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The Vision Of St Paul Of The Cross, Founder Of The Passionists
In the meantime, in 1841, Blessed Dominic Barberi had arrived in England, pioneering the Passionist Mission to a country for which the Passionist Founder, St Paul of the Cross had had a special love. "I had a particular impulse to pray for the conversion of England", he wrote in 1720 at the height of the penal times, "especially because I want the standard of the Holy Faith to be erected there so that there will be an increase of devotion and reverence, of homage and love, with frequent acts of adoration for the Blessed Sacrament." He later revealed that for fifty years he had never been able to pray without praying for England. That was no trifle, for St Paul of the Cross was the greatest mystic of the eighteenth century. Shortly before he died in 1775 he had a vision in which he saw his children, the Passionists, in England. Beautiful Broadway must surely have formed part of that vision.

Blessed Dominic Barberi
Blessed Dominic Barberi, too, was a great mystic. When he was only about eighteen years old, God revealed to him that he would become a priest and would evangelise North-Western Europe and especially England and other parts of the British Isles. That revelation was not fulfilled until 1840 when he finally left Rome for Belgium and England but in the intervening years God had so ordered his life that grace and circumstances gave him the spiritual, intellectual and professional training that he needed for his task. "A child in the simplicity of his heart", Wiseman said of him, "a lion in his intelligence." When at last after thirty-three years praying for this country, Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God came to Mary's Dowry, he opened the cradle of the Passionists in England at Aston Hall near Stone in Staffordshire. During the next seven years he laboured unceasingly for Christian Unity in England, reaping the reconciliation not just of John Henry Newman and others of the intelligentsia but of Elizabeth Prout, the future Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, and of countless numbers of the poor working classes in the major industrial centres.

Woodchester
In 1846 Blessed Dominic opened a second house at Woodchester in Gloucestershire. In fact he was on his way to Woodchester when he took a sudden heart attack and died at Reading on 27 August 1849. In spirit he continued his journey, arriving and holding a conversation there with the Rector, Father Vincent Grotti. The conversation ended when Father Vincent was called out of the room. It was only when a telegram told him of Blessed Dominic's death earlier that day that Father Vincent realised what had taken place and understood why his visitor had suddenly disappeared. By September 1850, however, it had become clear to the Passionists that they could no longer stay in Woodchester. It was at this point that Dom Kendal and Dom Glasbrook in Cheltenham went to Woodchester to ask the Passionists if they would be interested in the Broadway Mission.

The Coming Of The Passionists To Broadway
The time was ripe because the Passionist Father General, Father Anthony Testa had sent Father Eugene Martorelli to represent him in visiting the English houses and he was staying in Woodchester. When, however, the two Benedictines arrived there on 20 August 1850 they found that he, the Rector, Father Vincent Grotti and the Vice-Rector, Father Honorius Mazzini had all gone to Aston Hall. They therefore laid their proposal before Father Raphael Gorga, the Lector in Theology. On their return, Fathers Eugene and Vincent, seeing the suggestion as a possible solution to their own problem in Woodchester, authorised Father Raphael to inspect the property in Broadway. He did so, accompanied by Dom Kendal and Dom Glasbrook and found that Dom Kendal still said Mass there once a month and that the house was inhabited by his servant. Negotiations were then opened with the English Benedictine President General, Dom John Jenkins and finally, with the blessing of Bishop Ullathorne of Birmingham, the Passionists bought the property from the Benedictines for £400. Father Vincent Grotti said his first Mass in Broadway on 8 September 1850, one hundred and fifty years ago this Jubilee Year. On the same day Dom Kendal gave him possession of the property and Father Francis Xavier McEvoy took up residence, with the servant staying to look after him until the rest of the community arrived.

The Passionist Novitiate
The Passionist community moved out of Woodchester and into Broadway on 7 October 1850. They brought with them what little furniture they owned; their books, so many of them gifts from John Henry Newman to or in memory of his great friend, Blessed Dominic Barberi; and a lead coffin containing the remains of Father Marcellianus Pini CP, which had had to be removed from the vault of William Leigh, the landowner and patron of the Church of the Annunciation in Woodchester." Father Vincent Grotti was Broadway's first Passionist Rector. He had with him, in addition to Father Xavier, Brothers Seraphim Pesce and John Fielding, whose task was to make such alterations as would turn the house and school into a novitiate. Father Vincent paid £484 4s. for one and a half acres of land from a Mrs. Stanley in order to extend the garden. Then he renovated the interior of the chapel and had it properly varnished and repaired. Without destroying or removing Dom Birdsall's Altar he encased it in a new one. He made a private chapel for the religious, created space for a parish choir and repaired the organ. He built a little chapel in honour of St Aloysius in what had previously been a yard. On 12 December 1850 four novices, Father Leonard Fryer, Brother Sebastian Keens and two lay brothers, Brother Peter Pope and Brother Martin Shells arrived from Aston Hall with their novice-master, Father Salvian Nardocci. For well over the next century, with two short breaks in Cotton Hall in 1854-5 and in Ireland from 1908 to 1927, Broadway took the place of Aston Hall as the Passionist "cradle" in England. It is not surprising that it was in Broadway that on two occasions in the spring of 1851 Blessed Dominic Barberi again appeared to Father Vincent Grotti. Broadway has indeed been blessed throughout these years by the lives of so many fervent young men, practicing prayer and penance for the conversion of England and for the restoration of Christian Unity.

St Saviour's Church
With more hands to help, Father Vincent continued his renovations. On New Year's Day 1851 he put in a new Tabernacle, purchased from Hardman and Son of Birmingham. He erected statues of Our Lady and St Joseph on each side of the Altar and a Calvary in the monks' choir. He also renewed the front of the church. The local people were immensely excited by all this activity, so that an extraordinary crowd gathered for the re-opening. Preaching on that occasion, Father Bernard O'Loughlin told the parishioners that henceforth their little chapel would be known as "St Saviour's Church".

Father Bernard O'Loughlin Father Bernard O'Loughlin, the "Apostle of Broadway", arrived on 30 January 1851. On 13 March he became Vicar to Father Vincent. The latter was still fully occupied with the property, renovating the interior of the Benedictine house to provide extra rooms, linking it to the German College and erecting a belfry with two bells. He also built a cottage for the gardener, Mr Daniel, who had probably come from Stone or Aston, a cowshed and a brew house for making cider. Accordingly, he asked Father Bernard to take charge of the parish. Born in Tunstall, Staffordshire of Irish parents on 18 September 1823, Father Bernard had entered the Passionist novitiate in Aston Hall under Blessed Dominic in 1844, lived with him for much of the next seven years and was even miraculously cured by him of tuberculosis. In 1851 he was twenty-seven years old and fired with Blessed Dominic's own zeal. Almost immediately after his arrival in Broadway he asked permission to go into the village in his religious habit. The permission was granted with some reluctance but it was finally given and, thus attired, Father Bernard set out to visit the homes of the Catholics. He had not gone far when he was surrounded by a crowd of children. Blessed Dominic had once described Bernard as an angel, partly on account of his goodness and partly because he had very fair hair and blue eyes. His methods, however, were totally down-to-earth. He quickly formed the children into troops and, to their immense enjoyment and the astonishment of the gaping adults, paraded them round the streets and back to the monastery, their numbers increasing as they marched. There he invited them in. At first afraid but finally overcome by curiosity, they all trooped into the parlour. Soon the normally silent cloisters were echoing to the strains of "Twinkle, twinkle, little star". Father Bernard gave the children sweets and invited them to come again, as they subsequently did, every evening, at a given time.



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