Santiago Alberione was born on April 4, 1884, the fourth of six children in a devout working class family in San Lorenzo di Fossano, Cuneo, Italy. From a young age, he felt God calling him, and on his first school when the teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he responded, “I want to be a priest.”
This desire of his came true when he entered the seminary in Alba. During the night of December 31 1900 to January 1 1901 while still in the seminary, he prayed for four hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He saw a light shine forth from the Host, and from that moment he had an unusually powerful certainty that God was calling him to do something for the people of the new century.
He was ordained on June 29, 1907 and was assigned to a parish in Narzole. He served as spiritual director for youth and altar servers in the Alba seminary beginning October 1, 1908 and in September of 1913 he became director of the weekly publication Gazzetta d'Alba.
He founded the Society of Saint Paul on August 20, 1914, the Daughters of Saint Paul on June 15, 1915, the Sisters Disciples of the Divine Master on February 10, 1924 and the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd in Rome in August 1936. These congregations, under his leadership and still today, publish books and other materials for spreading of the word of God, thus fulfilling his intense conviction at the turn of the century of helping the people of the 20th century of Christianity.
During the course of his priestly and parochial ministry, he grew in the certainty that his call was to reach out to as many people as possible using new technology and media. To this end, he founded the Pauline family. The family grew as there was an increase in both mens and womens vocations, and the apostolate began to take shape rapidly. He founded various women's orders whose charisms were the publication and dissemination of books, and ministry to Pastors, among other things.
Alberione's work can best be summed up in the words of Pope Paul VI, who never held back his admiration for the Pauline ministry. “Father Alberione has given the Church new instruments with which to express herself, new means with which to invigorate herself and to amplify her apostolate, new capacity, and a new consciousness of the validity and the possibility of her mission in the modern world with modern means.
He died on November 26, 1971 in Rome, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 27, 2003.