Mother M. Tecla Molino
Mother M. Tecla Molino (1919-2013) was the third Superior General of our Congregation from 1981 to 1993. She followed Mother M. Scolastica Rivata and Mother M. Lucia Ricci.
When she was 83 years old, obeying the insistent request of Mother M. Paola Mancini, Mother Tecla agreed to write a “memoir” of her life. It was entrusted to Mother Paola during the fraternal visit to Sanfrè, in October 2002. In full clarity of mind and enlightened by the wisdom of God, it is introduced with a beautiful synthesis:
“My story, in the beautiful part, the one “fashioned” by the Lord seems to me to have been, as I seek to describe it: all in the name of merciful Love! I experienced this this from the beginning, and so I experience this today. I would not like to give you the impression of writing down only the things that make me look like a little saint: leaving aside all peculiarities and only giving space for God. Naturally, in addition to, and with the Lord, there were great signs of his providence: family, school, parish! During the journey, Blessed Timothy Giaccardo helped me not only as a confessor but also as a teacher, a guide. From his classes we emerged as if we had come from a sacred place, a temple … I believe that I also adopted his style of speaking and the expressions of his profound spiritual-mystical life… “.
In fact, the entire journey of Mother Thecla was an intense growth in the intimate knowledge of Jesus Master Way, Truth, and Life and in the gift of self, in community life and in our Eucharistic, priestly, and liturgical mission. Some details of her journey as a Pious Disciple of the Divine Master can also be found in the interview given to Don Vito Spagnolo for the book: Cose nuove cose antiche. Testimonianze della Famiglia Paolina, published in Rome in 2002. He remembers when in 1933 at 14 years of age, he entered in Alba where there was a large group of young postulants. The superior was Mother Scholastica, and the assistant was Mother Antonietta Marello. Her mission was immediately to help the sisters in the service of the large Pauline group. There were about 500 boys of various ages, in addition to the priests and disciples. Mother Thecla comments: “It was a fervent group, and it felt like everyone was praying. The environment was nice and warm. I did not feel the initial difficulties because there was welcome, simplicity and prayer. We were happy with what little there was. The Primo Maestro in those days was rarely seen. There were so many of us that we only saw him when he preached. For example, I remember the first week of the month, in the immense church of San Paolo, when it was still without pews and empty, without floors, with long benches from here until I don’t know where. The Church was very full, and the Primo Maestro was preaching. We were all busy with our housework. Until the transfer to Borgo Piave, which took place at the end of 1933, the Daughters
of St. Paul were with us. We were many … I felt happy, so happy, with no other desire. In the morning we got up early feeling quite sleepy and with some difficulty, but we did it. We already had 2 hours of Adoration. Every now and then we heard the superior telling us: “The Primo Maestro said to pray with raised hands and to pray on our knees. He needs our prayer, he needs our prayer.”
About three years after she joined, Mother Scholastica sent her to Paris for the work of promotion. In this house there were many of the Pauline pioneers, all made “enormous sacrifices”. Mother Thecla recounts:
“In France there was already Mother Lucia. To go to France without knowing a word of French! Nothing surprised me! That was how it should be. And Mother Lucia taught me French walking along the streets of Paris … Mother Lucia Ricci had already been there for a year. She was very intelligent, and together with Father Paolino they managed the newspaper ‘La Parole’. She had a lot of initiative, she was not afraid to make a bad impression, ‘don’t worry, let’s just do good’, she said. After a few
months, Fr Alberione sent me from Paris to Nice, with another sister… we entrusted ourselves to Providence. The Lord guided like that.”
Regarding her relationship with the Founder, Mother Thecla notes:
“I came to the House with blind trust in the Primo Maestro, because already the vocation directors from my place with all my relations had great confidence in him and talked about him a lot. Even we who were young and small, he was called The Theologian.
