Allamano, Giuseppe, Bl.

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Priest; founder, Consolata Society for Foreign Missions and the Missionary Sisters of the Consolata; b. Castelnuovo d'Asti, Piedmont, Italy, Feb. 21, 1851; d. Turin, Piedmont, Italy, Feb. 16, 1926; beatified, Oct. 7, 1990.

Giuseppe Allamano was the fourth of five children born to Joseph Allamano and Marianna Cafasso. His mother, Marianna, was the sister of St. Joseph cafasso. While a secondary school student at Valdocco, John bosco served as his spiritual mentor. Allamano later entered the diocesan seminary and was ordained a priest in Turin in 1873. At the age of 24 he was appointed spiritual director in the diocesan seminary. In 1880 Allamano became rector of the "Santuario della Consolata," a Marian shrine in Turin, which houses what is believed to be one of the earliest known icons of the Blessed Mother (4th century). Under his direction, the Consolata Shrine became an important center of Marian piety. He remodeled the building, and renewed the devotion to Our Lady, providing a group of priests for confessions and spiritual direction. He won wide popularity as a confessor and spiritual director, and he promoted many charitable works such as the Catholic Action, labor unions, and the Catholic press.

From his youth Allamano was inspired by the missionary life and activities of the Capuchin missionary Cardinal Massaia in Ethiopia. His poor health, however, prevented him from following his dream of being a missionary. After a long period of prayer and planning in 1901, with the encouragement of his Archbishop A. Richelmy and the approval of the bishops of Piedmont he founded the Institute of the Consolata Foreign Missions. In 1902 the first consolata missionaries, two priests and two religious brothers, left Turin for Kenya, in East Africa.

As the first Consolata Missionaries were making progress in Kenya, there was an urgent need for more personnel. Allamano started a formation program to train his missionaries and, in 1910, he also founded the Consolata Missionary Sisters, an indispensable presence together with the priests and the brothers, in the evangelization of Kenya. Both in his rectorship of the shrine and in his leadership of the Consolata Missionaries, Allamano was supported by his close co-worker James Camisassa, the vice-rector of the shrine and the co-founder of the Consolata Missionaries. Their continuous cooperation of 43 years is a moving example of priestly friendship.

Though superior general of the Consolata Missionaries, Allamano remained a diocesan priest of Turin all his life, involving himself in every aspect of the diocesan life. He viewed his missionary involvement as a direct consequence of his priesthood. Allamano's spirituality is best characterized as one trusting in God's guidance and provision, and is marked by a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary, Mother of Consolation, who experienced God's tender love and responded in total commitment, became a model and companion for his life and mission. Allamano died in Turin where his relics are enshrined in a chapel dedicated to him at the motherhouse of the Consolata Missionaries.

Feast: Feb. 16.

Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 82 (1990): 1020. L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, nos. 41, 42 (1990); l. sales, Il servo di Dio Giuseppe Allamano, 3rd ed. (Turin 1944); The Spiritual Life From the Spiritual Conferences of Joseph Allamano (Rome 1982); i. tubaldo, Giuseppe Allamano, 4 v. (Turin 198287); d. agasso, Joseph Allamano (Middlegreen 1991).

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Allamano, Giuseppe, Bl.

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