Acts of the Twenty-first Provincial Chapter
of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross
Held in the Retreat of St. Paul of the Cross, Pittsburgh, PA.
From July 16th to July 24th, 1923

Passionist Fathers at Twenty-first Provincial Chapter - 1923
Passionist Fathers at Twenty-first Provincial Chapter – 1923. Seated: Benjamin Wirtz, Matthias Mayou, Justin Carey, Leo Kierkels (President – Procurator General),
Theodore Noonan, Hilarion O’Rourke, and Sebastian Ochsenreiter. Standing: Alban Callagee, Colman Byrne, Patrick Darrah, Guido Teresi (custos), Stanislaus Grennan, and Clement Lee. Click image for larger view.

In accordance with the prescriptions of our Holy Rule, a circular letter was sent forth to our Brethren by the Superiors of the Province, convoking the XXI. Provincial Chapter and the promise made by our Most Rev. Fr. General, that he would preside in person at its deliberations, was renewed. Following closely on this announcement came the terrifying news that his Paternity was stricken with a most serious illness, which, owing to his advanced age, gave little hope for life, and none at all that he would be able to undertake the long and tedious voyage to America.

It can be said in all truth that every Passionist in the Province of St. Paul of the Cross, and every superior regretted this, as all felt, that after his visit to our Retreats two years ago, he would best be able to interpret the spirit that is among us, and what are our needs for maintaining the Holy Rule in all its fervor.

Providentially in his absence, the one who could best fill his place, Very Rev. Fr. Procurator General, Leo of the Sacred Heart, who had acted as interpreter for Fr. General during his visit was available, and was duly appointed to preside.

The problems facing this Chapter were, for the most part, quite unlike those of previous Chapters. During the last three years our numbers have been augmented with unprecedented rapidity, thanks to a kind Providence, which is sending to us aspirants of brilliant promise. Missionaries are entering the field, with enviable zeal and youthful fervor. Our Fathers have planted the Cross in Germany, and Christ Crucified is being preached to the pagans of far off China. A commendable zeal is evident among our students that warrants a steady succession of workers for the vast field of fruitful endeavor in the Far East.

We have commandeered the press in our Apostolate and month by month, the message of truth and of the life giving Passion is sent into thousands upon thousands of Our Catholic homes.

Past accomplishments demand greater efforts and a wider sympathy, and unflagging courage. The Cross must be carried further. Our Missions must be ever more effective in preaching Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. New Retreats are imperative, more missionaries must go forth and yet our spirit must not suffer taint or change. Hence the problems of this Chapter are in the main constructive, though at the same time careful consideration for our spiritual needs, and corrective measures are not uncalled for, as will be seen by the following:—


The Capitular Fathers assembled for the opening session in this Retreat of St. Paul of the Cross, on Monday morning, July 16th, at 9 o’clock. The assistance of the Holy Spirit was invoked by the singing of the “Veni Creator Spiritus”, and the customary prayers. Very Rev. Fr. Leo of the Sacred Heart presented the letter of Most Rev. Fr. General, appointing him to preside at the Chapter and granting him the right of suffrage. This was read by Very Rev. Fr. Provincial. After this the Very Rev. Fr. President made the following address:—”When giving me this document, Fr. General directed me to explain to you how much he would have liked to come himself, as he had promised two years ago. He continues to remember with pleasure his visit to the American Provinces, and he would have been delighted to see you all once more. This being impossible at present, he thought he could do no better than send me in his place, as no one knows so well his interest in your welfare nor shares his interest so much as I do, I can assure you, most sincerely. However, I quite realize the difficulty and the responsibility of my task. This Chapter being the first after Fr. General’s visit, is expected to confirm and complete his Paternity’s endeavors for the spiritual welfare of this Province. Most of the Brethren have expressed some wish or other, as to the ultimate results of the meetings we inaugurate today. The variety and even contrariety of such wishes, does render it impossible to meet all, considering especially that the Brethren have appealed to an individual authority, whilst the decisions mostly depend on a collective authority. With this authority our assembly is invested, and to whatever circumstances may be traced our having a part in this Chapter, it is certainly Divine Providence, which has placed the vital issues of this Province in our hands. This ought to tranquilize the Brethren, if only a disinterested love for the Order animates our deliberations as it inspires their expectations. I am sure that we all do love the Order deeply and sincerely, and hence I have accepted Fr. General’s commission, trusting that I would only have to co-operate with you for the welfare of the Congregation in this country. I feel confident that we will all stand together for the Principles of the Congregation, and form our conscience by them alone, both in making eventual decrees, and in electing superiors. With this confidence I can but highly appreciate the honor of representing Fr. General, and that amongst you. I certainly do not have Fr. General’s experience in directing a Chapter nor can I hope to acquit myself of this task with the credit with which he would. But I will do my best, and I count on you all, Very Reverend Fathers, to make this Chapter as efficient and fruitful as any one in the past. To that effect will surely contribute the Blessing of our Holy Father the Pope. Before leaving Rome, I had a private audience with His Holiness, and he most graciously told me to take his blessing to all the Communities I would see, but in a special manner to the Capitular Fathers. So we may hope that Our Lord, ratifying the blessing of His Vicar, will be with us during these days. I wish also to place this Chapter under the special protection of our Blessed Lady, whose feast we celebrate today; and of our Holy Founder, to whom this Retreat and this Province are dedicated. With these guarantees for success, we can begin “in nomine Domini”.

