Blessed Father Paolo Manna was born in Avellino on January 16, 1872. After primary and technical education in Avellino and in Naples he went to Rome for higher studies. While studying philosophy at the Gregorian University he followed the call of the Lord and entered the Theology Seminary of the Institute for Foreign Missions in Milan. On May 19, 1894 he was ordained a priest in the cathedral of Milan.
On September 27, 1895 departed for the mission of Toungoo in Eastern Burma. He worked there for a total of ten years with two short repatriations until 1907, when his illness forced him to come back to Italy for good.
Beginning in 1909, through writing and a variety of other activities, he dedicated all his energy for the next forty years to fostering missionary zeal among the clergy and the faithful. In 1916 founded the Missionary Union of the Clergy on which Pius XII bestowed the title of "Pontifical" in 1956. He saw the Union as "a radical solution to the problem of involving Catholics in the apostolate." His assumption was that a mission-minded clergy would make all Catholics missionaries. Today the Union has spread throughout the world and the membership includes seminarians, religious and consecrated laity.
By 1909 he became the director of Le Missioni Cattoliche; and in 1914 he launched Propaganda Missionaria - a popular broadsheet with a large circulation; in 1919 he started Italia Missionaria for young people.
In an effort to foster the missionary vocations in Southern Italy, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith asked Father Manna to establish a seminary for foreign missions. He opened Sacred Heart Seminary at Ducenta in the province of Caserta - a foundation he had long encouraged and promoted.
In 1924 was elected Superior General of the Institute of Foreign Missions of Milan. In 1926 at the instigation of Pope Pius XI the Institute united with the Missionary Seminary of Rome to form the Pontifical Institute for the Foreign Missions (P.I.M.E.).
The P.I.M.E. General Assembly of 1934 gave him mandate to establish the Society of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate. He played a primary role in the foundation of this institute in 1936. From 1937 to 1941 Father Manna was in charge of the International Secretariat for the Missionary Union of the Clergy .
The Italian Southern Province of P.I.M.E. was established in 1943 and Father Manna became its first superior and launched the family missionary magazine Venga il tuo regno.
Father Manna wrote quite a number of well-known books and booklets. Several of them had a lasting effect such as: Operarii autem pauci; I Fratelli separati e noi; Le nostre Chiese e la propagazione del Vangelo; Virtů Apostoliche. He envisioned innovative methods of missionary work that foresaw developments at the Second Vatican Council. But Fr. Manna's greatest legacy is the example he left behind: he was driven by an overwhelming passion for the missions that sickness, suffering and setbacks could never diminish. Tragella, his first biographer, called him "A burning soul". Until his death his motto was: "All the Church for all the World"!
Father Paolo Manna died in Naples on September 15, 1952. His remains were laid to rest at Ducenta, "his seminary". On December 13, 1990 Pope John Paul II visited his tomb.
His Beatification Cause began in Naples in 1971 and concluded in Rome on April 24, 2001 with a Papal Decree on a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Servant of God.
Biography Provided By: The Vatican
At the end of the sixth century anyone would have said that Augustine had found his niche in life. Looking at this respected prior of a monastery, almost anyone would have predicted he would spend ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called "Poor Clares." When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So ... continue readingMore Female Saints
St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading
Ava was the daughter of King Pepin. She was cured of blindness by St. Rainfredis, became a Benedictine nun at Dinart, Hainault, and later was elected Abbess. Her feast day is April 29th. continue reading
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes