One truely wonderful thing about being a Passionist today is the support and presence of our Passionist Companions. Men and women who thirst for the Spirituality of Paul of the Cross, and support us in so many ways. It was our pleasure to share some of our resources and history with these dedicated and committed Companions. and this is how they saw what we had recorded and displayed.
"An Afternoon in the Archives"
"On Saturday April 8th a group of the Sydney Passionist Companions spent a fascinating couple of hours with Brother Jeff Daly in the archives.
We started off in the seminar room where Jeff had set up all sorts of displays. We saw old vestments of all sorts, including the black vestments that our priests used to wear for funerals. It was amazing to see the heavy ornate brocade some of them were made of. They must have been incredibly hot and heavy for our Passionists who wore them. We also saw displays of birettas, birettinas and maniples which are “… an ornamental vestment in the form of a band, a little over a yard long and from somewhat over two to almost four inches wide, which is placed on the left arm in such manner that it falls in equal length on both sides of the arm. It is worn only during Mass, not at the administration of the sacraments, during processions, nor at Benediction, etc.” (From The Catholic online encyclopedia!). We saw the black cloaks with the Passionist insignia that used to be worn. Is it true that Father Tom still has one? There were displays of artifacts from the Missionary areas that our Passionists have (and in some cases, still do) work in. The albums of photos were of especial interest. After Jeff had given us time to examine these displays he spoke to us for a few minutes on why we have archives and what he has tried to do with the Passionist archives. In his own words:
“We collect record and relate any information concerning our men, ministries, and houses since the Italian Passionists arrived in Australia in 1843.
Every person who dies is a library of information lost.
Everyone has their story, record it.
We remember the Past,We record the Present,So we can grow in the future.
I have always believed our history should never have been locked away. Fortunately with modern systems of internet, and power-point displays, as well as the space to display and present objects that were meaningful, and to make it accessible beyond our community has always been my dream, now I see my dream is being slowly fulfilled. But I am aware the work in the archives is never finished, material is always arriving.
What worries me is that there are objects in the Archives that are younger than me!!!! Scary isn’t it.”
We were then invited to see for ourselves the way Jeff has set up the archives and indeed made them accessible to all. In the limited time we had, we were able only to see a limited part of the vast collection that Jeff has sorted and displayed so well. We again poured over photo albums of the smiling young men who answered the call and joined the Passionists. We saw photos of all the Passionist houses around Australia, both past and present. There were book cases with collections of reference books and books written by the Passionists. Filing cabinets and a compactus are filled with documents and historical materials of all sorts. Various wall displays included all the Provincials since the founding of the Province, as well as the Generals of the Passionist Congregation. A refectory table is used as a regularly changing display area. There are glass display cases with all sorts of fascinating objects including badges and medals and communion vessels. In other displays we could see various objects that belonged to deceased Passionists. Brother Cyril’s glasses are there with their arms made of straightened paper clips! We saw gadgets and tools now well and truly outdated, but which were at one time in regular use.
Seeing all these things brings it home, not only how much life has changed, but also how quickly we forget how things used to be. Our afternoon in the archives was a powerful reminder of this.
Brother Jeff is always delighted to show people around the archives and show off his impressive collection. If you haven’t done so already, go and pay him a visit and take a fascinating trip down memory lane. You will also make new discoveries and learn more about this wonderful group of men who have done so much for so many."