From the very early years of its founding, the Redemptorist Congregation has had a missionary thrust in its service to the Church. St. Clement Hofbauer was the first to take the Congregation out of Italy and to set roots in other European countries in 1785. The first Redemptorists arrived in the United States in 1832.
Over the years the Congregation in this country increased in numbers to the extent that eventually we became three distinct Provinces. In the early years of 1940 the St. Louis Province sent a band of six missionaries to Brazil and a vice-province was established in 1947. A considerable number of priests and brothers have since served this Mission in Brazil, and four Redemptorists have been made Bishops to serve the Church in Brazil.
Another call for missionaries came from Thailand, and members volunteered to answer the call in 1948. Besides establishing parishes and giving missions, these missionaries established the Ruamrudee International School in Bangkok which has an enrollment of about 2000 students, an orphanage in Pattaya to take in abandoned babies at the time of the Vietnam War. This orphanage eventually grew to include a vocational training school for young handicapped men and women, adding a home for the blind and homeless street children. Working in the slums of Bangkok, the Human Development Center was begun to help the poor children in the slums help themselves, and Mercy Centre to rescue children caught up in the Bangkok sex trade, and to care for those with full-blown HIV/AIDS. Today Thailand has grown to become an independent Province.
In 1978 the then Oakland Province sent four Redemptorists to Nigeria to begin to meet the needs of the most abandoned, and the growth of this mission has been enormously blessed by God. Native vocations have been plentiful, and today there are over 90 professed members of the Vice-Province of Nigeria.
Watch our missionaries at work among the poor in Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand: