Pauline Fathers Coat of Arms
Pauline Fathers Coat of Arms

The Pauline Fathers is an Order which has laboured for almost 800 years for the salvation of souls and to spread devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As one of the oldest Orders in the Roman Catholic Church, its members humbly look back upon a grace-filled history and look forward to a blessed future here in Australia.

What is the History of the Order?

The Monastic Order of St. Paul the First Hermit was founded in 1215 in Hungary. The founder was Blessed Eusebius. It was through his efforts that the saintly hermits of Hungary were united in monasteries under the patronage of St Paul the Hermit who had lived the solitary life some 870 years earlier. It is from St. Paul that the order gets it coat-of-arms, shown in the right. The raven, according to legend brought him bread, and the palm tree dates for food. The two lions dug the grave in which he was buried.

The Order spread rapidly throughout Hungary and then into Croatia, Germany, Poland, Austria and Bohemia. There was a time when there were over 5000 Pauline monks in Hungary alone.

A highlight in the Order's history took place in 1382 when they became the custodians of the miraculous picture of Our Lady, believed to be painted by St Luke the Evangelist. The Icon was brought to Poland by Ladislaus, Duke of Opole, from a castle at Belz, in modern day Ukraine. He invited the monks to come from Hungary into Poland to safeguard the holy picture. The monks established a Shrine for the venerable image of the Blessed Mother in the small town of Czestochowa (pronounced as chen-sto-hova). Today this Shrine is the Mother house of the Order, and is also the largest monastery, with over 100 Fathers and Brothers, belonging to the monks of St Paul the First Hermit. It is seen as the spiritual capital of Polish Catholics and is visited by more than 2 million pilgrims each year from all over the world.

Today there are less than 500 members in the Order throughout the world. The sad history of Europe ravaged by so many wars and religious persecutions, has dramatically reduced the numbers of a once large and flourishing Order.

The majority of the Orders monasteries are presently located in Poland. In the Seminary in Krakow there are over 80 students and in Novitiate more than 30 novices.

The Order has monasteries and Shrines also in Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Italy, United States of America, South Africa and United Kingdom.

Pauline Fathers
The community at Penrose Park

There are two monasteries belonging to the Order in Australia. Their first foundation was made in Berrima, NSW, in 1984, where approximately 2000 pilgrims go each month to pray at the Shrine of Our Lady. In 1989 another Shrine was established on Mount Tamborine, Qld and later permanently moved and blessed as The Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia, by the Most Reverend Bishop EJ. Cuskelly, M.S.C, D.D., on 10th December 1995 at ''Marian Valley'', Beechmont Road, Canungra, Qld.

From the very beginning the apostolate of our Order, Mary has played a special role. She is present in its life and in all spheres of its activities. Our Order has always venerated Her as the Mediatrix of All Graces and has zealously propagated devotion to Her. (Pauline Constitution)

More info

Compiled by Fr. Andrew Joachim Dembicki
OSPPE – Pauline Fathers Monastery
"Marian Valley" – Canungra, Qld 4275

Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, commonly known as Penrose Park (located in the Southern Highlands, NSW) is a renowned place of veneration of the replica of the Icon of Our Lady of Jasna Góra, known as the Black Madonna.  The Shrine is ministered by the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit known as the Pauline Fathers, who are the custodians of the original Icon of the Black Madonna for more than 630 years.