Fifth of six children. Educated at Avellino and Naples in Italy. Studied philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. Seminarian at the Theology Seminary of the Institute for Foreign Missions at Milan, Italy. Ordained on 19 May 1894 at Milan.
Missionary to Toungoo, Eastern Burma (modern Myanmar), setting sail on 27 September 1895. Worked in Burma until 1907 when his failing health forced his return to Italy. From there he spent the rest of his life encouraging clerical and lay missionaries through his writing, his work, his preaching. Director of Le Missioni Cattoliche in 1909. Started the publication of Propaganda Missionaria, a popular broadsheet newspaper, in 1914. Founded the Missionary Union of the Clergy in 1916, created with the idea of spreading missionary zeal throughout the faithful. Founded Italia Missionaria for young people in 1919. Founded Sacred Heart Seminary at Ducenta, Caserta, Italy in an effort to foster missionary vocations in southern Italy.
Superior General of the Institute of Foreign Missions of Milan in 1924 which in 1926 was joined by Pope Pius XI to the Missionary Seminary of Rome to create the Pontifical Institute for the Foreign Missions (P.I.M.E.). Worked from 1934 to 1936 for help found the Misssionary Sisters of the Immaculate, an offshoot of the P.I.M.I. Headed the International Secretariat for the Missionary Union of the Clergy from 1937 to 1941. Superior of the Italian Southern Province of P.I.M.E. in 1943. Publisher of the family missionary magazine Venga il tuo regno in 1943. Wrote in support of missionaries, developed techniques which have become standard today, and though he was tied to a desk in southern Italy, he worked as a missionary throughout his life.
All the Church for all the World! – Blessed Paolo
We missionaries often wonder why the work of the conversion of the non-Christian world goes so slowly. We usually give various reasons to explain this painful fact, and in truth the problem may be considered from many angles, some of which do not concern our responsibility. But for the part that does concern us, and it is the main part, the problem has a very clear solution. To save the world, God in his infinite wisdom wanted to have co-workers. God does his part well: do the people called to help him do their part equally well? Let us work in such a way that the whole Church, all Christian people, led by their bishops and clergy, truly feel the apostolic duty that is incumbent upon them to promote the propagation of the faith with every means. Let us work in such a way that that missionaries, the most direct instruments for the conversion of souls, are saints, and non-Christians will not be slow to be converted. The missionary problem has been, and still is almost ignored by the Christian people. Those who were interested in the past were always a minority, and it is extremely painful to see today too, although some progress has been made, how the enormous question is far from being understood and faced fully by clergy and people. It is extremely painful, because Catholic peoples would have more than enough energies to promote the work of evangelization more worthily if priests taught, organised and above all inflamed them with a greater spirit of faith and zeal… Missionaries, also from the human viewpoint, have been excellent people…but neither brilliance nor prudence, nor courage have made them great in our eyes and the eyes of God. They have been great, they have saved many souls, they have founded Churches, mainly because they were holy men, that is, spiritual men. This is the secret, the soul of their zeal, their perseverance and their success; this is the solemn teaching they have handed down to us and which I love to remind you of, so that our missionaries of today and those of tomorrow may always build upon it the first and essential reason for their own sanctification and the sanctification of the souls that are, and will be entrusted to them. You, missionaries in active service in the field, are particularly concerned with your part of cooperation. Therefore I say to you: be holy missionaries by following the footsteps of those great missionaries who went before you and, for the part that concerns you, your apostolic duty will have been done to the full. The souls the Lord in his merciful designs has entrusted to each one of you that you may lead them to salvation, will be saved and at the end of your days you will be able to say with the Divine Redeemer: “(Father) I kept those you had given me true to you name. I have watched over them and not one is lost” (John 17:12).” – Blessed Paolo
- “Blessed Paolo Manna“. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 April 2015. Web. 19 February 2017. <>