A custos of the Chapter was chosen in the person of Rev. Fr. Guido of the Presentation. He was brought into the Chapter Room, and took the oath of secrecy and fidelity, and was dismissed. Immediately following this Very Rev. Fr. Sebastian of the Holy Family was elected to fill the office of Secretary. The role of those having the right of active voice was called, and the following answered:—

Very Rev. Fr. Procurator General, Leo of the Sacred Heart, President.
Very Rev. Fr. Justin of the Infant Jesus, Provincial.
Very Rev. Fr. Theodore of the Assumption, 1st Consultor.
Very Rev. Fr. Matthias of St. Anne, 2nd Consultor.
Very Rev. Fr. Benjamin of the Immaculate Conception, Rector, St. Paul’s Retreat.
Very Rev. Fr. Hilarion of the Sacred Hearts, Rector, St. Mary’s Retreat.
Very Rev. Fr. Sebastian of the Holy Family, Rector, St. Michael’s Retreat.
Very Rev. Fr. Colman of the Immaculate Conception, Rector, St. Joseph’s Retreat.
Very Rev. Fr. Alban of the Five Wounds, Rector, St. Ann’s Retreat.
Very Rev. Fr. Patrick of the Sorrowful Mother, Rector, St. Gabriel’s Retreat.
Very Rev. Fr. Clement of St. Peter, Rector, Holy Cross Retreat.
Very Rev. Fr. Stanislaus of the Holy Redeemer, Master of Novices.

The Very Rev. Fr. President then asked the Fathers if they thought the Chapter was canonically convoked, to which all replied in the affirmative. He then declared the Chapter officially opened.

The Very Rev. Fr. Rectors read the financial reports of their respective Retreats, after which they presented “Inventories of the wardrobe and library” also “testimonials” signed by the Fathers of their Communities testifying to the faithful celebration of Masses, and lastly a signed testimonial of the faithful custody of the Archives of the Retreat. Very Rev. Fr. Theodore read a financial report of “THE SIGN”, and Very Rev. Fr. Justin read a report of the monies of the Province, and in particular of the funds collected for burses, with information of the donors, as well as the names of the Brethren through whom it had been obtained.

These reports were given to a committee appointed by Fr. President, who were to examine them and digest the information they contained.

The Capitular Fathers were then asked to submit for the consideration of the Chapter, proposals for the welfare of the Province. These proposals grouped themselves under various headings, and were assigned to several committees for examination, to be presented to the full sessions of the Chapter for final acceptance or rejection.

The session was brought to a close with prayer.


On Monday afternoon the Capitular Fathers assisted at Vespers with the Community, after which, the Novices being dismissed, Very Rev. Fr. Matthias of St.. Anne, Second Consultor, delivered a sermon in which he forcefully and eloquently outlined the duty of the Fathers to decree the reforms needed and elect superiors who would conscientiously live out in their own lives the will of the Chapter and see that others did the same.

The Fathers assembled for sessions in the afternoon of Monday, and mornings and afternoons of Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday a recess was declared in the afternoon, but sessions were held on the mornings of Thursday and Friday. During all these meetings the subjects that had been proposed for consideration occupied the attention of the Capitular Fathers, and were discussed at length. The result of these considerations will be found in the decrees, which, for ready reference, are placed together at the end of the “Acts”

Worthy of mention was the “Report of the First Congress of the Chinese Missionaries” held in Shenchowfu, at the direction of Very Rev. Fr. Provincial. This “Report” together with “THE SIGN” engaged the attention of the Fathers during the 5th and 6th sessions. A letter from the Fathers in Germany, addressed to Very Rev. Fr. President, was also read at this session. The Report of the Congress is here given in full.

January 3 to 6, 1923.

Our Very Rev. Father Provincial having expressed the wish that shortly after the arrival of the second band of missionaries in China, all the missionary Fathers should assemble to discuss the state of affairs, obtaining in their new field of labor; the Fathers likewise realizing the necessity of such a meeting, in order:—

  1. that all might have a knowledge of the conditions prevailing throughout the territory in which they are laboring;
  2. that each one might profit by the experience of his brother missionaries;
  3. that a uniform method of procedure regarding the financial care of the missions may be established;
  4. that as far as possible a rule of life for the missionaries to follow may be drawn up;
  5. that whatever other matters of importance such a meeting might suggest might be discussed;
  6. and finally, that in all things the Fathers might act in unison for the good of the mission, it was decided to meet at Shenchowfu immediately after Christmas.

Accordingly, with the approval of the Ordinary of the Vicariate, the Fathers from the out-missions came in after Christmas to the central mission at Shenchowfu.


On Wednesday morning, at 9:30 o’clock, January 3rd, 1923, the missionaries assembled for their first meeting. The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary having been recited, together with the Antiphons and Prayers in honor of St. Michael, St. Joseph, the great Patrons of our Congregation, of St. Paul of the Cross, our Holy Father and Founder, of St. Gabriel, our newly canonized brother and finally the “Veni Creator” with the proper Antiphon and prayer, the meeting was called to order with Rev. Fr. Dominic presiding as the recently appointed superior of our missions in China. Those assembled were as follows:—

Rev. Fr. Dominic, Superior of the Missions.
Rev. Fr. Celestine of Hankow, Procurator of the Mission.
Rev. Fr. Agatho, M. Ap. of Yungshunfu.
Rev. Fr. Flavian, M. Ap. of Supu.
Rev. Fr. Raphael, M. Ap. of Chenki.
Rev. Fr. Timothy, M. Ap. of Yuanchowfu.
Rev. Fr. Kevin, M. Ap., newly arrived missionary.
Rev. Fr. Paul, M. Ap., newly arrived missionary.

