General Archives

General Historical Archives
of the
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

 

The General Historical Archives of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer preserve, classify and catalogue all the documents of the Congregation that have historical value, beginning with the writings of our Founder, Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, and including all official documents of the General Government and the Provinces, Vice-provinces, Regions and members of the Congregation. It also preserves any other documentation that refers or pertains to the Congregation or any of its members.

The organization of the General Archives began already in the time of the Founder who was careful to insure that important documents were preserved in the local communities’ archives.

The General Archives were first established and organized in Pagani during the 19th century and the first archivist was Fr. Giovanni Giuseppe Sabelli who gathered and organized all the documentation produced from 1747 to 1848.

The General Archives were first established in Rome in 1856 under the direction of Fr. Edward Schwindenhammer and, after the reunification of the Congregation in 1869, the greater part of the Pagani archives were transferred to Rome.

Fr. Schwindenhammer was succeeded by Fr. Michael Ulrich in 1862, Fr. Fredrick Kuntz in 1879, Fr. Edward Bührel in 1903, Fr. Jean Baptiste Raus in 1924, Fr. Louis Arnold in 1943, Fr. Philip Hoffmann in 1946, Fr. Maurice Meulemeester in 1949, Fr. Andrea Sampers in 1951, Fr. Hernán Arboleda Valencia in 1986 and Fr. Raúl Campos in 2004.

In 1986 there were 590 dossiers dating from 1725 to 1954, organized in seven sections. The Alphonsian documents are marked with the acronym SAM (Sancti Alfonsi Manuscripta).

In 1989, using the computer program LIDOS, the electronic or digital organization of the documentation was begun. The archivists are presently working with ARBOR, a database designed especially for the General Archives by Fr. John Vargas. Fr. Stephen Rehrauer collaborated in transferring the data to this new program. Currently 100,000 documents, 11,292 books, 2,428 magazines, 6,283 documents of General Chapters, 2,543 articles, 16,200 photos, slides and other pictures and 1,273 architectural designs have been catalogued in digital form. More than 24,012 items from the file of Fr. Andrea Sampers have also been digitized.

Nevertheless, the work yet to be done is enormous. The amount already organized and catalogued is quite small compared to all that remains to be processed. Each document is given an identification number, then marked with the seal of the General Archives and covered with paper before being placed in a protective folder. All directions for its location and use are stored in the computer database.

Traditionally, all units of the Congregation send Fr. General three copies of their publications, such as books, magazines, brochures, albums, newsletters, etc. In these is preserved the historical memory of our life and ministry.

The Historical General Archives are open to researchers except during July and August and the Christmas holidays, and on feast days and Saturdays.

The Archivists

Fr. Edward Nocuń(archivio.gen@cssr.com)

Fr. Nocun was born on October 11, 1950 in Radlice, Poland. He made his profession of religious vows on August 15, 1969 and was ordained a priest on June 17, 1976.

Fr. Nocun worked as a formator in the novitiate from February, 1977 to June, 1979 and for the students from 1985-1987. He was the prefect of the postulants, candidates for priesthood from 1987 to 1990. In 1991 he earned his doctoral degree in Church history from the Catholic University of Lublino, Poland. He served as novice master from August, 1992 till February, 1996 and as provincial superior of the Province of Warsaw from February 1996 till February 2002. From January 1, 2004 until the end of May, 2007 he was in charge of pastoral care at the Marian Shrine Mariahilfberg, in Neumarkt OPf, Germany. Since July 1, 2007 Fr. Nocun has served as the General Archivist in Rome.

Fr. Jean Beco (jbeco@cssr.com)

Fr. Beco, the Vice-Archivist, is a Belgian Redemptorist. He was born October 10, 1938 in Charleroi, diocese of Tournai. He professed vows on September 15, 1958 and was ordained a priest on March 19, 1964.

He has served as a professor and in various other capacities in several communities. From 1983 to 1993 he was procurator for the foreign missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Haiti and Brazil.

Since 1988 he has been the chronicler and provincial archivist of the Belgian Province. In 1993 he came to the General Archives where he has digitized the documents of the Belgian province and has prepared a publication of the correspondence of Fr. Friedrick von Held, official Visitor to Belgium.

Fr. Ivo Fernandes (ifernandes@cssr.com)

Fr. Ivo Fernandes, a Redemptorist Missionary from the Province of Bangalore (India), was born November 30, 1930 at Bukoba, Tanzania (British East Africa), where his father worked for 24 years. In 1937 his family returned to India and lived in Poona. He made his first profession in 1949, his final profession in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1955.

In 1956-1957 he did his licentiate in theology at the Angelicum in Rome. He studied moral theology at the Alphonsian Academy from 1957-1959. In 1960 he completed his doctorate in theology at the Angelicum. He returned to India and first taught Latin and later dogmatic theology in the Redemptorist major seminary in Bangalore. At the same time he taught moral theology at an Institute for the post-novitiate training of religious women and was a chaplain at St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore, where he taught religion and ethics.

He has served as superior in several communities. In 1971 he became a full-time mission preacher. For 23 years his main apostolate, particularly in northern India, was conducting Life Guidance Seminars in schools and colleges, mainly for non-Christian students and their parents. He was actively involved in ‘Marriage Encounter’ as a team priest for 27 years.

In September 2008, he was called to work part-time in the General Archives, cataloguing and entering documents into the database program. On February 5, 2009 he was appointed to work in the General Archives for three years.

Fr. Emilio Szopinski (eszopinski@cssr.com)

A naturalized Argentine, Fr. Szopinski was born on April 24, 1937 in Woliczka-Rzesów, Poland. He was professed August 31, 1953 and was ordained a priest August 27, 1961.

He preached parish missions in Poland, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. He served in different offices in the Vice-province of Resistencia, Argentina.

Since 2000 he has worked on the documentation of various Units founded by the Galo-Helvetica Province.