History

Our Story

by Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R.

The Redemptorists were founded in 1732 by St. Alphonsus Liguori in the Amalfi region of Italy, near the city of Naples. St. Alphonsus was born into a family of privilege in 1696. His parents made sure he had the best of education. By the age of 16, he had received degrees in both civil and canon (Church) law. It pleased his family that the young Alphonsus became a respected lawyer. At the age of 27, after a disappointing court loss, Alphonsus began his studies to become a priest. At the age of 30, he was ordained a priest.

In 1732 Alphonsus founded the Redemptorists, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. This was a unique religious community at the time, a community committed to preaching the Word of God and dedicated to the poor people in the hill country outside of Naples. After a difficult start, the Congregation spread to Northern Europe then to North America. In 1832 Redemptorists traveled to America from Vienna. Redemptorists from the United States settled in Canada, making their first foundation in 1874 at St. Patrick’s Church in Quebec City.

After Napoleon Bonaparte had conquered most of Europe, the Holy Roman Empire finally came to an end on 6 August 1806. The old world had been swept away. On the same day, Father Clement Mary Hofbauer wrote from the church of St. Benno in Warsaw to one of his friends:

“Presently my greatest pleasure is to think of the forests of Canada. God sends us by persecution there, where he wants us to go.” – Paul Laverdure, Redemption and Renewal; The Redemptorists of English Canada. Dundurn Press 1996

Who We Are

by Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R.

The Redemptorists are a congregation of Catholic Priests and Brothers with foundations all over the world. We were founded in 1732 by St. Alphonsus Liguori, a priest from the city of Naples, Italy. St. Alphonsus was looking for a way to bring the “Good News” to the poor shepherds and farmers living in the hillsides surrounding Naples. He gathered around him young, dedicated priests and brothers who were willing to go where no one else would go to fulfill this mission.

From these small beginnings the Redemptorists, officially known as “The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer”, have grown to over 5000 members who are still dedicated to the original vision of St. Alphonsus; to bring the message of the Gospel to the Most Poor and Abandoned.

The Redemptorists are organized into regions called provinces. In 1996 the union of the Edmonton and Toronto provinces brought together all the English speaking Redemptorists of the Roman Catholic Rite in Canada. Along with our Provincial House in Toronto, Ontario, the Redemptorists of the Edmonton-Toronto province can be found working to fulfill our mission in Canada from Vancouver, British Columbia, to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

If you follow the links just below, you can find out more about the Redemptorists. “Our Story” tells the tale of how we came to be in Canada.

The link to “Our Saints” offers biographies of Redemptorists who have been recognized by the Catholic Church as having been men of uncommon heroic virtue. These are the lives we continue to look to for inspiration in our work today.

The link to “Our Members” offers an “up close” look at some of the members of our province through the use of biographies. There will be more of these as time goes on.

Finally, the links to “Partners in Mission” offers a look at how the Redemptorist mission has expanded to include collaboration with all the faithful men and women of the Church.

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