Maria Teresa was born on 11th May 1851, in Valletta, the Capital City of Malta. Her
parents were Paul Nuzzo and Louisa Morrocchi. She was the second born having been preceded by a brother two years earlier.
The latter died after a Cholera outbreak in the Region, leaving Maria Teresa the eldest. A day after Maria Teresa was born,
she was baptised in the Collegiate Parish of St. Paul. At the age of eight years, she received the Sacrament of confirmation
doubtlessly reaffirming her baptismal promises. She tried to be a true witness of her faith and a defender of her religion.
Her family was strongly Christian. This undoubtedly helped her live her Christian values to the full.
|In the early years of Maria Teresa's life, Malta was going through a period of great
poverty. Education was not compulsory and only a few could afford to take their children to school. Most children did little
chores in order to earn money to help their families. However, Maria Teresa was among the lucky few who received education.
At the age of fifteen years she had already acquired education appropriate to children of her age. She also showed that she
was greatly talented in handiwork and music. Besides, she had great interest in children, and in their welfare.|
| At such an age, she little knew of the noble mission
that awaited her. Her aunt who ran a private school was fast-aging. Her sight was also failing. She began to look for someone
to carry on her work. Her eyes were set on Maria Teresa. Indeed in 1867, at the age of sixteen years Maria Teresa found herself
responsible of her aunt's school, who by now had become blind. She died soon after on 4th March 1867. Maria Teresa's experience
in the school led her to be close to the little ones, especially the poor and suffering.
In her youthful days, Maria Teresa began to feel the desire to embrace religious
life. But she could not make up her mind given the circumstances around her. She realised that her parents and the family
needed her. By now, her father was seventy and was ailing. They indeed needed her more than ever. Besides there was the school
under her care. Alternatively, at the age of 21 years, she thought of the possibility of taking private vows of poverty, chastity
and obedience as a lay person.
All along Maria Teresa could not make any decision whatsoever without first consulting
her spiritual director, Mgr. Pietro Pace. This time too she did not hesitate to do so. The latter encouraged her along the
very path she had desired. She was then to take her vows on the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. However, this much desired decision
turned to be a bit difficult for her to carry out. She realised and fully understood what she would have to renounce. Though
she felt inclined to religious life, she was not sure whether she would ultimately leave her family. However on the 21st October
1874, she made her vows privately in the hands of Mgr. Pietro Pace. Two years later her father passed away. Maria Teresa was
only twenty-five by then.
|Later, Maria Teresa still felt inclined to enter the convent. She moreover wanted to join the
cloistered nuns. Once again, she brought this to the attention of her Spritual Director who out-rightly told her: "You
are not suited for the cloister". This happened in 1880.
Life then for Maria Teresa went on around the school, the catechetical and pastoral care she was
so committed to after school hours. A year later in 1881 her mother passed away.
Besides thinking of dedicating her entire life to God, she did express her desire
to set up a religious congragation who would follow Christ closely and be dedicated to the charitable service of education
and social work. After a long struggle, in 1902 she managed to see the realisation of her dreams. However lack of finances made it even harder,
but she wholly trusted in God's providence. God's ways are not our ways.
Now, Maria Teresa had a cousin, Enrico Nuzzo who shared the same ideal: to help the
unfortunate in the society specially girls, in the field of education. In his mid-life, the latter desired to use his money
for such a social project to realise his ideals.
Mother M. Teresa's bedroom
||Around this time the two happened to meet and Enrico told Maria Teresa of his dream. The latter
expressed the desire of accepting the offer and her desire to form a Religious Institute. This was passed on to the Archbishop
to whom Enrico had entrusted the plot with a house for the project. The Archbishop who well knew Maria Teresa was happy to
see that her hopes and dream were now to be actualised.|
In 1902, the building started and in 1903, Maria Teresa and
the first members of her new foundation started living in that house. This marks the beginning of the congregation, Daughters
of the Sacred Heart. Thus at the age of 52 years, Maria Teresa managed to set up the congregation she had dreamt of. This
could only be possible by the grace of God, whom she always allowed to work in her.
|The Congregation was officially founded on 21st November 1903. This is the Founding
day and is highly recognised by every Daughter of the Sacred Heart. |
Today, the Daughters of the Sacred Heart are in
Malta, India, Italy, Ireland, Libya, Kenya, Tanzania, South Korea and United States of America.