Archive for May, 2008

You may have noticed a painting in the last picture of my previous post about Lourdes. The painting, which (as far as I remember) is from the 1860s, shows Saint Paul of the Cross and a companion walking beside some of the brigands whose unofficial chaplain he was. Here is a closer view; unfortunately the light is not very even in this photo.

And here is a detail of one of the brigands, which give a better idea of the quality and colours of the painting:

On the back wall of the chapel is a large painting of Saint Paul of the Cross in ecstasy. I have seen a similar painting in Rome, but much smaller; this one is about six feet by four feet.

According to Father Patrick, the two paintings were in earlier Passionist houses in France and were moved to Lourdes when this house, the Relais Nazareth, was bought.

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(Urna containing the Relics of Saint Gemma Galgani, Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin and Saint Maria Goretti)

In following Christ and imitating Mary, we must have the courage of humility; we must entrust ourselves humbly to the Lord, because only in this way will we be able to become docile instruments in his hands and allow him to do great things in us. The Lord worked great miracles in Mary and in the Saints! I am thinking, for example, of Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena, Patrons of Italy. I am thinking also of splendid young people like St Gemma Galgani, St Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, St Louis Gonzaga, St Dominic Savio, St Maria Goretti, born not far from here, and the Blesseds, Piergiorgio Frassati and Alberto Marvelli. And I am also thinking of numerous young men and women who belong to the ranks of the “anonymous” Saints, but who are not anonymous to God. For him, every individual person is unique, with his or her own name and face. All, and you know it, are called to be Saints!
(Pope Benedict XVI to young people at Loreto, 2 September 2007)

In listing some saints who were splendid young people last year, Pope Benedict highlighted five young Italians who have been canonised, three of whom are saints of the Passionist family. Today, in preparation for the World Youth Day, Father Tiernan Docherty C.P. received from the Passionist generalate in Rome the relics of those three young saints, Saint Gemma Galgani, Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin and Saint Maria Goretti. The relics will now begin a missionary journey around various dioceses of Australia in preparation for the World Youth Day. As part of this programme, they will be at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. On Sunday 3 June at 6.00 p.m., Cardinal Pell will receive the relics at the Cathedral and then celebrate Mass.

During the World Youth Day events, from 15 to 21 July, the relics will be exposed for veneration in the Passionist Church, Saint Brigid’s, Marrickville, Sydney. (E-mailed info and photo from Father Gary.)

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Passionists in Lourdes

I recently attended the Provincial Chapter of the French Passionists which was held at the Relais Nazareth, the new Passionist house in Lourdes. This is, of course, a Jubilee Year in Lourdes, so I was able to make my Jubilee pilgrimage before the Chapter opened. The arches shown below are acting as the Holy Doors for the Jubilee Year. There is also a special itinerary which brings the pilgrim to the Parish Church where Bernadette was baptised, the Hospice chapel in the town where she made her First Holy Communion, the Cachot where she lived, and the Grotto where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette.

There has been a lot of new building since my last visit to Lourdes, almost twenty years ago, but since most of you know more about that than I do, I will confine myself to some photos of the new Passionist house. The house is located near the cemetery where the Soubirous family are buried.

Go through the cemetery and, as you leave through the gate at the far end, turn right and then left: you will find yourself in the rue du Sacre Coeur (-I don’t know how to do accents with this programme).

The Relais Nazareth is located in the aforementioned and unaccented rue.

Having seen the doorbell, now have a look at the rest of the house as seen from the rue.

The Relais Nazareth is only about ten or fifteen minutes walk from the Grotto (downhill going and uphill coming back). It is in a quiet part of the town and is ideally suited for retreats. Here are the inner courtyard,…

…the view of the hills beyond,…

…and the entrance to the Chapel.

Here you can see the interior of the Chapel…

…and the conference room where the Chapter was held.

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Two Passionist Blogs

Here are two Passionist blogs I came across recently:
PassioNews is maintained by Father Philippe Plet C.P. As the name suggests, it gives news items and photographs on Passionist topics. Its unique selling deature is that it does so in French. The official Passio Christi news pages are only offered in English, Spanish and Italian, so this site is a must for Francophone readers.
The other blog is called In the Shadow of His Wings. It is the blog of the Passionist Contemplative Nuns of Saint Joseph Monastery, Whitesville, Kentucky. I’ll add links to both in the sidebar under Sites of Passionist Interest.

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