Redemptorists Order of
Redemptorists Order Of,
or "the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer," was established by Alfonso Maria di Liguori (q.v.) in the city of Scala in 1732, and spread first in the kingdom of Naples and in the Papal States. The end of this institute was the association of missionary priests who should minister by special services to the spiritual wants of the abandoned in towns and villages, without undertaking regular ordinary parochial duties. After St. Alfonso had founded several houses of his community. pope Benedict XIV solemnly approved of his rule and institute, under the above title, Feb. 25, 1749. The order rapidly found favor, and was introduced into other countries, chiefly through the instrumentality of Clement Maria Hoffbauer. This man, the first German Redemptorist, was born in Moravia Dec. 26, 1751. He became a baker, and exercised his profession for some years in the Premonstrant convent of Bruck. Here he obtained the favor of the abbot, who made him commence his studies. After studying four years very actively, he left the convent in 1776 with a view to turn hermit. and spent two years at the renowned shrine of Miihlfrauen. When the hermitages were abolished, he went to Vienna, where he supported himself by working at his former trade. In company with his friend Peter Emanuel Kunzman, who eventually joined the Liguorians as a lay-brother, he made several pilgrimages to Rome, and subsequently completed his studies at Vienna. Here he became acquainted with John Thaddetus Hibel, who was afterwards his most zealous follower and firm friend. The two friends visited Rome, and together entered the convent of the Priests of the Most Holy Redeemer. The rector of the convent designated them some time after to go to Germany to establish the order there, and thus to supply the place of the Jesuits, who had been expelled. After they had finished the necessary studies, they were ordained. They went in 1785 to Vienna; but as there was no prospect of Joseph II allowing their order to be established in Austria, they turned their attention to Poland. Through the mediation of the papal nuncio Saluzzo, they obtained the church of St. Benno at Warsaw and a dwelling-house, and from this their followers subsequently received in Warsaw the name of Bennonites. The priests of the new order, during the first years of their establishment, were in the habit of preaching every Sunday and feast-day in the open air; but as this was subsequently forbidden by the civil authorities, they commenced preaching every Sunday in their church of St. Benno two sermons in Polish, two in German, and one in French. Their activity was rewarded by great success, for in 1796, shortly after they had commenced, the number of their communicants had reached, it is said, 19,000. Natives of Poland, in large numbers, entered the order; and Hoffbauer, during his sojourn in Poland, even opened a seminary for the clergy. In 1794, the order was invited to Mitau, in Courland. and Hoffbauer sent three priests to establish it there. In Warsaw they obtained a second church-that of the Holy Cross. In 1799 the order numbered twenty-five members in that city. As they were at a great distanlce from Rome, Francis de Paulo had, in 1785, given Hoffbauer full power to establish colleges, receive members, etc.; and in 1792 he appointed him his vicar-general. In 1801 or 1802 they were invited to Switzerland, and in 1803 some of them were sent there. They settled at first on the estate of the duke of Schwarzenberg at the frontier of Switzerland, and afterwards in the village of Jestetten, on Mount Tabor. In August, 1803, Hoffbauer went to Rome, afterwards to Poland, and thence to Mount Tambor. While at the latter place he received a request to send a member of his order to the church at Tryberg, in the Black Forest, a place of pilgrimage. Still the two establishments at Mount Tabor and at Tryberg proved unsuccessful, and were subsequently abandoned. In 1806 Hoffbauer returned to Warsaw; but the very next year proceedings were instituted against the society, their papers searched, and finally the community was suppressed by the military authorities. The fathers were imprisoned in the fort of Kustrin, where they were retained one month, and then sent back two by two to their native country. Hoffbauer retired to Vienna, where he sought to reunite his order. In 1813 he was appointed confessor and ecclesiastical director of the Ursuline convent of that city, an office which he retained until his death. The church of the convent was soon transformed into