“The first thing that a person finds in life and the last to which he holds out his hand, and the most precious that he possess, even if he does not realize it, is family life.”
So said Adolph Kolping, a nineteenth century German who launched the Young Workmen's Society, an organization designed to support the faith of rural youth who moved to industrial centers for employment. By emphasizing family life and human dignity while also supporting the impoverished materially, Kolping and his colleagues abated some of the most excessive exploitation of the industrial revolution. Like St. John Bosco in Turin, he knew that the radical changes in society required new pastoral methods; his vision and innovative spirit guided him in building an international movement. Beneficiaries came from five continents to attend his beatification in 1991.
Industrialization was very damaging to family structures; establishing urban missions to support the home connections of young relocated workers was truly a family values endeavor.