St. Clement Mary Hofbauer, C.Ss.R.
Although his name is not listed on the official Church calendar for March 15 (also the feast of Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus), Clement Mary Hofbauer is my choice for saint of the month.
One reason for this choice is that Saint Clement, born on December 26, 1751, in central Europe, became a Redemptorist priest, just as I did, so we are “family.” Second, I am presently living in Saint Clement Health Care Center, and I will soon need a benevolent promoter “on the other side.”
So even though we cannot celebrate him liturgically, we can recall some facts of his life that have caused him to be recognized as the “second founder” of the Redemptorists and the patron saint of Vienna.
His life was marked by frequent surprises and sudden changes. His earliest surprise was probably when his father, a butcher by trade, died. Clement, the ninth of twelve children, was six years old at the time. As he grew older he felt called to the priesthood, but his family was too poor to pay for his seminary training, so he became a baker instead.
Later he got a job as a servant in a Premonstratensian monastery. Perhaps the holy atmosphere awakened in him a desire to become a hermit, because he abruptly went off to be one—but not for long. Emperor Joseph II abolished all the hermitages in his realm, and Clement returned home to the bakery.
But Clement didn’t stay there. He became a pilgrim and made several trips to Rome. While there he came into contact with the Redemptorists and knew he had found a home. He and a fellow pilgrim named Thaddeus Hübl joined, entered the novitiate, professed their vows, and in 1785 were ordained Redemptorist priests. Clement was then thirty-four years old.