The Redemptorists have been identified with parish missions in Ireland since the 1840s. They gave their first mission in Limerick in 1851. The founding group from Europe included an Austrian, two Flemish-speaking Belgians, a Ukrainian and a Scottish aristocrat. This book explores the place of the Redemptorists in Irish Catholic life, especially through the preaching of parish missions from the period immediately following the Famine. Parish missions were often agents for social change, especially in the early years of the new Irish State, when the so-called 'poitin missions' in the west of Ireland did much to stem the manufacture of illicit spirits. The Redemptorists were also known for the large confraternities that grew up around their churches in Limerick and Belfast and more recently, for the annual Solemn Novenas that pack the churches several times daily. From the early years of the twentieth century, the Redemptorists also undertook foreign mission work in the Philippine Islands, India and Brazil. The contribution of the Clonard-based Redemptorist community to the peace process in the 1990s was to echo round the world.
This is the first full-length study of the Redemptorists in Ireland that tells the story of this religious community from the inside, as well as addressing some of the criticisms directed at the Congregation over the years.
Brendan McConvery grew up in the shadow of the Redemptorist Clonard Monastery, Belfast. He is a priest-member of the Irish Province of the Redemptorists. Following post-graduate studies in Rome and Jerusalem, he has been for many years a teacher of sacred scripture at the Holy Ghost Missionary College, Dublin and St Patrick's College, Maynooth, where he has served as Dean of the Faculty of Theology.