Welcome to the Passionist Family
While our Passionist Congregation is 300 years old, beginning in Ovada, near Milan, Italy, our first Passionists arrived in Australia in 1843. We were invited by Archbishop Polding to commence the first mission in Australia to the Aboriginal People on Stradbroke Island, Queensland. Three Italians and one Swiss Passionist arrived and for four years worked among the First Nation peoples. However, a complete lack of financial and other support from the Archbishop made it impossible for the mission to continue. However, the aboriginal people of Stradbroke Island remember the Passionist foundation to this day.
Our Second Arrival, in November 1887 came from our Anglo-Hibernian province. The first religious were appointed to the newly and especially created parish of St. Brigid’s, Marrickville. Within six years there were ten religious caring for the parish, giving missions across Australia and New Zealand and training the first Australian Passionists.
Central to our charism is the balance of mission and contemplation. Our life was firmly based in strong communities. Our religious would be engaged in apostolic works for six months of the year and contemplative life in solitude for the other six months of the year. Solitude and silence, rising at 2.00am for prayer, fasting and penance were central. And surrounding all this was life, energy, laughter, and love in abundance. Life, of course, changed radically after the Vatican Council, but being apostolic contemplatives living in community has been a constant of our spirituality and our mission.
For our Founder, St Paul of the Cross, the cross and passion of Jesus is the most extraordinary sign of God’s love. So, our core mission was compassion in action. Being a community and building community has been at the heart of our Passionist life. Creating family where everyone is welcome, and everyone matters, everyone is loved.
We do now parishes, parish missions, retreats, retreat houses and conference centres, missionary work, Passionist Family Groups, adult faith formation, youth camps, chaplaincies partnerships and more. Our Holy Spirit Province include Australia, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and New Zealand. Diminishing and ageing in one place, explosive growth and expansion elsewhere. Our communities are hugely multicultural.
What Pope Francis calls ‘going to the peripheries’, we call serving the crucified of the world wherever they are found. Though dedicated to the Passion, it is not the suffering that we focus on, but the Hope! I pray you have a beautiful time with us.
“May the Passion of Jesus be always in our Hearts”
Fr. Thomas McDonough CP