Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez
Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez was born in Segovia, Spain on the 25th ofJuly, 1532. He was the second son born to a distinguished wool merchant.
During the time that one of the Jesuit pioneers Peter Faber visitedSegovia on mission work, Alphonsus’ family welcomed him into their home.As a possible result, Peter Faber helped the young Alphonsus through hisvery First communion.
Saint Alphonsus lost his father at the age of 14. A formerly comfortablefamily, they soon began to struggle causing Alphonsus to join his mom inselling wool and clothing materials.
Soon, his mother retired and he began controlling the business. Aroundthe age of 26 or 27, Saint Alphonsus got married to María Suarez. Theywere a very happy and content couple and we’re blessed with three kids.
Unfortunately, Tragedy struck. Saint Alphonsus lost his wife and two ofhis children at the age of 31. The business started to fall apart andsoon, his only surviving child passed away too.
These events drove him to pay more attention to his spiritual life. Henot only prayed and fasted but also practiced mortification of theflesh.
Dedication and Devotion
This continued for years until he was at peace with himself. Hecontinued to hunger for more and aimed to go into the priesthood at theJesuit society. He however fell short due to his lack of propereducation and his rapidly failing health.
Finally, at the age of 40, on the 31st of January 1571, Saint Alphonsuswas admitted to the Jesuit society. He was given a provisional allowanceas a layman in the society.
At this time, Novitates for lay brothers had not been founded in Spain.Due to this, he was sent to Valencia or Gandia. Where exactly he was isalways up for debate amongst Historians.
Saint Alphonsus was sent to a recently established college in Majorca.There he was steadfast in completing his novitiate.
In Majorca, Saint Alphonsus was friendly and lived a pious life. He wasliked by everyone. He was assigned as doorkeeper for the college.
Saint Alphonsus served for about 46 years. He was humble at his job andreceived visitors in the college politely, ran errands, and nevercomplained.
While working at that humble job, Saint Alphonsus met Peter Claver. Theybecame very fast friends. Alphonso took his vows in 1585.
While Saint Alphonsus might have looked soft, he was rather strict onhimself. He had practiced mortification of the flesh most of his life.
Some of these notifications were extreme and physical but he carried onbecause he wanted to lose any temptation of the flesh. Though nothingbut a lowly man, he was respected by his Jesuit brothers.
During special occasions, Saint Alphonsus was allowed to preach to themonks. He was such an eloquent speaker that everyone was always caughtin the rapture of his speech.
Saint Alphonsus was devoted to the Virgin Mary. He was said to havespent hours reciting to her and praying to her.
Although strong in faith, Saint Alphonsus’ body continued to growweaker. This was probably due to years of strict mortification.
Death and Canonization
Saint Alphonsus was loved for his piety until he died on the 31st ofOctober, 1617.
After his death, several of his writings were found. These writings werenot in any way intended to be published but were for his meditation.
Saint Alphonsus was buried in Majorca and was a pilgrim site to many. Hewas canonized in the September of the year 1888.
Saint Alphonsus is celebrated by the Catholic Church on the 31st ofOctober, the day of his death. He is also remembered by the Society ofJesus till today.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
- Did you know that some traditions state that Saint Alphonsus
attended a Jesuit college at the age of 12? He could however not
complete his education due to his father’s death.
- Did you know that some traditions state that while working as
doorkeeper, Saint Alphonsus would imagine that God was at the door
every time that the bell rang?
- Did you know that Saint Alphonsus encouraged Peter Claver to take
the mission work to South America?
- Did you know that a Parish is dedicated to Saint Alphonsus? The
Church is located in Maryland.
- Did you know that Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez is the patron saint of
the Jesuit Brothers?
Prayer to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
O God, in the faithful service of our brother Alphonsus You, have shownus the way to joy and peace. Make us ready and watchful companions ofJesus, who became the servant of all, and now lives and reigns with Youand the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.