Saturday, September 22, 2012

Catherine Passananti, the mystic of Boston's North End

Sacred Heart Catholic Church.


When I lived in Boston, there was a pious woman from the North End who had a following of devout women, who accompanied her everywhere - Catherine Passananti, Mama Catherine.  She went to St. Anthony's Shrine for Mass and adoration on Saturdays, making a dramatic entrance with her attendants.  She also went to St. Leonard's in the North End, as well Sacred Heart Catholic Church staffed by the Scalabrini Fathers, not far from there, and that is where Mama Catherine received her followers.  A friend insisted I go to one of her Friday evenings where she would speak about her revelations.  (Nora Turchi, where are you?)  The way everyone conducted themselves, with such reverence and devotion towards the mystic, I was reminded of the followers of St. Catherine of Siena.  I wasn't impressed with the generic messages, or Mama Catherine - although she seemed very devout, and no doubt she was. 

Anyway.  I forgot all about her until I came across a Spirit Daily connection.  I know!  So here's the mention of Mama Catherine in a story about the alleged apparitions of the BVM in 1954 in NYC:
XVI. A MYSTERIOUS WOMAN. Now jump a few years ahead to 1961. Back in Boston, Grace came to know, at St. Leonard's Church, Carmella Indrisiano. It was through Mrs. Indrisiano that Grace came to know a certain Catherine Passananti (18941978). McGreevy [31, p. 429] further discusses: "She suffered through an unfortunate marriage and abandonment by her husband. Her religious life took on an added intensity... Catherine began having visions of Jesus while praying before the Blessed Sacrament and soon developed a life wholly centered on prayer, the keeping of a spiritual diary, and various errands requested by Our Lord." Monsignor Donato Conte has written about Passananti, who is associated with the Secular Institute of the Seven Daughters of the Church [45]. McGreevy continues [31, p. 429430]: "Catherine and a friend traveled to the Bronx in 1945 to see Mary after reading about the apparitions in the newspaper. Catherine did not speak of her visit for many years, but in 1961 she surprised her friends... by saying that she must visit 'the boy' in the Bronx. When Catherine and two companions arrived at the shrine in the Bronx, they discovered that Joseph no longer lived at the family home and that he had abandoned the daily saying of the rosary at the shrine. Joseph says that that at precisely that point he felt a curious pull, 'like a magnet', to take the subway from Manhattan to visit his home. The second time he visited he saw an old woman dressed in black outside the front door. It was Catherine; she told Joseph that 'Our Lady wants you to return to the shrine' ". Mr. Vitolo relates this episode in the video interview (Video 2, 14:40+). It was at the Shrine, in 1961, that Joseph Vitolo met his soon to be wife, Grace, and to this day he has resided at 3194 Villa Avenue, The Bronx, New York. - Source
 

Oh my people!  (That is so very charismatic renewal, isn't it?)  Seriously - just pray the rosary every day, go to Mass and confession, and visit the Blessed Sacrament often, practice works of charity and fulfill the duties of your state in life.    Jesus Christ is really, truly, present - body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament.  Don't go chasing apparitions and mystics when Christ dwells amongst us. 

6 comments:

  1. A wise friar once told me that devotions aren't what it means to follow Jesus. I've never forgot that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only I could take you back in time to that place - it was just as nuts as it is now - the people just didn't have blogs back then.

      Delete
  2. Wow, I go to Sacred Heart for Mass from time to time, and I didn't know this story!

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  3. I too met Catherine in the 1970s, when I was still in high school. I had forgotten all about her until recently, when I found a similar internet reference to the "Bronx visions." Then, I cam to find out that an Italian monsignor in Rome has published 5 volumes of research/commentary based on Catherine's mystical experiences. He is convinced she is a true mystic and hopes to see her beatification cause opened. . .
    All I know is that Catherine prayed for my vocation; and I have been a priest for 26 years now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I too met Catherine in the 1970s, when I was still in high school. I had forgotten all about her until recently, when I found a similar internet reference to the "Bronx visions." Then, I cam to find out that an Italian monsignor in Rome has published 5 volumes of research/commentary based on Catherine's mystical experiences. He is convinced she is a true mystic and hopes to see her beatification cause opened. . .
    All I know is that Catherine prayed for my vocation; and I have been a priest for 26 years now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Father! May she intercede for all of us. God bless you.

      Delete

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