Lucia Visintainer was born on December 16, 1865 in Vigolo Vattaro, which originally belonged to the County of the Tyrol, and was the second daughter of 14 children.
Following the economic crisis that brought the region to its knees, her father with his children, parents-in-law, and many other locals, migrated to Brazil. Specifically, they settled in the state of Santa Catarina and then founded the village of Vigolo, which is located in the current municipality of Nova Trento.
Here Lucia, at the age of 14, together with her friend Virginia Nicolodi (daughter of her father’s partner at a grain mill), started taking care of the sick and the maintenance of St. George Church, as well as doing catechesis. On July 12, 1890 they assisted Angela Viviani, who was already seriously ill with cancer. In the following months, with the approval of the local bishop Luigi Rossi, the congregation of The Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception started being operative inside the little Hospital of St. George. On August 25, 1895, he gave the religious habit to the first three nuns and Lucia changed her name to Sister Paolina of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, whereas Virginia became Sister Matilde of the Immaculate Conception.
To make sure that the small community could survive and thrive, Sister Paolina founded a little silk industry.
In 1903, she became General Mother Superior of two communities and moved to Sao Paulo Brazil, where she was elected Mother Superior for life and was able to guide the Congregation wisely, managing schools, hospitals, labs, boarding schools, and dedicating her entire life to the poor. She showed deep obedience and humility when the archbishop Duarte Leopoldo e Silva kindly asked her to leave her role in the Congregation and move to Bragança Paulista. In 1918, she moved back to Sao Paulo and kept living a humble, prayerful life as simple nun, and, in 1933, the Congregation received the Papal Decree of Praise from Pope Pius XI, who remembered Sister Paolina as “Venerable Foundress”. During her later life, she endured the consequences of diabetes; moreover, she injured a finger, which then became gangrenous and the right arm had to be amputated. Before her death, and completely blind at that time, she managed to see the Congregation approved by the Holy See and celebrate its 50° anniversary.