The Venerable was born in Palermo, Sicily on October 15, 1858 and was baptized the next day named Francesca Paola.

Her childhood was spent in a deeply Christian environment under the serene enlightened evangelical witness of her parents.

The small Francesca Paola grew up in a serene atmosphere as you can see.


At 10 years old she received the Holy Communion. She grew  like everyone  of her time, in ordinary way and it seems she was a little conceited, with dynamic disposition, she loved theatre and recreation. It seemed to a common observer that girl was thoughtless… In fact  she had a profound aspiration that she disclosed  only to her spiritual director – Father Luigi La China.

At 16  years  old  the dream of Francesca Paola to be a nun  come true and she became part of  the  Religious Community  from Palermo – Institute of the Sacred Heart. After some months of Novitiate  she was uncharged with education responsibilities and on June 12, 1875 she had  her first religious profession with the name  of Carmela of Jesus.

For about 10 years  of religious life  in the Institute of the Sacred Heart although faithful to  the evangelical councils she was attracted to the contemplative and apostolic life.

After mature reflexion and mutual concert with her confessor she left  the Institute of the Sacred Hearts on 11 May, 1884.

On September 1884, feast of the Triumph of the Cross in Palermo  she  founded the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of the Incarnate Word. The Archbishop of Palermo, Cardinal Celesia authorized Don Emmanuel Calì, confessor of Sister Carmela to receive on that day the simple Religious Vows.



Mother Carmela gave to her Congregation an indelible mark: a life of higher contemplation. The Servant of God  declared: “we must pray and pray well… because the prayer  is a sweet violence to the Heart of God”.

In spite of the strong life of contemplation the Institute developed apostolic activity. Mother Carmela opened schools for the young  children of the common people and the Catechistic Sunday School to be  in keeping the contemplative and apostolic life as Jesus asked her.

Her activity was not interrupted, she did as far  was possible that the nuns  were not in need and the Institute did the best. She had been busy  for  the Church approval of the Congregation and this  was declared  on 27 January  1930 as congregation of Pontiff  Right while the Constitution were approved on February 18, 1941.

Mother Carmela understood the centre of Christian dimension, the Mystery of the Incarnate Word, and she meditated  it during her long life. From  that interior dimension sprang out the energy of an activity carried out  through  apostolate, youth  education helping them to discover  through the culture that she  had lived.

mcarmela_pregaMother Carmela  describe the foundation  of her spirituality   and  of the Institute  based on contemplation of the merciful  Father, revealed  in the  wounded Heart  of the Incarnate Word.

This contemplation  has  two aspects and Mother  lives both : victim state, that become victim  in the Victim, to offer herself totally as Christ had offered Himself, that is  reparations for the personal sins and for those of the humanity.

On the last year of her life, 1948, she was 90 years old and in a fall she fractured both arms. She was in continued help and the pain for the body position  was dreadful and she endured  with  serenity. In that year broke out in Rome a mortal epidemy and the young part of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of the Incarnate Word were very sick. In fact, the young religious were the future of the Order.. Mother Carmela, then, offered herself to the Lord instead of the young sisters.

Mother Carmela died on December 14, 1948 at 19:45’. Her remains are resting in the Chapel  of the general house  on Via Guattani, 7 / Rome.

Tomb of the Venerable at Roma

Tomb of the Venerable at Roma


After the nihil obstat of  Sicilian Bishop’s Conference, on December 8, 1990 was opened the Diocesan  Process  till 13/04/1993. The edict for the Romana Cause of Beatification and Canonization  was issued from the Vicariate of Roma   on  May 13, 1991. The  Positio Super Virtutibus was concluded and approved on July 16, 2000. (note  biographic given from Zubiani and Arce’s book: Nel Cuore del Verbo).