Don Michele Alberta OSB was born on 1 April 1947 in Castelnuovo della Daunia, Italy, in the province of Foggia. He first arrived at Finalpia when he was 12-13 years of age, where he was a bit like the Abbey mascot. Good-natured, generous, alert, curious and intelligent, he knew how to make himself loved. For his studies, he was entrusted to the Fathers of the Benedictine Abbey of Genoa, where he worked under the tutelage of some excellent teachers.
Don Michele professed his religious vows on 15 September 1964. His good intellectual talents led the superiors of Finalpia to allow him to continue his studies in Rome at the Pontificio Ateneo Sant’Anselmo, the prestigious Roman university founded by Leo XIII as the international school of theology for the Benedictines. He was ordained a priest on 8 September 1974.
In the university world of Rome, the uncommon qualities of Don Michele attracted the attention of the famous Biblicist Padre Martini (future cardinal of Milan) who provided him a scholarship. It was thus that the studies of Don Michele found themselves oriented towards the fascinating world of the Bible. Following Biblical courses at the university, Don Michele stayed in England, Germany and the Middle East and returned to his small abbey in Finalpia with a prestigious Licentiate in Sacred Scripture.
In addition to teaching courses in Sacred Scripture at the seminary in Albenga, Don Michele held conferences, courses and lessons at the abbey for many years. He had an ease of speech and clarity in his exposition of the Biblical texts. While his wit always stimulated the attention of the audience, seminarians, priests, men and women religious sought him out as a counselor and spiritual guide. In the monastery, he also managed the Guestmaster’s office for many years.
Don Michele was very helpful in the monastic community and knew how to do his best to help find practical solutions to problems. He never forgot his family of origin. He had a series of grandchildren reach out to him, depending on their particular needs, to them under his wing during their time of compulsory education. In this regard, he took care of the necessary arrangements with the collaboration of friendly families and also of the abbey itself.
As the years passed, a few white hairs sprouted, but Don Michele always remained aware and maintained his somewhat cheeky look, where the ever clever and good-hearted mascot still came through.
In 2008, his superiors asked him to go and become a parish priest in Genoa-Pegli, at the Parish of Saints Martin and Benedict (pictured here) that has been entrusted to the Benedictines for around 1,000 years. He plunged generously into his new ministry, and thus Don Michele Alberta was the last representative in a very long series of Benedictine priests for that parish. Here too, we always will remember him with great sympathy and affection.
The Madonna di Pia who saw him kneeling at her feet when he was still a little altar boy — and yet an altar boy albeit slightly older — now is welcomed among his brothers in Heaven. Father Michele passed away from this life on 8 April 2019, and his funeral Mass was celebrated on 10 April 2019 at 9.30 a.m. in the Parish of Saints Martin and Benedict in Genoa-Pegli, with burial in Puglia. We commend the peaceful repose of his soul to the prayers of the Benedictine Confederation.