Passionists, Congregation of The
Passionists, Congregation Of The are regulated clergy of the society of the Holy Cross (q.v.) and Sufferings of Christ. Their purpose is made clear in the fourth vow on assuming membership — a most faithful remembrance of Christ's life and saving passion and death, and the promotion of his cause. The duty, then, of the Passionists clearly is preaching and mission work. The founder of this congregation is Paulus Franciscus.(de cruce) of Danni, born in 1694 at Ovada, in Sardinia. Their first house was founded in 1737 at Orbitello. Pope Pius VI acknowledged them in 1775. They now have a monastery at Rome, the mother-house of the congregation, do mission work in Bulgaria and Wallachia (since 1782), and have settlements in Italy, England, Belgium, New Holland, and the United States. The Passionists wear a black habit, on the left breast of which is the badge — a heart surmounted by a white cross, and inscribed, "Jesu XR.passio" (= passion of Jesus Christ). The "fathers" or priests, who strictly constitute the "congregation," act as missionaries, while the lay-brothers do the house-
work, tailoring, shoemaking, carpenter-work, etc. The Passionists, according to Webster's Dictionary, "unite the mortified life of the Trappists with the activity and zeal of the Jesuits and Lazarists." The special object of the institute is to instill into men's minds by preaching, by example, and by devotional practices, a sense of the mercy and love of God as manifested in the passion of Christ. Hence the cross appears everywhere as their emblem, in their churches; in their halls, and in the courts and public places of their monasteries. A large crucifix, moreover, forms part of their very striking costume. They go barefooted, and practice many other personal austerities, rising at midnight to recite the canonical hours in the church; and their ministerial work consists chiefly. in holding what are called "missions" wherever they are invited by the local clergy, in which sermons on the passion of Christ, on sin, and on repentance, together with the hearing of confessions, hold the principal places. They have four establishments in this country. They have eight or nine priests, "with twenty-five students, lay-brothers and novices," at "Blessed Paul's Monastery," Birmingham (near Pittsburgh), Pa., where they have two churches. They have also at Carrollton (near Baltimore) a monastery, seven priests, six students of philosophy, and five lay-brothers, and a church; a monastery, with nine priests, six clerics, and three lay-brothers, and two churches at Dunkirk, N. Y.; also a monastery, "St. Michael's Retreat," at West Hoboken, N. J. (opposite New York City). Passionist monasteries in the United States are intended to train priests for missionary purposes, and to give assistance to pastors of such churches as need it, and to have a chapel always open for such as may need spiritual assistance or counsel. The order, though very old in the Church, was introduced into the United States about 1855 by Rev. Father O'Connor, S. J., then bishop of Pittsburgh, and now numbers nearly one hundred members.