Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 Litany Lane Blog: insular, Matthew 13:44-46, Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Redemptorists

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
insular, Matthew 13:44-46, Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Order of Redemptorists

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7..

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012

Today's Word:  insular    in·su·lar  [in-suh-ler, ins-yuh-n]

Origin:  1605–15;  < Late Latin insulāris. See insula, -ar

1.  pertaining to an island or islands: insular possessions.
2. dwelling or situated on an island.
3. forming an island: insular rocks.
4. detached; standing alone; isolated.
5. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of islanders.

Today's Gospel Reading - Matthew 13: 44-46

Jesus said to his disciples: 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off in his joy, sells everything he owns and buys the field. 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

• The Gospel today presents two brief parables from the discourse of the Parables. Both are similar to each other, but with significant differences to clarify better determinate aspects of the Mystery of the Kingdom, which the parables are revealing.

• Matthew 13,44: The parable of the treasure hidden in the field. Jesus tells a very simple and brief story which could happen in the life of any person. He says: The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field; someone finds it and hides it again, then he goes off with great joy, he sells everything he owns and buys the field”. Jesus does not explain, he only says: “The Kingdom of Heaven is similar to a treasure hidden in a field”. In this way he urges the auditors to share with others what this story has aroused in them. I share some points that are discovered: (a) The treasure, the Kingdom, is already found in the field, in life. It is hidden. We go through the field and step over the plants without being aware. (b) The man finds the treasure, just out of chance. He did not expect to find it, because he was not looking for it. (c) Seeing that it is a question of a very important treasure, what does he do? He does what we all would do in order to take possession of the treasure. He goes and he sells everything that he has and he buys the field. And, thus, together with the field he obtains the treasure also, the Kingdom. The condition is to sell everything! (d) If the treasure, the Kingdom, is already in my life, then an important aspect of life begins to have a new value. (e) In this story, what dominates is gratuity. The treasure is found by chance, independently of our programmes. The Kingdom comes! And we must draw the consequences and not allow this moment of grace to go by without bearing fruit.

• Matthew 13,45-46: The parable of the merchant of fine pearls. The second parable is similar to the first one, but with an important difference. Let us try to discover it. The story is the following: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value, he goes off and sells everything he owns and buys it”. I share some points that I have discovered: (a) it is the story of a merchant of pearls. His profession is to look for pearls. This is the only thing that he does in his life: to look for and to find pearls. Looking, he finds a pearl of great value. Here the discovery of the Kingdom is not just by chance, but it is the fruit of a long search. (b) The merchant of pearls knows the value of the pearls, because many persons would like to sell him the pearls that they find. But the merchant does not allow himself to be deceived. He knows the value of his merchandise. (c) When he finds a pearl of great value, he goes and sells everything which he owns and buys the pearl. The Kingdom is the greatest value.

• Summarizing the teaching of the two parables. Both of them have the same objective: to reveal the presence of the Kingdom, but each one reveals it in a diverse way: through the discovery of the gratuity of God’s action in us, and through the effort and the search which each human being makes to discover always better, the sense of his/her life.

 Personal questions
• A hidden treasure: have I found it sometimes? Have I sold everything in order to be able to buy it?
• To look for pearls: which is the pearl that you are looking for and you have not as yet found?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,

Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane

Saint of the Day:  Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, C.Ss.R,

Feast Day: August 2
Died: 1787
Patron Saint of : Pagani, Naples (co-patron); arthritis, confessors, moralists, Founder of the Redemptorists

Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (September 27, 1696 – August 1, 1787) was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, scholastic philosopher and theologian, and founder of the Redemptorists, an influential religious congregation. He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1871.


Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori was born in Marianella, near Naples, then part of the Kingdom of Naples. He was the first-born of seven belonging to the Neapolitan nobility. Two days after he was born he was baptized at the Church of Our Lady the Virgin as Alphonsus Mary Antony John Cosmas Damian Michael Gaspard de' Liguori. Alphonsus Liguori went to law school at age sixteen, becoming a very well known lawyer. He was thinking of leaving the profession, and wrote to someone: "My friend, our profession is too full of difficulties and dangers; we lead an unhappy life and run risk of dying an unhappy death. For myself, I will quit this career, which does not suit me; for I wish to secure the salvation of my soul."  At the age of twenty-seven, after having lost an important case - the first he had lost in eight years of practicing law - he made a firm resolution to leave the profession of law.

