Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pauline Sanctity, from A to Z

Pauline Saints. Photo collage credit: Jeffrey Matthews
November 1 marks the Solemnity of All Saints, popularly known as "All Saints Day". This day celebrates the countless men and women through the ages – known and unknown-- whose final destination is heaven. What better time to construct an alphabet of Pauline sanctity, to remember all the saintly Paulines who have gone before us?

Blessed James "Giacomo" ALBERIONE (1884-1971) is our Founder. Without “Primo Maestro”, there would be no Pauline Family. Alberione is the tree planted at the end of the 19th century whose branches are sunk deeply into the 20th & 21st centuries & beyond. 
The Pauline APOSTOLATE, founded by Blessed Alberione, is a modern attempt to imitate St. Paul -- who was “all things to all men”-- by using every contemporary means of communication to share the good news of Jesus Christ. 
B is for Venerable Andrew BORELLO (1916-1948), one of the earliest Pauline heroes. Blessed Andrew was orphaned as a child, moved from home to home, and suffered much adolescent anxiety while persisting in faith. He found a home at last at age twenty as a religious brother in the Society of St Paul. At the age of thirty-two, Brother Andrew offered his life “as a sacrifice to God for the perseverance of consecrated vocations.” Six months later he died of tuberculosis, a peaceful death with a smile on the young brother's face.
C is for Venerable Canon CHIESA and the Association of Pauline COOPERATORS.
Canon CHIESA (1874-1946), the "godfather" of the Pauline Family, was a devout priest of gifted intellect who served as spiritual director for James Alberione in his youth, and later worked with the Founder for fifty years as a teacher for the Society of St Paul. 
The Pauline COOPERATORS were the first group of lay helpers envisioned by the Founder, and remain the only association that is not a secular institute. Cooperators make a Promise rather than profess the evangelical counsels (see “I”.) They are an integral part of the Pauline Family. 
D is for DAUGHTERS of St Paul, one of the five religious institutes founded by Blessed Alberione. The secular world knows these vibrant sisters well. "Media nuns", "singing nuns", “Facebook and Twitter nuns” – the DAUGHTERS are the public feminine face of Father Alberione's unique vision of  modern evangelization. 
E is for EUCHARIST, the source and focal point of the Pauline Family. Every consecrated religious in the Pauline Family commits daily to an Hour of Adoration. Secular Paulines strive to do the same. All Pauline events include access to the Blessed Sacrament if at all possible.
F is for Tametsi FUTURA, an encyclical of Pope Leo XIII which exerted a powerful influence on the young James Alberione. Released on November 1, 1900, this encyclical was a “state of the Church” address which looked to the future and the challenges of the coming century. Sixteen year old James Alberione meditated on it extensively on the Night Between the Centuries (see “N”.) 
G is for Blessed Timothy Joseph GIACCARDO, the first priest of the Society of St. Paul and Father Alberione's right-hand man. His religious name was taken in honor of Paul’s great co-worker, St. Timothy. Blessed Alberione hoped that he would succeed him as head of the Pauline Family, but it was not to be. Blessed Timothy died at the age of fifty-two after working intensely for the establishment of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. The ailing priest celebrated his last Mass on the morning of January 12, 1948; that same morning, Pope Pius XII gave the long sought after approval for the Pious Disciples. 
H is for the HOUR of Eucharistic Adoration each consecrated Pauline religious makes with Jesus Master every day. (See “E”.) 
I is for the four secular INSTITUTES founded by Blessed Alberione: the Institute of Jesus Priest, the Institute of Gabriel the Archangel, the Institute of Our Lady's Annunciation and the Institute of the Holy Family. The secular institutes are all organized similarly, with members taking private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience (the “evangelical counsels”) as appropriate to their state of life. They also make a promise of fidelity to the Pope. The institutes are aggregates to The Society of St. Paul, and an integral part of the Pauline Family.
J is for JESUS Master, Way, Truth and Life. “Everything is here,” wrote Blessed Alberione, “to live Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life and to perform the charity of Christ to those populations who are deprived of him and hungry for him; let us, in fact, give the total Christ, Way, Truth, and Life... [so that] our people can say: ‘We do not have either gold or silver: we give you instead what we have: Jesus Christ, his morals, his means of grace and supernatural life’.[1]"
K is for Thomas a KEMPIS, not a Pauline per se but 15th century author of The Imitation of Christ, arguably the most influential and widely read spiritual book after the Bible. Pauline Books and Media has brought out a beautiful new translation of this timeless classic, edited and with an introduction by Sr. Mary Lea Hill, FSP. 
L is for Pope LEO XIII, whose papacy from 1878 to 1903 framed the Church’s response to modernism and greatly influenced the young James Alberione.
M is for MARY, Queen of Apostles, who gives Jesus to the world and acts as MOTHER and MENTOR to every person formed in the charism of the Pauline family. Of this great mother the Founder wrote: “Pauline discipleship is to be wholly grafted onto Mary, who will form Jesus Christ in everyone[2].”
