The expression “Pauline Family” refers to the ten Institutes born of the heart of Blessed James Alberione, a priest of the Diocese of Alba (Italy).
The name Pauline evidences a singular reference to the Apostle Paul. The Family not only recognizes St Paul as its father, model and inspiration, but in the concept of Fr. Alberione strives to bring the very person of the Apostle of the gentiles to life, precisely as “Paul alive today.” The ten foundations were not the outcome of a “work plan” pre-conceived and evolved by Blessed James Alberione, but his response to various interior appeals by God which enlightened him step by step.
The Pauline Family is composed of five Religious Congregations, four Institutes of Secular Consecrated Life and a lay Cooperators Association.
Five Religious Congregations
Note that the five essential elements by which a Congregation or Institute can define itself “religious” are: the explicit pursuit of holiness; the profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and the practice of common life.
Society of St. Paul (SSP): Founded on August 20, 1914, it is the first Congregation given life by Father Alberione. Approved definitively by the Holy See on June 27, 1949, its mission is “evangelization with the modern means of communication.” It is composed of Priests and Brothers. Brothers are called Disciples of the Divine Master. In the thought of the Founder the Society of St Paul has the task of paternally assisting the other Institutes in assuring their Pauline spirit.
Daughters of St. Paul (FSP): Founded on June 15, 1915, well aware of the significant role that women could have in the Church. They represent the feminine counterpart of the mission of the Society of St Paul, utilizing the same instruments of transmission to make Jesus Christ known in the vast milieu of modern communication. The Daughters of St Paul is numerically and geographically the largest Institute of the Pauline Family.
Sister Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM): Founded on February 10, 1924, they constitute the third Institute of the Pauline Family. In the mind of Fr. Alberione, their task is “to intercede for everyone before the Tabernacle,” so as to obtain an indispensable spiritual nourishment for their brother and sister Institutes. They express their mission through a threefold apostolate: continuous Eucharistic Adoration; assisting and accompanying priests, especially the infirm and elderly; apostolate of the liturgy with specific formation and catechesis and comprising the design and creation of liturgical accoutrements, i. e. , vestments, altars, chalices, sculptures, etc.
Sisters of Jesus, the Good Shepherd (SGBP): Founded on October 7, 1938, and approved definitively in 1959, the Pastorelle Sisters (as they are more commonly known) work in parish ministry. While the preceding Institutes exercise an apostolate involving the use of the instruments of social communication, Fr. Alberione was inspired to give life to a Congregation of nuns whose approach would focus on individual souls. The Pastorelle therefore work in close collaboration with pastors in all facets of parish pastoral activity: catechesis, liturgical animation, youth formation, sacramental preparation, social and cultural programs, etc.
Sisters of Mary, Queen of Apostles (AP): Born on September 8, 1959, their mission as articulated by Fr. Alberione is that of arousing and maintaining alive in the Church attention to the individual call of God to life’s various vocational expressions. Dedicating themselves to its broad understanding and formation, they orient their efforts to vocational services on behalf of all ecclesial institutions. The Sisters offer particular care to vocations of special consecration, as well as counselling those dealing with problems of life discernment.
Four Institutes of Consecrated Secular Life
By “Secular Institutes” we refer to societies erected or approved by competent ecclesial authority (the Holy See or Bishops) whose members consecrate themselves to God through a public profession of the evangelical counsels (vows of poverty, obedience and chastity), but unlike members of religious institutes, do not live in community.
Institute of Jesus Priest: This is an Institute for the diocesan clergy. It invites diocesan priests and bishops who sense a need for a Gospel-based spirituality to assume the evangelical counsels. While fully committed to their bishop and diocese, it encourages a familiarizing of themselves with the contemporary proclamation of the Gospel in keeping with the charism of Fr. Alberione.
Institute of St Gabriel the Archangel (Gabrielites): Its members are single laymen who commit themselves to vowed consecration while living and working in the secular world. Sustaining a love of Christ, they offer an unpretentious, albeit manly, faith witness in their day-to-day situations. They share in all of the Pauline spiritual and apostolic ideals, while being available to various pastoral urgencies.
Institute of Our Lady of the Annunciation (Annunciationists): This is an Institute for single women who sense a call to live a vowed consecration in their secular environments. In quiet conviction they are committed to bringing Jesus into every situation: homes, offices, schools, families, etc. With imbued faith, theirs is a significant contribution to the inner animation of Christian life and to the Pauline quality of spiritual being, caring, and sharing.
Institute of the Holy Family: This last branch of the Pauline foundations marks its public date of approval as November 26, 1971 – the day of Fr. Alberione’s death. It is made up of married couples who promote the integrity of their conjugal union and family life through living the evangelical counsels in accord with a familial vocation. In keeping with the scope of Pauline spirituality, they aspire to offer evangelical witness in the context of a determined faith-based family life. Members help in animating small group spiritual/prayer encounters, organizing parish family missions, making the Church’s wisdom and teaching on the family known, being alert to societal family challenges, assisting couples in difficulty, etc.
A Lay Association
The Pauline Cooperators: This is an ecclesial Association of Lay People which Fr. Alberione first gathered in 1917. From the beginning they were meant to exercise the Pauline apostolate in all of its expressions: catechesis, editorial, diffusion of media materials, active involvement in radio and television, centers of distribution for books, magazines, audiovisuals, etc. They live in communion with the Pauline Family sharing in its spiritual and missionary goals through prayer, works, and when practicable, through fund raising.