By Fr Jeroen Hoogland cp, Rector
In 2020 we will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Passionist Congregation. November 22nd 1720 is considered to be the moment when it began. On that day St. Paul of the Cross was clothed in a black habit to mark the start of his life as a hermit. He then made a 40-day retreat during which he wrote the Rule of Life for the religious congregation he wanted to establish.
This Rule describes a community which would lead a life of prayer and contemplation combined with apostolic outreach through ministry of preaching and spiritual guidance. Paul found his inspiration in the Passion of Jesus. He considered this to be the supreme revelation of God’s love and vowed to dedicate his life to keeping alive the Memory of the Passion.
It took many years for the Congregation to get established and receive formal approval. Towards the end of his life Paul also founded a community of Passionist contemplative nuns. Since then several congregations of sisters and brothers and lay associations sprung up that follow the inspiration of St. Paul of the Cross.
At Minsteracres we are blessed to have several dimensions of the Passionist Family represented Collaboratively we try to build on the legacy of St. Paul of the Cross and express it in response to the spiritual and social needs of our time.
A special icon has been created to mark the jubilee. It is a triptych with the crucified Christ in the centre and Mary and Paul of the Cross at the foot of the cross. On the side panels we see Passionist saints: St. Gemma, Blessed Isidore, St. Gabriel and Blessed Dominic.
The Jubilee Icon will tour the world during the next couple of years. I am delighted that we will host it at Minsteracres around Easter and that it will be a focal point during the Holy Week Retreat. During the meeting of Passionist leaders from the North European region there will also be an opportunity to see the icon during a reflective evening. This will be on Wednesday 1st May at 7.30pm in the chapel and everyone is welcome.
I end by wishing you, on behalf of all at Minsteracres, an inspiring Holy Week and a joyful Easter.