Archive for July, 2006

St. Joseph’s Retreat, Monte Argentario – founded 16th July 1761

15 July, 2006


16th July is an anniversary of the foundation of St. Joseph’s Retreat on Monte Argentario.

Father Fabiano Giorgini C.P. writes  – 

Paul (of the Cross) had noticed that in the retreat of the Presentation the health of the postulants suffered shortly after their arrival and particularly in summer. For that reason and with the advice of medical doctors he thought of founding another retreat on Argentario but in a healthier spot, one not exposed to the influence of malaria and with a brighter landscape that would be of relief to the novices. His intention was that the new retreat should form one moral body with Presentation and the two be considered one community. With this in view he wrote to the abbot of Orbetello: “I’m assured by doctors that the novices will keep healthy, and in this retreat there will be a wing of cells left available to receive ten or twelve retreatants, clerics or laymen.”

Early in November 1753 he chose the site and on the 23rd of the same month sent his request to Charles, the king of Naples, for a plot of state land on which to build. This he did through the minister and royal mayor, Don Jose Ignacio de Masdeu. On the 5th of December a favorable answer arrived in Orbetello but, for reasons we do not know, possession was not handed over until April 12, 1755. On the same day the founder requested permission of the abott of Orbetello to proceed with the foundation. On April 20th, Cardinal Sciarra said he would be happy to contribute to the building of the new retreat, as an aid to the health of the religious so necessary for the apostolate, and so that he himself could send “many more to make the spiritual exercises”. Work progressed, thanks for the offerings of various persons particuarly Joseph Francis Sanchez of Orbetello, and to the unceasing and skilled labor of Brothers Ubald Corrazzini, Charles Risoluti, Aloysius Basili and Michelangelo Coli, expert masons, kilnsmen and ironworkers. With a true spirit of sacrifice, the other religious helped by carrying building materials. As a matter of fact, for want of roads all transporting of the materials had to be done by shouldering the burdens or by mule pack.

The church was blessed and dedicated to St. Joseph, who was set before the novices as a model of labor and a master of prayerful silence. The blessing was held on 16th July 1761.

(Fabiano Giorgini, History of the Passionists, Volume 1, page 172, 173).

Anthony Danei – Fr. Anthony of the Passion C.P.

13 July, 2006

14th July is the anniversary of the ordination of Anthony Danei.  He was the younger brother of St. Paul of the Cross and John Baptist and the third of the Danei family to join the Passionists. He was born in Campo Ligure on 4th February 1710 and baptised on 6th February 1710.  Martino Bartoli C.P., in his book “Catalogue of Passionist Religious (1741-1775)” documents that Anthony was clothed with the habit somewhere between 10-14 June 1730 and professed on 11th June 1941 at Monte Argentario.  He was ordained by Bishop Palmieri on 14th July 1734.   Anthony left the Passionists on 30th October 1742, joined the community once again and was clothed with the Passionist habit a second time on 20th November 1743 and made his profession on 1st March 1744.  He finally departed the Congregation in August September 1761. He died in 1792 and is buried with the Danei family in Castellazzo.

A letter of St. Paul of the Cross to the Bishop of Alessandria –

San Angelo, May 21, 1768


Your Excellency, 

With complete submission of my poor soul, I come, kneeling with the respectful letter of mine, to your feet to seek from your always great charity and mercy a favor on behalf of the poor priest Anthony Danei, my brother. Some years ago, because of his illness, more especially from his hypochondria, he could not endure our solitude nor continue with our penitential life, although our life is very prudent, and he asked to leave the Congregation in order to see whether he could free himself from his illness, especially his hypochondria that made him a burden to himself and to others. Consequently, having examined carefully his motives and the circumstances which were moving him to seek to leave the Congregation, finally with the counsel and vote of the senior members I granted him his leave. 

But I confess that I provided him with a testimonial that was a bit too severe. Therefore, on reflecting afterwards, it seems to me that I was lacking in true charity, perhaps lacking even in justice. Last year, it seems to me, with due counsel I changed it in a more charitable and equitable way. 

Now he finds himself in Genoa where he has opportunity to cooperate for the salvation of souls. But not having any ecclesiastical employment to maintain himself and continue in that city where he was living, the poor fellow had recourse to me, asking to be readmitted into the Congregation, where he had been received by me two or three times. But notwithstanding his resolution, after some days of trial he did not succeed in persevering because of the reasons mentioned above, which made him always more incapable. So in conscience I could not accept him because experience taught me that he could not persevere, as well as to avoid the gossip of this miserable world. 

