St. Alphonsus Liguori, moral theologian and Doctor of the Church, founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) in Naples, Italy in 1732 as a religious congregation of the Catholic Church. The Congregation was formally approved in 1749 by Pope Benedict XIV. The original mission as set forth by St. Alphonsus was to strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel to the poor and the most abandoned, particularly to those who live on the margins of Church and society.
At first, only a handful of men made up the Redemptorists. But over time the Congregation began to expand. In 1785 St. Clement Hofbauer joined the Congregation, and the next year he was the first to take the Congregation beyond Italy, returning to his home country of Austria. From there the Congregation expanded to other European countries, and in 1832 six Redemptorists (three priests and three brothers) traveled to the United States to establish the first Redemptorist mission outside of Europe. Since then the Congregation has expanded throughout the world, and today its members number over 5000.
All Redemptorists use the initials “C.Ss.R.” after their last names. These four letters are an abbreviation for Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris, the Latin for “Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer."
The Denver Province was established in June of 1996 when the former St. Louis Province (established in 1875) and the Oakland Province (established in 1952) merged to form one Province, later joined by the Vice-Province of New Orleans (established in 1952) in 2005. Over the years foreign missions had been established in Brazil (1943), in Thailand (1949), and in Nigeria (1987). In 2012 Thailand became an independent Province.
The Denver Province encompasses most of the continental United States stretching from Michigan to the West Coast. Members of the Province staff some 13 parishes and maintain 3 retreat centers, a publishing house (Liguori Publications), a health care center (St. Clement, where our elderly and infirm Redemptorists reside), and the Blessed Francis Seelos Shrine. Nearly 250 Redemptorist priests, brothers, and seminarians make up the Denver Province.