Friday, February 01, 2013


Today we begin a new month: February. Short as it is, this month holds a lot of promise! I have a brother and a sister who celebrate their birthdays this month. On Feb. 20, we celebrate the birthday of the first Mother General of the Daughters of St. Paul, Mother Thecla Merlo. This pioneer Sister was born Teresa Merlo in 1894 in the town of Castagnito among the hills of Italy's Piedmont. Teresa was named Superior General of the newly founded Daughters of St. Paul.
Mother Thecla's "birthday into heavcn" is February 5th, the date on which she died in 1964. She lived to see the small group of mainly teenage young women dedicated to media evangelization advance into a world wide religious congregation with over 2,000 members. Learn more about Mother Thecla on or on
(We pronounce her name as we would the "tech" in the work technique or technical.)
Mother Thecla's cause has been introduced for canonization. As a person progresses on the way to official church recognition of his or her virtues titles are assigned to the candidate for canonization: first one is named "Servant of God" So & So. Then after official processes have finished and all is well, the person is called "Venerable." This title remains until beatification. Then one is called Blessed James or Blessed Kateri, etc. To arrive at this goal, a verified miracle obtained through the intercession of the Person in question must have occurred. Miracles are not easily verified when scrutinized by the Vatican experts. To help us speed Mother Thecla's "cause" for beatification/ canonization, you can help by:
1) Spreading the good news about Mother Thecla's life as a pioneer in the apostolate of media evangelization.
2) Pray to God through the intercession of Mother Thecla Merlo
3) If you are the recipient of any special favor or grace, please inform our Mother General at this address:
Daughters of  St. Paul
Via San Giovanni Eudes, 25
00163  Rome  Italy

February is Black History Month in the USA. Many believe that Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry his cross to Calvary was from Africa. Venerable Pierre Touissaint was a black African slave born in Haiti in 1767.  When unrest and revolution threatened the Berard family, the French slave owner and his wife left for the United States with their house slave Pierre
and his sister Rosalie. Each morning Mr. Touissaint attended Mass at St. Peter's Church in Manhattan. After her husband died, it was Pierre's skill as a hair dresser which supported Madame Berard and Rosalie. Pierre eventually became a free man. His efforts contributed to building the first St. Patrick's Church in New York City. His virtues were well known to Catholics and to many wealthy New York ladies who relied on Pierre to transform their hair into works of art. With his wife, Pierre dedicated himself to helping poor black children and many others. May Venerable Pierre pray for us and especially for all Black Americans who may have need of special graces.
 Mardi Gras comes shortly and then Ash Wednesday brings us Lent.
Best wishes for a good February.

Venerable Pierre Toussaint

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