Accordingly, I, with my face in the dust, am appealing to your piety to be pleased to accept this sheep with your well-known kindness and out of pure charity if there is some opening to provide him with a niche in which to live as a good priest since he cannot endure our life. With the ability the Mercy of God has given him, he has helped his neighbor much. My interest is that he have some ecclesiastical appointment in your diocese so that he can live as a holy priest under your authoritative protection and obedience.I am trusting in your great clemency, and with all our poor Congregation I will always give you a share in my poor prayers as long as I live, and I will not lack at all in my duty to you as my pastor since Divine Providence had me come from your diocese. 

I am letting you know that our Congregation is much blessed by God. We have twelve houses and are provided with qualified members. New ones come continually. Now I am in the process of setting up two foundations, one of which is in a solitary place near one of the principal cities of
Italy. His Divine Majesty has also given us a location in
Rome, where there are religious and our general procurator. Meanwhile, I ask for your holy prayers so that His Divine Majesty may grant me the grace to fulfill in everything his Holy Will. Kneeling to kiss your holy pastoral vestments, with profound reverence, veneration, and respect I ask your blessing and am,

Your devoted, respectful, and obligated servant, 

Paul of the Cross

(Letter 1713, Volume III, Letters of St. Paul of the Cross)

Resignation of Passionist Archbishop

11 July, 2006

VATICAN CITY, JUL 10, 2006 (VIS) – The Holy Father:  – Accepted the resignation from the office of secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life presented by Archbishop Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti C.P., upon having reached the age limit.

Meditation on the Word of the Cross

8 July, 2006

Each religious personally witnesses to our Passionist Charism in varying ways, above all by persevering in meditation, and according to his capacity, by study and by preaching the Word of the Cross (General Regulations #7)

St. Maria Goretti and the Passionists

7 July, 2006

What connection is there between St. Maria Goretti and the Passionist Congregation?

During the life of Maria Goretti the bond between her and the Passionists was forged. Small as it was, it was significant to Maria. She received her final instructions for her First Communion from a Passionist. Father Jerome of St. Michael the Archangel was given the task of preparing a group of youngsters for their Holy Communion. In this group was a young girl of twelve, Maria Goretti. She received preliminary instructions unde the direction of the pastor, Archpriest Temistocle Signori of Nettuno. However, the final work of preparation was entrusted to Father Jerome.

After the preparation itself Father Jerome himself gave Maria her First Communion. Both the date and the place of this event are uncertain.  The repeated testimony of Maria’s mother leads us to prefer the feast of Corpus Christi, 29th May 1902, as the most likely date. As regards the place it seems most probably that it was at Conca, although at least one writer states it was in the Passionist Church at Nettuno. Of this we cannot be certain.

After the death of Maria her body was buried in the ordinary cemetery at Nettuno. The people of the district, however, were not satisfied with such a common tomb. They wanted to have her buried in the Church of the Passionists, along the sea coast, at Nettuno. This was not possible at once however.  Nevertheless, a monument to Maria Goretti was erected in the Church.

During the war when the stage of the battle reached Nettuno, it was thought best to bring the body of Maria Goretti to Rome for safekeeping. There it remained until her beatification on 27th April 1947. On the feast of the Ascension in 1947 the body of Maria Goretti was returned to the Passionist Chuch at Nettuno. There it remains today, a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people.

The fact that the Passionists at Nettuno have the body of Saint Maria Goretti in their charge has become another bond with the Passionist Congregation.

Another link with the Passionists is the fact the the postulator of her cause for Beatification was Passionist Father Mauro.

The progress of her cause was rapid. On 1st June 1938 it was officially introduced at Rome. Nothwithstanding the war, things moved rapidly. On 25th March 1945 the decree of Martyrdom was issued. This decree eliminated much of the usual juridical processes, so the way was open to the Beatification of Maria.

The Beatification of Maria Goretti was followed by a grand triduum at the Basilica of Ss. John and Paul, the Basilica attached to the Generalate of the Passionists.  Over three hundred thousand people visited the Basilica the days following the Beatification Ceremony.

Almost at once the cause for Canonisation was introduced in Rome in July 1947. Passionist Father Mauro continued to serve as Postulator of the Cause for Maria Goretti.

On 25th June 1950 Maria Goretti was canonised a saint.

source of innocence and lover of chastity,
you gave St. Maria Goretti the privilege
of offering her life in witness to Christ.
As you gave her the crown of martyrdom,
let her prayers
keep us faithful to your teaching.
We ask this
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen