Passionist Youth Ministry

The Passionists Youth Movement (PYM) gathered for its annual retreat at Holy Cross Templestowe, beginning Friday 21st September with a session on the theme of Hospitality as an important element of the Passionist charism and ending Sunday morning with 10:30am Mass. Where do we experience hospitality and how can we extend hospitality to others? Across the time there were 17 young adults who attended and all expressed gratitude for the time out of the busy pace of life and some time with God.

Exploring Discipleship on the Saturday, we looked at St Paul of the Cross and Elizabeth Prout as disciples themselves, and at how people are called to follow Christ. Contemporary examples of the same were introduced too- where do we see discipleship in the modern world and where would we expect to find people like Elizabeth Prout and Paul of the Cross in today’s society. Mother Teresa and Archbishop Oscar Romero were two obvious examples of discipleship. We discussed how often the more significant examples are drawn from places of extremes of poverty. But people like Moira Kelly, Jim Stynes and Bono – indeed modern men and women – are all disciples doing Christ’s work, and all who combine it with the behaviours of a prophet: seeing injustice, judging that it’s wrong, and acting to bring about change, speaking out against the wrong. How then can we as young people be Christian disciples in this modern world?

Discernment: sitting with a decision needing to be made or two alternatives offered to you; reflecting on your feelings about the situation; listening to your deepest desires; and listening for God’s guidance. Each young adult there had different challenges to discern. And through scripture, discussion and particularly reflection we looked at possible barriers that prevent us from experiencing the fullness of life. We were given that time to discern and to listen for God. And we all agreed- unless you give it the time, the decision will be delayed or the choice may indeed be wrong. The quiet and the contemplation are essential for us all in our faith and in our lives.

Sunday morning looked at commitment: how can we better extend hospitality to others; what can each of us do to commit to being better followers of Christ; what can we do to allow ourselves time with God; and how can I see PYM being a part of my life and supporting me in my faith journey.

These sessions were around meals, music, time in the sun, some art and much, much conversation. And I think formal content aside it is this talking with other young people of the Catholic faith who are journeying, just like you that makes a difference. If PYM can facilitate these opportunities in the form of retreats and our monthly gatherings here at Holy Cross then we are indeed fulfilling the need of such young people.

Thank you to Maria-Grazia Ricchetti and Loredana Guinane for their wonderful contribution to the planning and facilitation of the retreat- these young women have worked in youth ministry in different forms for ten years now already and bring so much to the Team. A special thank you too to Sr Brigid Murphy CP and Fr Kevin Hennessy CP for the support they provided us in the planning process of the retreat and across the weekend itself- we are spoilt to have such knowledge, wisdom and depth of experience being shared with us.

– Marita Stretch

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Elizabeth Prout Moves Closer to Sainthood

A Victorian nun known as the Mother Theresa of Manchester has moved a step closer to sainthood today after Vatican officials approved her life’s work as worthy of canonisation.

Sister Elizabeth Prout, who lived and worked in the slums of Manchester over 160 years ago, could become the first female British saint in over 40 years if approved by Pope Benedict XVI.

Theologians attached to the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood have ruled that Sister Elizabeth lived out the virtues of faith, hope and charity to a heroic degree.

Read more:

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My name is Aurora Lopez Baltazar

It gives me great pleasure to share some of our experiences, dreams sadnesses and joys with you in a spirit of friendship.

13 years ago  two “angels ” came to our community:  Sister Clare Dawson and Fr Joe Shields.

It was as if we had been born anew and our lives changed completely. They helped us to see that we had a special gift, that we could change our way of life, that we could say NO to violence and YES to Life.

At first I didn’t respond to anything that was said. I felt like a dried-up tree, angry with life and with others.

But Clarita whom I love and respect had great patience with me.  The unconditional love that she and the other Sisters of the Cross and Passion are able to give helped us to find Hope .We were able to recognize our own gifts of leadership.  Many of us who had not had the opportunity to finish our primary or   secondary education did so.  Having completed our basic education, we were able to improve our own lives and then finish courses which helped us personally and professionally as well as helping the community.

The Sisters of the Cross and Passion put Life into our lives. Before we met them our lives were like the desert where we live. We had done nothing to improve our situation. There was a lot of violence against children and against women. Now I am proud to belong to one of the groups of women leaders in our community. I tell Clarita, ” You are the water, the air, the earth which I need, which the women and children need ”

Thanks to the encouragement and support we receive, we are  now like trees with branches, green leaves and strong roots.

In our area we now have a centre for babies and toddlers, children and adolescents. Many were suffering from anemia or malnutrition when they came to the centre and now they are healthy and well nourished    because they get a well- balanced meal and 2 snacks every day.  The children who go to school get help with their homework. There are after- school courses in crafts, dancing and English. Parents receive education on nutrition and childcare as well as enjoying aerobics classes.

I thank God for bringing the Sisters of the Cross and Passion into our lives because we still have a great deal to do together.

