Five facts about the Passionists

St. Paul of the Cross founded the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ

House of the Passionist Sisters in Colombo (municipality of Greater Curitiba), Paraná, southern Brazil/ Public Domain
Statue of St. Paul of the Cross by Ignazio Iacometti, 1876, at St. Peter’s Basilica/Public Domain

St. Paul of the Cross (1694–1775) was the founder of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ. In honor of his feast day on Oct. 20, here are five facts about the Passionists.


Paul wrote the rules of the Passionists in 1720

When St. Paul of the Cross wrote the Rules for the Passionists, he had yet to recruit any members for the organization other than himself.


The first Passionist monastery was opened in 1737

Seventeen years after having written the Rules for the Passionists, St. Paul of the Cross opened the first retreat for the Passionists on Monte Argentario, a peninsula in Tuscany.


Passionist monasteries are referred to as “retreats”

The monasteries are called “retreats” to emphasize the life of solitude and contemplation that St. Paul of the Cross envisioned for the order.


Members have restrictions on possessions

Individually they are not allowed to own land. The congregation as a whole owns the community house as well as a small piece of land. The congregation relies on their own work as well as contributions from the faithful to maintain their finances.


Under Napoleon, the Passionists were completely suppressed

Since the Passionists only had retreats in Italy at the time, Napoleon’s suppression of religious institutions effectively shut down all of the Passionists. They were quickly reinstated under Pope Pius VII following the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

St. Paul of the Cross, pray for us!

Conceal yourselves in Jesus crucified, and hope for nothing except that all men be thoroughly converted to his will.

— St. Paul of the Cross

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