Redemptorists logo
Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon
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.
Redemptorists logo

Our history

In the United States, the Redemptorists are divided into two provinces (Baltimore and Denver) and two vice provinces (Richmond and Vietnam).

The Vietnam Vice Province was specifically created to work with Catholic Vietnamese and Japanese who fled to the United States after the fall of Saigon in 1975.

A province is financially self-sufficient and staffed with sufficient priests and brothers to do the work entrusted to it. A vice province is dependent on outside sources for support.

The Baltimore Province in the northeastern Unites States is the largest in terms of personnel, and historically the oldest province in North America. Despite its name, its headquarters are located in Brooklyn, N.Y. Attached to it are one vice province and one region:

  • The Vice Province of Richmond (established in 1942)
  • The Caribbean Region, which includes the islands of St. Croix, St. Lucia, and Dominica (established in 1999).

In 1832, 100 years after their Congregation was founded, six Redemptorists sailed from Europe to the United States at the request of the American bishops.

They initially worked with American Indians. Establishing parishes and living in community posed extraordinary difficulties due to the migratory lifestyle of the people they began serving. The Redemptorists soon expanded their ministry to include other marginalized people, namely, Irish, German, and Slavic immigrants.

They ministered to the needs of the people and opened parishes and schools for them, frequently emphasizing the teaching of English, which was often poorly known, if at all, by these populations. In 1847, John Neumann, a Bohemian priest from New York who was the first Redemptorist to profess vows in the United States, was appointed Superior of all Redemptorists in America. Five years later, he was consecrated the fourth bishop of Philadelphia.

In 1850, the American Province, consisting of nine houses, was established from the Belgian Province and headquartered at the Redemptorists’ seminary in Baltimore, from which it got its name as the Baltimore Province. Principal ministries included caring for the needs of immigrants, preaching parish missions, and establishing parishes as mission bases. Redemptorist ministries spread across the United States and Canada. Missions were established in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Virgin Islands, Brazil, and Paraguay.

By 1875, the Redemptorists had grown in numbers and multiplied their places of ministry. What had been one province and one vice province was divided into two provinces — the Province of Baltimore and the Province of St. Louis. The missionary spirit of the Redemptorists quickly spread into English-speaking Canada, and by 1918 the Province of Toronto was established.

In 1902, the Baltimore Province sent missionaries to Puerto Rico (established as a province, which includes the Dominican Republic, in 1984); to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1918; to the state of Campo Grande in Brazil in 1929 (established as a province in 1989); and to Paraguay in 1935 (established as a vice province in 1981, and established as its own province in 2010).

Following their founder’s tradition, the Redemptorists are leaders in the preaching of missions to parishes throughout the United States. This tradition can be seen in the fact that by 1910, nearly every parish in the United States had already experienced a Redemptorist mission.

Redemptorists also have exercised their missionary spirit by serving as military chaplains during the Spanish-American War, World War II, and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have served and are serving Cubans who fled to the United States in the 1980s.

Today, Redemptorist priests and brothers of the Baltimore Province preach parish missions and retreats, staff parishes, and reach out to those who feel disenfranchised. Their message of Good News and hope for all remains: “In Him there is plentiful redemption.”