Our Founders

Venerable Monsignor Francesco Maria Greco

Francesco Maria Greco was born in Acri (Cosenza), Italy on July 26, 1857. While praying at the sanctuary of the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Pompeii, he sensed that he might have a calling to the priesthood, and from that moment, he offered his life to Divine Providence saying: “Lord of my life, I put all things in Your hands, my present and my future”. These words became his motto throughout his life. With faith and courage, Francesco Maria Greco entered the Theological Seminary of Naples and was ordained a priest on December 17, 1881.

Father Greco spent his life in Acri working among the poor and needy of Calabria and was always acutely aware of the social and economic difficulties endured by his people. He was particularly dedicated to ministering to the young. Recognizing the obligation both to nurture their faith and to provide for their human needs, he soon established a Catechetical School. This led to many activities that helped lift the hope and spirits of the poor, including the religious and secular education of the young and the care of the elderly and the sick. To address their human needs, Father Greco established Caritas Hospital, which offered assistance to the sick and gave a voice to the voiceless. On November 21, 1894, with the help of his sister, a dedicated young catechist, Raffaella De Vincenti, Father Greco founded a congregation of religious Sisters – “The Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts”.

Consecrating his own life to Jesus and Mary, he always encouraged others to develop a love of and devotion to the Sacred Hearts. On April 11, 1924, Father Greco was awarded papal honors and was given the title, Monsignor, in recognition of his outstanding pastoral ministry. Monsignor Greco died on January 13, 1931 and his body is reposed in the Mother House of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts in Acri.

On July 7, 1940, Pope Pius XII granted pontifical approval to the Sisters, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, allowing them to continue the charism of their founder and to expand their missions in Italy, America, Albania, Argentina and India. Recognizing his heroic virtues and example of Christian life, the Church started the process of canonization of Monsignor Greco on December 8, 1957. On April 19, 2004, Pope John Paul II proclaimed the name of Francesco Maria Greco as one of the Venerable of the Catholic Church.

Monsignor Greco left us the beauty of a simple and authentic life, lived in its intensity in Christ. He continues to intercede for us from above. We pray for his beatification and ultimate canonization.

Sister Maria Teresa (Raffaella) De Vincenti

Raffaella De Vincenti was born in Acri (Cosenza) Italy on May 1, 1872. She was the most dedicated catechist was and later became the faithful collaborator of Msgr. F. M. Greco, in the Institute’s foundation, on November 21, 1894. Through her profession of the vows, of chastity, poverty and obedience, Raffaella De Vincenti received her religious name of Sister Maria Teresa of the Sacred Hearts. She was the Foundress, (1872-1936) of the very first Little Worker of the Sacred Hearts. Others soon followed as young women from Acri and nearby towns heard of the catechetical work to which she and Fr. Francesco had devoted all their energies. The Institute “… founded out of a spirit of charity, namely the love of God”, has as “its principal purpose catechetical instruction in parishes .” Through its apostolic works, this Institute, gives witness to the charity of the Sacred Hearts directed in a special way to children and young people who are in need of human and Christian formation.

On In May 1906, Sr. Maria Teresa De Vincenti receives a private audience with Pope St. PioX. November 23, 1936 Sr. Maria Teresa De Vincenti died and her body is reposed in the Mother House of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts in Acri.