The Congregation of Consoler Brothers of Gethsemane (Congregatio Fratrum Consolatorum de Gethsemani) was founded by the Czech priest Josef Litomiský in 1922, just at the time when he was active in the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in Venna at Rennweg 63.
The yearning to respond to Jesus´s plea made in the garden of Gethsemane, “Stay here and keep watch with me” (Mt 26:38), inspired Father Litomiský to found the Order. His decision was influenced by the human suffering he was often confronted with during the First World War. He saw the suffering of Jesus reflected in the badly injured soldiers and sick people. The spiritual and moral dilemmas and problems of that time greatly affected him and therefore through the sacrifice of his own life he wanted to make an atonement for all the sins that offended the love of God. His motto was: O Jesu pro Te pati, in passione Te consolari– Oh Jesus, may I suffer for You and console You in your affliction!
The Order quickly expanded to Czechoslovakia and Jerusalem. However, Father Litomiský continued to work with his confreres in Vienna and devoted himself mainly to the pastoral care of the Czechs and Slovaks and the daily worship. Here, too, the reality of theSecond World War overtook him. It was a challenging time, when many members of the Order had to do forced labor and several friars had to go to the front.
After the war, Father Litomiský, as the Superior General of the Order, moved to the Prague branch, where in 1950 the “action K”, a violent assault by the communist government, which was directed against religious orders, befell him. Father Litomiský was arrested together with other members of the Congregation, the religious community was dissolved and the practice of any religious activity prohibited. Later, after being released from prison, he worked in the parish of St. Vojtech as a priest. His pastoral activity, however, was severely limited by the then government and his ailing health. He died in 1956 in Prague.
The Congregation of Consoler Brothers of Gethsemane was renewed after the collapse of the communism and is currently again fulfilling the mission of its founder in branches in Austria, Slovakia and Poland, in cooperation with the Congregation of the Consoler Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Lay Community of Consolers.
In Vienna, at present, the Consolers of Gethsemane are mainly dedicated to worship, pastoral activities (also in the context of the parish of Maria-Drei-Kirchen) and the pastoral care of the Czechs and Slovaks.