The Passionist Heritage Newsletter, Fall 2002

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Leave No Stone Unturned!
New Insights on Passionist Father Fidelis Kent Stone (1840-1921)


What an exciting life! For over eighty years the Passionist Congregation have mentioned the name of Fidelis Kent Stone with awe and drama. In the past year the Passionist Historical Archives has been fortunate enough to learn new insights about Father Stone. Accessibility to qualified researchers and scholars is part of the educational mission of the archives.

Read new insights shared by Fidelis Kent Stone biographer! Anne Mazlish, a former journalist and business owner is a published poet and writer with a longtime interest in 19th century history. She called our Passionist archives to read his correspondence. After two visits I asked her to write about how she started to research the life of Fidelis Kent Stone. In her article we learn about the dynamics of family relationships, personal as well as cultural decision-making, the power of God, and the legacy of history.

Read new insights shared by Fidelis Kent Stone’s great-grandson! I first corresponded with Denis de Cazotte through the kindness of Ms. Mazlish. Later, I had the honor of meeting him at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I asked Mr. de Cazotte, now a retired international banker and ocassional lecturer on French cultural subjects, to share his thoughts about his great-grandfather. Graciously he accepted. To my knowledge this is the first time we hear about Father Stone’s life from a family member. In his article we learn about the importance of family mementos, the sensitivity and power of family questions, stories and sharing, as well as the respect and time necessary for understanding to be part of the pulse of life.

A quick summary of Kent Stone’s life: Born November 10, 1840, James Kent Stone was a husband, father of three girls, a widower, an Episcopalian minister, President of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and later Hobart College in Geneva, New York. After the death of his wife he converted to Roman Catholicism and was ordained a Paulist Catholic priest on December 21, 1872. Subsequently, he left the Paulists, and became a Passionist on August 11, 1877. His religious name was Fidelis. He was a Passionist provincial, a Passionist general consultor in Rome. He was a popular speaker throughout the United States and influential in the history of the Passionists in South America. He died on October 14, 1921. For more about him read his books: The Invitation Heeded. New York: Christian Press Association Publishing Company, 1902; An Awakening and What Followed. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press, 1920. A contemporary account is Fidelis of the Cross by Walter G. and Helen G. Smith, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1926. A popular and imaginative history is No Shadow of Turning by Katherine Burton. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1944. Also see Roger Mercurio, “James Kent Stone (1840-1921)” in The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History. Edited by Michael Glazier and Thomas J. Shelley. Collegeville, MN. The Liturgical Press, pp. 1351-1352.


The Priest and His Daughter
by Anne Mazlish

James Kent Stone: Father Fidelis of the Cross, C.P. Reflections of His Descendants
by L. Denis de Cazotte

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