In 1723, after a long process of discernment, he abandoned his legal career and, despite his father's strong opposition (and reluctant consent), began his seminary studies in preparation for the priesthood in the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. He was ordained a priest on December 21, 1726, at the age of 30. He lived his first years as a priest with the homeless and marginalized youth of Naples. He founded the Evening Chapels which were managed by the young people themselves. These chapels were centers of prayer and piety, preaching, community, social activities, and education. At the time of his death, there were 72 of these chapels with over 10,000 active participants. His sermons were very effective at converting those who were alienated from their faith.

The saint suffered from scruples much of his adult life, and felt guilt about the most minor issues relating to sin. Moreover, the saint viewed scruples as a blessing at times, he wrote: "Scruples are useful in the beginning of conversion....they cleanse the soul, and at the same time make it careful". In 1729, Alphonsus left his family home and took up residence in the Chinese College in Naples. It was there that he began his missionary experience in the interior regions of the Kingdom of Naples where he found people who were much poorer and more abandoned than any of the street children in Naples.

On November 9, 1732, St. Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, when Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa told him that it had been revealed to her that he was the one God had chosen to found the Congregation. This congregation's goal was to teach and preach in the slums of cities and other poor places. They also fought Jansenism which was a heresy that denied humans free will and barred many Catholics from receiving the Eucharist. He gave himself entirely to this new mission. A companion congregation of nuns was founded simultaneously by Sister Maria Celeste.

Alphonsus was consecrated Bishop of Sant'Agata dei Goti in 1762. He tried to refuse the appointment, proposing his age and infirmities as arguments against his consecration. During this time he wrote sermons, books, and articles to encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1775, he was allowed to retire from his office and went to live in the Redemptorist community in Pagani, Italy where he died on August 1, 1787. He was beatified on September 15, 1816, by Pope Pius VII and canonized on May 26, 1839, by Pope Gregory XVI. He was named patron of confessors and moralists by Pope Pius XII on April 26, 1950, who subsequently wrote of him in the encyclical Haurietis Aquas.



Alphonsus was proficient in the arts, his parents having had him being trained by various masters of the arts, and was a musician, painter, poet, and author at the same time. He put all his artistic and literary creativity at the service of the Christian mission and he asked the same of those who joined his congregation. His biography says that, in his later days, he liked to go to the local theater, which at the time had a very bad reputation. After being ordained, each time he attended the recitals Alphonsus simply took his optic glasses off and sat in the last row, listening to the music and not paying attention to anything else.

Alphonsus wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology. The 21,500 editions and the translations into 72 languages that his works have undergone attest to the fact that he is one of the most widely read Catholic authors. Among his best known works are The Great Means of Prayer, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ and The Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament. Prayer and its power, love, his relationship with Christ and his first-hand experience of the pastoral needs of the faithful made Alphonsus one of the great masters of the interior life. His best known musical work is his Christmas hymn Quanno Nascetti Ninno, later translated into Italian by Pope Pius IX as Tu scendi dalle stelle ("From Starry Skies Thou Comest").


In the field of Mariology, Alphonsus Liguori wrote The Glories of Mary, Marian Devotion, Prayers to the Divine Mother, Spiritual Songs,The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Visitations to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Virgin Mary, and other writings. His Mariology, though mainly pastoral in nature, rediscovered, integrated and defended the Mariology of Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose and other fathers and represented an intellectual defence of Mariology in the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, against the cold rationalism of which his often flaming Marian enthusiasm contrasted.

Moral theology

Alphonsus' greatest contribution to the Church was in the area of moral theological reflection with his Moral Theology. This work was born of Alphonsus' pastoral experience, his ability to respond to the practical questions posed by the faithful and from his contact with their everyday problems. He opposed sterile legalism and strict rigorism. According to Alphonsus, those were paths closed to the Gospel because "such rigor has never been taught nor practiced by the Church". His system of moral theology is noted for its prudence, avoiding both laxism and excessive rigor. He is credited with the position of Aequiprobablism, which avoided Jansenist rigorism as well as laxism and simple probablism. As a master of moral theology, he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1871 by Pope Pius IX, one of only 34.

