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Venerable Joseph Passerat

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Born 30 April, 1772, at Joinville, France ; died 30 October, 1858. The difficulties he had to Surmount in following his vocation to the priesthood were great. He was driven from the seminary, imprisoned, and forced to serve in the army from 1788 to 1792. Owing to his lofty stature he was made drum-major, and later quarter-master. At the first opportunity he left the service and entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in Warsaw. Bl. Clement M. Hofbauer trained him for the religious life and priesthood, and he in turn trained new-comers. Later with great difficulty owing to the circumstances of the times he established houses outside of Poland. After the death of Bl. Clement, Venerable Passerat succeeded him as vicar-general over all the transalpine communities. While thus engaged (1820-48) he founded houses in the United States in Bavaria, Prussia, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Portugal, Holland, and England. Difficulties were many in the United States and in Europe the danger of suppression was imminent, but never wavering, he communicated his confidence in God to his subjects. He used to say: "Console yourselves, we are seed, be it that we are reduced to ten, these like grains of corn reduced to dust under the earth will one day give a rich harvest". The growth of the congregation verified his prediction. He governed his numerous family with zeal, wisdom, and tenderness. When the revolution decreed the destruction of the Redemptorists, he said to his subjects: "Fear not: stand courageously. Let it not be said of us that we have failed to meet martyrdom, but that martyrdom has failed to meet us". On 6 April, 1848, he was driven out of Vienna with his community without the bare necessaries of life. After much hardship he reached Belgium. Worn out with old age and labour he resigned his office and became director of the Redemptoristines at Bruges. The ordinary process for his beatification was begun at Tournai in 1892, and the introduction of the cause of this venerable servant of God was approved by Leo XIII on 13 May, 1901. The Apostolic Process is already completed.

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