His cause of canonization commenced on 4 February 2014 and he is known as a Servant of God; the official diocesan process commenced on 2 October 2014.
Alberto Ballestrero was born in Genoa on 3 October 1913 as the eldest of the five children of Giacomo Ballestrero and Antonietta Daffunchio. He was Baptized on 2 November 1913 and attended an elementary school in Genoa from 1919 to 1922.
Ballestrero, after enrolling at Collegio Belimbau in 1922, was confirmed in the church of San Martino di Albaro on 3 May 1923 and received his first Communion on the following 21 June.
Ballestrero later attended Collegio Belimbau from 1922 until the following year after which he desired to pursue his studies in order to become a priest.
On 2 October 1924 he entered the Discalced Carmelite seminary in Varazze. Ballestrero then joined that religious order and took both the habit on 12 October 1928 and the name of Anastasio del Santissimo Rosario. He was later transferred to the Genoese convent of S. Anna in September 1932 to study philosophy and theology.
Ballestrero suffered from a life-threatening infection two years before making his solemn profession on 5 October 1934. After receiving the subdiaconate and diaconate in 1935, Ballestrero was ordained to the priesthood in the San Lorenzo Cathedral on 6 June 1936. He began teaching philosophy at the "studentato" of Genoa-S. Anna in August 1936 and initiated a preaching apostolate in a Genoese hospital in January 1937.
Ballestrero was prior of the S. Anna convent from 22 April 1945 to 1948 and was again elected as prior on 7 May 1954 after becoming provincial of Liguria on 3 April 1948. Before attending the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, he was twice elected as the general provost of the Discalced Carmelites, on 9 April 1955 and later on 21 April 1961, remaining in that position until 20 May 1967.
Ballestrero visited all 350 Carmelite convents and 850 Carmelite monasteries in the world except in Hungary, which refused him entrance into the country. He once served as President of the Union of Superior Generals.
On 21 December 1973 he was appointed as the Archbishop of Bari by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on 2 February 1974 in Rome from Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, with Bishops Michele Mincuzzi and Enrico Romolo Compagnone, OCD, serving as the co-consecrators.
Ballestrero was later named Archbishop of Turin on 1 August 1977. After being elected Vice-President of the Italian Episcopal Conference on 25 May 1978, he was its President from 18 May 1979 to 3 July 1985.
Pope John Paul II elevated him into the cardinalate and created him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in the consistory of 30 June 1979. In reference to abortion, Ballestrero once declared that the Church must "never renounce its mission of evangelization and education of the human conscience". He resigned as Turin's archbishop on 31 January 1989, and subsequently retired to the monastery of S. Croce in La Spezia; he lost the right to vote in a papal conclave on 3 October 1993.
In his capacity as a cardinal, Ballestrero attended the various Synod of Bishops that the pope had called, and he was also appointed as a special envoy to the inaugural ceremonies of the Theresian Year that commemorated the fourth centennial of the death of Saint Teresa of Avila, which was from 14 October until the next day in 1981. He was a noted theologian and he was the author of a range of books of mediations and on Saint John of the Cross.
He became known for his progressive beliefs and he rejected some of the popular Catholic movements such as Communion and Liberation. John Paul II reproached him for this to which he was said to have replied: "Holiness, when you get to know them better, you won't like them either!"
Ballestrero died at his residence in La Spezia at the age of 84. He is buried in the church crypt of the same Carmelite monastery in Varazze that he entered in 1924.
The process of beatification commenced on 4 February 2014 and bestowed upon him the title of Servant of God. The process commenced on a diocesan level in La Spezia in a Mass that Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia celebrated on 2 October 2014. The process has seen 30 testimonies from those who could attest to Ballestrero's holiness while the process will later see the reception of 25 witness testimonies from Bari before the process can be concluded.
Ballestrero initially agreed to scientific testing being performed on the Shroud of Turin in 1978, but refused to permit radiocarbon dating testing as it required removing samples from the shroud. After technical improvements made it possible to use samples the size of postage stamps, he permitted samples to be cut in April 1988, which he personally supervised.
Following the radiocarbon dating tests, Ballestrero announced on 13 October of that same year, that the shroud was dated from the Middle Ages and thus not the actual burial cloth of Christ; although these tests were later believed to be invalid due to erroneous sampling.