Hononary General for Life – Blessed Bernard

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Blessed Bernard Mary of Jesus (Caesar Silvestrelli before becoming a Passionist) was born in Rome, 7 November, 1831, of the noble Silvestrelli-Gozani family. He was Baptized the same day, and received the Sacrament of Confirmation on 7 June, 1840. He was ordained a priest on Monte Argentario, 22 December, 1855. He made his religious profession as a Passionist on 28 April, 1857 at the novitiate at Morrovalle where his companion was the future Saint Gabriel of Our Mother of Sorrows.

He held a number of offices: Director of Students, Master of Novices, Rector, Provincial Consultor and, during the years 1878-88 and 1893-1907, Superior General. Unfailing in upholding the spirit of the Congregation, he invigorated the Passionists with a great apostolic spirit. Under his careful and ever vigilant guidance six new Provinces were founded, and those which had been suppressed by the governments of Italy and France were reorganized. Having resigned the office of Superior General, he received from the Pope the title of “Honorary General” for life.

He retired to the Passionist Monastery at Moricone where he died, 9 December, 1911 after a serious fall. He was eighty years of age. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 16 October, 1988.

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