Father Carlo Domenico Albini was born in Mentone, Italy (now France), on November 26, 1790. In October, 1810, he entered the major seminary of Nice. After he was ordained a priest in 1814, his first ministry was in his home parish in Mentone. For some five years he was engaged in ordinary pastoral ministry: catechesis, confessions, preaching, etc. Beginning in October, 1820, he was chaplain to the Augustinian Hospital of Carnolès in Nice. In July, 1823, Abbé Albini was appointed to teach moral theology in the major seminary of Nice.
It was when he was helping the parish priest conduct a retreat for ex-prisoners and misfits in July of 1824 that he met Abbé Eugene de Mazenod. Abbé Albini was struck by de Mazenod’s apostolic zeal and fraternal love. At the end of the retreat, he decided to join the recently founded Society of the Missionaries of Provence. He started his novitiate in the same month.
In the following years he served as an itinerant missionary and as professor in the Oblate scholasticate in Aix. In 1825, he was chosen to translate part of the Constitutions and Rules into Latin, in preparation for their presentation to the Holy See for approval. It was Fr. Albini who pressured the Founder and convinced him to go to Rome in view of obtaining an official recognition of the Congregation in 1826. In 1827, Fr. Albini was appointed to teach moral theology at the major seminary of Marseilles, which had just been entrusted to the Oblates. At the end of July, 1828, he was given the spiritual care of the “Work for the Italians” in Marseilles. This was an apostolate among the Italian immigrants, and Fr Albini carried it out with passionate dedication.
In 1834 the Missionary Oblates established a community in Corsica to take over the major seminary of Ajaccio and also to preach parish missions throughout the entire island. Father Albini arrived there in October, 1835, and was named a seminary professor. In 1836 Fr. Albini preached a mission in Moïta. It was the first mission preached in Corsica since St. Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751) had given his last mission on the island in 1747. Fr. Albini´s missionary activity was noted for soundness of doctrine, his concern to be understood by the people and, consequently, the use of simple and clear language. Further, due to his personality, he became known for his ability to reconcile feuds between families and clans living in the areas that he evangelized. The living conditions of these people were far from easy. In 1837, he preached a spiritual retreat to the diocesan clergy.
He became seriously ill at the end of 1838, and died on May 20, 1839. Fr. Albini’s demise was felt as a grave loss for the people. They lamented his passing and began to look upon him as a saint. He came to be known as the “Apostle of Corsica”.