The Redemptorists founded the Alphonsian Academy for the advanced study of Catholic moral theology in the spirit of St. Alphonsus. The Academy offers licentiates and doctorates in moral theology. Many of the professors are Redemptorists.
"Inspired by St. Alphonsus M. de Liguori, who strove to renew moral theology in his time, and in harmony with the Magisterium of the Church, as expressed especially in the Second Vatican Council, the Alphonsian Academy seeks the fullest human and christian knowledge about humankind. Rooted always in the salvific Mystery of Christ the Redeemer, the Academy promotes the worth and meaning of human life by discerning the norm of human behaviour in the individual, in the family, in civil society and in religious faith. Over 4.600 students who have passed through the Academy give vital witness to the pastoral and doctrinal worth of the Institute." (

References: Courtesy of the Catholic Online, and Courtesy of Wikipedia,

  • John Hungerford Pollen (1913). "St._Ignatius_Loyola". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Loyola, (St.) Ignatius (1964). The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Anthony Mottola. Garden City: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-02436-5.
  • Loyola, (St.) Ignatius (1900). Joseph O'Conner. ed. The Autobiography of St. Ignatius. New York: Benziger Brothers. OCLC 1360267.
  • Loyola, (St.) Ignatius (1992). John Olin. ed. The Autobiography of St. Ignatius Loyola, with Related Documents. New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 0-8232-1480-X.
  • Foss, Michael (1969). The Founding of the Jesuits, 1540. Turning Points in History Series. London: Hamilton. ISBN 0-241-01513-8.

Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet:  Redemptorists

Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Latin: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris – C.SS.R.) is a Roman Catholic missionary Congregation founded by Saint Alphonsus Liguori at Scala, near Amalfi, Italy for the purpose of labouring among the neglected country people in the neighbourhood of Naples. Members of the Congregation, priests and brothers, are known as Redemptorists and minister in more than 77 countries around the world.


Redemptorist Order is the only congregation entrusted by the Holy See to propagate and endorse a specific religious Marian art. Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Circa 1499, Rome.

Redemptorists seek to put into action the command of Christ Jesus to “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). They are essentially a missionary society although their ministry is not confined to developing nations. According to their rule they are "to strive to imitate the virtues and examples of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer consecrating themselves especially to the preaching of the word of God to the poor". Their labours consist principally in missions, retreats, and similar exercises.

Traditionally, this has been the mainstay of the Redemptorists as they are well known for conducting parochial missions. The purpose of these parish missions and the homilies preached by the Redemptorists is to “…invite people to a deeper love for God and a fuller practice of the Christian life.” In accordance with the instructions of St. Alphonsus, preaching is to be down-to-earth and understandable to all who are listening.

Shrines, sanctuaries and retreat houses

In order to advance their mission and provide places of pilgrimage, the Redemptorists administer several shrines, which draw hundreds of thousands of people, the most well known being in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Philippines, Rome and Singapore. The Congregation operates many retreat houses where people of all walks of life, Catholic or otherwise, can spend some time in reflection, either individually or in a group. Redemptorists are caretakers of Byzantine icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus and the instruments of the Passion, which was entrusted to them by Pope Pius IX. It is now enshrined in the Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Rome, and Redemptorists propagate devotion to Mary under this title.

Other Ministry

As with most religious congregations, the Redemptorists are also involved in other forms of ministry such as parishes, education, youth and social communication. In recent years the Congregation has increasingly become concerned with matters of social justice; as the Generalate website states “Redemptorists believe that the saving love of God touches the whole person and calls for the transformation of social injustice into respect for the dignity of all men and women”. The Redemptorists of the Cebu province in the Philippines have made a specific commitment in this regard: “Moved by the poverty and dehumanised condition of our people, and encouraged by their faith and desire for justice…We, the Redemptorists of the Province of Cebu, as an apostolic community dedicated through our vows, are called to respond to the urgent needs of our people, especially the most abandoned and the poor…”.

Religious Vows

As members of a religious congregation Redemptorists embrace the evangelical counsels, taking the three traditional religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Poverty means that all possessions are held in common and that no member may accumulate wealth. Chastity means more than abstaining from sexual activity and its purpose is to make the religious totally available for service; it is also a sign that only God can completely fill the human heart. For a member of a religious congregation, obedience is not slavishly doing what one is told by the superior but being attentive to God’s will by prayerfully listening to the voice of the person in charge. For the Redemptorist, the three vows challenge those values presented as being important by modern day society. Recognising that the living out of the three traditional vows can be truly challenging, each Redemptorist takes a fourth vow, that of perseverance.

