Blessed James Alberione (Italian: Giacomo) (4 April 1884 – 26 November 1971), was an Italian Catholic priest, and the founder of the Society of St. Paul, the Daughters of St. Paul, The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, The Sister of Jesus the Good Shepherd, The Sisters of Mary Queen of the Apostles, and other religious institutes, which form the Pauline Family. The first two groups are best known for promoting the Catholic faith through various forms of modern media.
Alberione was born on 4 April 1884, in San Lorenzo di Fossano (Cuneo), then in the Kingdom of Italy. The Alberione family, made up of Michael Alberione, Teresa Allocco and their six children, were farmers. He was the fourth son of a peasant family and had a more delicate physical constitution than his brothers. At the age of sixteen, James entered the seminary of Alba, financially aided by his Uncle James, who was his godfather (where his name is derived). He and his father traveled to the seminary riding in an ox-driven cart. At the seminary of Alba, his spiritual director was Canon Francesco Chiesa, who is now a "Venerable".
On the night of 31 December 1900, the night that divided the 19th and 20th centuries, he prayed for five hours before the Blessed Sacrament and contemplating the future, felt that he was called to do something for the people of the new century.
Alberione was ordained on 29 June 1907 (Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul), and became a parish priest in Narzole. He received his doctorate in theology, in 1908. Fr. Alberione founded a total of ten religious congregations, aggregated institutes, and lay cooperators. These congregations use modern media technology and published materials to spread the word of God and help in personal devotions.
On August 20, 1914, he put two teenagers, Desiderio Costa and Tito Armani, to work in a small pressroom under the guidance of a printer friend of his. Thus began the "Little Printing School of Typography" now known today as The Society of St. Paul whose purpose is to "Live and to Give Jesus Master the Way, the Truth, and the Life" through the most modern means of communications, press, cinema, television, radio and other modern media.
After founding the "Little Printing School" (now Society of St. Paul) he gathered a group of women in 1915; together with Venerable Mother Tecla Merlo, he founded the female counterpart of the Society of St. Paul, the Daughters of St. Paul.
More congregations and institutes followed after. Thus he founded:1924: The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM), with Servant of God Mother Maria Scolastica Rivata, the contemplative members of the Pauline Family whose members would be especially dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration, Liturgical Preparations, and Priestly Services.
1938: The Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (also known as: "Pastorelle") works in schools and parishes by providing religious instruction
1957: The Sisters of Mary Queen of Apostles works and pray for vocations for the Pauline Family and to the Religious Life
1958: The Institute of St. Gabriel the Archangel (lay consecrated men whose apostolate is also that of the Society of St. Paul)
1958: The Institute of Mary of the Annunciation (lay consecrated women whose apostolate is also that of the Society of St. Paul)
1959: The Institute of Jesus the Priest (for diocesan clergy who would like to adopt the Pauline Spirituality to their ministry),
1960: The Institute of the Holy Family (for married couples) and
1918: The Association of Pauline Cooperators
Alberione served during the Second Vatican Council as a peritus (theological expert), participating in the private sessions during which the decrees of the Council were formed and shaped, for the approval of the Council Fathers in full session.
Alberione died of natural causes on 26 November 1971 in the Generalate House of the Society in Rome. He had received a personal visit by Pope Paul VI an hour before he died. He was buried in the sub-crypt of the Basilica of Mary Queen of the Apostles in Rome.
Alberione was declared venerable on 25 June 1996, and was beatified on 27 April 2003 by Pope John Paul II.
James Alberione used modern means of mass communication to spread his message.