Sacred Heart Church, Manville NJ
The Redemptorists-Sacred Heart Church in Manville, NJ
 
 
 
Saint Clement Hofbauer (1751-1820)

St. Clement was born in Moravia (the present Czech Republic) on December 26, 1751. In baptism he received the name of John. The death of his father in 1757 reduced the family to such poverty that John had little time for schooling in his early years. He became a servant in a monastery and learned the trade of baker. He used much of his free time for study with a view to becoming a priest.
Sacred Heart of Jesus
In his thirties, he lived as a hermit, first in Austria and then in Tivoli near the chapel of Quintiliolo. Here he changed his name to Clement.

He returned to Vienna where the generosity of friends enabled him to study in the university. In 1784, dissatisfied with the pervading Josephism of the University of Vienna, he made a journey to Rome, accompanied by a fellow student, Thaddeus Hübl. The two pilgrims were attracted to the Redemptorists, newly established in the Church of San Giuliano, and were received as candidates. After a shortened novitiate they were professed in March 1785 and ten days later they were ordained priests.

He returned to Vienna where the generosity of friends enabled
him to study in the university. In 1784, dissatisfied with the pervading Josephism of the University of Vienna, he made a journey to Rome, accompanied by a fellow student, Thaddeus Hübl. The two pilgrims were attracted to the Redemptorists, newly established in the Church of San Giuliano, and were received as candidates. After a shortened novitiate they were professed in March 1785 and ten days later they were ordained priests.

With Father Hübl, Clement returned to Austria, hoping to establish the Redemptorist Congregation in Vienna. When that proved impossible under Josephist laws, he went to Warsaw, where in 1787 he was given charge of the German church of St. Benno's. There he inaugurated a vigorous pastoral activity and drew a rapid increase of candidates to join himself and Father Hübl. The church of St. Benno's became the scene of a "perpetual mission" with each day a busy program of preaching, instruction, confessions, and devotions. There were also orphanages and schools for both boys and girls. This activity continued until 1808, when at the order of Napoleon, St. Benno's was closed and its community dispersed.

With one companion Clement established himself in Vienna, where
he remained until his death. As chaplain to the Ursuline convent and church he exercised an extraordinary influence throughout the city and much further afield. In particular he was able to advise and encourage some of the most important personages of the new Romantic Movement as well as others who were working for the Catholic revival in German-speaking lands. His ceaseless activity drew on himself the attention of the police.

From the time he came to Warsaw, he repeatedly attempted to extend the Congregation, especially in South Germany and Switzerland. But he did not live to see this. His prayers were answered only a few weeks after his death when the Redemptorists received permission to begin a community. But from this community the Redemptorists spread throughout northern Europe and into North and South America.

St. Clement died in Vienna on March 15, 1820. When Pope Pius VII heard the news he declared: "Religion in Austria has lost its chief support." Redemptorists venerate him as their greatest leader for spreading their apostolate throughout the world.

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