Beside Every Good Congregation is a Good Order
Ever since the 1732 founding of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorist missionaries have been able to rely on a dedicated order of contemplative nuns.
In 1731, Blessed Maria Celeste Crostarosa founded the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptoristines). Maria Celeste’s inspired revelations then guided Alphonsus to found the Redemptorists near Naples the next year. Since then, the work of the men and women in both groups has proven complementary to each of their respective missions.
The pioneer of Liguori Publications, Fr. Donald Miller, CSsR, had always hoped that a community of Redemptoristine nuns would be established at Liguori to pray for the apostolate of the pen. His dream was realized in 1960 when eight nuns arrived from their enclosure in Ontario, Canada, to begin a new foundation at Liguori. They stayed in one of the farmhouses on the property until their monastery was completed. One of the eight, the woman chosen to be subprioress, was Sr. Mary Margaret Miller, OSsR—Fr. Donald’s sister. On the morning after their April 28 arrival, Joseph Cardinal Ritter of the Archdiocese of St. Louis came to Liguori to celebrate a welcoming Mass and to bless the sisters’ new cloister.
When the Redemptoristines are invited to start a new foundation, it is for the distinct purpose of offering their lives of personal and communal prayer for these intentions: for the various ministries of their brothers in the Alphonsian family in the area; for the ministries of the Redemptorists throughout the province; and for all the faithful of the local Church. According to their Rule: “Our vocation of prayer in the Church is to live out the unceasing prayer of Christ and…to make our own this essential element of His redemptive mission” (Constitution 41).
For nearly sixty years, the apostolate of the pen at Liguori Publications has been one of the beneficiaries of the Redemptoristines’ private prayerful presence. The many achievements of the publication house certainly would not have been possible without the reverent dedication of its next-door neighbors a few hundred yards down the road, the women lovingly nicknamed the Red Nuns.