Archive for the ‘St Paul of the Cross’ Category

I was in Dublin for a meeting recently on a clear and sunny February day. Here is a picture of the park in front of Mount Argus, with the monastery and church just visible behind the trees; I took this from the bus stop on Lower Kimmage Road.

Here is a view of the front of the church. When the Retreat (or monastery) was opened in 1863, it was dedicated to Blessed Paul of the Cross, who was not canonised until 1867. In 1878, the present church replaced the temporary chapel which the Passionists had built after their arrival in 1856 (-it was located in front of the entrance to the present community cemetery). Like the Retreat, it was dedicated to Paul of the Cross, now honoured as a saint; he is shown in the tympanum at the apex of the facade preaching to the assembled faithful from the mission platform while an angelic prompter whispers in his ear.

Beyond the three arches are the oak doors of the church. Above each of these is depicted an incident from the life of Saint Paul of the Cross. The first of these is found in various biographies of Saint Paul. It shows Our Lady rescuing him by pulling him out of a river into which he had fallen.

The second shows Our Lady giving the Passionist Habit to Saint Paul of the Cross. As you can see, it seems to be the pigeons’ favourite

The third shows the Pope (presumably Benedict XIV) giving the Rules and Constitutions to Saint Paul of the Cross. If you looke closely, you will see, between the two figures, the galero of the cardinal who is standing behind them.

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Today is the birthday of Saint Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists. He was born on this day in 1694 in the town of Ovada in northern Italy. Last october, during a pilgrimage called In the Footsteps of Saint Paul of the Cross , I spent a few days in Ovada with a group of Australian Passionists and our Superior General, Father Ottaviano. The official photographer to the pilgrimage was Father Gary of The Passionist Charism. Here are some of his pictures.

The Danei family home in Ovada, birthplace of Saint Paul of the Cross

The General of the Passionists celebrating Mass in the room where Paul was born

Italian homily with English translation

Passionist Pilgrims

The font from the old parish church (where Saint Paul was baptised) is now preserved in the Danei family home

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On This Day

From the Spiritual Diary of Saint Paul of the Cross, Feast of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, 29 December 1720:
At prayer during the night I was peaceful, and also a little distracted. I felt a particular recollection in offering his most holy Life, Death and Passion, also in my petitions, especially for heretics. I had a particular inspiration to pray for the conversion of England, especially since I wanted the standard of the faith to be raised there so that the devotion, reverence, homage, love and frequent adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament, the ineffable mystery of the most holy love of God, would be increased so that his holy Name might be glorified in a more special way. The desire to die as a martyr never leaves me, especially for the most Blessed Sacrament, that is, in places where people do not believe.

Picture found at Writings of Dominic Barberi and Ignatius Spencer

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As well as being the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, today is the birthday of Saint Paul of the Cross, who was born on 3 January 1694 in the town of Ovada, Italy. Unfortunately I haven’t been to Ovada since November 2005, so I don’t have any photographs; instead, here are some pictures of the Chapel and Tomb of Saint Paul of the Cross at Saints John and Paul, Rome.

The ceiling shows Saint Paul of the Cross in Glory; at the sides are scenes from his life.

Here is a close(er)-up of the panel depicting his death.

The body of our Saint can be seen under the altar. This altar is made of many different kinds of marble and other rare stones; it was the gift of Prince Torlonia who also gave the altar for the Basilica of Our Lady built at Boulogne-sur-Mer by the Abbé Haffreingue, a good friend of Blessed Dominic Barberi and the Servant of God Father Ignatius Spencer C.P.

Did you notice the altar crucifix and candlesticks? Here are some close-ups of their bases, with some of the Arma Christi, the Instruments of the Passion.

The Crown of Thorns

The Titulus Crucis

The Veil of Veronica

On the back is a coat of arms, presumably that of the donor of the crucifix and candlesticks; perhaps some kind reader knows whose coat of arms this is.

On the side of the altar itself is the coat of arms of the Torlonia family…

and behind the altar, an inscription remembers an act of princely generosity.

Happy Birthday, Paolo.

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Today Father Gary has a post at The Passionist Charism on Saint Paul of the Cross’s brother, Antonio Danei, whose anniversary of ordination is tomorrow. Antonio was the first witness to be called at the Ordinary Process for the Beatification and Canonisation of Paul of the Cross held in Alessandria in July 1777, less than two years after Paul’s death. Antonio was only ten years old when his brother Paul embarked on his new way of life after receiving the black habit of a penitent-hermit from Bishop Gattinara of Alessandria. At the time of the Canonisation Processes, Antonio was sixty-seven years old. He describes himself as a secular priest and poor ecclesiastic. In his testimony he describes how one day, while he was living with Paul on Monte Argentario, he went into Paul’s room when Paul wasn’t there and, out of curiosity, he opened a drawer in which he found a book covered in parchment and bound with thread. When he opened it, he discovered that it was a manuscript written in Paul’s own hand. He began to read it. In the book Paul described how, coming one day from the Capuchin church (in Castellazo), after having received communion, as he was returning home along a street called de’ Corazza, he saw himself in spirit clothed in a black robe with a white cross on the breast, under which was the name of Jesus, and he heard these words: This is a sign of how pure that heart must be which must carry the most holy name of Jesus graven upon it. Antonio concludes the story by saying: In reading this, I was completely filled with feelings of tenderness, and I could not hold back the tears; however, I read no further for fear of being surprised there by Father Paul (Processi, II, 10). Antonio’s recollection about forty years after he read the text bears an amazing similarity to Paul’s own account of the experience in the Preface to the Rule.

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“It would seem that Almighty God had chosen Father Paul [Saint Paul of the Cross] to teach people how to seek him in the interior of their own hearts”

(Saint Vincent Mary Strambi, Life of Father Paul of the Cross).

Would Saint Paul of the Cross have been a blogger? He wrote thousands of letters during his lifetime, but could have reached more people with a blog. Would he have been podcasting as well as preaching? I don’t know, but I hope these pages will help me and anyone reading them to seek God in the interior of our own hearts.

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