Tag Archives: Passionists

Passionist Nuns Celebrate St. Paul of the Cross Feast Day

St. Paul of the Cross founded the Congregation of the Passion in 1720. While walking home after attending Mass, he saw himself “clothed in long black garment with a white cross on my breast, and below the cross the Holy Name of Jesus was written in white letters. At that instant, I heard these words spoken to me: ‘This signifies how pure and spotless that heart should be which must bear the Holy Name of Jesus graven upon it.’ On seeing and hearing this, I began to weep.”

His desire was to gather around him companions who saw the Passion of Jesus as God’s love-message to them and the world. Along with the men’s community, the contemplative community of women, the “Doves of Calvary,” were to stand at the foot of the Cross with our Sorrowful Mother and, with her, keep alive the memory of the self-sacrificing love of Jesus Crucified.

Three Passionists communities, Affiliates of the IRL, faithfully keep this remembrance of the Lord’s Passion before them always. In a special way, today! the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross.

They are:

  • The Passionists nuns of Erlanger, Kentucky. They make altar breads for the faithful on-site.  Watch this YouTube video to see how their prayerful dedication to this holy ministry brings the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to the faithful!


  • The Passionist nuns of Whitesville, Kentucky.   Their guest house, monastery and chapel are located on a peaceful 170-acre site of beautiful woodlands. Through their hidden life of prayer, penance, work, and joy they seek to be little co-redeemers with the great Co-Redemptrix.  Please keep Ruth and Olivia (their two new aspirants) in your prayers as they  discern if it is truly God’s plan for them to be future Passionist Nuns.








  • The Passionist Nuns of Ellisville, Missouri.  Please pray for Meg, their newest postulant, who plans to enter the Passionists on November 11th. “We are dedicated to the greatest act of love on earth—the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ!”

May the Passion of Christ be ever in our hearts!

A Passionist “Dad” Reflects on His Daughter’s Vocation

noraThe following is an excerpt of a reflection written by Matt Wenke on the occasion of his daughter Nora entering the Passionist Monastery in Whitesville, Kentucky. To read the full version, click here!

When other men’s daughters might have expressed an interest in the convent or the cloister, I wouldn’t have questioned it at all. “What a noble and beautiful vocation!” or “What a meaningful life with a holy purpose!”

When I heard of my own daughter’s interest in the cloister, my immediate thought was, “How often can you come home to visit?!!!” Isn’t this sad… that my first thought wasn’t just about Nora’s vocational fulfillment and spiritual well being? My initial thought was about the fact that I might be missing my daughter’s presence in my home and her gentle, delightful company.

I looked at my daughter. A pure soul. A deeply spiritual young woman, wanting to discern God’s call for her, freely. She has the desire to conform herself to God’s Will that I have prayed for, for all of my children, whether God’s call be to the single life, marriage, lay ministry or consecrated religious life. To be authentic followers, we have to be open to all choices, not just for ourselves, but for all of those we love and for all of God’s children.

When Nora came home from her three month aspirancy visit, she never fully returned. Her body was home, but her spirit belonged to a cloistered convent in Kentucky. She reminded me, “I need to be going about God’s work for me, and it isn’t here, anymore.” She didn’t say this, meanly. It was just a statement of fact. Nora’s words to me reminded me of Jesus’ words to His Mom and Dad (Mary and Joseph) at the Finding in the Temple… “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

I prayed to have the courage and love to give back to God, she whom He’d only loaned to us for nearly nineteen years, my only daughter. God gave His Son for me. Could I place back in His loving arms the beautiful daughter He had created?!

I won’t lie to you or pretend to be a strong, courageous man. I cried and cried countless times as I looked at my beloved daughter, praying the rosary beside me each night, and tears came to me as I looked at her, across the room at Morning prayer or during our recitation of the Angelus, many days at Noon. Not one day of her two month visit did I take her presence for granted.

