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 ensure that important documents were preserved in the local communities’ archives.
The General Archive was first established and organized in Pagani during the 19th century. The first archivist was Fr. Giovanni Giuseppe Sabelli, who gathered and organized all the documentation produced from 1747 to 1848.
The General Archives was first established in Rome in 1856 under the direction of Fr. Edward Schwindenhammer. After the reunification of the Congregation in 1869, the greater part of the Pagani archive was 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, 590 dossiers were 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.
Fr. Adam Owczarski, CSsR – director
Fr. Jean Beco, CSsR
Fr. Emilio Lage, CSsR
Fr. Roberto Etcheverry, CSsR