The election of the secretary of the meeting being then in order, Rev. Fr. Paul was unanimously chosen for this office.

The Fathers then submitted the financial statement of their respective missions; also a report of the material and spiritual progress, together with plans for the future development of their missions.

These matters having been diligently noted, the first meeting was brought to a close with prayer at 12 M.


In the afternoon of the same day at 4 o’clock, the missionaries assembled for the second meeting, in order to submit various propositions coming within the scope of the assembly. These were then discussed at length. Committees were appointed to present the results of the discussions in the form of resolutions which were to be voted on in the next meeting to be held the following clay.


On Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock, the Fathers again assembled to hear the reports of the various committees, and to vote upon the same.

The Resolutions adopted were as follows:—


  1. It being impossible to draw up an exact daily horarium for all the missionaries to follow, it was agreed that every missionary should spend one half hour in preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and one half hour in thanksgiving after the celebration of Holy Mass. That he take care not to neglect the daily spiritual reading and examination of conscience. That he make use of the Divine office as an abundant source of spiritual nourishment throughout the day.

    Realizing the all importance of a thorough knowledge of the Chinese language for the teaching of the Gospel of Our Divine Saviour, every missionary should labor sedulously daily to acquire an adequate knowledge of the same, as well as of the customs and habits of life of the Chinese people, domestic, social, civil and religious. Likewise every missionary should study carefully the “Acts” of the various synods held in China, the “Directoria Missionariorum”, the “Instructions of the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith”, which contain those things necessary to be known for the proper preaching of the Gospel, the conferring of the Sacraments of the Church, and for the administration of the various departments pertaining to each mission.

    Towards evening let the missionary refresh his soul with meditation and prayer for the space of one half hour. After supper he should recite the Rosary and the Litany of our Blessed Lady.

  2. In order that all the missionaries might offer up the proper suffrages for deceased religious and deceased parents of our religious, the superior of the mission, on receipt of the notice of the death of such, shall forward a similar notice to each mission station.
  3. In each mission a “Platea” shall be kept, according to the specifications of our regulations (Reg. 2 of the Fr. Rector, No. 13) in which anything worthy of remark that happens in the mission shall be noted down. This history should, as far as possible, go back to the beginning of the mission.

    Let each missionary keep a memorandum of his benefactors. Let him notify the superiors in America of any special benefactor who might deserve particular consideration.

  4. In regard to the wearing of our religious habit, as it is not customary for Religious Orders in China, to wear their distinctive religious garb, it was decided to proceed cautiously in this matter, to refrain from wearing the habit on the streets, or on any occasion when it might invite hurtful criticism and cause disunion or disaffection from fellow missionaries laboring in China and in the meantime await the action of our higher superiors.


Conscious of the fact that they are here not merely as Catholic Missionaries, but as Passionists, the missionaries shall labor unceasingly with untiring zeal for the salvation of souls using the Sacred Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the most powerful motive at their disposal. Therefore, to quote the words of our “Holy Rule”, “they shall earnestly strive to excite Christian people to meditate and also religiously commemorate the sacred mysteries of the life-giving Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.” “They shall do this particularly in public sermons and instructions,” likewise at their work in the catechumenate, in the schools, in the hospital or dispensary, in the confessionals, in their own homes and in the homes of the Christians.

The missionaries shall have the Christians make the Stations of the Cross in common in the church, at least once a week. Wherever it is possible, they shall establish a branch of the Archconfraternity of the Passion.


  1. As regards the financial care of the mission, the Fathers determined that every missionary must keep a “Day Book” in which to record the daily income and expense of the mission; a “Ledger” for monthly summary and balance. At the end of each quarter, he should submit a complete financial report made out according to the “Form” provided by the Father Procurator.
  2. When goods have been bought by Father Procurator and sent to a missionary, the missionary upon receipt of such goods and the statement, should O.K. the statement and send it to Father Procurator.
    A numbered copy of the statement should be kept on file by the missionary for future reference.
  3. For any extraordinary expenditure of money, as for instance, when it becomes necessary to purchase property, repair old buildings or construct new ones, the permission of the religious superior must be had, at least until such time when a supervising council shall have become practical.
  4. All property must be bought in the name of “St. Paul’s Institute”, the legal title of our mission in China, and under American protection.
  5. When new property is bought, the deed of the purchase should be numbered, viz. 1, 2, 3, etc., and two photographs of the same be made. One should be kept at the mission where the property was bought, the other sent to the religious superior; and the original copy forwarded to Father Procurator to be kept in a safe.
  6. The good health of the missionaries being paramount each one should see to it, that as far as possible, he have suitable living quarters and proper food for himself and his companions.
  7. For the sake of uniformity in the stationery of the missions, it was decided that the letter heading contain the Passionist emblem, together with the title “Catholic Mission”, “Passionist Fathers”, the proper name of the mission place, “Hunan, China”. The return address on the envelope to contain simply, “Catholic Mission”, and the proper name of the place, both in Chinese and in English characters.


  1. Grateful for the interest shown and for the assistance given the missionaries by Most Rev. Fr. General and his Consultors, especially by Very Rev. Fr. Alfred, by the Very Rev. Fr. Provincial and his Consultors, by the Very Rev. Fr. Master of Novices, the Rectors and the Religious of both Eastern and Western Provinces, particularly by the students and brothers and novices, through their prayers and good works, and by the editorial staff of “THE SIGN”, the missionaries take occasion of this meeting to record a lasting vote of thanks to all the above mentioned.

