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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Wednesday

CBS Christmas Hallmark Hall of Fame character inspired by Fr. William

Silver Bells author Luanne Rice sent an email to San Alfonso Retreat Housein Long Branch, New Jersey, over the Thanksgiving weekend. She wanted to alert the retreat staff that one of the characters in this year’s CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame was named after and inspired by Fr. William "Rip" Collins, C.Ss.R. In her email Ms. Rice wrote, "I met Father Rip Collins in 1996, and he changed my life. I loved him very much, and feel grateful for him every day. . . Last year I wrote a novel, Silver Bells, that was inspired, in part, by Father Rip’s compassion, and the way he helped me with my struggles."

Her internet blog elaborates further:

"…I’d like to introduce you to Rip Collins. That’s the name I gave to the police officer in the novel…the REAL Rip Collins, the man for whom the character was named, was not a cop at all, but a priest . . . Father William "Rip" Collins. Father Rip…how to start writing about him? I loved him so much. He was the kindest, dearest man. He helped so many people. I first met him at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, New Jersey. In his caring way, he became a very important part of my life. He was a Redemptorist priest . . . he was called to work with alcoholics and addicts, openly sharing his own experience in putting down the drink. That sort of honesty saves people’s lives, and I know that he saved many. Giving his name to the cop in Silver Bells was symbolic to me. Father Rip was very familiar with desperate fights and fighters – he understood the way people battle – not just with each other, but with themselves. He never judged, never tried to solve the problem . . .he just lovingly directed people to look into their own hearts and to their own higher powers to find the answers. . . He lived in the world, saw how people lived and struggled. His compassion for us was limitless. The day I met him, someone told me "you can tell Father Rip anything." Indeed, that was true. The last time I spoke to him was shortly after Christmas three years ago. I called him, and he called me back, and we had a long talk. I promised to come visit him soon, before spring, but never got the chance. He died not long after that call. I miss him every day – perhaps more than ever during the holidays. I know he would have gotten a kick out of having a character in Silver Bells named for him. Rip Collins, I miss you."