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Professorship Cross of the Redemptorists

A Redemptorist (from Latin redemptor "Savior" - as an honorary title of Jesus Christ ) is a member of the Roman Catholic religious order (the "Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer" in Latin : Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris , religious symbol : C.Ss.R ) attached to the 9th It was founded November 1732 by Alfonso Maria de Liguori in Scala ( Italy ). In 2011 around 5300 members were active in 78 countries worldwide, including around 250 in Germany .

They are also called Liguorians after their founder, and from 1825 at the latest they were also written ou-swapped Ligourians , especially in Vienna and especially from the March Revolution in 1848, as well as in related articles and the works of Nestroy and Strauss to this day .


After a lost trial, the Neapolitan lawyer Alfons von Liguori decided to take up the priestly profession and now mainly looked after those excluded from society, the Lazzaroni , his hometown.

When he came to the small mountain town of Scala on the Amalfi coast on a holiday in 1730 due to an illness , he noticed that the rural population there was neglected in pastoral care. With three other priests and a layman, Alfons joined forces on November 9, 1732 to face this pastoral emergency. This union is considered to be the date the Redemptorists were formed.

Alfons demanded a strict life from himself and his fellow brothers. That is why his first companions left him, others in turn joined him - albeit hesitantly at first. There was also controversy with the Kingdom of Naples , which interfered in the drafting of the rule of the order. On February 25, 1749, Pope Benedict XIV recognized the rule, but there were still problems with the state until 1790. When the founder of the order died, two branches of the order existed: one in the Kingdom of Naples, the other in the Papal States .


Spreading north of the Alps

In 1784, the two theology students Klemens Maria Hofbauer and Thaddäus Hübl, the first non-Italians to join the Redemptorist congregation. Both wanted to finish the theological studies they had begun in Vienna in Italy and had got to know the young congregation in Rome. On March 29, 1785, they were ordained a priest and were thereupon commissioned by their superior general to establish religious branches north of the Alps. At first Hofbauer and Hübl toyed with the idea of ​​building a religious house in Austria, but this was impossible due to the political attitude of Emperor Joseph II , who dissolved 800 monasteries during his reign. So they went to Poland, where they were luckier: the papal nuncio in Poland Saluzzo, a Neapolitan, was personally friends with Alfons von Liguori and was benevolent towards the Redemptorists.

Hofbauer and Hübl took over pastoral care at the Church of St. Benno in Warsaw in 1787 . Also there was Emanuel Kunzmann, a friend of Hofbauer who had joined them on their way to Poland and who became the first friar north of the Alps.

The Redemptorist community grew noticeably in Warsaw. In 1799 there were 25 fathers and brothers in the community. In addition to a wide range of liturgical and catechetical offerings in the church, the religious took special care of the needy: They founded an orphanage and a handicraft school and worked at a school for the poor . Hofbauer also trained lay people to become "apostles" who worked with the religious.

On May 31, 1788, Hofbauer was appointed Deputy General Superior and in this capacity he headed the branch north of the Alps until his death. In this role he was often on the road to found new monasteries. But he had little success. Hofbauer undertook a total of four founding trips: to Constance (1795), to Wollerau on Lake Zurich (1797–1798), to East Prussian Warmia (1799) and to Jestetten , Joinville (France) and Rome (1802–1804). Due to financial problems as well as the difficult political situation in those years, the monasteries did not last long. In 1803 the French Joseph-Amand Fidèle Constantin Passerat (1772-1858), who had entered the monastery of St. Benno in 1796 with three companions, was appointed superior with special powers for southern Germany, Switzerland and Alsace. Due to the frequent dissolution of the monastery, he initially resided in various places (including Triberg in the Black Forest ) and from 1818 in the former Valsainte Charterhouse in the canton of Friborg in Switzerland.

In 1808 the Redemptorists were expelled from Warsaw on the orders of Napoleon I. Hofbauer and two confreres were exiled to Vienna, where they worked as city chaplains. In 1820 - just before Hofbauer's death - the order was recognized in the Austrian states. Hofbauer's successor as superior of the Redemptorists north of the Alps was Joseph-Amand Passerat. During his tenure, the order in his region grew tenfold to 300 members. “Transalpine” religious houses were built in Austria, Alsace, Belgium, Holland, the United States (1839) and Bavaria (1841). In addition, Redemptorists from the transalpine branch of the order temporarily worked in the Balkans and Portugal.

German provinces

In 1841 the Bavarian King Ludwig I called Redemptorists to the pilgrimage site of Altötting as a pilgrimage chaplain . In western Germany, communities emerged in Bornhofen , Koblenz and Trier . Religious from Bavaria, Alsace and Belgium worked here. The establishment in the Bornhofen monastery was of great importance for the new diocese of Limburg . It was the first settlement of a religious community after secularization. Her superior in particular, Father Johann Baptist Eichelsbacher , had a great impact. This happened both through the people's missions and through his activity as a retreat master. He supported the Dernbach sisters, the poor servants of Jesus Christ, and (later) the Merciful Brothers of Montabaur in their early days.