    Knowing that “THE SIGN” cannot continue its very effective propaganda for the benefit of the mission without correspondence from the missionaries in the field, it is decided that each Father write a letter at least once every two months, for publication in the pages of “THE SIGN”.

  2. The Passionist Fathers engaged on this mission are happy to use the opportunity of their meeting, to offer heartfelt thanks to the Rt. Rev. Bishop Angelus Diego Carbajal, Vic. Ap. of N.W. Hunan; to V. Rev. Bartholomew, O.S.A., the Vicar Provincial, also to the Rev. Augustinian Fathers who have assisted and still continue generously to assist in training our missionaries for their future work.
  3. Here, also the Fathers are pleased to render special acknowledgment of most generous help tendered to the mission by Monsignor Joseph G. McGlinchey, D.D., of Boston; Very Rev. Fr. Danner of the “Missionary Aid Society”, of Pittsburgh; Very Rev. Fr. McKay of the “Propagation of the Faith”, Philadelphia; the Reverend Jesuit Fathers of Seattle; the Marist Brothers in Japan.
  4. Now that Fr. Celestine is about to take up the onerous duties of Procurator of the mission, before his departure for Hankow, his future residence, the Fathers wish to acknowledge in their meeting, the wonderful services which he, in capacity of superior, has given to the mission in the hard and trying days of its establishment.
  5. Likewise the missionaries recognize that it was not without the special providence of Almighty God, that Brother Lambert was sent from Rome to work with the Fathers in this new field of labor for the salvation of souls. For he has not only proven himself a lovable and trustful companion to them, a capable infirmarian in time of sickness, a good business manager with his knowledge of the various languages, but especially an efficient architect and builder, as the building already erected, and those in course of construction clearly demonstrate.


Finally, grateful to our Crucified Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Our Sorrowful Mother Mary, to Our Holy Father and Founder, St. Paul of the Cross, and to our beloved Superiors for the exalted vocation which is ours, of laboring to convert the heathen Chinese; we hereby renew our fealty to all these and pledge ourselves to work together in union and harmony, entirely subject to our Superiors and not to permit any smaller aim to mar the beauty of the exalted vocation given us or spoil the whole-hearted sacrifice and devotion with which we accepted it.


On the afternoon of January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, the missionaries assembled for the Fourth and final meeting. They listened to the reading of the Report, approved the same, and hereby sign their names as follows:

Dominic of the Sorrowful Virgin,
Celestine of the Infant Jesus,
Agatho of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Flavian of the Immaculate Conception,
Raphael of the Mother of Perpetual Help,
Kevin of the Sorrowful Virgin,
Paul Joseph of the Blessed Sacrament,
Timothy of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.


These three sessions, which took place Friday afternoon, and morning and afternoon on Saturday, were given over to the discussion of the merits of those who have the right of passive voice, according to our Holy Rules. Before beginning this arduous but most important office, the Fathers took the oath “de secreto servando“.

The Fathers also determined the order to be followed in the election of the several Rectors of Retreats.


On Sunday morning at 6:30 a Solemn High Mass “De Spiritu Sancto”, pro re gravi, was sung in the Choir by the Very Rev. Fr. President, with the Capitular Fathers acting as ministers, and filling the minor offices of the Mass.

At 9 o’clock the entire community of this Retreat assembled with the Capitular Fathers in the Choir, and thence went in procession to the Chapter Room, singing the “Vexilla Regis”, followed by the customary prayers. The community being dismissed, the prescribed acts of humility performed, absolution from censure imparted, the Father President addressed the Capitulars in the following words:—

“Very Rev. Fathers: We have now reached the most important and responsible part of our proceedings. Up to this we have considered and decreed several things towards preserving and promoting the Passionist ideal in this Province. Now we are about to elect the men who must be living sacraments, so to say, of that ideal, viz., men who symbolize and accomplish whatever that ideal implies; men to be a “signum practicum” of the Passionist spirit and Rule. Unless the superiors be such, the religious will not be so either, for as the Scripture says: “Qualis est Rector civitatis, tales et inhabitantes in ea.” (Eccles. x, 2). What standard we ought to follow in this matter, Father Matthias has pointed out to us the other day in his sermon to the Capitular Fathers, so I need not dwell on the principles by which we ought to form our conscience on the subject. But in this solemn moment, I wish to remind myself and you of the necessity of following our conscience only, independently of any personal motives. Let us remember that we will have to answer for our vote, perhaps not to men, but certainly to God and ourselves. The time will come when we will judge impersonally the votes we cast today. Well, then, let us vote now as we will wish to have voted then. Let the light of eternity shine on our motives, in order to make up our minds accordingly. In suggesting this I follow the lead of the Church, who, by the oath we are required to take, reminds us of the judgment of Christ, and obliges us to elect those who we deem, before God, should be elected. Let us now remember all this in taking up our ballot, and let us cast our vote as we would if we knew it to be the last action of our life.”

The roll of electors was called, and all answered, present. The superiors then surrendered their seals of office. The “Veni Creator” was sung, asking the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. The Capitulars took the oath prescribed by Canon 506, s. 1, obliging themselves to elect those who, before God, they judged should be elected. Scrutineers were elected by secret ballot, and the unanimous choice of the Fathers selected Very Rev. Fr. Benjamin and Very Rev. Fr. Hilarion as first and second scrutineers respectively.