Aurora is a member of the Passionist Family in the parish of Nuestra Señors de la Paz in VIlla el Salvador,  Lima, Peru

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Suffer little children to come unto me

For a long time I have wanted to be part of a solidarity group, but with one condition, (that is what I thought), that they would be children.

Quite a long spell passed until one day a friend of mine, Laura, said to me: “there are sisters who go to Mass with a group of children and they live in the Matadero”.   I got their phone number and on the Children’s Day of 2010 I went to bring along some little presents and to see for myself.   Little did I think that that day would be so important in my life!

I told them that I was a psychologist and that I would like to help wherever I could.   They called me and I began to go one day a week.   Everything was so strange at the beginning.   It was my first experience with religious; I am not very religious; moreover anti-religious and distrusting.

But strange things began to happen to me.   I was sad or depressed and I went to the room which is called Carlos Mujica where the children and the sisters were, and I returned well and happy.   I went with 10 and returned with 100?!

One day I saw the film “The Holy Cross” and I realised that the Passionists Fathers were the first to offer shelter in their parish to the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.   I began to ask questions, find out things, all my doubts were directed mainly to one sister, Gladys, and she in her gentle way, her patience and humility, helped me to get to know God.   The God that is good, compassionate, understanding, forgiving and full of love, who always has the door open for all of us; and not the God to be feared, who is always ready to chastise us for our sins, severe and at times cruel, unjust, that frightens and drives us away.

In this way I began to integrate myself in the Project “Allow the children to come to me”.   It is an educational project, which, with the help of teachers and voluntary workers, has as its aim “to take the children off the streets”.   There are 120 children between 3 and 13 that during the week get a snack, help with school work, physical education, computer skills, music, song, along with help for the children and their families. (This is my work and the service I offer, which I do) but, like the sisters, I am wherever I am needed).   The objective of the project is to help to recuperate the dignity of the children of God: as simple as that.   What a challenge: poor children, marginalised, with no space within the system, who are hungry, cold, badly treated and without assistance; links in a historic chain that never seems to end.

With the sisters we decided that the challenge would be to cut the chain, and we are willing to do what it takes to give the children a different option to what the street offers them, and fight to free them.   This means a huge transformation.   We have discovered that more than half of our children between the ages of 8 and 11 are illiterate and many more semi-illiterate.   This is the result of the schooling they receive where the objective should be that at the end of the primary cycle all children should be able to read, write and understand, because otherwise it is impossible for them to pass to the secondary level.   If they cannot reach this they will be condemned to a life of work as slaves, to prostitution, delinquency and the abuse of women who are only considered to be useful if they have many children.

This is all part of the system here but we try to keep close to them and we do all we can for them.   This is a huge challenge, and I would say the challenge, but there is somebody who does not allow us to give up, on the contrary we get the strength we need every day.

These children help to make sense of my life and the sisters helped me to discover this.   In my 56 years of life it is the first time I can say: “thank you God for walking with us” or “thank you God for the gift of life and your life shared with these little ones”   This love, this recognition hidden deep in me and unknown to me, makes me begin to feel that God really exists, that He is in them and I am with them.

The Passionist Sisters are my daily Paschal Mystery: from the darkness to the light… from death to life.   In them is founded my vocation of commitment with the poor and needy, and my ideology that a better world is possible.   The sisters follow the path of Jesus and I want to do the same.

Now I go twice a week.   What I get from the barrio and the sisters, I would never get in the surgery.   It is impossible for me to think of my life without them and I thank God for coming to me in that way, which is the best.

Alejandra Primavera, Psychologist and a Passionist at heart.

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Sr. Angélica on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary

Dear Sisters and Associates,

We are now finishing our work together as a team and, as always, we want to share with you our conversations, as well as our meetings and celebrations during these days.

With the Gospel of Saint Luke, we shared the readings of Bartimaeus, the blind man; Zaccheus; the parable of the talents; and Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. We felt very identified with the blind man, and together we asked the Lord for light to see better. As we reflected on the parable of the talents we recognized that as a Congregation, many times we have hidden our talents and did not allow them to produce fruit. Today we are asking ourselves what we need to do to change this situation. Like Zaccheus, we want to see Jesus and we ask Him to transform us by his presence and closeness.