Therefore, a great trust was already born. The Primo Maestro often spoke of the apostolate, of work, of organization. He gave us meditations weekly … Once he came from Rome to Argentina and was accompanied by Sister M. Cormariae. And I then accompanied him from Buenos Aires to Brazil by plane because he could no longer be left alone. It was an airliner but not a powerful Boeing. The plane was very wobbly. He had the breviary in his hand, and it was a bit so-so. I gave him the various medicines at this or that time. At one point, as the plane wobbled, he raised his head and said, ‘Look, is this plane safe enough?’ To reassure him I said to him: ‘Yes, of course Primo Maestro, here they only get on if the planes are in place …’. ‘Oh, all right, if you say so, it’s fine’, and he continued to pray … I have very simple memories of the Primo Maestro. We felt as if he was our father, our superior, and there was a lot of respect between us.”
Mother Thecla was a Pious Disciple who was deeply identified with the charism and apostolate of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. Formed at the school of saints of the Pauline Family, in turn, for many years she was Novice Mistress and superior of the community. She deeply loved her brothers and sisters and dedicated herself to the Congregation, especially as Superior General. She had a dedication and a synodal style that formed co-responsibility, based on listening to people and situations. Looking over her years of service, she said: “I have always had immense trust in the Lord. But I also had some very good collaborators … They just “carried” me. I can say that alone I would not have done anything, indeed I was scared … And so, I only bless God … In the countries I’ve been to, I’ve always felt welcomed. I do not know how many times I have thanked the Lord, not because I have been Superior General, but because he has made his works known to me in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippine Islands, as well as Samoa in the Pacific Ocean, Australia, Canada, all Latin America, etc. All of this has been a great blessing. The Lord has enlarged my heart, He has made me see that the world is not all there in my own corner … God is great, God is beautiful, God is life.”
Mother Thecla’s journey, because of the vocation and mission received, has never been solitary but “choral”, both in prayer and in the joys and sorrows of the simple everyday life of existence. Thus, Mother Thecla made herself a “companion” for many of us, on the paths of the joy of the Gospel. While experiencing the toil and fatigue, this path makes us untiring in giving life. The face of Mother M. Tecla, in recent years, portrayed the serenity given to one who is peaceful in her inner life, despite harsh trials due to health and advancing years. A beautiful description of her is given in the pamphlet for internal use, written by Sr. M Joseph Oberto in 2014. As a mother and formator she accompanied with clarity and depth the journey of many sisters who searched for the Face of God. Many of us have known of her virtues, her great heart, her wisdom and firmness in making decisions.
In this jubilee year of the Congregation and in view of the 10th General Chapter, Mother M. Tecla Molino’s greeting to all the Sister Disciples could be contained in the words in one of her circular letters. They are surprisingly appropriate thirty years later:
“Easter is the newness that changes life … And Mary Magdalene immediately goes to proclaim to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord”! I heard him call me “Mary”, I replied: “Rabbunì”! Her entire being speaks of this encounter with the Lord of new life. This encounter with the Risen Master changes this disciple in the depths of her soul and makes her a “missionary”. The only true conversion is the most dynamic discovery of the Lord, the only one who, by illuminating our path and revealing to us the meaning of the Scriptures (cf. Lk 24:25ff.), can change our course, offering us, with the gift of his Spirit, the strength to persevere in goodness, the secret of proclaiming to our brothers and sisters. Easter lived therefore in the luminous discovery of the face and voice of the Master who enables us to proclaim, witnessing in everyday life: “I have seen the Lord”! It is the whole life that speaks because it has been touched by the power of the Risen One! The one who “saw the Lord” as Mary Magdalene did, makes him the essential reason for its vocation and mission (Circular no. 3, 1990).
The existence of the venerable Mother Scholastica, who always lived in Christ, in the Church and in history, was also modeled on this paschal tone of death and resurrection. In this regard, Mother Thecla testifies:
“I could say so much about Mother Scholastica. A lot and a little. I met her as soon as I arrived. She was a young superior, simple, very practical, always amid the sisters … she was very humble… She was then sent to Argentina and at that time I was there too, where I stayed for a few years. She was very quiet… “.
Surrounded by such a large number of saints, disciples and apostles, together with the whole Pauline Family, let us confidently run the race of faith, hope and charity, because Go who made the promise is faithful. Mother Tecla Molino is a witness to the tremendous love of the Lord and of the call to the apostolate,