Father Albinus Magno, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1816-1887)

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Father Albinus Magno was one of the original Passionists who came to the United States from Italy in 1852. He is considered a founder of the Passionists in the United States.

Father Magno was born in the town of Orsogno, Naples, Italy on June 25, 1816. He professed his Passionist vows at Paliano, Italy on October 19, 1839. He was 27 years old when he was ordained in Rome on April 1, 1843. During his first years he was assigned the Passionist Generalate in Rome. There he was trained by the First General Consultor, Father Pius Cayro.

At 36 Magno was sent to begin the Passionist mission to the United States along with Passionist Fathers Anthony Calandri and Stanislaus Parzyk and Brother Lawrence DiGiacomo. Upon arrival in Pittsburgh in 1852 Magno began to learn English. After a short time he was assigned to a parish in Harmon’s Bottom (present day New Baltimore, Pennsylvania) in Somerset County. There Magno began to tutor seminarian Philip Farrell. He in turn tutored Magno in English. Next Magno was assigned to St. Michael’s at Loretto, Pennsylvania. There Magno started the first Passionist preparatory seminary. Lawrence McCarthy and William Gregg were the first students.

Simply put, Magno seemed to have a more open sense to United States culture when compared to Passionist superior Anthony Calandri. Magno did participate in early Passionist fund-raising by means of the quest. This Italian custom was controversial in the United States for it made the Passionists appear like beggars; nor did it sit well with the local clergy. At least twice Magno was permitted by St. John Nepoumucence Neuman, then Bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to collect funds in his diocese. Magno also collected in Pittsburgh. So impressed by Magno’s ability, Bishop Michael O’Connor, in November 1857, sent Magno as a companion of Father James Tracy, of the Pittsburgh diocese, to Ireland to collect money for the new Pittsburgh cathedral.

It was through Father Magno’s acquaintance with Bishop John Timon of Buffalo that the Passionists were invited to Dunkirk, New York. Magno arrived in Dunkirk on April 20, 1860. For over six months the Passionists and then local pastor Father Peter Colgan were in conflict over the case of the Passionist presence in Dunkirk. With difficulty it was settled in favor of the Passionists. Magno then went to Rome to recruit Italian Passionists who might be, due to political turmoil in Italy, willing to come to the United States. At the same time, Magno was the only Passionist at the time to vote against beginning a Passionist foundation West Hoboken, (present day Union City), New Jersey. During Christmas 1860 Magno returned to the United States with 11 recruits: 2 priests, 1 brother, and 8 students.

Father Magno was an important preacher and confessor . He also served as a Vicar, Rector, Consultor. He was Provincial of St. Paul of the Cross province from 1869-1872. On August 28, 1887 Father Magno was inflicted with apoplexy which deprived him of the ability to speak.

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