Sisters of the Cross and Passion

Sisters of the Cross and Passion

The Sisters of the Cross and Passion (Passionist Sisters) were founded in Manchester, UK in 1852 by Elizabeth Prout in collaboration with the Passionists priests Fathers Gaudentius Rossi and Ignatius Spencer. It was a response to the plight of the most disadvantaged children and young people who were living in the poorest conditions of the time and working long hours in the mills when the industrial revolution was at its height. Elizabeth, herself a convert to the Catholic faith, had to leave home because her parents disapproved of her decision. However this did not quench her enthusiasm. In offering the possibility of religious life to people from among the ‘working classes’ she met with much opposition from the clergy but her small band of dedicated women had to survive many storms including the threat of suppression. Elizabeth’s story and that of Mary Mackillop have much in common as they struggled with power in the Church. Elizabeth was innovative in accepting women without a dowry which opened up religious life to women who could not afford to join the other orders of the time in England.

The Congregation grew and, whilst never numerically large, it spread in many areas of the UK and Ireland as well as to North America, Jamaica, Chile, Peru and Argentina, Sweden, Papua New Guinea, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Melbourne in Australia and most recently to Vietnam. Initially the Sisters were involved in education and social work but now use their abilities in diverse ministries to promote justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

Spiritually the Sisters draw inspiration from the love which is shown through the Passion of Jesus Christ and through their action they desire to share the compassion and hope that this love offers for all people.

In Australia the Sisters are engaged in pastoral work within the multi-cultural parish of St Paul Apostle, Endeavour Hills, Victoria 3802 which is under the pastoral care of the Passionists. They are also involved in justice and outreach work and with retreat days at Holy Cross Retreat Centre in Templestowe.

Elizabeth Prout’s courage, tenacity and zeal for the reign of God is still inspiring and the issues of injustice about which she so passionate are still crying out for a response in so many parts of our society.

Prayer in honour of Elizabeth Prout

O God, Source of all life, your servant Elizabeth Prout responded to your call by bringing together a new family to welcome the poor and the abandoned, and to keep alive the memory of your love for all your children shown to us in the Passion of Jesus, your Son. Give us the courage to follow her example of living faith and untiring love. Through her intercession grant us the favour for which we pray. Amen

For further information contact Sister Bridget Murphy at bridget.m64@gmail.com

Sisters of the Cross & Passion