Meet the nuns who work in the heart of Liverpool city center


With a branch of Lloyds Bank on one side and an aparthotel on the other, this is perhaps the most unlikely place to find a store dedicated to all that is sacred.

But Pauline Books & Media is just that – an oasis of calm in the bustling city center, steps from McDonald’s and Primark.

The religious store recently moved to new premises on Church Street, having been a Bold Street staple for many decades.

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It is primarily a Christian bookstore, but you will also find CDs, DVDs, greeting cards, crucifixes, religious statues, trinkets and even vials to collect holy water from the Sanctuary of Lourdes.

The shop is run by nuns belonging to the Daughters of St Paul, hence the name of the shop. It is a Catholic order with branches all over the world and dedicated to spreading the Christian Gospel.

The international character of the order is reflected in the fact that the three nuns who currently work in the workshop come from the Philippines, Kenya and Malta.

Pauline Books & Media religious store. (Pic Andrew Teebay)

Unlike certain religious orders – called “contemplative” – which cut themselves off from the outside world in monasteries and convents, the Paulines are an “active” order which considers their mission to be at the heart of the community.

Far from hiding, the Paulines have a strong presence on social networks. But perhaps nothing illustrates their mission better than settling in the heart of Liverpool city center, in the former premises of a Santander bank branch.

Sister Lalaine Lilio, 56, from the Philippines, is the current store manager. She said, “Our mission is to be where people are. That’s why we opened this store. It’s our way of reaching people.

“It’s more about people coming to us than us going out to them. We’re not just here for Catholics, but for Anglicans, Buddhists, or people with no faith at all. They all get the same. Home.

Sister Lalaine Lilio, in the Bibles section.  (Photo Andrew Teebay).
Sister Lalaine Lilio, in the Bibles section. (Photo Andrew Teebay).

“We are a registered charity, so the purpose of the store is not to make money or a profit, but to share the word of God with as many people as possible.”

Liverpool city center, both day and night, is a popular gathering place for those on the margins of society. What do the sisters think of being in the middle of it all?

Sister Lalaine said, “We never had a problem. People are so happy to see us. They are in distress and do not know where to go for prayer books or Bibles. appreciate our presence here.

“Liverpool is still a very Christian city.”

Sister Florence Wahome, 40, from Kenya, said: “They are happy to see such a place in the heart of Liverpool.

“We had a homeless person or two who came just to look around, but they are still very kind and respectful, not scary at all. One of them had a cart with him and only wanted to get one. crucifix.”

Sister Florence Wahome with some of the crucifixes on display at Pauline Books & Media.  (Photo Andrew Teebay).
Crucifix at Pauline Books & Media. (Pic Andrew Teebay).

When not working at the store, the sisters live together in a number of religious houses scattered across Merseyside, such as Aigburth and Huyton.

They owe total obedience to the head of the religious order, which is based in Rome, which means that the sisters can often be moved elsewhere in the UK or overseas. For this reason, the staff working in the store is constantly evolving, although some may still spend several years there.

Sister Josette Spiteri, from Malta, currently the elder sister of the shop at the age of 73, said: “The Superior of the Order will entrust us with the work and we will go wherever we are sent.

Customers of the religious store Pauline Books & Media.  (Photo Andrew Teebay).
Customers of the religious store Pauline Books & Media. (Pic Andrew Teebay).

The religious order that blesses the press, television and the Internet

The Pauline Order was originally founded by Father James Alberione, an Italian, in 1914.

Inspired by the apostle Paul, Father Alberione’s ideal was to use all modern means of communication to proclaim the Gospel – this is why the press, films, radio and television, and now the Internet and social media, are all adopted.

Sister Josette Spiteri, with a tribute to Blessed James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline family.  (Photo Andrew Teebay).
Sister Josette Spiteri, with a tribute to Blessed James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline family. (Photo Andrew Teebay).

In fact, a modern prayer thanks God specifically for the press, movies, radio, television, technology, and electronics.

She prays for – among many others – journalists, comic book creators, authors, producers and directors, actors and radio stations.

Following the formation of the Society of Saint Paul, the Daughters of Saint Paul were formed in 1915.

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