Born 1813; died 1865.
Surnamed the "journeyman's father" (Gesellenvater).
He showed an early inclination to study, but, as his parents were poor, he was obliged to learn the trade of shoemaker.
He became a priest in 1845, and was sent as chaplain to Elberfeld, where a choral society founded by some journeymen carpenters grew rapidly into a Young Workman's Society.
Father Kolping was elected president of this society; with Cologne as his headquarters, he visited the industrial centers of Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Switzerland, and established a widespread organization of societies called Gesellenverein (society of young journeymen), throughout the German-speaking world, with a priest at the head of each.
These societies exist primarily for the purpose of cultivating the religious and moral sense of the members, who are also instructed in mercantile and technical subjects; lectures are given on various topics, and social entertainments are allowed in moderation.
In Europe the Gesellenvereirne have 400 houses and 265,400 members; in the United States, 5 houses and 1200 members; in South America, 3 houses, and about 200 members.
New Catholic Dictionary