Blessed Adolph Kolping, Priest, Founder
Kerpen (Cologne), December 8, 1813 – Cologne, December 4, 1865
Adolph Kolping, cobbler, became a priest and a true father of workers artisans formed a work, Kolpingwerk, spread throughout the world with hundreds of thousands of members. Born in 1813 in Kerpen (near Cologne) in a family of shepherds, he exercised the profession of cobbler around Germany. Then he resumed his studies and was ordained priest in Cologne. He was assigned to the industrial area of Wuppertal and became an assistant of the local society of young workers. In 1835 he founded the first home care and vocational training. He died in Cologne in 1865. He was Beatified in 1991.
Roman Martyrology: At Cologne, Germany, Blessed Adolph Kolping, a priest, who, moved by fervent love for the problems of workers in factories and on issues of social justice, he founded an association of young workers and spread to many places.
Starting from the condition of his poor family, with his efforts, willingness and ability, he became a character in the world, to reach the honor of the altars of the Catholic Church as Blessed. Adolph Kolping, fourth of five children of Peter and Anna Maria Zurheyden Kolping, was born in Kerpen (Cologne) in Germany on December 8, 1813. His father was a pastor and small farmer and despite the hard work, could hardly support his family, but he wanted at all costs that the children had an education even elementary school.
After attending elementary school, Adolph not yet thirteen, was forced to go to work at a shoemaker in Kerpen, later worked as a shop boy at the other workshops in the district. Finally succeeded in entering as a laborer in a shoe drive in Cologne and was a coveted place in the misery of the time, but he especially remembered the debauched and indifferent guys at the shop where he lived in Germany at that time. Despite everything, he matured firmly in a priestly vocation and in 1837 at age 24, helped by some priests benefactors, he began to attend the Margellen-Gymnasium in Cologne, where in 1841 he obtained his High School certificate, in the same year he joined the Faculty of Theology Monaco to Munich, then moved on to Bonn.
He was ordained on April 13, 1845 in Cologne in the church of the Child, at 32. He suffered the post of chaplain and catechist in the parish of St. Lorenzo, in the industrial town of Elberfeld (Wuppertal), where Catholics were a minority; this place could shed more light on the world of work especially craft. “The craftsmanship and the working class in general, at the bottom are better than we usually think of and access to their heart is easier than elsewhere.”
At Elberfeld, Father Adolph Kolping met the Association of Artisans (Gesellenverein) founded by Johann Gregor Breuer (1821-1897), the religious experience as an assistant in this community, Catholic, educational and cultural, along with his personal experience as a former craftsman shoemaker and understanding of the way of work, gave him the impetus to realize a project as vast and dynamic way for the youth worker. In the fall of 1846, he founded the first “Gesellenverein” (House of assistance and vocational training) of which in 1847 he became headmaster.
A year later, in 1848 he wrote his pamphlet “The Gesellenverein. The attention of those who care about the true good of the people “, the motto was” To pray, learn, work, seriously, but also in joy. ”
Past the office of assistant pastor of the Cathedral of Cologne, founded May 6, 1849 here, too, a “Gesellenverein” which later became the world center of all organizations of young workers, of which he became President, and it was of all the many associations founded by him later.
The aims of the cultural Kolping were: the committed Christian, the talented craftsman, good family man and responsible citizen, animated by a great love for the artisans, with their intense activity exerted not only charitable, but also evangelizing interest in the pastoral care of the whole world of work.
It was also an apostle in journalism, he founded and directed for many years, the weekly “Rheinische Volksblätter” and “Volkskalender” motivated people is common, with the edition of calendars and magazines under the slogan “Religion and work are the land of golden people “not only exerted a work of education and pastoral care, but could also ensure the economic income to support the work of ‘Gesellenverein’.
In his prints he was able to reach a wide audience, especially in the social classes from which came his young apprentice craftsmen, Adolph Kolping was highly respected by the people, by the bishops and Pope Pius IX, in a hearing that gave him a precious planet.
The simultaneous pursuit of three professions in the service of the Church and society (the vicar of the cathedral, Dean Gesellenverein general, journalist and editor), together with his poor health from a young age, tired and worn out with fatigue, after only twenty years of priesthood, Blessed Adolph died on December 4, 1865 in Cologne at 52.
He left a community of 24,000 members in 400 locations; April 20, 1866 King William I of Prussia, authorized the transfer of his mortal remains from the cemetery to Minoritenkirche of Cologne, the church he preferred in his life, the tomb has become pilgrimage from all over the world.
Father Adolph Kolping, was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 27 October 1991.
Author: Antonio Borrelli
source: Santi e Beati