Mary, Queen of the Passionist Congregation
Our Blessed Mother’s continual guiding presence marked the beginnings of the Passionist Congregation. Our tradition has it that she made known to our Holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, the mission God had assigned to him–that of founding the Passionists.
St. Paul of the Cross cherished a tender filial devotion to Mary, and honored her particularly under the titles of Our Mother of Sorrows, and Our Mother of Holy Hope.
When Paul wrote the primitive Rule of the Passionist Nuns, he legislated that Our Mother of Sorrows would be the “Abbess” of the monastery. The one elected as superior would be her representative.
Much of this history is commemorated in the daily reflections for the Septenary in Honor of Our Mother of Sorrows.
Our Passionist Marian devotion is also expressed in the following and many other ways
- Each day, the Nuns are free to take time to pray the rosary at their own pace and with their own manner of meditating on the mysteries. This assures that it is not mindless rattling of vocal prayers, but truly “an exquisitely contemplative prayer”. (Cf Pope John Paul II, #12 of his Letter on the Rosary) “By its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace….”
- Every Saturday is devoted to honoring Mary by a Votive Mass and Office.
- At the end of Night Prayer on Fridays of Lent and Ordinary Time, we sing several verses from the Stabat Mater as the closing Marian antiphon.
- Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary (St. Louis deMontfort consecration) is encouraged from the beginning of one’s religious life.
- We pray in common a 9-day novena in preparation for the Feast of the Assumption(August 15), and a 7-day Septenary in preparation for the Feast of Our Mother of Sorrows (September 15).
- We have a 4-day retreat in preparation for the devotional renewal of our vows on the feast of Mary’s Presentation in the Temple (November 21).
- We have a private community May Procession and also an October Rosary Procession.
- Passionist tradition has bequeathed us several wonderful communal prayers, among which are our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (prayed on the feast of her Immaculate Heart), our Prayer to Our Mother of Sorrows (prayed on the feast of her Sorrows, along with the 7-Dolor Rosary), and our October Rosary prayer.
- The constant contemplation with Mary of the Face of Christ in the mysteries of His life, death and resurrection, learning from her to “read” the Heart and Soul of Christ, to discover His secrets and understand His saving Word. (Cf. Pope John Paul II, Letter on the Rosary)
- St. Paul of the Cross wrote in our primitive Rule:“Let them act as most loving and faithful handmaids and daughters of the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary Most Holy. Let them invoke her in all their bodily and spiritual needs, both personal and communal. Above all, let them go in spirit to Calvary every day, pondering and compassionating the most bitter sorrows suffered by her in the Passion and Death of her Divine Son. On occasions which may present themselves, let them also endeavor both by word and deed to instill this love, devotion and veneration for her sorrows in others.”
- After Night Prayer each day, we recite privately 7 Hail Marys in honor of her sorrows, to obtain the grace of perseverance in our holy vocation.
- When a Nun is dying within the cloister, it is customary if possible, to bring to the side of the deathbed, the small statue of the Pieta, to comfort the dying Nun with the maternal presence and care of the Mother of Sorrows who stood by the cross of her dying Son.
- The motto St. Paul of the Cross gave to the Passionist Congregation: “May the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary be ever in our hearts!”
Truly, our devotion to the Passion of Jesus itself is very “Marian,” for who more than Our Blessed Mother could have loved Him more, shared His sufferings with Him more faithfully, or treasured more constantly the loving memories of Jesus impressed upon her heart?
Passionists are called to do as Mary does: “Mary constantly sets before the faithful the mysteries of her Son, with the desire that the contemplation of those mysteries will release all their saving power.” ~ Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, #11