Religious Formation

After the initial period of contact and discernment, the person seeking to enter the Redemptorists becomes a postulant and goes to live in one of the communities so that both sides might become better acquainted. This lasts between 6 months and one year. Assuming that all goes well, the postulant then begins the period of novitiate, lasting a year, at the beginning of which is received the religious habit. The novitiate year is crucial, for it is then “…that the novices better understand their divine vocation, and indeed one which is proper to the institute, experience the manner of living of the institute, and form their mind and heart in its spirit, and so that their intention and suitability are tested.” Thus, the novices are given the opportunity for longer periods of prayer and spiritual reading as well as silence in order to reflect on the vocation God is offering and nature of their response. The spiritual development of the novice is of particular focus, especially through spiritual direction. During the novitiate the history and Constitutions of the Congregation are studied in depth. A simple profession is made at the end of the novitiate and the person officially becomes a member of the Redemptorists for “By religious profession, members assume the observance of the three evangelical counsels by public vow, are consecrated to God through the ministry of the Church, and are incorporated into the institute with the rights and duties defined by law.” At this point it is normal to begin studying philosophy and theology at university level. During this time there is ample opportunity to experience a variety of ministries in which the Redemptorists are engaged both abroad and in the member’s country of birth. At the end of this period of formation, which lasts for 9 years perpetual profession (final vows) is made and ordination to the diaconate and presbyterate follows for those called to Holy Orders

Foundation and development

Alphonsus was deeply moved by the plight of the poor living in Naples and the surrounding area and established his community with the aim of providing spiritual nourishment. Amongst his companions was Saint Gerard Majella. In 1748 Alphonsus petitioned the Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XIV, to allow him to establish a congregation to minister to the poor in the area around Naples, who were: “… the most in need of spiritual help, as frequently they have no one to administer to them the Holy Sacrament or the Word of God; their plight is such that many, for lack of (apostolic) labourers, reach death's door without knowing anything at all of the necessary truths of the faith. This is because the number of priests…is few.” Benedict agreed and the congregation was formed in 1749.

Within ten years of the foundation, communities had been established at Nocera, Ciorani, Iliceto, and Caposele. However, due to politics, there was an initial difficulty with the houses in the Papal States being separated from those in the Kingdom of Naples, but this was overcome in 1793 and the Congregation soon opened houses in Sicily and other parts of southern Italy. The Congregation was soon to move beyond the borders of present day Italy. In 1785 two Austrians, Clemens Maria Hofbauer and Thaddeus Hübl joined the Redemptorists. After their final profession and ordination to the presbyterate, they received permission to establish a house in their homeland but, due to the resistance of the Austrian government, no foundation took place. Father Hofbauer went to work for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and was sent to Russia where he briefly ministered in Courland (now in Latvia). In 1786 he rejoined Father Hübl and went to Warsaw in Poland where the papal nuncio gave them responsibility for the parish of Saint Benno; their mission thrived until the community was expelled in 1808. In 1793, Father Hofbauer turned his sights on establishing communities in Germanic lands. Soon houses were opened in the south at Jestetten, Triberg im Schwarzwald, and Babenhausen. In 1818, a house was established in Switzerland at the abandoned Carthusian monastery in La Valsainte .

19th century

In 1826, at the request of the government of Austria, the Redemptorists established a community in Lisbon, Portugal, with the purpose of ministerin to German speaking Catholics. Other houses quickly followed in German-speaking areas: Mautern an der Donau (1827), Innsbruck (1828), Marburg (1833), Eggenburg (1833) and Leoben (1834). The Congregation also rapidly expanded into Belgium with communities at Tournai (1831), Sint-Truiden (1833), Liège (1833) and Brussels (1849). A community was even established in the somewhat anti-Catholic Netherlands when a house was opened in Wittem in 1836. The revolutions of 1848 which swept over Europe caused much upheaval, and the Redemptorists were expelled from Switzerland and Austria and were at risk elsewhere. The leader of the Redemptorists was feeble and, in order to provide the Congregation with stable governance, Pope Pius IX placed it under a new superior general who was to reside in Rome. The Congregation thrived throughout the remainder of the 19th century; in 1852 there were four provinces and by 1890 this had increased to twelve with communities having been established in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, England, Scotland, Spain and Suriname. The 20th century saw the continuation of expansion to where the Congregation created new provinces, vice provinces and missions in every decade and established a network of lay associates and volunteers who work with the Redemptorists to bring the Gospel to the poor.

