At Dundee there is a numerous Catholic population. In the whole diocese there are thirty-three priests, of whom twelve are members of the religious Society of Redemptorists. There are religious communities of Sisters of Mercy, Little Sisters of the Poor, and Ursulines of Jesus. The Marist Brothers and Redemptorists have their monasteries, and there is a creditable number of congregational schools.
Dominic, and their special work was to preach the Gospel and convert heretics or persons who had fallen away from the Faith. The Jesuit Fathers were organized by St. Ignatius Loyola, and their work is chiefly teaching in colleges, and giving retreats and missions. So also have the Redemptorists, Franciscans, Passionists, etc., their special works, chiefly the giving of missions.
When Father Hecker had been expelled from the Redemptorists it might have been thought that he was done for, and that if he had ever had a mission it had suffered total shipwreck, whether deserved or not. But in reality the very reverse was the truth.
There were but two cabin passengers besides the Redemptorists, and the former being confined to their staterooms by nearly continual sea-sickness, the cabin was turned into a "floating convent," to borrow Father Dold's expression in a long letter descriptive of the voyage, given by Canon Claessens in his Life of Father Bernard.
Father Hecker often said that he was fully determined to forego the entire matter, go back to the Redemptorists, or drift whithersoever Providence might will, if a single one of the men whom he thus consulted had failed to approve him, or had so much as expressed a doubt.
The pilot soon came aboard and they sailed through the Narrows and into the harbor of New York, having spent fifty-two days on the ocean. As they approached the city a little tug-boat was seen coming to meet them. It bore George and John Hecker and Mr. McMaster, whose cordial greetings were the first welcome the young Redemptorists heard on their return to the New World.
In 1851 the American Redemptorists had before them a missionary field almost untouched. Public retreats had been given from time to time in the United States by Jesuits and others, but the mission opened at St. Joseph's Church, New York City, on Passion Sunday, 1851, was the first mission of a regular series carried on systematically by a body of men especially devoted to the vocation.
Several Redemptorists from Third Street helped in the confessionals.* Joseph's day, under the Provincial Bernard Joseph Hafkenscheid, to open their first mission at St. Joseph's Church, the pastor being Joseph McCarron, the mission having been negotiated by Joseph Müller, the rector of the Third Street convent. Father Hecker had a special devotion for St.
The friendship then begun was maintained until Father Rumpler was deprived of his reason by an attack of acute mania several years later. But more than the friendship of Rumpler, as far as immediate results were concerned, was the providential circumstance of two other young Americans having applied to join the Redemptorists. To Isaac this was a stimulant of no ordinary power.
In ceasing to be Redemptorists, they did not swerve from their original purpose in becoming religious. None of them had grown discontented with his state or with his superiors. They were all in the full fervor of the devotional spirit of the community, and as missionaries were generously wearing out their lives in the toil and hardship of its peculiar vocation.