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Monday, 13 April 2015 11:50

Passionist nuns celebrate 200 years

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passionist sisters 150The Passionist Sisters of St Paul of the Cross celebrated the bicentenary of their foundation in Adelaide on March 22.

The 200th anniversary was marked by a Mass at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, attended by six Passionist sisters living in Adelaide and Sydney. The Mass followed celebrations earlier in the month at the Glen Osmond Monastery and the Sisters’ Parkside residence.

The Sisters paid tribute to their foundress Maria Maddalena Frescobaldi – a married woman and mother born in Florence, Italy. The community she began was built on the charism of the passion of Jesus and the sorrows of his mother Mary. 

The community she founded began with four young converted prostitutes on March 17, 1815. They were to continue her work of reclaiming the poor and used young women for Christ. The mission of the Sisters broadened and they are now spread across 27 countries assisting in parishes, pastoral life, education, hospitals, half-way houses and orphanages.

PassionistSisters smallIn Adelaide, there are five sisters working as pastoral associates and school chaplains. They have had a presence here, in Parkside, for the past 13 years. 

Sr Jasmine Lawrence cp, pastoral associated at the Kingswood/Goodwood/Colonel Light Gardens parish cluster, said Maria Maddalena’s values of respect for all, God’s unconditional love and forgiveness beyond measure remained an inspiration to her.

“She was a very wise woman who remained faithful to her vocation as wife and mother and was able to balance married and family life with her work with the fallen women and live her life to the full,” she said.

“What really fascinated me (about the order) was that the first Sisters of the congregation were prostitutes and the rule was not to talk about their past lives because Maria Maddalena wanted all the young women to start off on an equal basis.”

(Photo shows Passionist Sisters of St Paul of the Cross from Adelaide and Sydney with seminarians and religious from St Paul’s Monastery, in Glen Osmond.)

This article was first published in the April 2015 issue of The Southern Cross, the official publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.