Having founded the Hospice, Don Lolli could at last return to devoting his attention to the mainly female community that had walked with him for so many years. It was time to give life to the new religious Family he had dreamed of for so long: this would give stability and continuity to the life of the Opera, acting as the soul that safeguards its spiritual identity and its apostolic concern at the service of the “last”.
These were difficult years, which saw the progressive success of the Fascist regime, which had considerable influence in Ravenna. But Don Lolli never stopped: on 24 October 1931 the Piccola Famiglia di Santa Teresa del Bambin Gesù (Little Family of St Therese of Lisieux) was born. “Don Lolli’s women – sixteen novices took their vows – took on the rule and the commitments of a true religious congregation.
The outbreak of Word War II slowed the completion of the journey that led to the approval of the religious Family. It was, in fact, only on 2 February 1955, after obtaining the nulla osta from the Holy See, that the Archbishop of Ravenna Egidio Negrin recognised the Piccola Famiglia di Santa Teresa del Bambin Gesù and approved its Constitutions.
From the Constitutions
“The Piccola Famiglia di Santa Teresa del Bambin Gesù is composed of persons who are consecrated to God in the most generous, perfect form of love, following the spirit traced in the ‘little way’ of St Therese of Lisieux.”
Don Angelo Lolli
First Rule of the religious family (1931)
“We are people assailed by the gentle torment of God. We desire only Him. We seek Him always and everywhere. We want Him at all costs. This is our world, our dream, our everything; the rest is nothing.”
Don Angelo Lolli