Today is the anniversary of the foundation of the Monastery of the Presentation in Tarquinia, Italy (-in the eighteenth century, the town was called Corneto). This was the first monastery of the Passionist Contemplative Nuns, founded by Saint Paul of the Cross. The first “Madre presidente” (-Paul never liked the word “superior” for his religious, men or women; instead the nuns had a “presiding mother”, as the blessed Virgin was to be the superior) was the Venerable Maria Crocifissa of Jesus, who had been a Benedictine nun before the founding of the new monastery. On this day, formerly the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross, she and her companions began the female dimension of Passionist religious life. This was the monastery that Saint Gemma Galgani wished to enter; she was unable to do so because of her health and also because the Madre presidente did not like the idea of a stigmatist in the community, probably thinking it would disturb the quiet of the monastery if people knew she was there.
Not only have the Passionist Nuns spread to other countries and continents – such as France, Spain, Belgium, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Indonesia… – but women’s congregations of apostolic life ( at least seven of them) have been founded to live the Passionist charism in different ways. Today I wished the two Sisters of the Cross and Passion who work with us (Sister Maureen and Sister Edith) a “happy International Women Passionists Day”! -Then I had to explain to them that I had just invented it, because on this day in 1771 the first female Passionists set out on their journey to religious profession.
Here are some pictures of the Monastery.