Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Enjoy the following four news items and stories.

Advent and Christmas in Song
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—again. Is it possible that an
entire year has slipped by since last Christmas? The Daughters of St. Paul Choir says it has, and the sisters are prepping for the Choir’s new season of East Coast concerts, with a foray into Cleveland at
Bishop Lennon’s invitation. Sr. Bridget Ellis, music director, has lined up nine performances that, as usual, promise to be both inspiring and fun.

The Staten Island event doubles as a fundraiser. Approximately two-thirds of the proceeds will benefit the Daughters of St. Paul Education Fund (see the next item below). That concert is now in its third decade and seems to be a tradition with many. Not even 9/11 cancelled it. In fact, the concert took on a healing aspect, as music powerfully does. One young woman recently expressed the sentiments of many, who find that these songs, whether in concert, on CD or online, “lift my spirit when I need a boost and remind me [of] the reason for life.”

For the complete concert schedule and for ticket prices—where applicable—see the Daughters of St. Paul Choir Facebook fan page. Or go to for a free preview of what awaits you at the 2010 Christmas Concerts!

Education Fund
As you may remember, our goal for the end of the year is $100,000, to match the exceptional offer of an anonymous donor. In the past month, we’ve received $1,000, bringing the total in hand to $30,000. Seeing as there are only six more weeks left to the year, we need to find other avenues for contributions.

We’re hoping that we will be able to apply approximately $35,000 from the Dec. 2 Staten Island Benefit Concert to this. Another friend in San Diego has pledged $5,000. If you know anyone who would rather give to charity this season than go Christmas shopping, would you consider suggesting the Daughters of St. Paul Education Fund? That’s not as unlikely as it sounds. I remember a few years ago in one of our California PBM Centers, a young woman gave us $60 to send a book and CD gift basket in her parents’ honor to a Franciscan food pantry. Though she could afford it, they didn’t want her buying them anything. They felt they had enough, and she was sure they would appreciate knowing she had reached out to others in their name.

To donate, click on, then on the “Donate Now” button, then on “Education.”

St. Louis Benefit Dinner

Judi Buncher, Sr. M. Joan Baldino
and Sr. Rebecca M. Hoffart (R)
 Some of the best things and best times happen over dinner.

On Oct. 3 our Benefit Dinner in St. Louis brought
together some longtime friends and some new ones. The event is almost entirely organized by our board, which annually honors some outstanding Catholic citizens, who contribute in scores of ways to the evangelization of their civic and social communities. (The board members are pretty outstanding themselves.)

This year 278 people attended; they recognized Judge Donald and Mrs. Susan Gunn as the St. Paul Man and Woman of the Year. Judi and Stan Buncher received the Mother Paula Gratitude Award, for their generosity toward the community. Bishop Robert Shaheen and auxiliary bishop Robert Hermann graced the gathering with their presence.

The Benefit Dinner supports both our sisters in St. Louis as well as number of evangelization projects throughout country. In the past, it has helped renovate our Boston infirmary and further the education of our sisters.

This year, the major project was a new roof over the St. Louis FSPs, which cost us $20,000, and “it’s all spent!” announced superior Sr. Assumpta.

She added that they had decided to try a “reverse raffle” for the first time ever. Well, in a city and a “Show Me” state that regards the new with healthy suspicion, at first it looked as though no one would bite. This worry of Pauline Cooperator Dr. Jeff Matthews blossomed into a near anxiety attack; the raffle had been his idea. Prayers to St. Paul. As it turned out, 120 people bought tickets at $100 a pop, making it the most successful fundraiser to date.

Italian Connection 
Milan businessmen
indulge in gelato outside La Scala
Opera House.
 While we’re on the topic of food, did somebody mention Italy? No? They should have. Our pilgrimage (See blog post of Nov. 3) brought us first to Milan, then to Turin, on our way to one of Europe’s gastronomical meccas—Alba, days before the National White Truffle Fair. We discovered that the white truffle is hunted in very old woodlands by dogs, sells for as much as $1,600 a pound, and is given as a token annually to a celebrity. Recipients have been as diverse as John F. Kennedy, Sophia Loren, and Alfred Hitchcock. Michaela, our Piedmontese guide, admitted, though, that she would never fork over that kind of money, no matter how good it tasted.

Of course, what took us to the Piedmont region was much more personal and spiritual than a fungus. After all, it’s where the Pauline Family was founded. But it didn’t hurt any that the food was fabulous. We explored and prayed in San Lorenzo Cathedral, where, freshly expelled from one seminary and then accepted into another—Alba’s—16-year-old James Alberione received the inspiration to one day begin the Pauline Family. We entered the church, where, 15 years later, he invited Teresa (later Thecla) Merlo to collaborate with him and eventually lead the Daughters of St. Paul. The Church of St. Paul, hand built by the first Paulines, and the Daughters’ Motherhouse were special sacred spots.

FSP Motherhouse: Still active bindery.
Demonstrating a vintage piece --
their 1st sewing machine.

The next day took us to the surrounding towns intimately linked with our history: Fossano, Alberione’s birthplace, Castagnito, Thecla Merlo’s home, Narzole, Bl. Timothy Giaccardo’s home, Cherasco and Bra, sites of Marian shrines dear to our communities. All the while, the film crew captured it for posterity.

Newark Airport:
Great Boze ad, Carol Kerry!
  While in Newark Airport, we had prayed together the ritual for the blessing on a pilgrimage…once the terminal’s fire alarm had been silenced. It had been wailing at maximum volume for almost ten minutes before quitting, to travelers’ applause and cheers. Sr. Anne pointed out that on that day 97 years before, Fr. Alberione had assumed direction of the Gazetta d’Alba, definitively catapulting us into publishing. In the first reading at Mass that day Paul outlined the mystery of God’s plan, “that the manifold wisdom of God might be known through the Church” (Eph. 3:10), the very text on the crest of the Pauline Family. The flavors of Alba’s kitchens were just one more sign that we had come home.

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