Adolph Kolping

Blessed Adolph Kolping

Blessed Adolph Kolping
Father of All Apprentices
Born (1813-12-08)8 December 1813
Kerpen, Germany
Died 4 December 1865(1865-12-04) (aged 51)
Cologne, Germany
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 27 October 1991 by Pope John Paul II
Feast 6 December[1]
Patronage World Youth Day[1]

Adolph Kolping (December 8, 1813 in Kerpen — December 4, 1865 in Cologne) was a German Catholic priest, who has been beatified by the Catholic Church. He was a leader in providing social support for young workers in the cities of industrial Germany, and worldwide.


Kolping grew up as the son of a shepherd. At the age of 18 he went to Cologne as a shoemaker’s assistant. He was shocked by the living conditions of the working class living there, which influenced his decision to become a priest. At age 23 he attended the Dreikönigsgymnasium and afterwards studied theology in Munich, Bonn and Cologne.

On April 13,[2] 1845 he was ordained a priest in Cologne's Minoritenkirche.[1] First he worked in Elberfeld (now part of Wuppertal) as a chaplain and religion teacher.

In 1847 he became the second president of the Catholic Association of Journeymen (founded the preceding year by Johann Gregor Breuer), which gave young journeymen religious and social support.

Adolph Kolping Monument at Kerpen, Germany

In 1849 he returned to Cologne as vicar of the cathedral and established Cologne’s Association of Journeymen. He united the existing journeymen associations as the Rheinischer Gesellenbund ("Federation of Journeymen of the Rhine Region") in 1850. This fusion was the origin of today’s international Kolpingwerk. Until his death he labored to spread the federation of journeymen associations. By the year of his death, 1865, there were more than four hundred journeymen associations worldwide.

In 1854, Kolping founded the weekly newspaper Rheinische Volksblätter ("Rhine Region People’s Paper"), which quickly became one of the most successful press organs of his time.

In 1862, he became the rector of Saint Maria Empfängnis Church.


On December 4, 1865 Kolping died. He is buried in the Minoritenkirche in Cologne.

Veneration and legacy

On October 27, 1991 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. He is remembered as the "Father of All Apprentices" and his feast day is on December 4.[1][2]

Kolping House in New York

In Germany today, The International Kolping Society has more than 275,000 members in 2,730 local Kolpingsfamilien ("Kolping families"), making it the largest social federation in the country. The organization, based in Cologne, is represented in 59 countries with more than 470,000 members around the world, divided into about 5,000 Kolpingsfamilien.[3]


Wenn der Mann wahrhaft Religion hat in Wort und Tat, dann hat die Frau auch gründlich Respekt vor ihm, dann ehrt sie ihn auch willig als ihr Oberhaupt.

References and notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 Jones, Terry. "Adolph Kolping". Patron Saints Index. Archived from the original on 28 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  2. 1 2 The Life and Work of Father Adolph Kolping
  3. "All about us". Kolping International. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
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