Riverdale, New York
A late 19th century Victorian Bronx home with a scenic view of the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades was renovated in 1995 as a new Passionist residence with five members. Expectations were that the primary focus for this group would be community life, not any particular ministry. The five current members include a volunteer in a pastoral outreach hospital program and artist-in-residence, a member of the Passionist general council in Rome, and three members who are itinerant preachers throughout the East Coast.
This Riverdale residence continues in the footsteps of a Passionist presence in the Bronx originating in 1920 when the Claflin Estate on Sedgwick Avenue was bought in order to promote Passionist preaching and presence in the Archdiocese of New York. Desiring more solitude, in 1924 the Claflin Estate was sold. The Allien Estate in Riverdale was purchased. The Passionists were taking possession of 14 acres of land, a 62-year-old house, two small cottages and an old stable. A chapel was built adjoining the residence, and the new residence was named after the Passionist bishop, Blessed Vincent Mary Strambi. From 1924 to the 1970s, a small group of Passionists lived and ministered there until the adjacent Passionist Spiritual Center was built in 1965. From the 1970s to the new venture in 1995, the residence was home to the Riverdale Center of Religious Research, directed, until his retirement, by Father Thomas Berry, world renowned ecologian and author. A small group of Passionist religious also lived there.