Well, the time came. The Gospel reading was perfect … about finding a precious pearl and buying the field, in order to hide and later possess that valuable pearl or “treasure.” This “pearl” will be joined to the string of precious pearls, which is the Sisters. She will be balanced and placed in just the right place to further enhance the beauty of Jesus’ chain of pearls who are already there, in the cloister.

I observed with joy and wonder and awe Nora’s radiant joy upon returning to the cloister. Nothing bad for her could bring her this visible joy and peace and ecstasy she seemed to be experiencing! I was shocked on the morning of Nora’s entrance, that her joy and love were infectious. I could only think about my daughter’s joyful, unselfish, pure and FREE decision to enter cloistered religious life… and to give ALL to God! What is sad about that? Nothing! My daughter entered the cloister with my smiles and my blessing and my glorifying God…. For calling my dear daughter. She belongs to Him! So do you and me!

Is your daughter/granddaughter or other loved one thinking of joining the sisters or embracing a religious vocation?

Pray for courage and love and generosity. Don’t deprive yourself of a chance to sacrifice. Don’t deprive God of His Beloved Bride… your loved one!

MattWenke2Be assured of my prayers for you, whether you are the aspiring nun or her family and/or loved ones.


 Matthew R. Wenke

August 3, 2014, (One week after our daughter’s entrance).

Passionist Q & A


The "under 30 gang" in Whitesville
The “under 30 gang” in Whitesville

Who is Paul Francis Daneo, Italian mystic and saint, better known as?

St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) whose Feast Day is today, October 20th.

 What does their insignia – Jesu XPI Passio – mean??

Written in Greek and Latin, these words mean: “The Passion of Jesus Christ.”

Who are the Passionsist saints?

St. Maria Goretti, St. Innocent Canoura, St. Gabriel Possenti, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Vincent Strambi, Blessed Lorenzi Salvi, Blessed Dominic Barberi, and most recently St. Charles Houben. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Princess Diana’s great-great-great-uncle, Fr. Ignatius (George) Spencer, Passionist priest, is being proposed for sainthood. He is also the great-uncle of Winston Churchill.

How were the Passionists founded?

The sorrowful Mother appeared to St. Paul of the Cross in the eighteenth century dressed in the Passionist habit, asking him to found an institute to remember the sufferings and death of her Son.

What refrain do they hold close in their hearts?

“May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”

 Where can I learn more about the Passionists nuns?

Visit our three Affiliates’ websites! Located in: Ellisville, MOWhitesville, KYErlanger, KY

Thanks to the Passionist Fathers too for some of the ideas for the Q&A!

The Passionists of England

Fr. Ignatius
Fr. Ignatius

In the news recently, was an item stating that while Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, was in Malta, he attended his first official Catholic Mass. It was noted that one of his distant forebears, Fr. Ignatius of St. Paul (1799-1864), born Hon. George Spencer, is potentially on the road to canonization.

Fr. Ignatius is the great-great-great-uncle of his mother, Princess Diana (nee Spencer), may she rest in peace. An Anglican vicar before he became a Catholic and a Passionist, he spent his life working for the conversion of England back to the Catholic faith. Because of his tireless efforts for this cause, he is known as the Apostle of Prayer for England.

Instrumental in his life was Bl. Dominic Barberi, CP, the priest who brought the Passionists to England in 1841. Fr. Ignatius first met Bl. Dominic while studying in Rome and received the Passionsist habit from him in 1847. Bl. Dominic was also the one who received Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman into the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Newman had said: “If they (Catholics) want to convert England, let them go barefooted into our manufacturing towns—let them preach to the people like St. Francis Xavier—let them be pelted and trampled on, and I will own they can do what we cannot.”

Bl. Dominic, CP
Bl. Dominic, CP

Well, Father Barberi came barefoot; he was pelted with rocks and showered with obscenities. But he persevered. Cardinal Newman’s conversion in 1845 was a crowning achievement. Bl. Dominic had a heart attack while on a train in 1845 and the passengers, fearing he had cholera, had him removed and he died later that day. Strangely enough, Fr. Ignatius also died after leaving a train. He had a heart attack and collapsed into a roadside ditch in 1864. The two bodies now reside in a new shrine in Lancashire which also includes the remains of Elizabeth Prout, Mother Mary Joseph of Jesus, the Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion.

