Popular name for the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer, Ordo Sanctissimi Redemptoris (OSSR; Official Catholic Directory #2010), a contemplative order of nuns founded in 1731 in Scala (Naples), Italy, by Ven. Celeste Crostarosa (1696–1755) through the instrumentality of St. alphonsus liguori. Sister Celeste was a member of the community of visitation nuns in Scala and claimed to have received private revelations concerning the foundation of a new religious order devoted exclusively to the perfect imitation of Christ. When St. Alphonsus was convinced that these revelations were authentic, he composed a rule based on them and introduced it into the Visitation community at Scala. This rule received papal approval in 1750.
The Redemptoristines seek to carry on the work of redemption in, with, and through Christ. As a strictly contemplative and cloistered order the Redemptoristines take solemn vows, recite the Liturgy of the Hours in choir, and observe papal enclosure. The habit consists of a red tunic, blue scapular, and blue choir mantle. Attached to the scapular is a picture of the Sacred Heart, and suspended from the cincture is a 15-decade rosary. The veil is black over white.
Each community is autonomous, but in some countries the monasteries have joined into federations for mutual assistance in remunerative work and novitiate training. These federations limit in no way the independence of each community. Each monastery strives to be self-supporting. The type of work varies with the locale. In many houses the nuns manufacture church vestments and banners, altar linens, and habits for the Redemptorists. Painting, writing, mimeograph work, bookbinding and making altar breads are among the other remunerative works.
All Redemptoristines were in Italy until 1831, when a monastery was founded in Vienna and a new era of expansion began. With the opening of the first house in Africa (1963) every continent possessed at least one convent. In the United States there was a community in Esopus, N.Y., founded in 1957, and another in Liguori, Mo., started in 1960.
Bibliography: OSSR, Official Catholic Directory, #2010. j.b. favre, A Great Mystic of the 18th Century, The Venerable Maria Celeste Crostarosa, tr. a Redemptoristine of Chudleigh (London 1935). j. m. scott, Life of the Venerable Maria Celeste Crostarosa (Chudleigh 1949).
[m. m. wilkinson/eds.]