In Paul Albera (1845-1921) we have a man who was personally formed by Don Bosco, and one of those responsible for the handing on of his spirit and mission. This book, “Father Paul Albera: Master of Spiritual Life” admirably gives us an insight into the personality and contribution of this second successor of Don Bosco. Albera has somehow remained in the shade up to now, but in the centenary of his death he is emerging into his own as a figure that is at once attractive and remarkable.
This Salesian of the first times – youngest signatory of the list of the first members of 1860, pioneer of Mirabello under the leadership of Michele Rua – reveals a marked spirit of enterprise and an enviable ability to win hearts as founder of the Salesian work in Genoa and in France, along with a surprising tenacity of character that is revealed, for example, in the gruelling three year long voyage in America as representative of Don Rua.
But perhaps Albera truly comes into his own as Spiritual Director of the fledgling Congregation. Giraudo reveals to us a man who is constantly visiting formation houses, preparing formators, exhorting confreres to live out the Constitutions and Regulations, and attending to the implementation of the General Chapters especially in the area of formation and studies. Particularly impressive is Albera’s habit of reading, meditating and annotating spiritual literature, something that bears fruit in the service of spiritual direction and in the countless Spiritual Exercises he preached.
As Rector Major, Albera continued to insist on the life of prayer and study as the vital source of apostolic fruitfulness. He appealed constantly and passionately to Don Bosco, a Don Bosco who had led him to an intense following of the Lord: “Everything for Jesus and only for him!” His habit of reading also probably gave him a new appreciation of the significance of Francis de Sales in the spirit and charism of Don Bosco. All this and more comes to light in the second part of Giraudo’s book, which touches upon the inner fire underlying an intensely busy life, as also in the third part consisting of excerpts from Albera’s own writings.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
First part – LIFE (1845-1921)
Chapter 1: THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1845-1868)
Chapter 2: PREFECT OF VALDOCCO AND DIRECTOR OF GENOA (1868-1881)
Chapter 3: PROVINCIAL OF THE SALESIAN HOUSES IN FRANCE (1881-1892)
Chapter 4: SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR OF THE SALESIAN CONGREGATION
Chapter 5: VISIT TO THE SALESIAN HOUSES IN AMERICA (1900-1903)
Chapter 6: ALONGSIDE FATHER RUA FROM 1903 TO 1910
Chapter 7: THE FIRST YEARS AS RECTOR MAJOR (1910-1913)
Chapter 8: THE DRAMA OF WAR (1914-1918)
Chapter 9: TOWARDS A PEACEFUL END (1919-1921)
Second part – CONTRIBUTION TO SALESIAN SPIRITUALITY
- The magisterium of life
- Spirit of prayer
- Life of faith
- Don Bosco a model for Salesians
- The virtues of the Salesian
Third part – SELECTED TEXTS
- The spirit of prayer
- At Don Bosco’s school
- Living by Faith
- The oratory is the soul of our Pious Society
- Let us all be missionaries!
- Our Lady and Don Bosco
- Salesian gentleness
- To bring Don Bosco to life in ourselves
- Being worthy of our father Don Bosco
- Don Bosco our model
- Let us throw ourselves into God’s arms
- How Don Bosco loved us
- The knowledge necessary for the Salesian priest
- Growth in one’s spiritual life
- Vocations and Salesian spirit
- Sowers of vocations
Reference time period: 1845 – 1921
Aldo Giraudo, Father Paul Albera Master of Spiritual Life. Edited by Michael Mendl, Rome, Formator Sector Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco, 2021
Centro Studi Don Bosco