Thanks to Philo Aunty for sending me a prayer card and medal of Blessed James Alberione. If only I could achieve a fraction of what this man achieved in his lifetime, I will feel satisfaction that I have honestly tried to propagate the Gospel using modern means of communication. Fr James Alberione is the founder of the Society of St Paul, which through books, magazines, journals, film, radio, television, video and the internet, aims to follow in the footsteps of St Paul, the great Apostle and missionary, in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. Here follows a short biography of Blessed James Alberione.
Blessed James Alberione was born in the little town of Alba, Piedmont, in northern Italy on 4 April 1884. From his devout Catholic family he learned the rudiments of faith and the importance of hard work.
On the night which divided the two centuries on 31 December 1900, as he was pondering what he could do for Christ while kneeling in the Cathedral of Alba where the Blessed Sacrament was solemnly exposed, a particular inspiration came to him. He felt a profound obligation to serve the church and the men of the new century. Earlier he had heard GiuseppeToniolo, a well-known sociologist, calling all the Catholics to unite: "Unite! If the enemy finds us disunited, he will defeat us one by one." He had also read the invitation of Pope Leo XII to pray for the new century. Both the sociologist and the Pope spoke of the need of the Church to convert the means of evil to means for good, to oppose the bad press with a good one, the bad organization with an organization of apostles, and the need to make the Gospel penetrate the masses.
While meditating on these signs, he suddenly sensed an unusual light from the Holy Host and understood better the invitations of the sociologist and the Pope. In his own words he said: "Una particolare luce venne dall" Ostia santa" (A singular light came from the Holy Host). Many years later on, he would tell his followers: 'You were born from the Host. The entire Pauline Family has one Eucharistic soul." True indeed, for it was during that adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that he got the idea of forming a new breed of apostles, who would use new means of apostolate. That idea was like a faint light which, with the passing of years of study and prayer, became brighter and clearer.
In 1907, James Alberione was ordained priest with a Vatican dispensation for his young age of 23. For a time he worked as assistant to the parish priest of Narzole and then was appointed by his bishop as the spiritual director of both minor and major seminarians. These assignments offered him a deeper knowledge of man; he came to realize that the press was making havoc among souls through its deceptive, distorted doctrines. That urged him to conceive a plan of battling the pernicious influence of the press.
On August 20, 1914, he founded the Society of St. Paul with only two boys as recruits. It was a small seed planted during a stormy period of European politics, for several months later World War I broke out. It is said, every beginning is difficult. The beginning of the Society of St. Paul was no exception. Fr. Alberione was branded as impractical. But with his undaunted determination he surmounted all obstacles, knowing where he was heading to. He knew that the world of the 20th century would be a world of rapid communication, a world that would become one village due to the mass media of communication. So he founded the congregation called the Society of St. Paul with the specific purpose of disseminating the message of salvation through the Press, Radio, Movie, TV, Records, Tapes and other means of communication to be furnished by human progress.
Today, the Society of St. Paul, composed of Priests and Brothers, is working in twenty-six different countries utilizing the modern media of communication to fulfil the command of Christ "Go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this - I am with you always, even to the end of the World." (Mt. 28:18-20).
Fr. James Alberione founded 10 religious congregations and institutes comprising the Pauline Family: The Society of St. Paul; Daughters of St. Paul; Pious Disciples of the Divine Master; Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd; Sisters of Mary Queen of the Apostles; Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation; Institute of St. Gabriel, the Archangel; Institute of Jesus, Priest; Institute of the Holy Family; Union of Pauline Cooperators.
Source: Society of St. of Paul