Balloting for the office of Provincial was begun, and the result of the sixth ballot declared in favor of Very Rev. Fr. Stanislaus of the Holy Redeemer. The good Father arose and with deepest emotion addressed the Fathers, thanking them for their confidence, expressing his hesitancy in view of the tremendous responsibility resting on this administration, at the same time accepting the charge as the will of heaven.

To avoid interruption and delay, there was no intermission, but the balloting for First Consultor was begun at once. The sixth ballot showed in favor of Very Rev. Matthias of St. Anne, who in a few words thanked the Fathers, and accepted the office.

The choice of a Second Consultor was also decided in the sixth ballot, when Very Rev. Fr. Sebastian of the Holy Family was elected. He thanked the Fathers, and accepted the office.

The community was now called to the Chapter Room, and the first scrutineer publicly read the decree of the Provincial’s election. The good Father then received the homage and obedience of the Capitular Fathers and of the community. All then repaired to the Church where the solemn ‘”Te Deum” was sung, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament given.


On Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock, the Fathers assembled for the purpose of completing the elections. After the opening prayers, balloting was begun for the office of Master of Novices. After the first ballot, Very Rev. Fr. Hilarion of the Sacred Hearts announced to the Fathers that he did not wish to be regarded as a candidate for this office, and requested the Fathers not to consider him in their choice. On the sixth ballot the selection of Very Rev. Fr. Clement was made manifest. The decree of his election was published, and the Father protested that a more worthy might have been chosen, thanked them for their confidence in him, and accepted the charge.

According to arrangements, the next office to be filled was the Rectorship of St. Michael’s Retreat. The sixth ballot revealed the will of the Fathers that Rev. Fr. John Francis of St. Joseph should fill this post. Word was sent to the Father and his acceptance requested. His answer came in due season, thanking the Fathers and accepting the honor conferred upon him.

The next Retreat in order of election was that of St. Gabriel. The sixth ballot conferred this Rectorship upon Very Rev. Fr. Justin of the Infant Jesus. The decree of his election was published. The good Father arose and said if there was any Rectorship he would prefer, it was that of St. Gabriel. However, had he known that the Fathers were considering him for a Rectorship, he would have made known his mind earlier. Owing to the condition of his health and advice, of medical authority, absolute freedom from such responsibility was at present imperative for him, hence there was nothing left but to decline with thanks. By secret ballot the Fathers agreed to accept his resignation. Balloting was again begun for this office, and the third ballot gave the office to Rev. Fr. Mark. of the Sorrowful Virgin. The decree of his election was published, and word was sent to the Father.

It required only one ballot to show the selection of the Fathers for the Rectorship of St. Paul’s Retreat, when Very Rev. Fr. Benjamin of the Immaculate Conception was elected. The decree of his election was published by the second scrutineer, and Fr. Benjamin, in a few words, manifested his appreciation for their confidence, and asked their prayers as a help.

St. Anne’s Retreat was next to be filled, and the sixth ballot told in favor of Rev. Fr. Benedict of Our Lady of Victory. The decree of his election was published, and word was sent to him at once.

On the 6th ballot, Very Rev. Fr. Alban of the Five Wounds was elected Rector of St. Joseph’s Retreat. After the decree of his election was published, the elected told the Fathers that he was most grateful for their trust, and that it would be his endeavor to measure up to the responsibility of his charge, and accepted the office.

The desire of the Fathers to select a Rector for St. Mary’s Retreat was rewarded in the 6th ballot which gave the office to Rev. Fr. Felix of St. Joseph. The decree of his election was published, and a message was accordingly sent to the Father.

Finally the office of Rector of our Preparatory College of the Holy Cross was filled in the 4th ballot by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel of the Precious Blood. The decree of his election was published, and word was sent to the Father, notifying him of his election.

The community was then summoned for a second time to the Chapter Room; the first scrutineer read the list of all elected, and the session closed at 7:40 P. M.


The Fathers assembled on the morning of Monday, July 23rd, for the 14th Session.

The “Acts” of the Chapter were read by the Secretary and with corrections and suggestions were accepted, pending the final reading during the next Session.

Father President then asked the Fathers if they had any other matter to submit for discussion, and all answered in the negative,

Session closed with prayer.


1. The Capitular Fathers, fully conscious of the paternal solicitude of our Most Rev. Father General for the welfare of our Congregation, and that in the exercise of that solicitude, he has visited us, and made known his mind and will by his “letter” sent to all the religious of this Province, therefore offer most profound thanks to Father General, and earnestly exhort all the religious of the Province to the serious reading and exact observance of the instructions contained in this paternal letter.

2. The Chapter desiring the continuation and the growth of the Archconfraternity of the Passion, so zealously propagated by our Most Rev. Fr. General, Silvius of St. Bernard, and encouraged by our Very Rev. Father Provincial, Justin of the Infant Jesus, approves of a plan for giving better organization to this Archconfraternity, by the institution of degrees of membership, promoters, and monthly leaflets, similar to what exists in the League of the Sacred Heart, the Archconfraternity of the Rosary, and other Archconfraternities.

