About the Archives

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The Passionist Historical Archives is the repository for uniquely valuable records which document the history of the Congregation of the Passion in the United States of America from the arrival of the first Passionists in 1852 to the present day.

That story begins with the arrival in San Francisco in 1849 of an Italian Passionist from the failed mission to the Australian aborigines. It gathers momentum with the coming, from Rome to Pittsburgh, PA in 1852, of the four “Founders.” As young Americans join the new Community it spreads over the United States and Canada. St. Michael’s Monastery in Union City, NJ earns the title “Mother of Missionaries” as it sends out men who will establish thirteen other Provinces or missions in foreign lands.

About one-third of the Passionist Archives holdings are devoted to documentation of the Passionist mission in Hunan Province, China from 1920 until 1955 when the last Passionist was expelled by the Communist government.

Other holdings in our Archives tell the story of the establishment of the Congregation of the Passion in Canada and Mexico, the Philippines, Central and South America; a story in which American Passionists played central roles. American Passionists today are working in the West Indies, Africa, and India, Japan and Korea. The holdings of the Archives are thus continuously being enlarged as they document the work of the American Passionist abroad.

Here in the USA and Canada, Passionists pioneered the Laymen’s Retreat movement, and, for over a century, have been leaders in the domestic preaching apostolate conducting parish missions, parish retreats, novena’s and more recently, parish renewals throughout the USA and Canada. The Archives holds a significant amount of material reflecting the manner and style of preaching as practiced for over a century.

Passionists served as Military Chaplains in all branches of the Services and in all our armed conflicts since 1917. The largest group of priests (65) to serve in World War II came from the Passionist Province of St. Paul of the Cross. Their story can be found in our Archives.

Fr. Robert Carbonneau, C.P., Province Historian