Saint Gerard Majella, C.Ss.R

Saint Gerard Majella, C.Ss.R, patron of mothers
Saint Gerard Majella (April 6, 1726 – October 16, 1755) is a Roman Catholic saint. He is the saint whose intercession is requested for children (and unborn children in particular), childbirth, mothers (and expectant mothers in particular), motherhood, falsely accused people, good confessions, lay brothers and Muro Lucano, Italy

Majella was born in Muro Lucano, Basilicata. He was the son of a tailor who died when Gerard was twelve, leaving the family in poverty. His mother then sent him to her brother so that he could teach Gerard how to sew and help the business. During this time, he was abused by a man whom his uncle sent to help him. He kept silent, but soon his uncle found out and the man who taught him resigned from the job. He loved to be like Jesus Crucified and tried at all costs to suffer. He tried to join the Capuchin order, but his health prevented it. He joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749. When falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, he retreated to silence. She later recanted and cleared him, and thus began his association as patron of all aspects of pregnancy. He was reputed to have bilocation and read consciences. His last will consisted of a small note on the door of his cell saying, "Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills." He died on October 16, 1755 in Caposele, Campania, of tuberculosis, aged 29.


Gerard Majella was beatified in Rome on January 29, 1893, by Pope Leo XIII. He was canonized less than twelve years later on December 11, 1904, by Pope Saint Pius X. St Gerard's Church in Wellington, New Zealand, built in 1908, was the first church to be dedicated to Gerard Majella. The feast day of Saint Gerard Majella is October 16. He was featured on an Italian 45-euro postage stamp in May 2005. The St. Gerard Majella Annual Novena takes place every year in St. Josephs Church, Dundalk, Ireland. This annual nine-day novena is the biggest festival of faith in Ireland. In 1977, St. Gerard's chapel in St. Lucy's Church (Newark, New Jersey) was dedicated as a national shrine. Each year during the Feast days which include October 16, there are the traditional lights, music, food stands and the street procession, it is apparent that this Feast is a spiritual exercise with all of the essential activity centered around the ‘Saint’ and the Chapel. Devotees visit the Shrine also throughout the year to pray to and petition the help of this Miraculous Wonder Worker. The League of St Gerard (Redemptorists, Clapham, London) provides spiritual support and prayers for all expectant mothers and families. Two towns in Quebec, Canada, are named in his honour: one in the Montérégie region and another in the Lanaudière region.

Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R,

Blessed Xavier Seelos, Bavaria 1819-1867
1866-67 Redemptorist In New Orleans
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos (January 11, 1819 – October 4, 1867) was a German-American Roman Catholic priest and Redemptorist missionary. He was born in Füssen, Bavaria, Germany on January 11, 1819 and was baptized the same day in the parish church of St. Mang. Having expressed a desire for the priesthood since childhood, he entered the diocesan seminary in 1842 after having completed his studies in philosophy. Soon after meeting the missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded for the evangelization of the most abandoned, he decided to enter the congregation and to minister to German-speaking immigrants in the United States. He was accepted by the Congregation on November 22, 1842, and sailed the following year from Le Havre, France, arriving in New York on April 20, 1843. On December 22, 1844, after having completed his novitiate and theological studies, Seelos was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Church of St. James in Baltimore, Maryland.

After being ordained, he worked for nine years in the parish of St. Philomena's in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first as assistant pastor to St. John Neumann, who was the superior of the Religious Community, later as Superior himself, and for three years as pastor. During this time, he was also the Redemptorist Novice Master. With Neumann, he also dedicated himself to preaching missions. Regarding their relationship, Seelos said: "He has introduced me to the active life" and, "he has guided me as a spiritual director and confessor."
His availability and innate kindness in understanding and responding to the needs of the faithful quickly made him well known as an expert confessor and spiritual director, so much so that people came to him even from neighboring towns. Faithful to the Redemptorist charism, he practiced a simple lifestyle and a simple manner of expressing himself. The themes of his preaching, rich in Biblical content, were always heard and understood even by the simplest people.

A constant endeavor in this pastoral activity was instructing the little children in the faith. He not only favored this ministry, he held it as fundamental for the growth of the Christian community in the Parish. In 1854, he was transferred from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, then to Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Cumberland, Maryland, in 1857, and to Annapolis (1862), all the while engaged in Parish ministry and serving in the formation of future Redemptorists as Prefect of Students. Even in this post, he was true to his character, remaining always the kind and happy pastor, always prudently attentive to the needs of his students and conscientious of their doctrinal formation. Above all, he strove to instill in these future Redemptorist missionaries the enthusiasm, spirit of sacrifice, and apostolic zeal for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the people.

