"If you desire to live in better conditions in the future, You must contribute to establish them"
Adolph Kolping (1813-1865), the father of the Journeymen was born in a poor family on 8th December, 1813 at Kerpen, a small village not far from Cologne in Germany. Adolph Kolping was a school dropout at the age of 13 due to poverty although he was a clever student in the school. He therefore took up apprenticeship as a shoe maker to earn a living. He worked for ten years as a shoe maker and took up secondary schooling at the age of 23 as the thirst for higher education continued to be alive within him. As he realized a special call for priesthood during his secondary school education, he joined the University of Munich in the summer of 1841 for theological studies. Adolph Kolping was ordained in the church of the Minor Friars in Cologne on April 13, 1845.
Adolph Kolping met Gragor Breuer, a school teacher who had established an organization for journeymen during his first assignment in Elberfeld. Subsequently Adolph Kolping was elected as Praeses of the journeymen organization in 1847. In fact he wished to take up teaching, but his association with the journeymen made him realize that God had called him to devote his life and efforts to the young people and their organization. A transfer to Cologne in 1849 enabled him to enlarge the journeymen's organization. By 1865, over 400 local groups of the journeymen's organization were established and were functioning throughout Europe and America.
Help for self -help, bringing out social change by changing people, this is how his approach was later described. The commitment towards the well being of the poor working class was so intense that Adolph Kolping never cared for his health. This was the reason for the early death of Adolph Kolping at the age of 51 on December 4, 1865. Father Adolph Kolping was laid to rest in the Minorite Church, a church he had saved from demolition. Adolph Kolping was beatified as Blessed in Rome on October 27, 1991. Thus Adolph Kolping stands as a tall model in today’s church.