Rome (Italy). Can a woman, a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, who lived between 1878 and 1907 and was declared venerable in 1982, still have anything to say? And most importantly, can we still say anything about her?

The publication, ‘I have chosen you irrevocably. A journey to discover Sister Teresa Valsè Pantellini’, edited by Sister Paola Cuccioli, FMA of Mary Help of Christians Province (IPI) and published by Palumbi Publishers in 2023, tells of this young woman through 12 themes, 12 facets of her spiritual portrait, learned from other experts and witnesses of her proximity and exemplarity.

Who really is Teresa Valsè Pantellini? A spoiled child? A privileged girl? A daddy’s girl? Or a young woman who takes her life in hand, gives it to absolute Love, and makes of it an unprecedented masterpiece? The book aims to answer these questions.

The ‘brushstrokes’ traced by: Sister Maria Teresa Cocco, Fr. Carlo Maria Zanotti, Sister Piera Ruffinatto, Sister Anna Avenia, Sister Teresa Espinosa, Federica Storace, Sister Giovanna Mammarella, Antonio Boccia, Renato Valera, Sister Gemma Paganini, Sister Sylwia Ciężkowska, Sister Rosangela Siboldi on her life of prayer, discernment, educator, vocation, formation, humility, love for the poor, community, Mary, disease and resilience, exodus, and hope  are accompanied by pastoral modules drawn up by the novices of the International Novitiates Mary Help of Christians of Castel Gandolfo (Rome) and Sister Teresa Valsè Pantellini of Rome, Via Appia, for preadolescents and adolescents. Sister Alba Vernazza is the author of the drawings and Sara Caroglio of the graphics.

Everyone contributed with their traits, life, work and formative experience, social and Salesian Family commitment. A summary, placed before the various contributions, links them to a biblical passage and an article of the Constitutions of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The volume is enriched by a collection of prayers inspired by the spirituality of Sister Teresa, her words, and the bibliography.

The Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, writes in the Preface: “I would not hesitate to define her spirituality ‘aristocratic’ for the refinement of her sensitivity and for the depth of her relationship with God and with people, which becomes contemplation in daily life and of daily life. Fascinated by the Salesian charism, she did not hesitate when faced with the choice to follow Jesus, to prefer the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians to any other congregation, against the will of everyone.”

And more: “We are amazed and marvel at her absolute desire to pass unnoticed and at the same time, with her irrevocable ‘irrevocably’ in declaring herself totally for the Lord at the service of the young, accepting to be consumed until the end.”

Here is the common thread that links the various contributions: in 29 years, Sister Teresa lived her choices with determination, without fear of the opinion of others nor of her own limitations and fragility. The relevance of this figure is restored and enriched by the personal experience that each one has had of her.

This book is to be sipped and savored and, like the best things, to be shared. It can be for boys and girls, young people, educators, and consecrated persons, and a source of food for thought and animation for the personal, group, and community journey.

The background to this work is a certainty the Saints, canonized or not. They are our travel companions who support us with their example and their intercession, that is, with their own experience of life and of God. At the beginning of this new year, which the Salesian Family dedicates to reflecting on the “Dream at nine years” that inspired the life and mission of Don Bosco, Sister Teresa Valsè Pantellini testifies how that dream can illuminate the life of those who listen and journey.


  1. Ho scoperto un profilo nuovo e affascinante di Sr Teresa. Brava, Sr Paola, hai avuto il coraggio di affidare ad un core di voci l’esistenza di una FMA a volte in ombra. Per il cammino educativo devono risuonare note non usurate dal tempo, ma sinfonie che armonizzano giovinezza e amore, gioia e tristezza, resilienza e sogno. Grazie per la sinodalità che sarebbe tanto piaciuta alla Suora delle ragazze di Via della Lungara.

  2. Muito linda a apresentação do livro sobre Ir. Teresa Valsè.
    Gostei de ler sua vida no meu tempo de noviciado. Fiquei encantada por sua simplicidade e entrega “irrevogável” ao seguimento de Jesus Cristo e dedicação às jovens mais pobres.
    Hoje, como 54 anos de profissão, fiquei com vontade de conhecer o livro e fazer a leitura para os dias de hoje.
    Realmente, “os Santos – canonizados ou não – são companheiros de viagem que nos apoiam com o seu exemplo e a sua intercessão, isto é, com a sua própria experiência de vida e de Deus”. Parabéns, pelo empreendimento! Que com esta ajuda possamos crescer na espiritualidade salesiana.


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