Foundation of the Passionist Nuns

In 1720, St. Paul of the Cross founded the Congregation of the Passion. Foremost in Paul’s spirituality was the Passion of Christ. His desire was to gather around him companions who saw the Passion of Jesus as God’s love-message to them and the world. When the men’s congregation was established, St. Paul then focused on founding a Passionist contemplative community of women. These Doves of Calvary were to be dedicated to the holiness hidden in the Cross of Jesus Christ, for the sole and pure glory of God; and they were to be totally detached from all created things. Their calling was to imitate the suffering Jesus and His Sorrowful Mother.

On May 3, 1771 the first Monastery of the Passionist Nuns was opened in Tarquinia, Italy. The Bishop clothed the Nuns in the black habit of the Passionist Order. Chosen to guide this small community was Mother Mary Crucified, a former Benedictine and now a spiritual daughter of St. Paul of the Cross. St. Paul commissioned her saying: “May you be the model for the Daughters of the Passion who would mourn perpetually for the love of their Crucified Lord, not only by their habit but even more so in their heart…and heal his holy wounds by continual practice of virtues, since this is the purpose for the foundation of the Institute.”

May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts

Our Foundresses:
(front, left to right) Mother Hyacinth, Mother Catherine
(back, left to right) Mother Louise, Mother Teresa, and Sister Mary

American Foundation

In 1852, Bishop O’Connor invited the Passionist Fathers and Brothers to his diocese in Pittsburgh. Eight years later, letters were sent from the American Superior, Father John Dominick Tarlattini, C.P., to the General, requesting a foundation of Passionist Nuns in Pittsburgh. This dream was realized only fifty years later.

In the Provincial Chapter of 1908, Father Stanislaus Grennan, C.P. proposed the foundation of Passionist Nuns in America, and the Chapter voted unanimously in favor of it. Father Joseph Amrhein, C.P., General Consultor in Rome, arranged for the selection of five Nuns from Tarquinia, Italy, to make the foundation: Mother Hyacinth, Mother Catherine, Mother Louise, Mother Teresa, and Sister Mary. 



They arrived in America of April 27, 1910 and moved into the first small convent on July 9, where they were joined by the first three American postulants. The Blessed Sacrament was reposed in the Chapel the next day, July 10, 1910, and Holy Mass was celebrated.

In May, 1911 the new monastery was dedicated.

Within ten days, ten young women entered the monastery, bringing the Community to a total of eighteen members. On July 2, 1911, the first three American nuns, with a rescript from Rome, professed perpetual vows.

For the past 109 years, we have been privileged to serve the Church of Pittsburgh through our hidden lives of prayer, poverty, solitude and penance. As a Passionist Cloistered Contemplative Community, we vow to keep alive in the Church a grateful remembrance of the Passion and Death of Our Lord. 

Foundation Day Celebration on July 9-10, 2023