Patron of Confessors and Theologians
St. Alphonsus was born in the village of Marianella near Naples, Italy, September 27, 1696. At a tender age he was inspired by pious mother with the deepest sentiments of piety. The education he received under the auspices of his father, aided by his own intellect, produced in him such results that at the early age of sixteen he graduated in Law. Shortly after, he was admitted to the Neapolitan bar. In 1723, he lost a case, and God made use of his disappointment to wean his heart from the world. In spite of all opposition he now entered the ecclesiastical state. In 1726, he was ordained a priest. He exercised the ministry at various places with great fruit, zealously laboring for his own sanctification.
In 1732, God called the Saint to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, with the object of laboring for the salvation of the most abandoned souls. Amid untold difficulties and innumerable trials, St. Alphonsus succeeded in establishing his Congregation, which became his glory and crown, but also his cross. The holy founder labored incessantly at the work of the mission until, about 1756, he was appointed Bishop of St. Agatha, a diocese he governed until 1775, when, broken by age and infirmity, he resigned this office to retire his monastery where he died.
Few Saints labored as much, either by world or writing, as St. Alphonsus. He was a prolific and popular author, the utility of whose works will never cease. His last years were characterized by intense suffering, which he bore with resignation. His happy death occurred at Nocera de Pagani, August 1, 1871. He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI and declared Doctor of the Church in 1871 by Pope Pius IX.
PRAYER: God, You constantly introduce new examples of virtue in Your Church. Walking in the footsteps of St. Alphonsus Your Bishop, may we be consumed with zeal for souls and attain the rewards he has won in heaven. Amen.