Montal Fornés, Paula, St.
MONTAL FORNÉS, PAULA, ST.
Known in religion as Paula of St. Joseph Calasanctius, foundress of the Daughters of Mary of the Pious Schools (Hijas de Maria, Religiosas de las Escuelas Pias ); b. Oct. 11, 1799, Arenys de Mar (near Barcelona), Spain; d. Feb. 26, 1889, Olesa de Montserrat near Barcelona, Spain. Born into a large family of artisans, Paula began working to help support the family after her father's death (1789). Paula grew especially concerned about the formation of Christian women while teaching in schools. In 1829 with her friend Iñes (Agnes) Busquets, she opened a school in Figueras near Gerona and dedicated herself "to bring families to eternal salvation by teaching children the fear of God." She opened an additional seven schools. Montal was aided in her effort by the piarists, especially Augustín Casanovas, who is considered the cofounder. Both sought to instill in the new institute the spirit of (St.) joseph calasanctius, by adapting to women the constitutions that he wrote for the Piarists. By the time of her death, the order had more than 300 sisters operating 19 schools throughout Spain. Her cause was introduced in 1959. She was declared venerable in 1988 and beatified by John Paul II, April 18, 1993. A second miracle attributed to her intercession was approved July 1, 2000, opening the way to her canonization, which was held on Nov. 25, 2001.
Feast: Feb. 26 (Archdiocese of Barcelona).
Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1993): 549.
[k. i. rabenstein]