3. The Capitular Fathers having read and discussed “The Report” of the recent Congress of our Chinese Missionaries, held at Shenchowfu, at Father Provincial’s direction, as well as the joint letter sent by the Fathers, do hereby approve the “Report” and decree that it be incorporated in the “Acts” of this Provincial Chapter. The Fathers wish to express their keen satisfaction at the great work accomplished for our Chinese Missions, by the higher superiors of the Province, by so many of the religious, and by “THE SIGN” but primarily by the Fathers and Brother now engaged so zealously in China. Realizing the supreme importance of this mission, and anxious that it should rest on a sound PASSIONIST basis, so as to be a credit to our Mother the Congregation, and fulfill the high expectations of the Sacred Congregation “de Propaganda Fide”, the Venerable Chapter has most carefully investigated and discussed all its temporal and spiritual needs. After weighing the wise suggestions contained in the formal report and letter, it decrees as follows:—

  1. That in accordance with the decrees of our last Provincial Chapter, our mission in China is to be a regular Passionist Foundation; the hope is therefore fondly cherished that eventually a regular Retreat with full Passionist observance be established, to which the Fathers in the out-missions may, from time to time retire, and in which the newly arriving Missionaries may prepare for their work, according to recent instructions of the Sacred Congregation “de Propaganda Fide”.
  2. That in future a representative from China be present at our Provincial Chapter.
  3. As a spiritual help to the Fathers engaged on the Chinese Missions, the religious of this Province are urged to remember this great enterprise in their Masses, Communions, Prayers, and Penances, and our classes of Students are encouraged to send a periodical report of prayers and good works performed.
  4. For the successful management of the material interests of our Chinese Missions, a Father be assigned by Father Provincial here in America to attend to all business relating to these missions, such as the raising of necessary funds, editing articles for “THE SIGN”, corresponding with benefactors, and with the Missionaries in China.
  5. In order that an accurate record be made of all donations received here in America for our Chinese Missions, a report of the same should be sent to the Chinese Bureau of “THE SIGN”, by the religious through whom such donations are received, and all money should be sent to China, only through this Bureau.
  6. In compliance with the request of the Chinese Missionaries, Father Provincial is instructed to secure the services of Sisters for the schools, orphanages and hospitals.
  7. That in each of our churches there be placed a candelabra of Vigil Lights, on which shall be fixed a chart or tablet, “For the Chinese Missions”.

4. The Venerable Chapter reviewed the record of our magazine “THE SIGN”, and is satisfied with the success that has attended the experiment with the printed word. Especially to be commended are the efforts by which the magazine has fairly fulfilled its ulterior purpose of spreading devotion to the Sacred Passion.

It has further proven itself an effective means of directing attention to our China Missions, and of winning substantial sympathy for them.

The Chapter notes with admiration the economical methods by which so much has been achieved, and wishes to express itself in favor of a generous policy regarding material and mental equipment and the enlargement of the staff in order to insure the attainment of the specific purposes, and the maintaining of its standard. In particular the following projects are approved:—

  1. That the staff of “THE SIGN” be supplied with capable Fathers, in proportion to the need.
  2. That one of the Fathers on the staff be designated as Director of the Archconfraternity of the Passion, who will have charge of that department of the magazine, and who will attend to details concerning branches of the Archconfraternity, established, or to be established.
  3. That, without detriment to mission work, a Father in each Retreat be assigned for propagation work, using our China Missions, and the Passion effectively applied, as the special motive of his appeal. The same Father to establish and foster Mission Circles.
  4. It is also recommended that there be a liberal plan of diverting the surplus toward material equipment and accommodations, so that the enterprise be not hampered or stunted through overwrought economy.
  5. Finally, the Venerable Chapter wishes it to be assumed that this proven branch of our service deserves the support and interest of all our Brethren, and not alone of those to whom the labor and responsibility are directly assigned.

5. In response to the letter sent by the Fathers of this Province, now in Germany, the Fathers of this Chapter recognize the arduous undertaking and the many difficulties attending the First Foundation of the Order in a country where the Passionists were unknown. They extend greetings and good will to our Brethren who, under the patronage of Most Rev. Fr. General, have gone to establish a Retreat of the Order in that Country.

6. Realizing that our usefulness in the great city of Boston is hampered by the dilapidated and unsafe condition of the building which, for the past number of years, has served as chapel, the Chapter decrees that our superiors proceed at once to build a church in connection with St. Gabriel’s Monastery.

The Chapter further decrees that a Church be built adjoining our St. Anne’s Retreat in Scranton.

7. One of the notable achievements of the Province in recent years has been in the field of Laymen’s Retreats. Nearly all of our Monasteries have been conducting series of well attended and enthusiastic Retreats. The new Foundations of Brooklyn and Springfield are to provide Retreat Houses for those populous centres. The Venerable Chapter commends the work and the Fathers to whose zeal is due the credit for its success. Realizing that for the time being the retreatants are closely associated with the family of which the Rector is the superior, good order requires that he be the responsible head in the conduct of the Retreats, and that this salutary work be included in his official duties, using for the active prosecution of the same, the religious whom Father Provincial shall appoint.

8. The Venerable Chapter approves the practice of having our Annual Retreats extend from Sunday to Sunday, with the exception of the earlier retreat, which is primarily for the convenience of Fathers engaged in Parish work.

9. The Venerable Chapter recommends that the “Regulations for Parish Priests”, approved by our last Provincial Chapter, remain in force, local adaptations favoring, the regular observance to be made by Father Provincial, having heard the Rector and Parish Priests. The Rector and Parish Priests shall meet quarterly to read the regulations, and to consider the manner in which they are being observed.

