Second Week of Lent 2024: Two Meditations-St. Gabriel’s Monastery, Brighton, MA; Archconfraternity of the Passionist membership and China in Sign Magazine in 1924

Second Week of Lent 2024: Two Meditations-St. Gabriel’s Monastery, Brighton, MA; Archconfraternity of the  Passionist membership and China in Sign Magazine in 1924

Above photo: the former St. Gabriel’s Monastery, 185 Washington Street, Brighton, Massachusetts, 2024. Copyright Father Rob Carbonneau, C.P., Ph.D.

Meditation One: This Lent let us remember Catholic religious institutions that have closed: Does a Catholic parish come to mind? Perhaps you have a connection to a school, monastery or convent. Maybe another institution or organization is part of our past. We are often told that Lent is a time to meditate and identify with contemporary sufferings. Mourning special Catholic locations from our past can also be part of our sacred Lenten journey.

In 1907 the Passionists received permission to establish what became known as St. Gabriel’s Monastery in Brighton, Massachusetts. In 1978 the Passionists decided to close St. Gabriel’s Monastery due to financial concerns and lack of personnel. In 1980 it was sold to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, which is now under the umbrella of Steward Health Care System. From the early 1980s until the late 1990s, a small Passionist community resided at St. Gabriel’s Residence, adjacent to the original property, and that is now a redesigned condo.

As seen above, the former St. Gabriel’s Monastery is now known as the Overlook at St. Gabriel’s and advertised on their website is the following: “Built in 1909, this historic Boston Landmark has been expertly transformed into a one-of-a-kind collection of modern residences. Featuring beautifully appointed homes, with exposed brick and stunning architectural details in select units, Overlook Landmark is the crown jewel of the community.”

Now that I reside here in Brighton, when I walk or drive by the former this St. Gabriel’s Monastery I have made a conscious choice to mourn, and yes, at the same time be thankful that this is a sacred Passionist location and past ministries. Interestingly, the Passionist cemetery is still a place where one can pause, reflect and recollect about the lived experiences of the Passionist priests, Brothers, and lay members who are buried there.

So, as part of our Lenten journey of 2024, know that there will be moments when we will mourn our Catholic tradition and culture of the past. In doing so let us be a call to be inspired in our personal faith. Moreover, let us join with with others to live the Gospel now and into the future with peace, justice and compassion.

Meditation Two: In 2024, China is often the news headline of the day. You might be surprised to know the same was true in 1924.

As seen in the attachment below, readers of the Sign Magazine opened Vol 3 (March 1924) to read and participate in the graces that could be gained from newly formed Archconfraternity of the Sacred Passion. As noted at the bottom of the page, lay members of the Archconfraternity were to reflect and participate on The Special Spiritual Activity which included Crusades of Prayer and Good Works for the Passionist missionaries and they undertook their ministry in China.

This Lent 2024, be aware that the Passionist China Collection of 16, 000 photos and 60, 000 digitized documents now located at the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Culture at Boston College still calls scholars and the public to learn and respect the Chinese Catholic Church, history and culture. As those connected with the the Passionists in 1924 were encouraged to engage with China like 1924, the same is true for us in 2024.

Click on the link below to read the one-page March 1924 Sign Magazine essay.