Foundress of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart

Maria Tereza was  born at Valletta to Paul Nuzzo and the Italian Luisa née Morrocchi. Still young she assisted her aunt Rosina who had opened the Nuzzo Institute for the teaching of young children in Valletta. In 1868, she found herself in charge of the school. In her mature age, she felt attracted to the life of the cloister but, in 1881, Pietro Pace, the bishop of Gozo, convinced her that the cloistered life was not suitable for her.

With  the   assistance of her cousin Enrico Nuzzo, in 1902, she founded the Maestre Pie near Tas-Samra church at Ħamrun. From the Nuzzo Institute, she and other young women dedicated themselves to the teaching of children. In 1903, Nuzzo and other women were granted  permission to start a new congregation of consecrated life. The others looked at her as the foundress. The congregation, called the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, had Nuzzo as its first superior general. As nuns, they continued to care for children. Besides the one of Ħamrun, other houses were opened at Marsa and }ejtun. during the foundress’ lifetime.

The congregation had a high grade of spirituality but lacked many material neb cessities, especially after the death of Archbishop Pietro Pace (who was a real father to them). In 1918 Archbisop Caruana removed the foundress from superior general and delegated a Franciscan nun to lead them.  It was a hard time and a tremendous trial for the foundress. But she accepted everything with obedience and  she became a simple nun. In 1922 a new superior general was chosen from the  Congregation. The trial was over.

Today, her congregation has opened many houses in Malta, and others in Italy, Libya, Kenya and India.

This biography is part of the collection created by Michael Schiavone over a 30-year period. Read more about Schiavone and his initiative here.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us