Sister Maria Paolina – Margherita De Luca
With Sr. M. Paolina we take a flight to Brazil, where Giuseppe De Luca and Pepe Filomena had emigrated from Baselice (BN). On May 16th, 1902, in São Carlos in the State of São Paulo, Margherita was born. After a few years the family returned to Italy. Margherita grew up in the inspiring settings and places of natural beauty surrounding Baselice.
At that time the Pauline press, especially the Union of Cooperators of the Good Press and Pastoral Life, which began in Piedmont had already arrived in the various parts of the peninsula and the surrounding islands. This spreading of the good news was very effective in making the young Pauline Family known, and in inviting young boys and girls to join.
Even the parish priest of Baselice, read with interest of this the new way of proclaiming the Gospel. He was struck by the fact that women were also called to collaborate in this mission with the press. He spoke to the young women whom he considered were called by the Lord to the consecrated life. His gaze rested on the young Margherita De Luca. He committed himself to help prepare her, collaborating with grace, responding to an invitation that he felt came from on high … and from Alba. When her father Giuseppe, due to the precarious economic conditions after the First World War, returned to Brazil, Margherita decided to stay in Italy and on October 18th, 1920 she entered Sao Paulo in Alba.
After Orsola and Metilde, other “young people inclined to especially Eucharistic piety” according to the desire of Fr Alberione, would be chosen from the group. Margaret was one of them.
She recalls that: “on the evening of February 9th, 1924, the Primo Maestro called us: we would form a community, a group headed by Orsola Rivata who then became Sister Scholastica. He assigned to us the ongoing worship of two-hour turns, for one month, to see how we succeeded. This worked so well that the adoration continued with fidelity throughout the day. Then on August 15th, with the increase in the number of sisters, we began the night Adoration.
On March 25th, Margaret was given the name of Sr. Paolina of the Agony of Jesus, to remember Paul, their protector. With the addition of the Agony of Jesus, she was called to be a living memorial of Jesus’ prayer in abandonment to the will of the Father and his “I Thirst”.
Do you want to be healed?
There was an event that was witnessed by Mother Scholastica: “One day, in one of the conferences of Primo Maestro, where Sr. Paolina De Luca was also present, she suffered from an annoying stomach-ache that caused her discomfort and various side-effects. The Primo Maestro, aware of her physical situation, addressed her directly, and said to her:
“Sr. Paolina, are you able to cast your stomach-ache into the Tanaro?” (a river in Italy). Sister Paolina smiled. She accepted his words very seriously and with a great spirit of faith … so necessary to cooperate in the work of grace. From that moment she felt very well and no longer suffered from the stomach-ache.”
Sr. M. Paolina recalled that “the method of the Visit was guided by Primo Maestro. For a certain time, we recited each day the chaplet to St. Joseph with our arms raised. We prayed for special intentions as indicated by the Founder; we prayed other prayers with our hands crossed over our hearts. One day Primo Maestro called us and said: “You also will have to make the bricks for the Church of St. Paul”. In this way many people were organized to work on the kilns … In some cases, when we went to the laundry to wash the clothes, or had urgent deadlines for bricks, we ate our meals with hearty appetites wherever we found ourselves: whether it be sitting on the grass or elsewhere. I am glad to recall that whatever we did, we were always very cheerful and at peace.”
Return to Brazil
For more than 30 years she had not seen her family. Aware that the ocean separated them, she lived in silence and offered her desire to embrace them again. She especially thought of her mother, entrusting herself to the goodness of Jesus Master who had prepared her for that long-awaited moment. For a certain period after the war, the permission to go abroad was postponed for religious, but Sr. M. Paolina was born in Brazil and therefore had the right to return. Providentially, the foundation (or rather the return) of the Pious Disciples in Brazil was being planned, and the documents were being prepared. On February 1st 1956, Sr. M. Paolina embarked for São Paulo. On this occasion, the Founder wrote her a message:
“Dear Sister Paolina, I accompany your journey with prayer. You will do a lot of good to souls in proportion to the love you will have for Jesus-Host and for Mary our Mother. Think of heaven! Faith! I bless you, Maestro Alberione”.
While waiting for the arrival of the Pious Disciples, she stayed with her family. In July of 1956, the missionaries arrived and the community in São Paulo was born. Sr. M. Paolina lived with a missionary spirit. She was open to the many differing situations of the time and always open to newness. She loved “her Brazil” very deeply.
Her life blossomed in Brazil and came to its fullness and completion on November 18th, 1965. In the heavenly Jerusalem she joined two of the others of the “first eight”: Sr. M. Antonietta Marello and Sr. M. Margherita Gerlotto, who in 1931 had been the first Pious Disciple to be on the soil of Brazil.
Some pearls of her inner life
< I want to strive to truly please my dear Jesus, my Bridegroom. I want to keep watch over my character, seeking to unite myself ever more intimately to the Divine Master as his disciple; accept humiliations, a gift of God, to be very close to Him in Paradise; accept with a smile even those I do not deserve and heartily forgive; Do not offend anyone with my way of acting but treat everyone with much patience, kindness, and charity. Seek to overcome every feeling of melancholy and be at peace in a serenity that is also reflected on the outside.
<What great sorrow, what painful news! My dear Mother has died. God’s holy will be done! I offer, yes, I offer my great suffering. Jesus Master, how beautiful my Mother was on her deathbed. Mom, I will see you in Paradise! Jesus, I beg you, free her from the pains of Purgatory.
< November: for the Souls who are in Purgatory because of the press, cinema, radio, TV.
<My soul rests in the holy Tabernacle. I offer everything for priests, missionaries, teachers, the suffering. Pray for the Holy Father, for religious families around the world; for the Church, for vocations, for rulers… Every day, offer myself in Holy Mass, and live it during the day, in a spirit of love and adoration.
< Lord, have mercy on me. I will do my duty in a spirit of penance and reparation for my sins. Make reparation for sins, especially those committed because of the press and radio. I want to do everything in this life as penance for my sins – so that my Purgatory may be shortened. Accept all humiliations as a gift of God, that will help me to be very close to Him in Paradise.
<Mary Most Holy, first Pious Disciple, I want to fulfill my daily duty under the luminous eye of Jesus in the Eucharist and helping you, my heavenly Mother.