For fear of an impending revolution, the Austrian state Catholicism had combined itself with the strict church direction, which was oriented towards Rome. Especially in Vienna, the Liguorians were guarantors of the late Josephine state church, including Johannes Mandlener and Rudolph von Smetana. They also conspired against Catholic reform pedagogues such as Georg Hermes and Anton Günther . Together with the Jesuits , who were not so important at the time , they stood for Prince Metternich's police state. In March 1848 Metternich had to leave the country. On April 6, 1848, a crowd stormed the Maria am Gestade monastery in a second attempt and drove out the Redemptorists there. The brothers from the monastery on Rennweg also had to flee. The Frankfurt National Assembly decided in a first reading to exclude the Jesuits and the Redemptorists from Germany forever. At the end of May 1848 they were also expelled from Linz. The most popular protest against the order was, however, cat music , which was reflected in the joke polka "Ligourianer Seufzer" (op. 57) by Johann Strauss (son) . The expulsion is also dealt with in Johann Nestroy's play " Freedom in Krähwinkel " and in many diatribes. In 1852 they were able to return to Austria.

In 1854 a German province independent of Austria was founded, from which the north German houses were separated in 1859. On March 19, 1859, the "Upper German (later Munich) Province" and the "Low German (later Cologne) Province" of the Redemptorists came into being.

During the Kulturkampf , the order was banned according to an implementation provision of the Jesuit Law of 1873 . The Redemptorists had to leave Germany, the southern German religious avoided to Austria, the northern German to Holland and Belgium. In 1894 they were able to return to the German Empire. At the time of National Socialism, most of the Redemptorist houses were closed and their pastoral work was made difficult or even impossible. After the Second World War, the order experienced a great boom in Germany, also due to the fact that many displaced Redemptorists from the eastern regions joined the western German provinces.

On August 1, 2005, the Cologne Province merged with the Swiss, Dutch and Flanders Province in the Swiss Monastery of Matran (Canton of Friborg) to form the Province of St. Clemens. On March 15, 2008, the Munich Province entered into a federation with the Province of Vienna (communities in Austria and Denmark). Since January 2015, the two provinces of Munich and Vienna have jointly formed the new “Vienna-Munich” order province.

Female branches

Redemptorists (OSSR)

In contrast to the male branch of the order, which is dedicated to mission, the female branch of the order (the Ordo Sanctissimi Redemptoris OSSR) is a contemplative community. The female branch also originated in Scala 1731/32, the first leader was Sister Celeste Crostarosa . In the 19th century the order expanded relatively quickly outside of Italy, the most important foundation being in Vienna in 1831 . Today there is a branch in Germany, the Holy Cross Monastery in Püttlingen in the Saarland . Three Redemptorists and four Nazareth sisters from India currently live in Heilig Kreuz. In Austria there are branches in Ried im Innkreis (Upper Austria) and Lauterach (Vorarlberg). The branch in Ried was taken over by the order of the missionary sisters "Queen of the Apostles". A total of six Redemptorists (as of September 2018) still live in the Ried community.

Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer

The religious order of these missionary sisters was founded in 1957 in Gars am Inn in Upper Bavaria . Today the order is active beyond Germany and Austria in Japan, Bolivia, Chile and the Ukraine and is based on the Redemptorists.


The original area of ​​activity of the Redemptorists was the popular mission, which today is largely called the parish mission . It is about various pastoral events (church services, lectures, discussion groups) in parishes and deaneries, through which a deeper discussion of the faith is to be promoted. In the Munich province, the Redemptorists work here with the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer. Another important field of work is pastoral care for young people ( youth monastery Kirchhellen near Bottrop and monastery Schönenberg near Ellwangen ). In Bonn, the Redemptorists are the sponsors of the Collegium Josephinum school center (grammar school and secondary school). In addition, Redemptorists offer retreats and other forms of adult education (for example in the Cham monastery in Upper Palatinate). In Trier , the order is active in the pastoral care of the telephone, in the St. Klemenskloster Heiligenstadt (Eichsfeld) in the confessional pastoral care, in the monastery Gars it leads an institute for teacher training. Redemptorists are active as pilgrimage chaplains on the Schönenberg . In Heiligenstadt they look after a secondary school.

An important field of work of the order is also the scientific study of moral theology . Alfons of Liguori, who dealt essentially with questions of Christian morality, is the patron saint of moral theologians. The " Accademia Alfonsiana " in Rome, where mainly Redemptorists teach, is at the service of moral theological research . The order had two universities of its own in Germany, one in Gars am Inn (1907–1973) and a second in Hennef-Geistingen (1903–1996, dissolution of the monastery in 2006).

Superior General of the Redemptorists

the Superior General ( Rector Major ) were appointed:

Canonized Redemptorists

Were canonized

Beatified Redemptorists

Were beatified

Redemptorist Life and Work


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. About us - In 10 points
  2. ^ Hermann-Josef Scheidgen: German Catholicism in the Revolution of 1848/49: Episkopat - Klerus - Laien - Vereine , Böhlau Verlag Köln Weimar, 2008, ISBN 3-412-20119-7 , pp. 141–142, 258–260 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. ^ Expulsion of the Redemptorists from Vienna ( Memento from November 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), Austrian National Library
  4. Article: Union of the Redemptorist Provinces of Vienna and Munich sealed April 30, 2008 on medals, accessed online on April 20, 2011
  5. Redemptorists from southern Germany and Austria form a new province ( Memento from June 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Press release of the Redemptorists
  6. "St. Anna Monastery sold to Missionary Sisters" article in the Oberösterreichische Nachrichten of September 12, 2018
  7. ( Memento from January 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Swabian: An advocate for humanity . September 8, 2003.