a mission church, Hoffbauer's reputation as a confessor became considerable, and he preached, besides, every Sunday in the church of St. Ursula. As he died March 15, 1820, he did not witness the establishing of his order in Austria; although, one month after his death, the Redemptorists were permitted to establish a college, and before the close of the year the emperor granted them a church at Vienna. In the fall of 1826 they formed a branch establishment at Frohnleiten. The Liguorians now continued in Vienna until driven out of it in March, 1848. In Bavaria the king authorized, March 11, 1841, fifteen to twenty members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer to establish themselves at Alt- Oetting. On the other hand, the government became satisfied in 1848 that the Redemptorists and their doctrines would prove dangerous to Bavaria. They were therefore replaced by the Benedictines. The authorities gave as their reasons for this change that the fathers were instilling fanatical views among the people by means of the confessional, and that their preaching excited the lower classes to disorder. A part of the members of the society remroved to America after its dissohltion, others went to Austria, and some became secular priests. In France the Redemptorists established themselves first at Vischenberg, in the diocese of Strasburg: they were suppressed by the revolution of July, 1830, but succeeded in obtaining their re-establishment, and have at present several establishments in France. The Redemptorists still adhere to the rule of their original constitution. We find in the Catholic Directory for England for this year, after mention of their church at Bishop Eton, Liverpool, a memorandum to the effect that "this is not a parochial church — hence the fathers do not baptize children, or assist at marriages and funerals, except in cases of necessity; but they are always ready to hear confessions, visit the sick, administer the sacraments, preach, and instruct." The Redemptorists have also a house at Clapham, Surrey. Of late years they have been busily pursuing their mission in various parts of Ireland. In America they have founded establishments at New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, and Mouzon. According to the Catholic Directory, they number over 100 members in this country, about 90 of them priests, who have charge of 20 or more churches, mostly at important centres, viz. New York (2), Rochester, Buffalo, and Elmira, N. Y.; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa.; Baltimore (4), Annapolis, Ilchester, etc., Md.; New Orleans (3), La.;
Chatawa, Pike County, Miss.; Detroit, Mich.; Chioncgo, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo. They are building a church in Boston; and the large cathedral on Fifth Avenue, New York, which has cost over $1,000,000, is under their supervision. They have 5 convents in Maryland, with a novitiate and a house of studies, 27 or 28 clerical members (including the provincial, the "Very Rev. Joseph Helmpricht, C.SS.R."), 5 novices, 36 lay brothers, and 50 students connected with them; 2 houses in New York city, with 14 priests and 2 lay brothers; and houses in other cities, etc., usually with from 4 to 8 priests, besides lay brothers, connected with each. The headquarters is at present at Nocera dei Pagani, in the kingdiom of Naples. Their present number, according to the Statistical Year-book of the Roman Catholic Church, is about 2000.
There is also a congregation of female Redemptorists, which Liguori instituted in 1732. They had two establishments in Austria — at Vienna and Stein — but these were also abolished in 1848. They have still a house at Bruges, in Belgium. Posl stated in 1844 their possessions as consisting of their colleges in the kingdom of Naples, Sicily, and the Papal States; in Austria, the colleges of Vienna, Eggenberg, Mautern, Frohnleiten, Marburg, Innspruck, and the hospitals of Leoben and Donauberg; in Bavaria, the college of Alt-Oetting; in Belgium, that of Liege, St. Trond, Tournay, and the hospital of Brussels; in Holland, the college of Wittem; in America, the colleges of Baltimore andt Pittsburgh, and the missionary stations of Albany, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Detroit, Rochester, and New York; in Switzerland, the college of Freiburg; in France, the establishments of Vischenberg, Landser, and one near Nancy; in Englannd, a station at Falmouth. See Posl, Clemens Maria Hofbauer (Regensb. 1844); Henrion, Gesch. d. Monchsorden; Herzog, Real-Encyk. 8:440; Barnum, Romanism as it Is, ip. 318, 319.