Birth of the Congregation
The Congregation of the Passionista Sisters of St. Paul of the Cross was founded in Florence, Italy, on March 17, 1815 by the Marquess Mary Magdalene Frescobaldi Capponi, with the profession of the first four Sisters: Veronica, Gertrudes, Crucifix and Cleofe. Experiencing the Charism of Making Memories of the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the new Institute was born with the purpose of re-educating young women and prostituted women so that they could return to a dignified life in society.
Mary Magdalene, having had contact with the Passionista Fathers, asked for her to be added to the spiritual goods for her Religious Family, which she was granted. He also wanted his Sisters to live the same Charism that the nuns and missionaries founded by St. Paul of the Cross lived, insisting that Paul of the Cross be considered as the founder of the Sisters. At the time of his death, Mary Magdalene was only 4 years old.
Coming to Brazil
At the beginning of 1902, Mr. Simas Pimenta and his wife, Dona Maria Pimenta, founded in São Paulo, in the Pinheiros Neighborhood, a work to house orphan girls, or others who, for various circumstances, needed boarding schools. This house was called Abrigo Santa Maria. In 1914, the procession for the Passionista Sisters to Brazil began: "In July 1914, Mother Angelica received a telegram from Brazil, from the Passionista Fathers, inviting the Congregation to care for a Shelter in São Paulo.
The first Sisters of the Congregation were sent from Italy to Brazil on October 18, 1919, to leave their homeland for mission in foreign lands: Anunciata Inanzi, Boaventura Sabani and Águeda Lopai.
The first Passionista Sisters arrived after the First World War, which took place from 1914 to1918 and whose consequences were still felt by the Brazilian people. The request was received by Mother General of the Passionista Sisters of the time, Mother Angélica Michelagnoli.
They were brought to Santos on November 7, 1919. With joy they were welcomed by the Passionista Fathers and by Mr. Simas Pimenta, director of the establishment where the Sisters went to work, a work that would later be in the domains of the Passionista Parish of Calvary. That same day they traveled by train to Sao Paulo, staying in the house of the Sisters of Divine Providence and later in the College of the Holy Family of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Ipiranga.
At Abrigo they were expected by the educandas. The first months were hard: a lot of work, homesickness, adaptation to the climate, language, food, customs.
In February 1920, five candidates for the Passionista religious life, coming from Colombo, arrived in Paraná. On May 3, 1921, the first four Brazilian Sisters took the vows: Maria Bordignon, Catarina Fiorese, Maria Busato and Jacomina Lovato, thus beginning a path of growth for the Congregation in Brazil, despite the poverty, simplicity and difficulties that the sisters lived In these early years, they relied heavily on the support and help of the local community and the Passionista Fathers.
In 1926 she was elected Head of the Congregation in Brazil, Mother Annunziata Innanzi. In the same year, the foundation was founded in Curitiba and in 1927 in Colombo.
In 1931, the Province of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin was created, with 37 Professed Religious, being Provincial Mother Annunziata Innanzi, showing growth in all the senses.
Currently, the Passionista Sisters administer thirty-six Works in the States of São Paulo, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Santa Catarina, Federal District, Mato Grosso, Goias, Bahia and Piauí, in twenty-seven municipalities distributed in three Provinces: Saint Gabriel of the Virgin Dolorosa (SP), Immaculate Heart of Mary (PR) and Maria Queen of Peace (DF).