1796

6 November, 2018

In 1796 the Passionist Congregation numbered 208 professed religious: 105 priests, 20 clerical students and 83 brothers. The average age was 43 years. (History of the Passionists, Fabiano Giorgini, C.P.)

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Holiness, Wisdom and Lovableness

2 November, 2018

“Perhaps more than most I have seen the warts and bruises in religious communities and the church at large but I feel certain that few have seen greater holiness, wisdom and lovableness than I have found.”

Reflections by Paul Michael Boyle, C.P.

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The Walton Icon: St. Paul of the Cross

2 November, 2018

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It is said that “icons” should be “read” and “prayed”. They are more than simple pictures to be viewed. The story and provenance of this image of our Passionist Founder St Paul of the Cross deserves “reading” as an icon.

For many years Passionist Father Austin Smith was chaplain in Liverpool’s Walton Prison in the United Kingdom. He would always look out for anyone who seemed to be experiencing particularly the burdens of confinement. One day, visiting a prisoner on the punishment block in solitary confinement – in his small cell barely lit with its single 40 watt bulb, with no opportunity for other interaction – Austin stayed for some time, getting to know him and helping at least to break that day’s grinding monotony. In the course of their conversation he discovered two things – his obvious extreme loneliness and also memories of times when he had been free to indulge his love of art – drawing and painting pictures.

Austin left the cell, but returned a short time later with a piece of brown paper – admittedly not the best art material – and a few coloured pencils he had managed to find; these he left them with the prisoner. As he came out of the cell a nearby prison officer commented sarcastically about “the Padre” putting himself out to encourage someone, who in his opinion, entirely deserved his current confinement!

Visiting again the following day, Austin was amazed to be presented with a beautiful “totally alive” image of St Paul of the Cross – copied from a holy picture left on a previous occasion. It was the prisoner’s gift in gratitude for a friendly word and an act of kindness.

More than a mere picture, this image is a witness to God’s Spirit alive in someone’s creativity who despite – or perhaps rather because of – experiencing human vulnerability – nonetheless, reaches beyond in search of the sacred.

The Walton icon reminds us of Fr. Austin who died in 2011. It recalls the prisoner artist – whose name we were never told. It symbolises also all the stories in the life of our Founder, whose prayerful praxis privileged the preciousness of God’s life revealed at the margins – our continuing inspiration as Passionists today.

– Adapted from Passio Issue 2 (UK Passionists’ Newsletter)

The Passionist Charism

2 November, 2018

A talk given by Fr. Paul Francis Spencer, C.P., at the International Meeting of Young Passionist Religious held in Melbourne (Australia) in 2008

The Passionist Charism (.pdf)

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From Passio in Cordibus

The room where St. Paul of the Cross died

2 November, 2018

Room of St. Paul of the Cross, Rome

Video from Facebook Polish Passionists

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