Cardinal Newman called Fr. Barberi a zealous missioner and preacher. “When his form came within sight, I was moved to the depths in the strangest way. The gaiety and affability of his manner in the midst of all his sanctity was in itself a sermon. No wonder then that I became his convert and his penitent. He was Bl. Dominic of the Mother of God, C.P., great lover of England.”


Only a Passionist Vocation WIll Do

cp imageFr. Jude Mead, CP, was a noted author, teacher, retreat master and dear friend of the IRL. He suddenly in 1992 just as he was preparing to attend, once again as Dean, the IRL’s summer school for religious. When he celebrated his Golden Anniversary as a priest, he had these beautiful words to share about his vocation:

If I could be sixteen again I would do exactly as I have done all over again and still savour every moment of it. I always wanted to be a priest. Once I met the Passionists, only the Passionist vocation would do. So when I turn up my toes, still rejoicing in all I have received, I hope another young man will step into my battered sandals, able to enjoy, as I have relished, all the moments of these past fifty years. For what little I have given, for the much I have received, for whatever is to come, I thank the One and Only God. Fr. Jude Mead, CP (1919-1992)

The Passionsist were founded by St. Paul of the Cross in Italy in. The mission of the Passionist men and women is to keep alive in the world the love of Jesus Crucified. For more information, please visit one of their websites.

The Passionist Spirit

Sr. Mary Andrea, CP
Sr. Mary Andrea, CP

Tomorrow the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionists. In a special way today, we offer up our prayers for Sr. Mary Andrea of the Incarnate Word who is making her Perpetual Consecration today to Jesus Crucified.

Sr. Mary Andrea is a Passionist nun in the community in Whitesville, Kentucky. These words of St. Paul of the Cross were recalled at her First Profession:

Proclaim the message of the Cross in the Sacred Wounds of our most lovable Redeemer opened more by His infinite love than by the hard nails, so that we may drink the saving waters of grace in these springs of eternal life.

We also want to thank God for her superior, Mother Catherine Marie, CP, who celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Passionist nun on August 24, 2013. Here is what one of her sisters said to honor Mother on her special day:

Mother Catherine Marie, CP, and her mother!
Mother Catherine Marie, CP, and her mother!

What IS this Passionist spirit? What is it that drives you and your community, Reverend Mother and all those who accompany you in this pilgrimage to and around the Cross of our Lord and our Sorrowful Mother? It is to be one with Jesus in that moment of His death and resurrection. You often quote to us that expression of Father F. X. Durwell who said: “Jesus Christ is fixated forever at that moment of His death and resurrection.” Passionists focus on the suffering and death of Jesus, all of which leads to the glorious resurrection of our Lord.

Striving to Reach the Goal

mother_mary_salvador_webOn May 13, 2013, Mother Mary Salvador of the Heart of Jesus, C.P., was laid to rest in the Passionist’s community cemetery in Ellisville, Missouri. Anyone who called the Passionists to request prayers or one of their handmade note cards was greeted with the sweet and gentle voice of this dear sister.

Mother was actually an active sister who 20 years after her entrance into religious life transferred, “to our great joy” as the nuns said, to the Passionists.

This link directs you to a short video of Mother Mary Salvador and her reflection on the Passionist vocation and the value of suffering. She reminds us that to reach the Resurrection, it is necessary to pass through Good Friday. No one questions the sweat, sacrifices, pain and labor that an athlete goes through to reach the finish line. We have a much greater goal in store for us – a heavenly union with God!

The Passionists’ motto is: May the Passion of Jesus Christ Be Always in Our Hearts. Like Jesus, who bore our sins on the Cross, the sisters take our sufferings and offer them on our behalf to Jesus, that it might bear fruit in our lives and give us the hope and grace to see beyond it. It is not a simply desire for endurance in suffering; it is the hope that we will experience a foretaste of the glory and joy that is to come.

