Monsignor Francesco Maria Greco was the pastor of a poor but expanding parish in Acri, a town located in Calabria, Italy. In 1894, he petitioned several religious congregations to send Sisters to provide secular and religious education to the children of the town.
When every religious community refused his request, Monsignor Greco approached a devout catechist named Raffaella DeVincenti and asked her assistance in starting a new religious congregation. Together, Monsignor Greco and Sister Maria Teresa DeVincenti founded the religious community known as Le Piccole Operaie dei Sacri Cuori The Sisters, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
From its humble beginnings in Acri, the work of the congregation spread rapidly throughout Calabria to Rome and northern Italy. Founded in charity and with a particular devotion to the poor, the congregation became actively involved in several apostolates education (nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, high school, university and catechistic); the staffing of orphanages and parish ministries; social work; and the care of the aged and infirmed in hospitals and nursing homes.
In October 1948, nine Sisters left Calabria to begin a new apostolic mission in the United States. They came specifically to Stamford to expand their catechetical work… namely the formal education and spiritual development of young children and adolescents. Upon their arrival, the Sisters staffed Saint Basil’s Preparatory School as well as the Bishop’s chancery.
With God’s help, the Sisters eventually established two educational institutions in Stamford- Our Lady of Grace Nursery School and Kindergarten in 1962 and Villa Divino Amore Nursery School in 1989. Both of these facilities have provided a much needed service to the local community that has particularly benefited the children of working parents. For close to 45 years, over 4,500 children have been educated in a loving and nurturing environment.
In addition to the efforts in their own schools, several of the Sisters are involved in religious education programs in local parishes in Stamford including Our Lady of Montserrat and Saint John the Evangelist.
The Sisters subsequently established nursery schools in Philadelphia, Washington and Riverdale, Maryland. Internationally, they have opened new convents across Italy and established missionary houses and novitiates in Argentina, Albania and India.
The Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts also begun medical and surgical work for the poor and uninsured in Washington DC as well as physical therapy in Washington DC and Albania. We provide short missions in Haiti and Africa as a part of our medical mission work.
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