The news was carried through the cloister halls today during our recreation afternoon in honor of our Founder’s Feast Day…
“Did you hear the big news?”, one Sister said to me. She then proceeded to share about the phenomenal news released today by the Vatican regarding the Apostolic Constitution in which Pope Benedict XVI is providing a canonical structure which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. WOW! and on the Feast of our Founder who so fervently prayed for England and her return to the Catholic Church.
Well, this “holy coincidence” has been noticed by at least one other in the blogosphere who wrote “St. Paul of the Cross and the Conversion of England“. I will quote it in part:
So is there any significance in the date of today’s announcement that Pope Benedict has signed an Apostolic Constitution which will allow entire Anglican communities to reenter the Catholic Church en masse? I think so.
October 20 is the feast day of Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), the founder of the Passionists. Though Saint Paul spent his life in Italy, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes that “For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his [spiritual] sons.”
Almost 65 years after his death, the Passionists were first introduced into England, and the Catholic Encyclopedia declares that “They came in the spirit of Apostles without gold or silver, without scrip or staff or shoes or two coats,” yet they “soon revived without commotion several Catholic customs and practices which had died out since the Reformation. They were the first to adopt strict community life, to wear their habit in public, to give missions and retreats to the people, and to hold public religious processions.
“Father Pius Devine, in an 1882 manuscript cited by the Catholic Encyclopedia, remarks that the Passionist in England “gloried in the disgrace of the Cross, were laughed at by Protestants, warned by timid Catholics, but encouraged always by Cardinal Wiseman. Their courage became infectious, so that in a short time almost every order now in England followed their example.”
All of this may simply be a coincidence. But considering Pope Benedict’s sensitivity to the symbolism of dates, I don’t think so. In any case, on this historic day, we can join Saint Paul of the Cross in praying for the conversion of England.
And here is some related news from this past August regarding the 10 cloistered Episcopal Nuns and their entrance into full communion with the Catholic Church. – Praise the Lord!
O Paul, Hunter of Souls, preacher of the Gospel…ora pro nobis!