Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline Family. He was born in San Lorenzo di Fossano (Cuneo), Italy, on 4th April 1884. At the age of 16 he entered the seminary of Alba and was ordained a priest on 29th June 1907.
During a vigil of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on the night of 31st December 1900, a "particular light" seemed to come from the Host and roused in him a sense of obligation "to do something for the Lord and for the people of the new century" - he felt "obliged to serve the Church". The result of this was to gather together men and women who would dedicate their lives to follow in the steps of St Paul to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to all nations.
Today, the Pauline Family is made up of five congregations - the Society of St Paul, the Daughters of St. Paul, Disciples of the Divine Master, Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd and Sisters of Mary Queen of Apostles; four associated institutes - Jesus the Priest, Saint Gabriel Archangel, Mary Most Holy Annunciation and Holy Family; and the Association of Pauline Co-operators. These ten Congregations and Institutes continue the work James Alberione started.
During an audience with the Pauline Family on 28th June 1969, Pope Paul VI said, "There he is: humble, silent, tireless, always vigilant, recollected in his thoughts, which run from prayer to action; always intent on scrutinising the ‘signs of the times,' that is, the most creative ways to reach souls. Our Fr Alberione has given the Church new instruments with which to express herself, new means to give vigour and breadth to her apostolate, new capacities and a new awareness of the validity and possibilities of his mission in the modern world with modern means. Dear Fr Alberione, allow the Pope to rejoice in your long, faithful and tireless work and in the fruits it has produced for the glory of God and the good of the Church."
Pope Paul VI visited Alberione during the final hours of his earthly life, a life which ended on 26th November 1971. On 25th June 1996, Pope John Paul II signed the decree recognising Alberione’s heroic virtues and he was declared Beatus on Sunday 27th April 2003.
The Society of St Paul was founded in 1914, which means we are soon to celebrate our centenary. The Society was given official recognition by the Holy See on 27th June 1949.
Today, more than any other day, the Pauline Family throughout the world asks the prayers of Blessed James Alberione to sustain us in our work and we ask you, the reader, to do the same.