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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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Partner Profile: Friends in life, mission

Reproduced from the Spring 2013 edition of Plentiful Redemption

Last fall, the Redemptorists honored Jeff and Brenda Vredenburg with the title of Redemptorist Oblate. The honor is the highest bestowed by the worldwide Congregation on a layperson, and is given in recognition of a person’s commitment to the Redemptorist mission to preach the Good News to the poor and most abandoned.

The Vredenburgs are college sweethearts who readily admit to having found a best friend in each other. The two musicians (she’s an organist, he sings) have spent most of the last 40 years serving as music ministers at the Redemptorists’ St. Clement’s Parish in Saratoga Springs, NY. Over the years, they grew to know and love the Redemptorists, especially through their volunteer work at the St. John Neumann Residence, the home for confreres needing skilled nursing care, which was located across the street from St. Clement’s until 2009.

This pair of friends say they’ve found their own best friends in the Redemptorists.

What role have the Redemptorists played in your own spiritual journey?

Brenda: “Their ministry, their great attention to the poor, the emphasis on the fact that everyone counts, all of this is what really touched us. Both of us being teachers, that just goes along with so much of what we do in our classrooms. It’s not just the most gifted and talented people, it’s everyone working together. Their community life is also so very, very special. When you’re with them you can really see how they rely on each other to bring out the best in every situation. That’s a wonderful example for the laity — that we can follow their energy and zeal and real dedication to bringing people much closer to Jesus, to helping their faith deepen both in good times and in sad times.”

How did you discover the writings and spirituality of St. Alphonsus Liguori?

Brenda: “Listening to the Redemptorists speak about St. Alphonsus over the years really led us to looking into more of his writings. As musicians we were also interested in the beautiful hymns he wrote. We always sing ‘Tu Scendi dalle Stella’ at Christmas time, and ‘O God of Loveliness.’ So those pieces have made a big difference; I think you can really appreciate from his writing his real connection between faith and how the arts can support the spiritual growth of the people.”

Jeff: “His resolve was also impressive. Even though he lost many of his first confreres, he held to his beliefs. He was very, very determined to continue his work, and was really a true model for many of the Catholics of his time. We’ve learned to look to St. Alphonsus and ask for some assistance when it’s needed.”