Bl. Teresa Grillo Michel
Founder of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of Divine Providence.
Roman martyrology: In Alessandria, Italy, Blessed Teresa Grillo, religious, who, having been widowed, took mercy of the needs of the poor and, after selling all her possessions, founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the divine Providence (1944).
Beatification date: 24 May 1998 by Pope John Paul II
Born September 25, 1855 in Spinetta Marengo, Alessandria, Italy as Maddalena Parvopassau as the youngest of five children born to Giuseppe and Maria Antonietta Parvopassau. Her father was the head physician at the Civil Hospital of Alessandria, Italy, but died when the girl was still very small. Maddalena attended school in Turin, Italy, and then in a boarding school in Lodi, Italy run by the Ladies of Lorreto. At 18 she returned to Alessandria where she married Captain Giovanni Michel on 2 August 1877. In the next few years they lived in the Italian cities of Caserta, Acireale, Catania, Portici and Naples.
Captain Giovanni died of sunstroke during a parade in Naples in 1891, and Teresa sank into a deep depression. However, with the spiritual guidance of her cousin, Monsignor Prelli, she made a recovery and decided to devote herself to helping the poor. She first used her own home to shelter them, but the numbers soon out-stripped the house, and in 1893, with much opposition of her family, she sold it to buy an large old building which she rebuilt and renamed Little Shelter of Divine Providence. Other local women were attracted to her work, and on 8 January 1899 she and eight of her co-workers officially founded the Congregation of the Little Sisters of Divine Providence. She spent the rest of her life, 45 years, working to spread the Congregation and its mission to the poor. Today they have houses throughout Italy, Brazil and Argentina, running nurseries, orphanages, schools, hospitals, and homes for the elderly.