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Image of St. Clement Maria Hofbauer


Feastday: March 15

Death: 1830

Redemptorist preacher and reformer. He was born on December 26,1751, at Taswitz, Moravia, the ninth child of a butcher and his wife and was baptized John. His family name was originally Dvorak, but was changed to the German Hofbauer. He was apprenticed as a baker in his youth, and later became a hermit near Bruck, Austria. As part of his so-called Josephinist policies, Austrian Emperor Jo­seph II abolished hermitages, and Clement went to Vienna, where he and a friend, Peter Kunzmann, received permission from Bishop Chiaramonti of Tivoli, Italy, to live in a hermitage. Bishop Chiaramonti later became Pope Pius VII. After studying at the university of Vienna, Austria, and in Rome, Clement and another friend, Thaddeus HubI, entered the Redemptorist Order and were ordained in 1785. They were stationed in Vienna, but Emperor Joseph II closed religious foundations, so they were sent to Courtland. Peter Kunzmann joined Clement as a lay brother, and the three were sent to St. Benno's Church in Warsaw, Poland, to begin two decades of missionary labors. Clement preached, built orphanages and schools, and established a vast Redemptorist presence in the city. Napoleon suppressed all religious institutions, and Clement and the Redemptorists were imprisoned in 1808, each one then exiled to his own native land. Clement went to Vienna, where he became the chaplain of the Ursulines and pastor of the adjoining parish. He became known for his holiness and zeal. He founded a Catholic college and began to reform and revitalize the Catholic faith of Austria and Germany. Prince Rupert of Bavaria aided Clement in defeating a move to establish a German national Church. Clement also fought against Josephinism and was about to be expelled from Austria for his opposition to such secular control, when, surprisingly, Emperor Joseph's successor, Emperor Francis I, defended him. Clement died in Vienna on March 15. He was canonized in 1909.

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