Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saint of the Day - St. Alphonsus Liguori

The oldest of the seven Liguori children was born on September 27, 1696 at Marianelli, near Naples, Italy. The child was baptised Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori (but you can call him Alphonsus). His was a pious and Remove Formatting from selectionwell-to-do family, the father being a naval officer and captain of the Royal Galleys.

Alphonsus proved to be a child prodigy, graduating from the University of Naples with his doctorate at 16 years old. At 21 the young man had his own legal practice and was one of the most sought-after lawyers in Naples. Continuing in his pious lifestyle, Alphonsus never went to court without attending Mass first.

However, despite his fame as a lawyer, Alphonsus found that he was more and more drawn to religious. This call became clear to him during a visit to the local Hospital for Incurables. He faced opposition from his family, who had already arranged a marriage for their son. But Alphonsus overcame their objections and, at the age of 29, was ordained to the priesthood.

He served for six years as a "home missionary" in Naples. He was known for his writing and preaching and as a master theologian. In 1730 Alphonsus founded the Redemporistines women's group and in 1732 finally succeeded in founding the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer or Redemptorists.

Alphonsus was ordained a bishop, by the orders of Pope Clement XIII, in 1762. He was assigned to the Diocese of St. Agatha of the Goths. He performed his duties as bishop, teaching, caring for the poor and sick, and instructing the faithful, while beginning to suffer from rheumatism. He was left paralyzed after an attack of rheumatoid fever but remained bishop for 6 more years.

Due to his failing sight, Alphonsus was tricked into signing a document which altered the rule for the Redemptorists and excluded him from his own order. Alphonsus suffered great agony due to this but by the time of his death on August 1, 1787 he was at peace with himself and God.

Alphonsus Liguori was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI on May 26, 1839. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871. St. Alphonsus is the patron saint: against arthritis; against scrupulosity; of confessors; of final perseverance; of moralists; of scrupulous people; of theologians; of vocations; of Pagani, Italy; and of St. Agatha of the Goths, Italy.

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