  1. What we shared: As we began our time together each one of us shared what had been going on in our lives and areas during the past few months as this is part of the richness of our meeting. Anne told us about the Passionist Family annual assembly in Chile. Elissa shared the work of the new team. Rosaleen has been to Bosnia for the opening of the house beside the children´s hospice where the parents can stay while their children are being treated. Part of Angélica´s sharing was about the work that some of the sisters are doing with the street people, and the joy they experience when they see how some are reintegrated into the community. Moya explained to us how, since the Provincial Chapter the new Priority Groups have been formed.
  2. Visit to Peru: Anne and Angélica shared their visit to the sisters in Peru during the month of September. The team has decided that Anne, Elissa and Angélica will visit there in March 2012. The object of these meetings is to accompany this congregational process. The sisters there will receive a separate letter with the details of our visit.
  3. Province of Our Lady of Dolors (USA): During the morning of Wednesday we had a meeting with the provincial team. The conversation was built around the objectives that were put forward at their last chapter. They are: new membership, associates, the retreat house of Our Lady of Calvary. They are working on each one of these areas, calling together both the sisters and the associates, forming teams and organizing different activities. They shared with us some concerns as well as many hopes. We greatly appreciate the atmosphere of confidence and respect that was present at all times. We want to congratulate them on the enthusiasm with which they have set about working as a team.
  4. Passionist International: With the intention of deepening our commitment to this important work at the United Nations, we met with Fr. Kevin Dance, Joanne Fahey and Mary Ann Strain. The reflection helped us to understand better the validity of Passionists International as well as its limitations.

Our next team meeting: The next meeting of the CLT will take place in Santiago, Chile between the 26th. And 29th. February 2012. During those days we will be meeting with the PLT and we will also share dinner with all the sisters of the Province.

We want to take this opportunity to thank sisters Eileen and Anna Marie for their wonderful hospitality and for giving us the chance to share with their associates and board of trustees, with whom we celebrated the Eucharist and enjoyed a lovely meal.

We would like to remind you that on the 10th. December Lebanang of Botswana will make her First Profession. With our prayers we will unite ourselves with the sisters of Botswana as we celebrate and welcome a new sister to our congregation.

On the 21st. November may we be united and, as we renew our consecration, let us commit ourselves to continue to create bonds between us, leaving behind old divisions, and asking the Lord to teach us to be sisters.

“May the Passion of Jesus and the sorrows of Mary be ever in our hearts”

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Sr. Silvia Talks About her Ministry


English translation:

My name is Sylvia, and I am a Passionist Sister living in Argentina in a very poor village about 70 km from the Capital, called Campana. This is the 4th year that we are living there as a community of Passionist sisters.

Our strongest work is with the young people of the village who are at risk and who don’t have much ability to complete their schooling. So we accompany them and help them finish their primary and secondary schooling, as we believe that the way out of poverty is through education. In the tutoring we give them after they finish school we teach them skills, computing, as well as do things that are recreational with them, and here they experience that they are loved. In their families they often live without love.

At the present time we work with a project of housing of self-construction of houses with 8 families. The village is very poor so the houses too are very poor, and made of wood. So what we do is get together with the families and construct these dwellings together. It is a very rich experience for us and gives us much joy to be able to share this journey with the people and see them growing in dignity. We begin by getting together with 4 families, then we have get-togethers with the men who up till now live off fruit picking or packing boxes, and we teach them masonry to give them the opportunity to make a living out of this and so get out of the fruit picking or packing boxes.

Alongside of this we also have get-togethers with the women and we treat of certain distinct themes such as: what it means to be a woman; their role in the family; accompanying the children and helping them grow; and we also have a distinct way of doing this awakening certain themes and illuminating them with the Word the Gospel of Jesus.

We also form part of a Diocesan Team who minister to the jails, as many of our young people are prisoners. Once a week I go to the jail with a Diocesan Pastoral group and my task is to be with these prisoners and also to visit their families and to accompany the family so that when these young people are released they can be welcomed back and helped not to fall back into crime and back into jail.

One of the sisters also has a group of teenagers she meets with on Saturdays where they get together in the chapel and we accompany them in their search for their vocation and discerning Gods call which is concretized in distinct ways. We also help to bolster their identity as Christians.

That’s about it.

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Passionist Sister Angela Daniels Named ‘Local Hero’

Sister Angela Daniels, C.P. has been named a ‘Local Hero’ by Bank of America‘s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative.

For over 30 years , Sister Angela has served as an advocate for immigrants and refugees in their quest for independence and self-sufficiency. In 1982 she co-founded The Genesis Center, in Providence, RI, to assist refugees and victims of war in building new lives in America. Her vision has supported thousands in improving their lives and her commitment exemplifies the highest standards of community service.

A grant of $5000 has been awarded to The Genesis Center by Bank of America in Sister Angela’s name.

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Link your Facebook Profile to our Congregational Facebook Page

Facebook has been making a flurry of changes to the functionality of Facebook Pages, Facebook Community Pages, and Facebook Places Pages over the last few weeks. These changes make managing our community’s presence on Facebook easier and more effective.

One important change is that Facebook Pages are now displayed under “Info.Education and Work” on personal Facebook Profiles, if the name of a Facebook page is an exact match for the name of the “Employer.” You can now “Add” official Facebook Pages by selecting them from a pop-down menu.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log-in to Facebook
  2. Click on Profile
  3. Click on “Edit Profile”
  4. Click on “Education and Work.”
  5. Type “Hermanas Pasionistas/Passionist Sisters” next to Employer.
  6. Fill in the rest of the form at your own discretion.
  7. Click “Add Job.”
  8. If you have not done so, please become a fan of our Facebook page:Hermanas Pasionistas/Passionist Sisters