Germany/Austria Historical Summary

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In 1920 the United States Passionists, under the direction of Fathers Valentine Lehnerd and Victor Koch from St. Paul of the Cross Province, responded to an appeal to assist Catholics in Germany and Austria. In 1922 a foundation was established in Pasing, Germany, outside of Munich, and by 1932 the Passionists had established a preparatory seminary there. In 1925 the invitation was accepted from the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria, to staff Maria Schutz, located in the scenic Austrian Alps. Maria Schutz, a pilgrimage shrine, became the novitiate house. Passionists from Holy Cross Province joined the mission in 1926.

When Adolph Hitler came to power in 1933, he made it extremely difficult for Germans to enter Austria. The novitiate was transferred to Schwarzenfeld, Germany, north of Regensburg. In 1935 it was in operation. The region was approved as the Vice Province of the Five Wounds.

In 1936 Hitler initiated more restrictions. Eventually, all Passionist students were drafted into the military. Subsequently, a gradual exodus of United States Passionists began. Only Father Koch remained under conditions of house arrest until 1945. While the monastery in Schwarzenfeld survived the war intact, both the Pasing monastery and church, as well as the monastery and church at Maria Schutz, suffered damage.

American Passionists returned after the war. In 1965 a new house of studies was built in Regensburg, and in 1976 a new residence was built in Pasing. By then, United States Passionists had transferred responsibility for the German-Austrian vice province to local Passionists.

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