Blessed Adolf Kolping

1813 – 1865

Feast Date: December 4

As a shepherd and shoe-factory worker, Adolf experienced poverty and social upheaval in 19th-century Germany. He worked 12-hour days, studied at night, and graduated from high school at 24. After priestly ordination in Cologne in 1845, he began his industrial mission preaching the dignity of both the worker and the work. This soon led to “Kolping Families,” which stressed the Christian response to work and family for workers living in hostels. The movement spread beyond the Rhine Valley to the United States, Argentina, Australia and India, and today has 420,000 members. When Pope John Paul II beatified Adolf in 1991, he called him “the precursor of the great social encyclicals.”

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' news and information service.

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