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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Passion for England: The Astonishing Story of the Passionists

‘From their commencement of their existence as a body, Passionists have been sighing to shed their blood for England.’

~Passionist Father Ignatius Spencer, Anglican convert and the great, great, great uncle of Lady Diana Spencer

Of all the amazing stories surrounding England and Christianity, the story of the Congregation of the Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (‘Passionists’) stands out. What can one say about a group of Italian idealists – monks and priests – who consecrated their lives to the conversion of England, just when all seemed darkest for the Catholic cause?

For it was almost 200 years after Henry broke from Rome, in the waning days of 1720, that Saint Paul of the Cross recorded his thoughts and prayers in a diary kept during a Forty Day retreat whilst writing the Rule of his Passionist order. On the Feast of Saint Stephen, December 26, he tells us,
‘On Thursday I experienced a particular spiritual uplift, especially during Holy Communion. I longed to go and die as a martyr in some place where the adorable mystery of the most Blessed Sacrament is denied. The Infinite Goodness has given me this desire for some time, but today I felt it in a special way. I desired the conversion of heretics, especially in England and the neighbouring kingdoms, and I offered a special prayer for this intention during Holy Communion.’ 
Read more at Regina >>

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