which carry a Christian message.
The spirituality and mission of the Daughters of St Paul is known as ‘Pauline’. Pauline prayer is characterised by the Hour of Adoration, or the Visit with Jesus in the Eucharist, and by a profound listening to the Word of God in the Scriptures.
Pauline spirituality is rooted in the life and teaching of St Paul, the apostle who lived in intimacy with Christ and spent his energy and life proclaiming the Good News to all peoples. St Paul’s spirit of love for Jesus Master, his energy for the Kingdom, his spirit of thanksgiving and tireless dedication, inspire every Pauline with similar sentiments.
The presence of Mary, Queen of Apostles, in the life of Paulines inspired the same total availability to God that was Mary’s life-long attitude. Mary, who is the model of faith and love, leads us to Jesus Master and forms us for the mission of communicating God’s Word to the world.
At the heart of Pauline spirituality and mission is God’s desire to live in intimate and loving communication with humanity, expressed in the birth of Jesus among us. The Daughter of St Paul recognises communication as a gift, a call to relationship that is associated with the life-giving communication between the Father, Son and the Spirit in the Trinity. Communication pervades every aspect of our prayer, our ministry, the fruits of our ministry and our life in community.
There are over 2500 Daughters of St Paul around the world. Here in Australia we live in communities in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Sharing life in community is an important and enriching element of our Pauline vocation. In Australia our style of community life is a simple one. We gather together for prayer several times a week and participate in the Eucharist daily. We also take time each day for personal meditation on the Word of God and spend one Hour of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
We are strongly committed to our ministry and seek to have only what is necessary so that we can devote more of our resources towards our universal mission.
Several of our Sisters are missionary Sisters who have come from overseas and committed their lives to proclaiming the Gospel among the people of Australia. Thus, our communities are also notably multicultural in character. This deepens our respect for and appreciation of the diversity among cultures and nationalities, a multicultural dimension of our communities that helps us to stay in touch with the changing face of Australian society.
The Daughters of St Paul are a part of the Pauline Family, a family formed by Blessed Alberione that shares a concern for humanity and a mission to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world. The Pauline Family consists of ten Institutes, five of which are made up of religious women and men in public vows, 4 of lay-consecrated people in private vows and the Union of Pauline Cooperators, lay associates who support and share our mission.
Each Institute has a different role in the Church but shares in the same central and integrated vision of the whole Christ, and in the same mission to communicate Jesus Christ to the world.
Daughters of St Paul
Society of St Paul
Disciples of the Divine Master
Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Pastorelle Sisters)
Sisters of Mary Queen of the Apostles (Apostoline Sisters)
Jesus the Priest
St Gabriel the Archangel (Gabriellines)
Mary Most Holy of the Annunciation (Annunicationists)
Holy Family (USA)
Union of Pauline Cooperators (Italy)
Giving Voice to the World
The Daughters of St Paul are engaged in a rich variety of ministries, all using the media as a means of proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world.
Pauline Books & Media are an important part of our ministry here in Australia. These Centres provide a place where people can find resources for their personal and spiritual growth and encounter God through what they read, see and hear. We frequently attend conferences, seminars and gatherings at schools, parishes and other locations with displays of our books, audio-visuals and other resources. Pauline Books & Media launched its online bookstore in the year 2000.
In our desire to explore new ways to bring the Gospel into the lives of the Australian people and to meet the needs of modern society, we also have a dynamic ministry based on electronic media. Pauline Electronic Publishing was established in 2001 and focuses on proclaiming the Word of God through the Internet and other electronic media.
Pauline Electronic Publishing currently has two online magazines, Echoing the Word, an online magazine offering religious education and catechetical resources, and Terra Spiritus, launched in 2005 and offering the Australian people a renewed and refreshed experience of Christian spirituality.
As we reach new people through the variety of our ministries, the Daughters of St Paul continue to explore ever new ways of proclaiming Jesus Christ to the people of Australia . The potential of the Internet and developments in technology (such as portable mp3 players) open up new possibilities for tomorrow and beyond. The dynamism of our book centres, our Internet and electronic ministries and our mission are an expression of how the Spirit challenges and directs us even today, giving the Daughters of St Paul the courage to discover new ways to speak the Gospel in our local context.
Pauline Electronic Publishing
Pauline Electronic Publishing is a new ministry of the Daughters of St Paul in Australia.
Established in 2001, Pauline Electronic Publishing seeks to explore the possibilities opening up to the Gospel through the Internet and electronic media. Its mission is to provide quality publications through these media that enable people to grow and be enriched in their faith and their relationship with God.
To do this, we must be continually alert to the emerging needs and technological advances within society, identifying and responding to this changing environment through the most modern means of communication.
Pauline Electronic Publishing currently publishes two online magazines, Echoing the Word and Terra Spiritus. Launched in February 2002, Echoing the Word is a faith education resource for religious education teachers, catechists, parents, and all those ministering in the faith development of children. Terra Spiritus was launched in September 2005 and is an Australian spirituality magazine offering a range of articles on Christian spirituality, reflections on prayer and relationship, mediations on Scripture, an online chapel and fragments from Christian tradition.
