Born in Bari, Italy on January 17, 1901 to deeply devout parents; the third of nine children, four of which died in infancy. At her baptism four days later, she was given the name Theodora, ‘gift of God’.
On May 11, 1911 at the age of 10, she received her First Communion. The night before she dreamt of St. Therese of the Child Jesus who predicted to her: “you will be a nun like me”. She eventually entered the Association of the Blessed Imelda Lambertini, a Dominican nun, and afterwards joined the ‘Angelic Army’ of St. Thomas Aquinas.