On 29 June 2018, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life erected the “Congregation of the Nuns of the Passion of Jesus Christ”. With this decision of the Church, the monasteries of the Passionist Nuns leave the insulation of the “juridical” category, and enter into full communion as a new Congregation. It “enjoys public juridical personality under universal law”.
The change is extremely important and represents a “historic” step for the Passionist contemplative Institute. The new structure aims at and is committed to building the future of contemplative Passionist life within the context of the history of humanity. It does not change the nature of contemplative Passionist life; in fact, it is established by the Church “to promote growth and life of the sui iuris Monasteries”.
The Congregation of the Passionist Nuns is “composed of all monasteries sui iuris that profess the Rule and the Constitutions of the Founder, Saint Paul of the Cross,” updated and approved by the Holy See on 28 April 1979. With the Decree of erection, the Vatican dicastery also approved the Statutes of the new monastic Congregation. Therefore, from the date of the Decree, all autonomous monasteries of the Institute of the Religious of the Passion of Jesus Christ (structures, properties and religious) are part of this monastic Congregation.
The next step following the Decree of Erection of the Congregation is the celebration of the General Chapter, during which, according to the approved Statutes, they will elect the President and her Council.
On 3 May 1771, with the Vestition of Venerable Mother Maria Crocifissa, aka Faustina Geltrude Costantini, and her first companions, and with the erection of the monastery of Tarquinia, St. Paul of the Cross experienced the fruits of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to begin, together with the men’s religious Institute of the Discalced Clerics of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, now called the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (Passionists), a female branch of cloistered women religious, “ad instar monialium”. In silence and prayer, they were to resemble in all ways “the Suffering Jesus and Mary, the Sorrowful Mother” (Rule and Const. Chap. I), and by their lives of prayer, seclusion, solitude and penance, they were to soothe the wounds of Christ crucified, and additionally, the wounds the many crucified people of yesterday and today.
Over time, reflecting the richness and fruitfulness of the Passionist charism, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the approval of the competent authority of the Church, several monasteries sui iuris were founded on various continents. Professing the same Rule and Constitutions approved by the Holy See, the Passionist women Religious have always lived in close communion of life and intent among themselves and in close relationship with the male religious of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
After a process of reflection and exploration of the common heritage, charismatic life and governmental structures, conducted under the leadership of Rev. Sr. Fernanda Barbiero, SMSD, General Delegate of the Apostolic See, and in light of the present circumstances and the different situations of the monasteries, located in different geographical, cultural and ecclesial contexts, we arrived at the conclusion that it would be opportune and suitable to have a structure of life and of government, while respecting the autonomy of each monastery sui iuris. This will help to implement the common sense of charismatic communion and mission entrusted to them by the Church. Therefore, after prolonged and extensive consultation with the monasteries concerned, having studied the request submitted by the Rev. General Delegate on 25 January 2018, and aware of what is stated in the Apostolic Constitution, Quaerere vultum concerning contemplative life, our Holy Father Francis, with particular reference to Nos. 28-30 hereby erects the
CONGREGATION OF THE NUNS OF THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
It shall be composed of all the monasteries sui iuris that profess the Rule and the Constitutions of the Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, and the Declarations composed in accordance with the faculties granted by the Holy See to the same monasteries, on 26 May 1977.
Furthermore, the General Statutes that govern it are approved and confirmed according to the specimen in Italian in its archives. By the same Decree we authorize that the Rev. General Delegate of the Apostolic See shall convene and chair the first General Chapter, according to the previously stated General Statutes.
In the hope that the new structure of life and communion will help to promote and increase the Passionist charism and preserve the genuine cloistered contemplative spirit, we extend our most sincere best wishes. Faithful to the intentions of the Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, may the Passionist nuns remain in the Church and for the Church, through prayer and the offering of themselves in union with the Crucified Love, and witness to the world the richness and beauty of a life wholly devoted to God.
Without anything to the contrary.
The Vatican, 29 June 2018
Solemnity of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul
João Braz Card. De Aviz
José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M.