As we head into the future, Pauline Electronic Publishing continues to look for new ways to make Christ known. With an interest in emerging technologies, such as mobile mp3 players and DVD technology, our ministry continues to grow from strength to strength, witnessing to the power of Jesus Christ and his saving message, in all times and in all places.
Called to Proclaim Jesus
Our story runs parallel to the story of the extraordinary development of the media in the 20th century, and to the story of the Church in this period. The Daughters of St Paul began in Northern Italy in 1915, when Fr Alberione first gathered around him a small group of young women and girls whom he prepared to carry out the printing apostolate. He asked Sr Thecla Merlo to be our first Superior General. The faith and guidance of these two remarkable leaders provided the firm foundations of our Order, allowing it grow from strength to strength over the following decades.
Our beginnings were humble. We started out by printing and distributing Bibles and catechisms in a time when the Bible was not well known, nor its prayerful study encouraged among Catholics. The editorial and publishing aspect of our ministry quickly developed and soon afterwards our radio ministry evolved. In time we opened Book Centres so that people could easily find good Christian reading material and resources for their spiritual hunger.
The criteria for choice of content were always made with the view to promote the human and spiritual growth of the person. In the early 1930s the Sisters began to move out from Italy so that, following the example of St Paul, we could continue our mission in every corner of the Earth. Today, our Sisters can be found on every continent and in 50 different countries. This international aspect of our Order encourages a great love and respect for the diversity among cultures, with an emphasis on inculturation.
Over the years, our ministry has continued to develop and change as society has also
changed. Our Founder encouraged us to learn and make use of the new forms of media as they emerged. This spirit of change and adaptability is essential to the character of the Daughters of St Paul. It gives us a positive outlook on the future and the courage to welcome the challenge of speaking about God in new ways to the people of each new generation.
Our Australian Story
The Daughters of St Paul established their first house in Sydney on 13 May, 1955. From this dwelling in the suburb of Concord, the Sisters began door-to-door visitation of homes, schools and parishes with books. In these early days, the Sisters visited homes in local suburbs and also travelled to many country towns and regions by train, car and on foot, bringing the Gospel to the people of Australia and encouraging them to grow in their Christian life. Forty-five years later, many families still fondly remember these visits and the dedication, energy and enthusiasm of our early Sisters in carrying out their mission. In 1955, Sr Thecla Caruana became the first woman to enter with the Daughters of St Paul in Australia.
Years later a small printing operation was set up in Strathfield and a recording studio was established for the production of audio-talks on topics of personal growth, spirituality, Scripture and Christian formation. In 1962 our Sisters opened the first St Paul Book Centre in a small location next to St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Adelaide. The establishment of our Sydney Book Centre soon followed, and subsequently our Book Centre in East Hawthorn, Victoria, opened to the public.
The Daughters of St Paul celebrated the 50th anniversary of their foundation in Australia on 11 June, 2005. Click here to see photos of this wonderful celebration!
Blessed James Alberione
On 31 December, 1900, during a special night of prayer before the Eucharist, the young seminarian James Alberione felt called and inspired to serve God and the people of the new century.
Following his ordination to the priesthood, Fr Alberione initial inspiration gradually became clearer and, under his direction, a group of young boys began to use the press to spread the Gospel. Their first publication was the Gazzette d'Alba. This marked the birth of the Society of St Paul in 1914.
A year later, a handful of women gathered under his direction and they soon became known as the Daughters of St Paul. Fr Alberione's ideal, like that of St Paul, was universal - all the modern means of communication were to be used so that all people would hear the Gospel. For this extraordinary mission, new apostles were needed who could dedicate themselves entirely to such a service.
By the time of his death in 1971, Fr James Alberione had founded five religious congregations, four lay institutes and the Union of Pauline Cooperators who together make up the Pauline Family.
Fr James Alberione was declared Blessed by John Paul II on 27 April, 2002.
"Here he is, humble, silent, tireless, contained in his thoughts, which flows from prayer to work, always ready to read the signs of the times. Our Father Alberione has given the Church new instruments to express herself, new means to give vigor and new breadth to its apostolic mission… May the Pope, in the name of the whole Church, express its gratitude." (Paul VI, 28 June, 1969)
Venerable Tecla Merlo
Teresa Merlo first met Fr Alberione in 27 June, 1915. She agreed to collaborate with him and to help give life to his apostolic vision. From that time on, with tremendous faith and untiring trust, Teresa, who took the religious name of Thecla, assisted him not only in the foundation and formation of the Daughters of St Paul, but with the other Congregations of the Pauline Family and his many different apostolic works.
Sr Thecla’s example and courage, her intelligent and wise collaboration with Alberione, and her loving guidance of the sisters in her care won her the respect and love of all those who knew her. She died on 5 February, 1964, and the Church proclaimed her "Venerable" on 22 January, 1991.
Sr Thecla was one of the first followers of Fr Alberione and she played a fundamental role in his foundation project. She was one of the first nine young women to make their religious profession of vows in 1922 in the hands of Alberione as Founder of the Institute.
Fr Alberione appointed Maestra Thecla as Superior General of the feminine branch of his '‘house' and, when the foundation received diocesan approval in 1929, she was given the title 'Prima Maestra' (first teacher).