10. Considering it to be in harmony with the motive of the Holy Rule in limiting terms of office, the Chapter favors an abridgement of terms and a change in the personnel of the various charges, such as those engaged in Parish Work, Retreat Directors, etc., so that the incumbents should be prepared at any time willingly to submit to such transfers.

11. To prevent misunderstanding among the clergy as to the legitimate superior of our Monastic Institutions, it is hereby determined that in the “CATHOLIC DIRECTORY”, both in the list of Parishes, and that of Institutions, the name of Very Rev. Fr. Rector shall appear in the first place. It shall belong to the Rector to send lists both of the Monastery and of the Parish to the Diocesan Chancellor, or to the Publishers of the Directory.

12. Lectors of Students have no right inherent in their office to have money. Father Provincial may grant permission, and regulate the amount, and the purpose, for which it is to be expended.

13. To prevent infractions of the Vow of Poverty, and to remove abuses that might bring us, or our ministry, into disrepute with clergy or people, and at the same time to safeguard the precepts of Holy Charity, the Chapter directs that all assistance of material aid for the needy parents of our religious shall come through Father Provincial.

14. Discussion in the interests of the Preparatory College resulted in the following decrees:—

  1. At the end of the school year, a written, as well as an oral examination, shall be required of the students.
  2. The time of vacation away from the College shall be limited to one month; one section being absent from the 1st of July to the 1st of August, the remaining section from the 1st of August to the 1st of September.
  3. That the Rosary be offered once a week for those who have contributed towards the burses.

15. In conformity with a decree of the XXXI General Chapter, permitting an endowment fund for Preparatory Colleges, our, last Provincial Chapter authorized the establishment of such fund for the maintenance of Holy Cross College. This fund has happily attained generous proportions, and this Chapter commends the zeal of those who have been instrumental in its upbuilding, and encourages all the brethren to continue their efforts for this praiseworthy end. It also establishes that for all time this fund shall not be diverted from the primary intention of the donors.


  1. The Venerable Chapter decrees that hereafter our Students shall be ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the close of the fourth year of Theology, exception being made for those Students who are destined for the Chinese Missions, who will be ordained earlier.
  2. That the General Examination prescribed by the Holy Rule, be held at the completion of the Theological Course.
  3. That the experiment be made of having two study periods and two periods for recitation in the afternoon.
  4. That there be a systematic study of the Sacred Passion on one afternoon of the week, throughout the entire course of studies.
  5. That the training in Elocution, begun in the Preparatory college, be continued during the course of studies following the Novitiate.
  6. The Venerable Chapter expresses the hope that Father Provincial will find it feasible to put into effect the permission granted by the General Curia to send several young Fathers to the Catholic University at Washington.

17. The chapter, appreciating the cooperation of our Lay Brothers for the spiritual and temporal welfare of our Monasteries, earnestly requests all the religious, but particularly the Missionaries, to encourage vocations for our Brotherhood.

After the Capitular Fathers had discussed at length the various matters proposed for their consideration, and had given expression to their convictions by the foregoing decrees, Very Rev. Fr. President made the following statement :—

Several religious outside this assembly, in accordance with the suggestion of the last General Chapter, have thought it worth while to communicate with me in order to call my attention to certain matters concerning the spiritual and material welfare of this Province.

Most of the items thus mentioned to me have already been brought up for discussion by the Capitular Fathers, and hence I need not dwell on them again. Other items not dealt with in particular are provided for in Father General’s letter, endorsed by the Chapter, and this ought to be sufficient for conscientious religious, without further legislation.

However, I would like to make an explicit statement on the following points:—

  1. There seems to be a founded complaint as to the tendency to drift away from old traditions, and admit worldliness in our communities.
  2. Overactivity in exterior work.
  3. Going to public games and movies.
  4. Too much smoking, and, in consequence, breaking of silence.
  5. Superiors not going before and leading their communities. Examens and Friday Chapters neglected, and absent from evening sentiment.
  6. There seems to he a misunderstanding among the students concerning the ordinary confessor. About this I wish to state that the privilege of going to the room of the spiritual director or confessor, given by our Regulations (Part First, Reg. VI. No. 6), holds good only for the confessors appointed in accordance with our Holy Rule (Chap. XXXI). (Regulation V. Part II) of our Regulations, and of Canon 518. In using the concession of Canon 519, every prescription of Rules and Regulations must be respected. Moreover, Canon 519 does not give the right to select the ordinary confessor, amongst the priests not appointed in accordance with Canon 518. Although a religious may avail himself of the concession of Canon 519 as often as the peace of his conscience may require, it is the mind of the Church that the prescriptions with regard to ordinary confessors be observed, as results clearly from the tenor of Canon 519.
  7. Another misunderstanding I gather exists about seeking and receiving personal presents, especially by priests engaged in mission work. Conscientious religious, as these no doubt are, I wish only to remind them that in no case can they keep, use, or give away such presents, without the proper permission. The present comes either under S. 1 of Canon 580, and then its administration, and use must be ceded in accordance with Canon 569, and Canon 583, I.; or it comes under S. 2 of Canon 580, and then it belongs to the Order. Moreover, the clause of Our Holy Rule: “Let them apply what is voluntarily given for the common support of the Brethren”, creates in favor of the Order a “praesumptio juris” that the donation does not come under S. 1 of Canon 580, unless the recipient can satisfy his conscience, and in foro externo, his superior, as to the certain and spontaneous intention of the donor to the contrary.

