Today (November 17) is the first day of the Novena leading up to the feast day of the Founder of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione, which we celebrate on November 26. If you don’t know about this great media saint (still to be canonized), you are in for a treat!
Two years ago, the novices of the Society of Saint Paul (the brother community to the Daughters of Saint Paul) created a series of images with quotations from Blessed James’ writings and preaching. I thought I’d share one each day of the novena.
This trailer of the inspiring documentary about his life, Media Apostle, is a wonderful short introduction to the visionary, mystic, and saint whom Pope St. John Paul called, “the first saint of the New Evangelization.”
Blessed James Alberione (1884-1971), the Founder of the Pauline Family (five religious congregations, including the Daughters of Saint Paul, four secular institutes, and the lay association of Pauline Cooperators), was one of the most prophetic figures of the twentieth century. His prayerfulness and his insatiable desire to integrate faith, culture, and the needs of the person transformed this frail Italian priest into a visionary whose tireless and innovative efforts to bring Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life to all of humanity continues to bear fruit today. The first two religious congregations which Alberione founded–the Society of Saint Paul and the Daughters of Saint Paul–are dedicated to communicating the Gospel through the media. The Pauline Family has thousands of members worldwide, each of whom seek to live Christ as Saint Paul understood, lived, and communicated him.
A prolific writer, preacher, teacher, and founder, Blessed James Alberione lived an extremely active and communicative lifestyle. The spirituality which inspired and sustained him is based on the Gospel and the Letters of Paul, which he summed up once in these simple words:
“The Pauline Family strives to fully live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Way, Truth, and Life, in the spirit of Saint Paul, under the gaze of the Queen of Apostles…. The aim is to live in Christ the Master and in the Church.”
The Pauline spirituality is, after the Pauline Family itself, perhaps the greatest treasure which Alberione has left, not only to his spiritual daughters and sons, but to any Christian who seeks to authentically engage with today’s communications culture. His spirituality, intended specifically to support those who live, breathe, and work in the media, is characterized by: Eucharistic prayer, integration (unity of life), and transformation in Christ: “For me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). The communications spirituality Alberione lived and passed on was definitively validated when he was beatified in 2003 by Pope Saint John Paul II.
Here is a lovely quote from St. Elizabeth for the Year of Mercy:
“The greater my unworthiness, the more abundant is his mercy.”
Elizabeth’s life was filled with tremendous sorrow and loss—from troubles at home in her early life, to the death of her husband, to the loss of her children—only one survived her. Perhaps because of her sufferings, her writing style is warm, simple, and practical. I have found many spiritual gems in her writings. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton uses beautiful and understandable imagery to describe the spiritual life—not an easy thing to do. Her writings have recently become freely accessible in PDF. Although she is not listed as a patron for writers, I’ve added her to my list as a patron saint for my writing. I think she is a wonderful patron for those who write about spirituality, women writers, letter writers, and those who journal.
2. Daughters of Saint Paul Centenary Day of Recollection and Centenary Mass on Saturday, June 6th, from 10 AM to 6:30 PM, at Holy Family Church, where I will be giving one of two talks and will lead the Eucharistic Hour of Adoration:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me. Within Your wounds, hide me; Permit me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me;
In the hour of my death call me
and bid me come to Thee,
that with Your saints I may praise Thee
forever and ever. Amen.
The first stage of my book tour for Soul of Christ: Meditations on a Timeless Prayeris now completed! Since November, I’ve been making frequent trips around the USA and Canada to our various Pauline Book & Media Centers: Toronto, Chicago, Redwood City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Saint Louis. I should have kept a running count from my trips of all the people I’ve met who have read, are reading, or will soon read Soul of Christ, but it’s easily in the area of 500-600 people. In addition, I’ve tried to reach out through Catholic radio–and I’ve been impressed with the dedication of the Catholic radio producers that I’ve spoken with! (Spirit Catholic Radio in Nebraska, Radio Maria’s Community in Concert in Toronto, Relevant Radio–both the Morning Air and Wendy Wiese’s On Call shows, Covenant Radio in St. Louis, and Salt + Light Radio).
At Pauline Books & Media in St. Louis, MO
Most of my books on display at PBM in Redwood City, CA
The entire experience has been filled with grace, as I’ve witnessed so many people’s tremendous love for our Eucharistic Lord, and their excitement to deepen their Eucharistic amazement and love with the Anima Christi (Soul of Christ prayer).
The Goodreads Giveaway that I ran for one week back in February also worked out well, even with the confusion of the first three days where people couldn’t find the giveaway–looking for it on the wrong book. In the end, almost 400 people requested the book–and I had the joy of sending out the book to the three people who won! That was exciting, and I can’t wait to hear their feedback.
Leading Eucharistic adoration during the See Yourself Through God’s Eyes Advent Women’s Retreat at our PBM Center in Chicago, IL
For the next three months, I’ll focus on the apostolic writing I’ve let slide during my travels. My inner introvert is very happy about getting back to writing–rather than talking about writing! This also means that I can be more active online–blogging here at least once a week, more present on Twitter, etc. I’ve run into some good articles and resources on various aspects of writing, which I hope to share in the near future.
If you are in the San Francisco area, I invite you to join me for today’s or tomorrow evening’s Soul of Christ events! (If you are in the Los Angeles or San Diego area, scroll down for next week’s events!)
For Los Angeles:
Note that the retreat day on February 8th will include Eucharistic adoration but will be focused on the topic of my earlier book, See Yourself Through God’s Eyes: Allowing God’s Love to Shape Our Self-Esteem.
–The Catholic Channel (Sirius XM 129) this Saturday at 3 and 10pm ET (7pm PT) and on Sunday at 2pm ET (11am PT). -The Spirit Catholic Radio Network (Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa: Spirit 102.7FM; Spirit 88.3FM, Spirit 91.5FM and Spirit 90.1FM) on Saturday at 10am and 9pm CT -Holy Family Radio at WJTA 88.9FM, in northeastern Ohio on Saturday at 1pm -The Lamb Catholic Radio (South Dakota KSJP 88.9FM and KSTJ 91.3FM) Saturday and Sunday at 9pm -The Baraga Radio Network (northern Michigan: WIDG 940AM, WICK 90.9FM, WICK 92.1FM, WTCY 88.3FM, WGZR 88.9FM, WGJU 81.3FM) on Monday at noon.