Please pray that these sisters will receive many holy vocations. Our poor, suffering world needs their witness for without the remembrance of the Passion of Christ and what it won for us, the light of faith will grow dimmer in our world.

The Fruits of the “Nun Run”

Lest anyone doubt the fruitfulness of  the “Nun Runs” I cite the recent example of a young woman from Minnesota who went on a “nun run” with 12 other young women from the University of St. Thomas. They visited  ten different convents in ten days in March of 2007, one which was the home of the Passionist Nuns in Whitesville, KY

The Passionists are one of the least known of our nation’s contemplative, cloistered communities so I am thankful that these young women made the long trek to Kentucky to experience their life.  Founded by St. Paul of the Cross, the Passionist Nuns are “Consecrated as brides of the Crucified by their holy vows, they live solely for the Christ and His Body, which is the Church…The Passionist Nuns vow to live in the light of the self-sacrificng love of Jesus.”

As the “Nun Run” van pulled into the Passionist driveway, one of the young women said to Ane Kirstine Wynn, “This is so exciting. Maybe one of us has a Passionist vocation! You might have a Passionist vocation!”  Her words proved to be prophetic as Kirstine found herself drawn to the Passionst way of life.

Kirstine, a Lutheran convert,  returned two years later for her three month aspirancy. After a year as a postulant, she received the beautiful Passionist habit and her religious name: Sr. Cecilia Maria. Finally, on February 2, 2013, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, she pronounced the five Passionist vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, enclosure and the vow to keep the Passion of Our Lord alive in her heart and in the hearts of the faithful.

Within the Church, the Passionist Nuns are called to be a sign of the love of Jesus Crucified for the Father and for mankind. By their unceasing contemplation of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, the greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love, they are certain of contributing to the fullness of the Church’s presence to mankind…convinced of the absolute necessity of God’s grace for the fruitfulness of the apostolate, they offer their unceasing prayer and joyful penance that God send zealous workers into His harvest, convert sinners and open the minds of non-Christians to hear the Gospel.

Passionist Open House

For all those near the Passionist Monastery in Erlanger, KY, an open house is scheduled for October 14, 2012, from 1:00 – 4:30pm. Erlanger is about 10 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. The nuns will be in the parlor to greet visitors and to answer questions.

The address: 1151 Donaldson Highway, Erlanger, KY, (859)371-8568

The Passionists were founded by St. Paul of the Cross who died in 1775.  The nuns are a beautiful, cloistered order who pray for the needs of the world. Please ask God to send many holy vocations to the many communities of Passionsts throughout the world, especially to our Member Communities in Erlanger, KY, Whitesville, KY,: Pittsburgh, PA; and Ellisville, MO.

Their mission is to live with Mary at the foot of the cross, and by their compassion for her sorrows and the sufferings of her Son, to win the grace of salvation for countless souls.

“I felt pain in seeing my dear God so offended. I could faint from seeing so many souls lost for not feeling the fruit of the Passion of Jesus. A desire to convert all sinners will not leave me.”  St. Paul of the Cross


Uniting Suffering to the Cross

Mother Mary Salvador, CP, of the Passionsist Nuns of Ellisville, MO, thinks it is no accident that her bout with pneumonia and hospitalization occurred on the same day that President Obama announced his “compromise” for religious employers who objected to the HHS health Care mandate.  The Passionists, along with seven other contemplative communities in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, have joined together to pray for religious liberty.

There is value in suffering, she says, and it is important to take all of our suffering and turn it into prayer. The Passionist motto is:  “May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”Sister Veronica says, “As the mystical body of Christ, we can unite to Jesus on the Cross.”  In the Gospel of John, Jesus prayed that “they may be one, even as We are one.” Mother Mary Salvador says it is important to pray together. The impact of prayer is greater when “we all speak together. It’s important that we do this unanimously.”

The entire article is available from the St. Louis Review.  Let us join them as we pray with one voice to the Father:

Almighty God, Father of all nations,

For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).

We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,

the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.

Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;

by your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for our­selves and for all those who live in this blessed land. We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign,

one God, forever and ever.