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HomeNewsVaticanDaughters of St. Paul celebrate 109 years of spreading Gospel through media

Daughters of St. Paul celebrate 109 years of spreading Gospel through media

The Daughters of St. Paul, sometimes known as the Media Sisters, celebrate 109 years of service in 2024, following in the footsteps of their founders, Blessed James Alberione and Sr. Tecla Merlo.

By Sr. Roselyne Wambani Wafula, fsp

Blessed James Alberione was never blind to the growing influence of media, even at the start of the 20th century. He saw the power of the press and emerging technologies in shaping public opinion, a trend he felt could be harnessed for good.

Alongside him stood Mother Thecla Merlo, a young woman who became the first Superior General of the congregation.

Inspired by the Apostle Paul, a tireless communicator of the faith, Alberione established the Society of St. Paul Missionaries and the Daughters of St. Paul in Italy, in 1915.  Their mission was to use all available means of social communication to bring Christ to the world.

As Blessed Alberione declared, “You must be St. Paul living today,” and the Daughters of St. Paul seek to embody this spirit.

A life centered on Christ, inspired by St. Paul and Mary

The core of the Daughters of St. Paul spirituality lies in their devotion to Jesus Christ, while seeking inspiration in the Apostle St. Paul, seeing him as a model for their mission. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, also holds a special place in their congregation.

The Eucharist is held in the highest regard, with daily Mass strengthening their core. A dedicated hour of adoration allows them to intercede for humanity in prayer.

The Daughters of St. Paul operate book and media centers worldwide, considering them as centres of light and truth. These centers act as spaces where people can encounter faith resources, engage in meaningful conversations, and feel welcome. Notably, each center boasts an Adoration chapel, ensuring prayer remains the cornerstone of their outreach.

“From prayer comes the mission,” explains the congregation’s website, “and from mission we draw strength from prayer.”

Prayer, the apostolate, study, and community life are the pillars of their vocation. Dedication to study equips them to understand the complex world they navigate, where they encounter and serve people from all walks of life.

It also allows them to stay updated on the media landscape and its potential for effective Gospel dissemination.

Jubilarians pose for a group photo

Jubilarians pose for a group photo

Celebrating new beginnings and continued growth

June holds special significance for the Daughters of St. Paul. June 29 marks the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, while June 30 offers them a chance to celebrate the Solemnity of St. Paul as a congregation.

This June was particularly joyous, with several sisters celebrating religious anniversaries. Some celebrated their 25th, 50th and 60th jubilees.

These included a sister from Argentina who made their Perpetual Profession, with many others from different parts of the world, including Africa and Asia, asking God to uphold their vocation with His grace.

At the same time, nine young women from Angola, Congo, Zambia, and Kenya professed their First profession on June 30.

Witness and inspiration

Prior to Perpetual Profession, the Daughters of St. Paul engage in activities such as vocational work, bible animation, and seminars on media literacy. This “pre-celebration” phase serves a dual purpose: to spread awareness about the congregation and inspire young women to consider a life dedicated to religious service.

A Congregation that adapts and advances

The recent restyling of the Pauline Books and Media logo, along with a new logo for the congregation itself, underscores the sisters’ commitment to courageously “read the signs of the times” and respond to them accordingly.

Sister Anna Caiazza, the Superior General, recently shared a powerful message with the members, emphasizing, “We are not afraid of change; we embrace it as an opportunity for growth.”

“You are innovators by vocation, constantly adapting to the evolving media landscape,” Sr. Caiazza reminded the Daughers of St. Paul.

Marking their 109th anniversary, they presented a new communication tool called “scrollytelling,” a new digital way of storytelling which involves blending text, images, videos, and audio to create a dynamic and immersive experience, challenging the limitations of short attention spans.

Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect for the Dicastery for Communication (our parent organization), commended the scrollytelling initiative. “This shows the ability of the Daughters of St. Paul to be present in the contemporary world with the language of today,” he said.

In her message, Sr. Caiazza recalled the worldwide reach of her religious congregation.

“We are present in all continents and in more than 50 countries…” she said. “This is a reason to thank God and continue praying for more vocations in the congregation and the Church in its entirety.”

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