1751-1820Klemens Maria Hofbauer

Have Courage! God is the Master. He directs everything to his Glory and to our Good, no one can resist him. All of our plans, no matter how well thought out, serve only to fulfil his will.

Klemens Maria Hofbauer 1751

Clement Maria Hofbauer was born on 26th December 1751 in Tasswitz, near Znaim, and was baptized Johannes. He was one of 12 children and his childhood was difficult. He lived in the time of the 7-year war. Before it ended, in 1758, his Father died, leaving behind a pregnant wife with 11 children. On the day of his Father’s death, his Mother took little Johannes to a picture of Crucifixion and said to him: “My Child, from now on he is your Father.”

Klemens Maria Hofbauer 1767

At 16 Clement decided to begin an apprenticeship in Znaim, with the Baker Dobsch. Afterwards he found a job in the Bakery of the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) Monastery in Klosterbruck, Znaim. The Abbot made it possible for him to go to Monastery school. He sensed a growing call to be a Priest, but in order to begin his study, he would need to live in a different place, and this he could not afford.

Klemens Maria Hofbauer 1775 – 1784

In these years he traveled around. He tried to live as a Hermit not far from Znaim, and again in Tivoli, near Rome. It was in Tivoli that he took the names of Clement. In between he worked as a Baker, until he met three Patrons, who helped him to fulfill his dream, to study Theology. Unfortunately, the type of Theology that he was taught really didn’t please him. So, in 1784 Klemens Maria Hofbauer and his friend Thaddäus Hübl went again on pilgrimage to Rome.

Klemens Maria Hofbauer 1784 – 1785

In Rome they asked at the Monastery of San Giuliano to be accepted into the Redemptorist Order, that had been founded by Alphonsus Liguori. In 1785 they were the first non-Italians to make their vows as Redemptorists. Soon afterwards, they were ordained Priests. The Order sent the two of them back to Austria, but because of the political situation it was not possible for members of a Religious order to start a house in Austria, so they moved to Warsaw. From 1787 – 1808 they worked there in the Church of St Benno. They built up an orphanage and School and devoted themselves to Pastoral work.

Klemens Maria Hofbauer 1785 – 1808

In the School for poor children there were soon between 4-500 German, Polish and Russian boys and girls, Catholic and non-Catholic. The only requirement for entrance was that they were poor. For Children who showed promise there was a Latin school, there was also an Apprenticeship School and a Housekeeping school for Girls. Another focus was the “Perpetual Mission.” Against the law they celebrated Solemn Liturgies each day, with sermons in several languages.

Klemens Maria Hofbauer 1808 – 1820

In 1808, because of political unrest, Clement was expelled from Warsaw and returned to Vienna. At first, he was only able to find work temporarily, helping in the Minoritenkirche. In 1813 the Bishop appointed him as Rector of St Ursula Church, in the Johannesgase. Here he worked pastorally with people from all walks of life. Against the law, he celebrated Solemn Liturgies, preached and heard people’s confessions. He went to the Poor and the Sickm bringing them food and comfort. For young people he always had an open ear and plenty of time. On 15th March 1820, at the age of 69 he died.

Klemens Maria Hofbauer 1888 – 1914

1888: Beatification by Pope Pius IX

1909: Canonisation by Pope Pius X

1914: Appointment as patron saint of Vienna