In the eighteenth century a promising young lawyer called Alphonsus de Liguori felt he was being called to make a difference for the poor and abandoned of his day. He too asked the question “what must I do to inherit eternal life”?
In what way am I being called to be fulfilled, to have a life worth living?
He found his answer in forming a small band of missionaries in Italy. He did this with the help of a visionary sister and co-founder of the Redemptorists, her name was Maria Celeste Crostarosa. They decided that the missionaries would be called ‘The Congregation of the most holy Redeemer’.
That initial step was truly blessed by God and his congregation exists and thrives today all around the world.
A preaching that awakens, a preaching that enlightens - as when a light turned on awakes and of course annoys a sleeper- that is the preaching of Christ, calling: Wake up! Be converted! That is the Church's authentic teaching. Naturally, such teaching must meet conflict, must meet misplaced prestige, must disturb, must be persecuted. It cannot get along with the powers of darkness and sin.
Today, there are so many people who do not experience the Gospel as Good or as News. It is our mission to help these people experience the love that God has for them. As Redemptorists our whole life becomes a channel for Christ's redeeming love, especially for the poor and abandoned, whether in spirit, mind or body. We believe that as we dedicate our lives to the service of others in need, we are doing something supremely valuable and wonderfully satisfying. In doing so, we each become a living memory 'viva memoria' of Christ's life, death and ressurrection.
Much of who we are is what we owe to others; to my family and the Redemptorists I owe my life.
As an international Catholic Religious Congregation with membership of about 6,000 men, our presence is felt in every corner of the world. In whatever way we can, we try to bring Jesus our Redeemer into the very heart of daily life. Whether in working with those searching for a deeper understanding of faith, or celebrating the liturgy each day in our parishes, or encountering people in the inner city, we offer people a new and exciting glimple of a loving Father who calls us by name.
It doesn’t matter what part of the world we come from, or what culture we were brought up in, we all share some important things in common. We are all men of faith whose driving force is the gospel. We have a passion for the Gospel and we have a passion for people. We seek to bring these two passions together.
In prayer a conversation with Christ develops and makes us his intimate friends.
It would be impossible for someone to become a Redemptorist without either of these qualities. The Gospel is not meant to be mere words on paper, but a lived experience of love: love of God the Father, love of the person of Jesus Christ and love of neighbour. We believe it is possible for everyone, regardless of social or economic background, to experience Jesus Christ in a deep and personal way. We make their hopes and dreams our own.
Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption.
The Redemptorist congregation exists to “follow the example of Jesus Christ the Redeemer by preaching the word of God to the Poor,” as he declared of himself: “He sent me to preach Good News to the Poor.” The pursuit of this objective is an onerous task. With good humour and dedication the Redemptorists apply themselves to the achievement of this gospel goal. In reality this demands a serious commitment of resources and energy to a varied and diverse number of ministries.
Our congregation exists because of this belief, and has survived to this day because we believe it passionately.
OUR HISTORY IN THIS PART OF WORLD...
In June of 1843 three Redemptorists, two priests and one brother, arrived in Cornwall from Belgium tofound a mission, of the three only one of them could speak English. Despite obvious difficulties the Redemptorists provedthemselves to be excellent preachers and it mattered little should they be preaching to Catholics or non-Catholics.
Four years later the Belgian Provincial, Fr de Held came out of office and was appointed to England. Traveling through London he was persuaded to look at property in South London, which had once belonged to Lord Teighnmouth. And so began a long and successful history between London and the Redemptorists.
With the Church built, the Redemptorists set to work, attracting people from far and wide. There were confessions, Masses, sermons and instructions, not to mention the Confraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the St Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic lending library, and all sorts of extra liturgical devotions such as Benediction, Litany and Rosary, the Way of Cross, devotions to the Infant Jesus, for a Happy Death, the Quarant’ Ore and all kinds of devotional things in honour of Our Lady.
While this work went on in London, other work was underway in spreading the Good News of the Lord. Two new houses were also opened, in Limerick and in Liverpool and much of the work the Redemptorists were founded for was carried out; mission preaching.
It was then decidedthat this new missionary development needed more independence from Belgium, and so the General Chapter declared that a new Anglo-Dutch Vice-Province be established. The new province comprised of the houses on Amsterdam, Wittem, Bois-le-Duc, Clapham, Bishop Eton and Limerick. Back in the early days we were resident in three countries, England, Ireland and Holland.
Today we are geographically different and the London Province numbers 60 members in nine communities in England and Scotland. In our mission region of Zimbabwe we have 3 communities and a growing number of Redemptorist students. The international headquarters of the Redemptorists is in Rome, and the principal house of this province is in Perth (Scotland), which is the Provincial Residence.
The whole life of the Redemptorist is at the service of the Church; our special mission is the proclamation of the word of God. In the London Province our missionary work includes parish and school missions, renewal courses, retreats, publications, and staffing five parishes. Alphonsus' missionary work included theological and spiritual writing: today that work is continued by Redemptorist Publications, which is known worldwide. Also, both at Hawkstone Hall and at Perth, Scotland, we run renewal courses and retreats, and offer the facilities of our pastoral centres to other groups.