The older girls in the parish wished so much to meet the parish priest’s sister. One of these, Marianna Danero, managed to reach her goal and they planned to meet every Sunday and go for a walk on the nearby mountain, Monte Moro.
In this way a friendship that would last a life time was established between Paula and Marianna.
They spent many a Sunday together enjoying the mountain and seascape around them while at the same time they spoke about their life and God…
Soon other young women joined them on these Sundays on the mountain slopes which reached down to the sea at Quinto.
While singing and skipping around the olive and cypress trees, their gaze captured by the vastness of the horizon before them, Paula communicated the ideal she carried in her heart to the hearts of her friends.
Together they reflected, discussed, and made projects…
Being together, talking together out in the open with the sky as their roof in the shade of the woods nearby, had bonded them as a group and had placed in the heart of each one the desire to belong to the Lord, to know Christ, to continue His Mission in the world.
They wanted to help humanity improve itself and they chose to do this dedicating themselves to the little girls, to the adolescent girls, in other words to the future women.
A Sixth Sense
Paula believed it was possible for a woman to contribute to the transformation of society both through her direct intervention and also because of the influence she had in the life of men and in the life of the future generation.
In that part of the 18 century the situation of women was already different from the previous century. Women enjoyed greater freedom of movement and action, but this advance could have been used against them if they remained at the same stage of cultural and religious deprivation in which they then were.
It was necessary to give them a human and Christian formation that would enable them to take an active, critical role in society and thus prepare them to hold new positions.
A sixth sense that today is more valid because of the enlarged field of action of women and also because it is still not clear to all that women enjoy, “equal dignity and responsibility with men”.
How does one implement this common project?
Paula and her companions did not have the necessary dowry to enter the monasteries then in existence.
On the other hand they longed for a different life, which was not monastic.
They did not wish to live in isolation in a cell, but they wished to share, in evangelical poverty and friendship, the simple everyday life: the work for their livelihood, their own formation, the proclamation of the gospel… and prayer.
They did not wish to distance themselves from the world, but they wanted to live in the world to make their own its joys, uncertainties, anxieties, and build the Kingdom of God.
According to early documents, they planned to form a group in which, “they could live an apostolic life that was suitable for women”.