Recently, I’ve been reading the biography of Saint Gemma Galgani, the Italian mystic, stigmatic and saint (and now numbered amongst my favorite saints) of the Passionist order. I did not know much about the Passionists, so I set out to learn a little more. Here is what I learned:
- The Passionists are a religious congregation made up of priests, brothers, nuns, sisters, and laity. Their official name is Congregatio Passionis Iesu Christi (Congregation of the Passion of Christ). Professed members use the initials C.P. after their names.
- They were founded in Italy in 1720, by Paul Francis Daneo, an Italian mystic and saint popularly known as St. Paul of the Cross.
- The Passionist mission is the communication of the saving message of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
- There are 2,179 Passionists in 59 countries on the five continents.
- The special insignia of every Passionist is the “Sign,” the heart shaped emblem you see on their habit. In the middle of the emblem are the words, “Jesu XPI Passio,” which mean: “the Passion of Jesus Christ.” The three nails at the bottom and the cross at the top remind us symbolically of His suffering and death.
- Among the many Passionist saints and blesseds are St. Gemma Galgani, a lay Passionist, St. Maria Goretti, also a lay Passionist, and St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, a student.
- Passionist Bl. Dominic Barberi, an Italian theologian, was noted for receiving Bl. John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church.
- The Passionist motto is “May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts.”
- See also, The Marians