Tuesday, October 20, 2009

St. Paul of the Cross

And the conversion of England. According to Scott Richert:

October 20 is the feast day of Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), the founder of the Passionists. Though Saint Paul spent his life in Italy, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes that "For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his [spiritual] sons." Almost 65 years after his death, the Passionists were first introduced into England, and the Catholic Encyclopedia declares that "They came in the spirit of Apostles without gold or silver, without scrip or staff or shoes or two coats," yet they "soon revived without commotion several Catholic customs and practices which had died out since the Reformation. They were the first to adopt strict community life, to wear their habit in public, to give missions and retreats to the people, and to hold public religious processions."

Father Pius Devine, in an 1882 manuscript cited by the Catholic Encyclopedia, remarks that the Passionist in England "gloried in the disgrace of the Cross, were laughed at by Protestants, warned by timid Catholics, but encouraged always by Cardinal Wiseman. Their courage became infectious, so that in a short time almost every order now in England followed their example."

All of this may simply be a coincidence. But considering Pope Benedict's sensitivity to the symbolism of dates, I don't think so. In any case, on this historic day, we can join Saint Paul of the Cross in praying for the conversion of England.


Stephanie A. Mann said...

Remember that it was a Passionist priest, Blessed Dominic Barberi, who heard Venerable John Henry Newman's general confession and received him into the Catholic Church in 1845.
Catholics in England are receiving signs of great hope: the relics of St. Therese, the beatification of Newman, the visit of the Pope, and this new announcement . . . I hope they respond with joy and loyalty!

elena maria vidal said...

That's so true, Stephanie, we are really living in an amazing time.

Julygirl said...

Not only England, but all of Europe neeeds our prayers not only for a Catholilc renewal but Christianity in general. The indifference is more to be concerned about than out-right attacks upon the Church. Over the centuries the Church has weathered attacks, but indifference is lethal.

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