Giannina Cutajar 1894-1958

The Preca Community although one Founder, one spirit and one aim has two distinct sections – men and women who both have their respective Superiors General. The first Superior General of the Women Members was Giannina Cutajar.

Fr George Preca frequently visited the male centre at Paola in Malta. When visiting the Members of Paola, he never missed the opportunity to visit the Cutajar family. Angelo, the father of Giannina was a wine merchant, whose warehouse was used for the first group of future women Members to meet under the leadership of Giannina

Giannina, an uncomplicated young lady was eager to learn. She led the group and in 1910 the first women’s centre of the Society of Christian Doctrine was opened. Fr George Preca allowed the women centres to largely determine their own future. They increased gradually, contrary to the male ones who flourished quite quickly. This is partly due to the fact that at the time having lay people teach catechism was foreign and was under the jurisdiction of the clergy. It was even more difficult to accept the fact that a woman take on this role.

In the meantime Fr Preca felt the need to provide sound formation to Giannina so that she will later impart this formation to her fellow Members. Giannina lived her vocation with love and dedication. Giannina used to gather young girls to teach them during the week and then take them to the Sacrament of Penance. She delighted when Fr George Preca used to visit them and give them a talk to help them grow spiritually.
Giannina understood her vocation, realising that the SDC could not restrict itself to her home-town. In 1911, following Fr George’s counsel, she went to Cospicua in Malta, where she opened the first Centre outside of Paola, amidst the joy and enthusiasm of the local people. In time, the number of centres increased.
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