The Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, an order founded in 1861 in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, came to the United States and to Brooklyn in 1890 at the request of Bishop John Loughlin. They first settled on Sumpter Street. Then in 1905 they purchased this Fort Hamilton Parkway property and began the project of building the Monastery. The community moved in 1910.
In founding a contemplative community, impelled by the Spirit of God, Mother Catherine Aurelia called her spiritual daughters to a life of prayer and adoration in reparation for the neglect and indifference to the loving presence of Christ in the Eurcharist. In the words of our Mother Foundress: “They will pray for the sanctification of nations,...for the zeal of the apostles of Christ who are evangelizing, for holiness of all God’s people and the increased holiness of priests called to be dispensers of the divine blood. They will labor in the tempest tossed vessel of the Church, pour out the balm of their prayer in her deep wounds and burn to give their very lives in defense of her cause.” This is the work of our lives down to this day.
From the very beginning, though cloistered, we have not lived our lives in isolation. We have held in our hearts and our prayers the needs of the church and the entire world. The Brooklyn pioneer Adorers from the time of their arrival shared our Institute’s charism of adoration and the reparation in the Mystery of the Precious Blood with the laity by extending membership in the Union of the Precious Blood. In 1891, within a year of the Adorers' coming, The Holy See authorized the erection of the Confraternity of the Precious Blood at the Sisters' chapel. The monastery chapel became a place of prayer, retreat and pilgrimage for people from near and far. With the arrival of Father Joseph F. Stedman in 1925, the membership in the Confraternity grew to large numbers, inspired by his many publications. During his directorship, the devotion to the Precious Blood and the ministry of the Adorers of the Precious Blood spread worldwide. His successors continue in his footsteps. Under the able leadership of Monsignor Joseph K. Parks, this apostolate of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood flourished.
We are sure that most of you have heard that Monsignor Parks was called home by Jesus into eternal life on February 7th, 2005.
He was a devoted director of the Confraternity, and remained on staff until his death. He was a loyal supporter of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood for many years, and was totally committed to the church and its faithful members.
While we all miss him, our joy is full when we realize he is now with Jesus forever and is praying for us all.
Today Monsignor Austin P. Bennett, J.C.D., P.A., is the Executive Director of the Confraternity.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 26th, 1923. He attended Our Lady of Angels parish school under the tutelage of the Sisters of Charity of Halifax. He graduated from Regis High School in Manahttan in 1941. Regis is a Jesuit Scholarship High School. He attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, under the Jesuits and was placed in the Latin and Greek honor section. From there he attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island.
He was ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Brooklyn on June 11th, 1949. He was assigned to Saint Saviour's parish at ordination and was there until 1955. He was exceptionally happy to be a parish Priest during his service at Saint Saviour's.
In June of 1955 he was assigned by Bishop Molloy to residence in the Casa Sta. Maria Dell'Umilta of the North American College in Rome for studies in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He completed his studies in 1958 with a Doctorate in Canon Law summa cum laude. His dissertation on the history of power of the Archbishop of Canterbury, England, was published by the Gregorian University in its Analecta Gregoriana series in Canon Law.
He returned to the Brooklyn Diocese and has remained on the Bishop's staff from 1958 to present. His assignments have all been connected with the financial, insurance, hospital and pension operations of the Diocese and its parishes and affiliates.
In 1998, he was assigned to the Confraternity of the Precious Blood at the Monastery of the Precious Blood, and remains to date the Executive Director.
Under Monsignor Bennett's direction, the Confraternity continues to grow, and has, in spite of many obstacles, been blessed with the opportunity to spread the Word and share the Good News of Christ via the Internet.
Monsignor Stedman, and his successors at the Confraternity, I am sure, never imagined that with a few typed words and a click of a button we could place ourselves into the homes, businesses, churches, and other facilities of millions of people around the world.
Today, as we give thanks to Almighty God and celebrate the ministry we have been entrusted with, we are indeed, very blessed.
Over 85 years ago since the Confraternity came to exist, the sole purpose and mission remains the same. "Share Christ's love, and spread His Word with all people, however and wherever possible, as quickly as possible."
We trust that our fidelity to our vocation is a living witness to the greatness of God's merciful love.
"ONE WITH THE HEART OF CHRIST, WE PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS: CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD HAS REDEEMED US BY HIS BLOOD! Come let us Adore."
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