In 1860 he was proposed as a candidate for the office of Bishop of Pittsburgh. Having been excused from this responsibility by Blessed Pope Pius IX, from 1863 until 1866, he dedicated himself to the life of an itinerant missionary preaching in English and German in the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned. However, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In September of that year, exhausted from visiting and caring for victims of yellow fever, he contracted the disease. After several weeks, he died on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and 9 months.

Pope John Paul II beatified Father Seelos in St. Peter's Square on April 9, 2000. His day in the Martyrology is October 5. On May 19, 2009 the Archbishop of Baltimore, Most Reverend Edwin F. O’Brien, celebrated Mass with many Redemptorist Priests to open the Diocesan process to investigate a possible second miracle related to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. After the Mass, Rev. Gilbert J. Seitz, J.C.L. of the Baltimore Archdiocese Metropolitan Tribunal began the depositions of key witnesses—including that of Mary Ellen Heibel of St. Mary’s (Redemptorist) Church, Annapolis, who attributes her healing of metastasized esophageal cancer through Father Seelos’ intercession. On September 21, 2010, Fathers John Vargas and Byron Miller, Redemptorist Vice Postulators, convened in Baltimore to inspect the Acts, and determined the Inquiry to be comprehensive and thorough, with no further proofs to submit or witnesses to propose. The results of this investigation have now been sent to the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints in Rome, thus completing the Diocesan Inquiry phase of the canonization process.


The most fundamental unit of the Redemptorists is the local community in which members live together, combining their prayers, experiences, successes and failures, as well as any possessions for the service of the Gospel. Each community has a local superior who is chosen to exercise the ministry of leadership and the service of authority for the common good. The superior is assisted by a vicar and a group of advisors.

Local communities are organised into larger groups: provinces, vice-provinces, regions. A province is led by a provincial and his council, composed of elected members. In terms of governance, the members of each province elect representatives who gather in a Provincial Chapter Vice-provinces usually look to a founding province to provide support in terms of personnel and finances until it is able to become self-sufficient. Otherwise, it enjoys the freedom and authority necessary to adjust matters to the particular needs of its mission. Regions and Missions are normally communities established in new missionary areas and they depend on the founding province or vice-province.

The Superior General convokes the General Chapter every six years. The General Chapter is the primary governing and representative body of the Redemptorists, carefully examining the mission of the Congregation in accordance with the spirit of St. Alphonsus and its traditions. The day-to-day international affairs of the Congregation are handled by the General Council, which is composed of a superior general and six consultors. The General Council is both a directive and executive body.

Regions and Provinces

  • South Europe: 6 provinces and 2 regions
  • North Europe: 8 provinces, 2 vice-provinces, 2 regions and 1mission,
  • North America: 5 provinces, 1 vice-province and 4 regions.
  • Latin America: 13 provinces, 11 vice-provinces, 4 regions and 2 missions.
  • Africa: 1 province, 5 vice-provinces, 2 regions and 5 missions.
  • Asia-Oceania: 6 provinces, 5 vice-provinces, 4 regions and 2 missions. 

Regional development


In 1899 the Belgian Fathers were requested by their government to take charge of a number of missions in the Congo State, at that time a Belgian colony: Kinkanda, Kionzo, Kimpese, Matadi, Sonagongo and Lake Tumba.  In South Africa Redemptorists administer parishes in Cape Town, Rustenburg and Howick. There is also a convent of Redemptoristines sisters in Merrivale, KwaZulu-Natal. For the Redemptorists of Southern Africa “…Justice and Peace is part and parcel of everything we are and do. In the South African context…we are called by the poor to a simple life-style and we cannot avoid the struggle of the outcasts and oppressed of the townships and the desperate plight of the poor. In 1987 the Denver Province established a mission in Nigeria which was so fruitful that it soon became a vice-province. The members of the vice-province have made concerted efforts to involve the laity in their work, once again focussing on the poorest of the poor. The Redemptorists also minister in Angola (1967); Burkina Faso; Ghana; Ivory Coast (1993); Madagascar (1967); Niger; Zimbabwe (established by the British Redemptorists in 1960 and revitalised in 1989)  In 1990 the Indian Redemptorists began a mission in Kenya where there are several perpetually professed members. In May 2011 a number of allegations of child sexual abuse by a member of the institute in South Africa were revealed on the RTÉ programme Prime Time Investigates. It was also alleged that the institute was involved in protecting and covering up for the abuser. Alan Shatter the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence has stated that
I have been in touch with the Garda Commissioner about this matter who, of course, shares my concern at the revelations in the programme. The Superintendent in charge of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit is being appointed to examine the programme. In particular, he will examine whether any criminal behaviour was disclosed which can be pursued in this jurisdiction.

