Paul Albera (in Italian Paolo Albera, born in None, Piedmont, Italy on June 6, 1845 - died in Turin, October 24, 1921) was a Catholic Roman Priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco, who was the 2nd Rector Major of that Order between 1910 and 1921.
Albera was the 6th child of a farmer family of None, a town between Turin and Pinerolo. He knew Don Bosco when he was 13 at the church of his town. On October 18, 1858 he joint the Don Bosco's youth center in Valdocco. He was among the first 22 Salesians to make religious votes. In 1863 Don Bosco sent him as assistance and teachers at the Mirabello Monferrato's college, where one of his pupils was Luis Lasagna, future Salesian bishop of Brazil. He was ordained as priest on August 2, 1868 in Casale Monferrato and was elected director in Marassi in 1871 and then in Genoa in 1872. In 1875 Don Bosco opened a house for late vocations in Sampierdarena with Albera as director. It was the first place in the vocation of Philip Rinaldi that was to be a good friend of Albera for the rest of his life. In 1881 he was elected superior for France. In 1891 he returned to Turin as General Catechist and he was sent by Don Rua as special visitor to the Salesian Houses of the Western Hemisphere.
After the death of Don Rua in 1910, the General Chapter elected Albera as the second successor of Don Bosco. He continued the policies of Don Rua to increase the number of Salesian houses in the world. But he would face a difficult time with the World War I, when many young Salesians were brought to the armies, many of them into enemy troops of the time. One of those young Salesians was Renato Ziggiotti, his future successor.
In 1913 he visited the houses of Austria, Poland, Yugoslavia, United Kingdom and Belgium and he opened a Salesian presence in Hungry. But during the war many Salesian schools were converted into fittings or hospitals. Albera began to write letters to the military units around Europe where he knew there were Salesians. But the European war did not stop the growing of the Salesian order in other continents. In 1914 he approved the opening of missions in Rio Negro (Brazil), Germany and China. In 1915 Pope Benedict XV elevated the first Salesian cardinal: Giovanni Cagliero. In 1920 the Salesians arrived to Gran Chaco in Paraguay and to Assam in India as well as Central America and Cuba.
On October 24, 1921, Paolo Albera died being Rector Major incumbent.