InFormation (2021) Moments in Time 

Moments: 100 Years in America, Many Moments!

The Louisville Courier-Journal, 29 April 1952

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Click to enlarge.It all started in Pittsburgh in 1852 with the arrival of men from Italy to introduce America to the mission of the Passionists: Preaching Christ Crucified. They were invited by Bishop Michael O'Connor of Pittsburgh and given land by the diocese upon which to build a monastery. It was a fraught transition as the anti-Catholic sentiment in America was strong and divisive. The first profession of an American citizen occurred in 1855 and the first ordination in 1860 (Fr. Andrew McGurgan, C.P.).

The brethren must have been ecstatic over the canonization of their founder, Paul Francis Danei (1864-1775)—St. Paul of the Cross—just 90 years after his death. Monasteries—more often referred to as retreats—were established on the East Coast and Midwest: Dunkirk, New York, Union City, New Jersey, Baltimore, Maryland, Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky, Normandy, Missouri, and St. Paul, Kansas in the next 30 years. More monasteries were to come: Scranton, Pennsylvania and Chicago, Illinois around the turn of the century.

By the time of World War I, 11 priests of the Order were to serve as chaplains. During the Roaring Twenties, the Passionists were busy sending missionaries to China, eleven bands of more than 30 men. Some of these men suffered imprisonment and death at the hands of the Communist regime, others were eventually commended for their service to the Chinese people before and during World War II.

During that war, the Passionists of St. Paul of the Cross Province contributed more than 50 chaplains to the war effort and assigned their China missionaries as contract chaplains. Nine missionaries were imprisoned by the Japanese in Hong Kong and Beijing.

One aspect of this chronology that the timeline does not capture is the physical sacrifice, hard labor, bone-jarring travel, fiscal distress, and persecution that these men endured. This speaks to both the character of the individual and the dedication of all to their mission: Preaching Christ crucified.

Archives Home Page You can find a very thorough timeline of events from 1852-1952 in the Passionist Historical Archives.