Australia and New Zealand

A number of requests for Australian foundations had been made to the Redemptorists and in 1881, the English Province answered the call. A small team was formed to be the first Australian community and in January 1882, they were given a farewell dinner before they set sail; Cardinal Manning arrived with good wishes. The next day the group boarded the liner Sorata bound for Australia, bringing with them an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, blessed by Pope Leo XIII. Eight weeks later, on their arrival in Sydney, the then Archbishop Roger Bede Vaughan, who welcomed them. The first house established was in Singleton, New South Wales but during the summer heat missions were conducted in the cooler climate of New Zealand’s dioceses. As Singleton was an unsuitable base, the community oversaw the building of a new monastery at Mount St Alphonsus, Waratah, New South Wales. It was opened on the founder’s feast, 1887, just five years after the Redemptorists’ arrival. In the first year at Waratah the community conducted 45 missions through New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. A new house in Ballarat followed in 1888 and work began on a new monastery in the suburb of Wendouree. It was officially opened in September 1893.

With the south now being cared for by the Ballarat community, those in Waratah looked north to Queensland and the first missions were preached there in 1889. Missions began in Brisbane and its surrounds, with their success convincing the Archbishop to extend the programme to the far flung country parishes. The first structure that was purpose-built for the Redemptorists in New Zealand was St Gerard's Church in Wellington in 1908. mIn 1927, the Province of Australasia, which included Australia and New Zealand, was created. New Zealand became an independent province in 1970 and from New Zealand, the Redemptorists went to Samoa in 1972. The years after World War II were a time of rapid expansion. As well as ongoing participation in the development of the vice-provinces in the Philippines and in Singapore and Malaysia, further houses were opened in New Town in Tasmania and Townsville and Miami in Queensland. There were also communities established in New South Wales: Campbell’s Hill, Concord, Fairfield West, Penrith and Yagoona. In Victoria, there were communities at Balwyn Box Hill, Brighton, Wongarra and Yarraville. Missionary activity continues to flourish across Australia. Through parish missions, preaching, retreats, adult education, teaching in universities, social justice work, counselling, accompaniment of indigenous communities, chaplaincies, devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, working with people on the margins of society and promoting the family through the Majellan magazine, Redemptorists have sought to highlight that people matter greatly to God. For the Australian Redemptorists, the issue of social justice “…matters to the Redemptorists for it is at the core of our mission in the world.”


The Upper German or Bavarian province, which was under the ban of the Kulturkampf, has recovered some of its lost ground. Since its readmittance, it has added another very important foundation. But the historic convent of Altötting has passed into other hands. In 1894 this province opened in Brazil a mission of two houses forming a vice-province.

Canada and Caribbean

In 1874 the Redemptorists were called to St. Patrick's Church, Quebec, Canada, the only church in that city for English-speaking Catholics. In 1878 they became the custodians of the shrine of Ste-Anne de Beaupré, near Quebec and then of St. Anne's, Montreal, a large parish in a very poor district of the city. Two other foundations were quickly established in Canada: Saint Patrick's, Toronto and Saint Peter's, New Brunswick in 1881 and 1884 respectively.
Canada was made a vice-province in 1894, where four more houses were opened. This province, initially depending on the Belgian province, numbers six houses. In the West Indies, which were also made a vice-province in 1904, there are now six houses. There is also a house at Mayagüez in Puerto Rico. Before the occupation of the island by the United States the Spanish Redemptorists had settled at San Juan. A parish comprising some 30,000 souls is confided to their care. Despite all their labours for the benefit of the natives their progress is very slow. On 26 July 1911, the Belgian houses of Canada were erected into a new province.


The first Redemptorist community in India was established in Bangalore in 1940 with the help of Irish Redemptorist priests. The Indian Mission that began with only three community members grew remarkably well. India became a Vice-Province in the year 1945 and a Province in 1972. As of 2011 there were some 260 Redemptorists in India, belonging to two Provinces, one Region and one Mission. The Region of Alwaye was established in 1992 and became a Province (Province of Liguori) in 2008. The Region of Mumbai was established in 1999 and was raised to the status of a Vice-Province in 2011. The Mission of Kenya began in 1990 and there are several perpetually professed Kenyan members.