N is for the NIGHT Between the Centuries, or December 31, 1900. Sixteen year old seminarian James Alberione stayed in prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament throughout the night, meditating on what Pope Leo XIII had written in Tametsi Futura about the needs of the people of the coming century. This was the gestation of the Pauline apostolate.
O is for the OPENING lines of Tamesti Futura (see “F”), which aptly anticipate young James Alberione’s meditations on the Night Between the Centuries: “The outlook on the future is by no means free from anxiety; on the contrary, there are many serious reasons for alarm, on account of numerous and long-standing causes of evil, of both a public and a private nature. Nevertheless, the close of the century really seems in God's mercy to afford us some degree of consolation and hope. For no one will deny that renewed interest in spiritual matters and a revival of Christian faith and piety are influences of great moment for the common good.”  
P is for PIOUS Disciples of the Divine Master, also known as the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, one of the of the five religious institutes founded by Blessed Alberione. The Pious Disciples promote liturgical and artistic formation “so that the Christian community may live, pray and celebrate in dignity and beauty, and attain full communion with God, with others and with creation.[3]”
Mary, Queen of Apostles. Credit: Pauline Books & Media
Q is for Mary QUEEN of Apostles, again. Our Lady’s importance to the Pauline Family cannot be emphasized enough. Pauline depictions of Mary, Queen of Apostles show her holding the Divine Child facing outward, his arms open to the world.
R is for Venerable Mother Mary Scholastica RIVATA, the first Pious Disciple of the Divine Master. Beautiful and full of life, young Orsola Rivata was courted for marriage but turned instead to an intense period of prayer and discernment. Out of this she decided to follow Father Alberione into the consecrated Pauline life. Arriving at the Founder’s place, she visited the Blessed Sacrament and declared, “Lord, You alone are my all.” She heard a clear, sweet, interior voice respond, “It is here that I want you.” [4]
S is for SOCIETY of St Paul, SISTERS of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and SISTERS of Mary Queen of the Apostles, three of the five religious institutes founded by Blessed Alberione. 
The SOCIETY of St. Paul, founded 1914, was the first religious institute of the Pauline Family. Their Constitution includes the following welcome clause about the use of media: “Theirs is to be a fraternal and impartial service, a service that repulses the temptation to tranform these formidable media into instruments of power.[5]"
The SISTERS of Jesus the Good Shepherd (the Pastorelle Sisters), were founded in 1938 and now comprise 550 sisters present in nineteen countries scattered over five continents, “A small presence in the furrow of humanity, cultivated with joy and hope to be able to hand over one day to the Great Shepherd of the sheep (cf. Heb 13:20) the people whom he entrusted to us and who belongs solely to Him for all eternity.[6]”
The SISTERS of Mary Queen of Apostles (founded 1959), are the last of the religious institutes founded by Blessed Alberione. The mission of the Apostoline Sisters is “to raise and keep alive the attention to God’s call so that vocation becomes the main problem of every person, and also the most current and urgent in the Church.[7]”
T is for Venerable Mother THECLA Merlo, the first person to answer Father Alberione's call for workers in his new apostolate of the media. Mother Thecla also served as first Superior General of the Daughters of St. Paul. Her prayer  echoes Mother Mary Scholastica's: "My God, you are always thinking about me. You are with me and around me. I am written on your hands. I surrender myself to you completely and forever.[8]”
U is for UNDAUNTED, an attribute that characterizes every single Pauline saint. 
V is for Venerable Maggiorno VIGOLUNGO , hand-picked at age twelve by Blessed Alberione to work in the new apostolate of the media. Young Maggiorno worked in the printing press with the other young teenagers who answered Fr. Alberione’s call. He died at age fourteen, just two years after he joined the Society of St. Paul. Blessed Alberione writes, of Maggiorno, that he "... passato come una meteora luminosa nel cielo della nascente Famiglia Paolina" - "… he passed like a bright meteor in the sky of the nascent Pauline Family[9]."
W is for the four WHEELS of Pauline Spirituality. Blessed Alberione taught that the whole “vehicle” of the Pauline family member runs on four “wheels”: sanctity, study, apostolate, and poverty[10]. The Association of Pauline Cooperators include the explication of the Four Wheels in their Statutes. 
X is for EXTRAORDINARY, a more than accurate description not just of Blessed James Alberione’s life, but that of all of the Pauline saints. May it describe the lives of all of us in the Pauline Family who follow in their steps. 
Y is for The Alberionian YEAR, April 4, 2003-April 4, 2004, proclaimed as a year of special sanctification for the Pauline family in anticipation of Blessed Alberione’s beatification on April 27, 2003. It marked the fortieth anniversary of the Founder’s own previous call for a year of sanctification in 1964. “Holiness assures fruit in the apostolate… when, as St. Paul says, ‘It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.[11]”
Z is for Zeal. Blessed Alberione was known for his apostolic zeal, and wrote often of its necessity in the apostolate: "True love of God rouses a person to pure, calm, ardent, constant and strong zeal.” [12] 

