Philip Perlo was born on February 8, 1873 at Caramagna, a parish of the diocese of Turin, in a family of sound Catholic tradition. He was the son of a sister of Fr. Giacomo Camisassa. Two of his brothers became Consolata missionaries, one of whom, Gabriel, became a missionary bishop. Filippo studied in the minor and major seminaries of the diocese of Fossano, about forty kilometres from Turin. Then he entered the Metropolitan Seminary of Turin where he started his theological training which he completed at the Convitto and concluded with his graduation from the Faculty of Turin. He was ordained a priest in 1895, when he was not yet twenty-three. After nine months of pastoral work in a parish he was called to the Consolata and was appointed administrator of the seminary [?] and the attached Convitto, so that he providentially could live with his uncle and Allamano. He had a missionary vocation and initially thought of becoming a Comboni or a White Father. But when the Consolata Institute was founded he was the first to join it, and became its administrator. He was one of the two first Consolata priests to arrive in Kenya, in 1902, with two Consolata brothers. He soon became their superior and then, in 1905, the head of the autonomous Consolata mission in Kenya. In 1909 he was appointed vicar apostolic of Nyeri and ordained a bishop. With tireless energy and apostolic zeal he laid the foundations of the Catholic Church in Nyeri and Meru. In 1924 he returned to Italy to be general superior of the IMC. In 1930 he was ordered by the Holy See to resign from his responsibility of general superior and he retired to Rome where he lived until his death on November 4, 1948.
This article, received in 2005, was reprinted with permission from* Christianity among the Nomads: The Catholic Church in Northern Kenya*, by Paul Tablino, © copyright 2004 by St. Paul Communications / Daughters of St. Paul, Nairobi, Kenya.