Australian Passionists – Our Vision
A life giving gift, our Charism – experiencing the Passion of Jesus – draws us into the Heart of God.
It enables us to be who we are, and is the foundation of all that we do.
For it is by entering into the pain and suffering of Jesus that we are strengthened to enter into our pain and suffering, and so we are able to stand with others in theirs.
Although the Passion of Jesus offers no hope without the Resurrection, this Resurrection Hope cannot be experienced unless first, we are willing to stay with the suffering.
When God is discovered in the ordinariness of life, the Charism and inspiration given to St. Paul of the Cross remain alive.
The Spirituality flowing from the Charism enables us to enter into relationships that may not otherwise be humanly possible.
It thus creates and is sustained by a sense of community and expresses itself in empathy, depth of prayer, down to earthness and a willingness to be vulnerable.
The Passionists – Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – 2003.
St Paul of the Cross
On September 26, 1721, a young Paul Danei, encouraged by his spiritual Director and his Bishop, went to Rome to seek an audience with the Pope to approve his new rule for the Order which he wanted to begin and which he had named “The Poor of Jesus”.
Paul somewhat naively approached the summer residence of the Pope at the Quirinal, which now houses the President of modern day Italy. The guards and the officials laughed at this “country hermit” and sent him around to the back entrance where beggars received food.
Deeply distressed, Paul found his way to the Church of St Mary Major’s and knelt in prayer before this Icon of Our Lady of the Snows, as pictured below.
In prayer, Paul made a private vow to God that he would from now on keep alive the memory of the Passion of Jesus and that he would gather companions to do likewise.
And thus the man we know as Paul of the Cross began the Congregation in the Church named The Passionists.
The first three Passionists to minister in Adelaide were Frs. Maurice Lencioni, Joseph Snell and Luigi Pesciaroli. They had been the first missionaries to the Indigenous people on Stradbroke Island, a mission that failed due to a lack of support from the wider Church community. En route to their new placement in West Australia, they found themselves in Adelaide, without a home, without money, and without a ministry. Eventually, although the site is not known, the Passionists were to procure for rent a small cottage in Grote Street within walking distance of St Patrick’s Church-school.
Fr. Luigi became the cook for the CP Community (a field that he was good at) for Luigi had great difficulty with English.
Fr. Lencioni taught music and singing, and it is recorded that on August 8th, 1847 he conducted the choir at a Pontifical High Mass at St Patrick’s.
Fr. Joseph Snell gave lessons in French and German, and of course, being well versed in English, taught and prepared people for the Sacraments.
And so it came to pass that the three Passionists offered their services to the Bishop to volunteer for work where ever it was Fr. Joseph Snell was sent to Morphett Vale as priest in charge, and the date of this was thought to be the 25th March 1848. Fr. Luigi Pesciaroli went to Mt. Barker as assistant to Fr. James Watkins. Not long afterwards, the people of Mt Barker paid his fare back to Italy! Fr. Maurice Lencioni was assigned to the Bishop’s house on West Terrace.
Place yourself in the Presence of God with a pure and simple loving attention to that Immense Good in a sacred silence of love, resting your spirit entirely in this sacred silence on the loving bosom of the Eternal God. When this recollection ends, arouse your spirit gently with a dart of love: “Oh, dear Goodness!” “Oh, Infinite Love!” “Oh, dear God! I am yours.” “Oh, Infinite Sweetness!”
Use these and others as God inspires you. But be alert so that, if in making one of these darts of love, your soul grows peaceful and recollected in God, there is no need to make further acts. Rather, continue this loving silence, this repose of your spirit in God, which contains in itself, in a higher way, all possible discursive acts that we could ever make.
– St Paul of the Cross