Pit stop: Biography of Fr. Alberione
The biography read at the beatification of Blessed James Alberione on the 27th of April 2003
Fr. James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline Family, was one of the most creative apostles of the 20th century. He was born in San Lorenzo di Fossano (Cuneo), Italy, on 4 April 1884 and baptized the following day. The profoundly Christian and hard-working Alberione family, made up of Michael and Teresa Allocco and their six children, were farmers.
When the Alberione family moved to Cherasco, in the Alba diocese, the parish priest of St. Martin's Church, Fr. Montersino, helped young James to reflect on God's call and respond to it. At the age of 16, James entered the seminary of Alba and immediately met Canon Francesco Chiesa, who would be his father, guide, friend and advisor over the next 46 years.
|Blessed James Alberione (left)|
with Blessed Timothy Giaccardo
|Fr. Alberione with the first brothers |
of the Society of St. Paul.
Fr. Alberione is in the front row, third from the left,
whilst Blessed Timothy Giaccardo,
first Pauline priest is to his left
|First group of the Daughters of St. Paul|
In December 1918, his first “daughters” left for Susa, where the work they initiated forms part of the courageous story of faith and enterprise that gave rise to what came to be called the “Pauline” lifestyle. But progress came to an abrupt halt in 1923 when Fr. Alberione fell gravely ill and the doctors despaired of his recovery. However the Founder was able to miraculously resume his journey, later saying, “St. Paul healed me.” During that period, the words Fr. Alberione had received in a dream or revelation from the Divine Master were first inscribed on the walls of the Family's chapels: “Do not be afraid. I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Be sorry for sin.”
|First issue of Famiglia Cristiana:|
25th of December 1931
The Founder also built the magnificent Church of St. Paul in Alba, followed by two Churches to the Divine Master (in Alba and Rome) and the Sanctuary of the Queen of Apostles (Rome). Above all, he strove to reach beyond local and national borders. In 1926, he established a branch house in Rome, followed over the years by many foundations in Italy and abroad.
In October 1938, Fr. Alberione founded a third feminine Congregation: the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd or “Pastorelle Sisters,” to assist parish priests in their work.
During the enforced “break” of World War II (1940-1945), Fr. Alberione did not suspend his spiritual itinerary but continued to embrace the light of God more and more, in a climate of adoration and contemplation. Witness to this can be found in the Founder's spiritual notebooks, in which he jotted down his inspirations and the means he adopted to correspond to the plan of God. This spiritual milieu nurtured the meditations he guided every morning for his sons and daughters, as well as his directives for the apostolate and the numerous retreats and courses of spiritual exercises he preached (the conferences of which were collected together into various volumes). Fr. Alberione's primary focus remained unswerving: to help everyone understand that “the first concern of the Pauline Family should be holiness of life; the second, holiness of doctrine.” It is in this light that he forged ahead with his Project for an Encyclopedia on Jesus Master (1959).
|Preparation for Vatican Council II|
|Fr. Alberione with Pope Paul VI|