Thursday, August 20, 2009


This year's feast of St. Bernard marks the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Pauline Family, and hence the countdown (five years isn't so far away) to the centenary.

The worldwide Pauline Family started when two little boys (perhaps the two in the front row; I don't have the names of all of those in the photo) entered the "Little Worker Printing School" in Alba (famous for its truffles). The school opened that day under the guidance of Fr. Alberione (seen here casually seated by St. Paul's outstretched, sword-bearing arm).
At first, their ministry was focused on the Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Alba, the "Gazetta d'Alba" (seen in the child's hands). The boys learned how to typeset and print the paper (as well as function as regular newsboys hawking the copies). In 1918, the Daughters of St. Paul would take over another struggling Alpine paper, the Valsusa, learning typesetting and printing from the boys. But Fr. Alberione knew that the paper was just a way to get basic training in printing arts. He had his sights set on the world, not on the dioceses of Piemonte. And he intended, right from the start, to create a network of collaborators who had the same vision.
The bow-tied gent in the uppermost row was the seminarian Joseph Giaccardo; he received special permission from the bishop to continue his seminary studies while serving as a kind of resident at the School (Fr. Alberione was on the seminary faculty and was obliged to live on premises). Giaccardo was the first priest ordained for the Society of St. Paul (which technically did not exist as a religious congregation when he was ordained for it, which was a bit of a stretch of Canon Law). He is now known as Bl. Timothy Giaccardo, having taken the name of Paul's beloved disciple when he made his vows.

So...happy birthday to us!

The picture actually dates circa 1917; the little boy (actually he was 14) on the right-hand side with the serious expression and the impressive cravat died of the Spanish flu in 1918. (He is Ven. Maggiorino Vigolungo.)

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Blessed anniversary to the Paulines! How wonderful that with God's blessing the centennial is just a few years away. Keep up the grace-filled mission of the new evangelization!