I hope that these pronouncements will meet to a great extent the expectations of those who have confided to me their views, for the welfare of this Province, and I would like it incorporated in the “Acts” of our proceedings.


The Fathers assembled for the last time on Tuesday morning, July 24. The “Acts” of the Chapter were read and approved. Father President then asked the Fathers if there was anything further to be proposed, to which all answered in the negative. Very Rev. Father Justin then arose and, with intense earnestness, gave expression, in the name of the Chapter, to his gratitude to Most Reverend Father General and to his representative, Very Rev. Father President. He said in part:—

When the startling news of Father General’s illness reached us and it was clearly impossible for Father General to come to America, when, added to this, there occurred the lamentable death of Very Rev. Father Consultor General, Father Luigi of St. Francis of Paula, the fear was entertained that it would be impossible for Father Procurator to come in Father General’s place. At once I wrote, pleading that Father Procurator might be spared from the business of the Congregation, to allow Father Leo to come to America, as I felt the welfare of our Province demanded his presence. Father General, in the generosity of his heart, allowed Father Leo to come and preside at our deliberations. Our gratitude, in consequence, is unbounded, both to Most Reverend Father General and to his representative. We consider ourselves particularly fortunate in having Father Leo understand the needs of our Province and the peculiar circumstances of the country in which we live. In consequence, besides Very Rev. Father Consultor General, Alfred of St. John the Baptist, we are convinced that Father Leo will be able rightly to estimate our needs and explain these to the General Curia. We also ask Very Reverend Father Procurator that he will convey to Most Reverend Father General, besides our gratitude, our most sincere congratulations on his recovery from serious illness, and we beg God to spare him that he may lead us in the spirit of St. Paul of the Cross to the feet of our Crucified Saviour. We offer him our sincere loyalty and obedience and we beg God to spare him for many years of fruitful labor to the Congregation.

The Capitular Fathers heartily endorsed this resolution.

Very Reverend Father Procurator then addressed the Fathers in the following words:—

I beg to thank most cordially the Very Reverend Father Justin and all the Capitular Fathers, in my own name and that of Father General, for the vote which has just been moved and carried so heartily. Father General certainly more than deserves your gratitude and affection and most willingly I will convey to him the emphatic way in which you have expressed them. As to me, though I do not deserve so much kindness on your part, I appreciate it all the more. We are now at the end of our meetings, and before separating I wish to comply with the agreeable duty of expressing my sincere satisfaction with your loyal and, I think, successful efforts to promote the welfare of the Order in this Chapter. The results of those efforts will now be brought before the public and, no doubt, judged in various ways. However, as you have done your best to use worthily your God-given mandate, so, I hope, the Brethren will revere God’s Will in the Chapter’s deliberations. Authority is, if I may use this comparison, like the Blessed Sacrament: whatever may be the exterior appearances, our Lord is there. Moreover, by the very essence of religious life, our Congregation is not based on democracy, or the submission of each to the will of all, but on theocracy, or the submission of all to the Will of God as manifested by His accredited representatives. In this spirit, I hope, the Province will receive and abide by the Chapter’s decisions, and use them towards the best possible results. As the Chapter sums up the past of a Province, so it contains in a certain measure its future. This future, in our mind and intention, is surely great and ideal, if it be not marred by the Superiors to whom God has entrusted its development. Well I do entreat the new Superiors to spare no efforts towards making a historical reality of what we see and aim at as an ideal possibility. May the Province of St. Paul of the Cross be always true to and worthy of its leading position in the Order and may it especially never fall under either of the two only menaces expressed in our Holy Rule, against lowering the prestige of poverty or authority.

I wish now to extend a most cordial farewell greeting to all the Brethren of the Province, to our valiant missionaries in China and especially to you, Very Reverend Fathers. I thank you each and all for the earnest, religious, and gentlemanlike spirit manifested in this Chapter, and I assure you that it will be one of the greatest memories of my life to have worked with you on this important occasion. We are going to separate, but with the hope, on my part, of seeing you again. So my last words will not be “good bye” but “au revoir.”

Father President announced that he had received word from Reverend Fathers Emmanuel and Mark of their acceptance of the offices conferred on them.

Word was brought that the newly elected Rectors of St. Ann’s and St. Mary’s Retreat’s had arrived. They were brought into the Chapter Room, and they were informed officially of their election, and the Fathers accepted, with thanks.

The President then confirmed, in writing, the newly elected Master of Novices and Rectors, in accordance with Canon 177.

The Fathers were then asked if there was any reason why the Chapter should not be closed, and having received an answer in the negative, the President formally declared the Chapter closed, and invited the Capitular Fathers to witness to the Acts by their signatures as follows:—

Leo of the Sacred Heart, Procurator General, President.
Justin of the Infant Jesus, Provincial.
Theodore of the Assumption, First Consultor.
Matthias of St. Anne, Second Consultor.
Benjamin of the Immaculate Conception, Rector, St. Paul’s Retreat.
Hilarion of the Sacred Hearts, Rector, St. Mary’s Retreat.
Sebastian of the Holy Family, Rector, St. Michael’s Retreat.
Colman of the Immaculate Conception, Rector, St. Joseph’s Retreat.
Alban of the Five Wounds, Rector, St. Ann’s Retreat.
Patrick of the Sorrowful Mother, Rector, St. Gabriel’s Retreat.
Clement of St. Peter, Rector, Holy Cross Retreat.
Stanislaus of the Holy Redeemer, Master of Novices.

Sebastian of the Holy Family,