To obtain your own copy of Imitation of Christ click here to be directed to the Pauline Books and Media page.

Chart of the Pauline Family. Credit: Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, FSP

[1] Alberione, James.. Prediche Primo Maestro (1954), 303.
[2] Alberione, James. Carissimi in San Paolo(collection 1933-1969), p.1338.
[3] The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master web page, Our Mission,
[4] Ibid, Mother Scholastica,
[5] Constitutions of the Society of St. Paul, article 75,
[6] Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd web page,
[7] The Sisters of Mary Queen of the Apostles web page,
[8] Merlo, Thecla. Uncited reference from Mother Thecla Merlo, a slideshow presentation by Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP,
[9] Alberione, James. Maggiorno Vigolungo: Aspirante all'Apostolato Buona Stampa, 1961
[10] Alberione, James. Abundantes Divitiæ gratiæ suæ, 95.
[11] Alberione, James.. San Paolo, internal news bulletin of the Society of St Paul, January 1963
[12] Ibid.

Rae Stabosz has been a member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators since 2003. She and Bill Stabosz, her husband of 46 years, have six sons, three daughters, nine grandsons and seven granddaughters; they eagerly await the birth of grand #17. Rae retired in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where she was a technology and media specialist for 27 years. She is co-founder and past president of The Society of Catholic Scholars of Delaware and proprietor, since 2004, of the Pious Ladies Bookmobile.


Association of Pauline Cooperators said...

This is really enjoyable! Thank you Rae. Sr. Margaret Charles

Sr. Margaret J. Obrovac, FSP said...

Well done, Rae!! Thank you. I'll pass it on.