Years ago many Redemptorists volunteered for the far away Siam mission, but from the mid western and western United States only a few were sent each year. They started coming in 1948. Now after 66 years, the thriving and flexible mission among Thailand’s poor and abandoned is witness to the saving reality that the Holy Spirit and six decades of community dreaming have brought about.
The story of the Thai Redemptorists and the American pioneers who spearheaded the mission is a story that starts with the first missionaries recognising God was already at work among the Thai people and in their culture. The genius of the founding fathers was to listen to the God who was there before them, a God whom they found alive and active in the hearts of the people, especially the poor and the excluded.
With gifts for Thai and tribal languages, lots of imagination and generosity, and of course a few hiccups along the way, the early missionaries embraced the opportunities that came to them. Facilities and programmes established in the early years have flourished and gained financial support from a worldwide base of generous donors. It became a model for the mission’s further growth over 60 years.
The Thai Redemptorists are now blessed with 7 brothers, 47 priests, 2 bishops, 9 professed theology students, 21 philosophy students, 10 postulants, and 60 students in the minor seminary. They have eight communities across the Kingdom of Thailand.