The Philippines

The first Redemptorists, belonging to the Irish province, arrived in Opon, Cebu on 30 June 1906, setting up missions in Compostela, San Francisco and on the Camotes Islands. From 1914 to 1928 further communities were established, the most prominent being: Luzon (where the Redemptorists preached the first mission completely in Tagalog), Lipa, Iloilo, Tacloban and Cagayan de Oro on Mindanao. In 1928, the Philippines was divided into two vice provinces, each under a different province -- the Cebu vice-province responsible for the Visayas and Mindanao under the Irish province; and the Manila vice-province responsible for Luzon under the Australian province, now headquartered at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran. The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) had a profound impact on the Redemptorist Congregation and this resulted in them pledging themselves more strongly to the poor and disadvantaged in imitation of St. Alphonsus. When the political and social upheavals came in the 1960s and 1970s the Filipino Redemptorists stood in solidarity with those seeking justice and equality for they were to “...embrace the mission to proclaim by word and action, the Gospel of justice so that the poor’s aspirations can be fully realised in Christ, the source of liberation.” In 1996, the Cebu vice-province became an independent province, known as the Cebu Province.

United Kingdom and Irish provinces

Rev.Vladimir Pecherin (1807–1885), one of the first Redemptorists to work in Ireland
Redemptorists arrived from Belgium in 1843, and the new province owed its great progress to the Rev. Robert Aston Coffin, one of the band of converts associated with Blessed John Henry Newman, Cardinal Manning, and William Faber in the Oxford Movement. Father Coffin was engaged in missions until he was appointed first provincial in 1865. During his administration new houses were founded in various parts of the United Kingdom, the house at Perth being the first Scottish monastery opened since the Reformation. By 1910, the province had eight houses: Clapham, Bishop-Eton, Monkwearmouth, Bishop's Stortford, Kingswood, Edmonton and a total membership of one hundred and twenty-three. Today the Redemptorists of Britain are engaged in a variety of ministries: the mission amongst the poor of Zimbabwe, renewal centres at Kinnoull and Hawkstone Hall where people can spend time in prayer and reflection and parishes in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Sunderland. Their goal is “to defend our joy in Jesus Christ and to bring to others Plentiful Redemption”. In 1898 the houses in Ireland were constituted a separate province with the provincial house at Limerick. On 25 March 1901, the foundation of the a juvenate house at Limerick was laid. The province of Ireland then comprised four houses: Limerick, Dundalk, Belfast, and Esker. Today, the provincial house is located in Dublin with other communities being found in Belfast (Clonard Monastery and the parish of Saint Gerard Cork, Dundalk, Athenry in Galway, Limerick and four houses are established. The Irish Redemporists are involved in parish ministry, youth work, Redemptorist publications and retreats. They also help staff the missions in Cebu in the Philippines.

United States

St John Neumann (1811–1860), the first U.S. bishop to be canonised
In 1828 Mgr Résé, Vicar-General of Cincinnati, visited Europe in search of priests. While at Vienna he secured three priests and three lay brothers; they arrived in New York on 20 June 1832 and began working amongst the people of northern Michigan. In 1839 they were called to Pittsburgh to assume charge of the German congregation and from this time the care of German congregations became a prominent element of the Redemptorists in North America.
The US province was erected in 1850 and one of the first tasks was the establishment of a seminary and the selection of a suitable place for a novitiate. Cumberland in Maryland, was chosen for the seminary and Baltimore for the novitiate. In 1868 the students were transferred to the new house of studies at Ilchester, Maryland and in 1907 the faculty and the students moved to Esopus, New York on the Hudson River where a more spacious building had been erected.
In 1882, the Congregation sent priests to the Archdiocese of Washington and eventually established five parishes. In 1861 they opened a community in Chicago, Illinois. Soon after, due to the many successful missions they had given in the Archdiocese of St. Louis a house was opened at St. Louis. In 1871 an important mission house was opened at Roxbury, Boston and was dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. When, in 1883, a new parish was formed, the Fathers of the mission church took charge.

From 1883 onward, the Redemptorists spread throughout most of North America and are present in a variety of states such as California in the west, Michigan and Illinois in the midwest, Washington DC and Baltimore in the northeast and Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas in the south.

North American Redemptorists are divided into four provinces (Baltimore, Denver, Edmonton-Toronto and Mexico) and one vice-province (Richmond). and are involved in giving parish missions, social justice, retreats, youth ministry, ministry to adults with special needs, bioethics, publication of religious materials and chaplaincy work as well as outreach to the Hispanic community, ministry amongst the poor, and helping to staff missions in the Caribbean

References:  Courtesy of Wikipedia,

  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Redemptorists". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.