ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI, BISHOP AND DOCTOR
Alphonsus Liguori, born at Naples in 1696, was the son of an ancient Neapolitan family, his father an officer in the Royal Navy. At the age of sixteen, Alphonsus received his doctorate in both canon and civil law and for nearly ten years practiced at the bar. When he found that one of the legal cases he was defending was not based on justice but on political intrigue, he gave up the practice of law and dedicated his life to God.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1726, St. Alphonsus Liguori joined a group of secular priests dedicated to missionary activities. He involved himself in many kinds of pastoral activities, giving missions and organizing workers, and had a part in the founding of an order of contemplative nuns.
St. Alphonsus de Liguori was a great preacher of the Gospel to the poor. His charity and apostolic spirit led him to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer to carry on this work. In 1732, he founded the Redemptorists, a congregation of priests and brothers, to work especially among the country people of Italy who often lacked the opportunity for missions, religious instruction, and spiritual retreats. He sent his Redemptorists, as our Lord did the Apostles, into the countryside and the market towns and villages, to announce the Kingdom of God. Strangely, his first companions deserted him; but Alphonsus stood firm, and soon vocations multiplied and the congregation grew.
The Redemptorists were approved by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749, and Alphonsus was elected superior general.
In 1762, he was appointed bishop of Sant' Agata dei God, near Naples and as bishop he corrected abuses, restored churches, reformed seminaries, and promoted missions throughout his diocese. During the famine of 1763-64, his charity and generosity were boundless, and he also carried on a huge campaign of religious writing.
In 1768, he was stricken with a painful illness and
resigned his bishopric. During the last years of his life, problems in his
congregation caused him much sorrow and when he died died at the age of ninety,
on August 1, 1787, at Pagani, near Salerno, the Redemptorists were a divided
society. He was beatified in 1816, canonized in 1839, and for his great works on
Moral Theology he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871.
Excerpted from the The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens.
Patron: Confessors; final perseverance; theologians; vocations.
Things to Do:
From the Catholic Culture Library: Habits of Holiness by Vito Lombardi
St. Alphonsus De Liguori's Short Act of Perfect Love:
"My God, I love Thee above all things, and in all things,
with my whole soul, because Thou art worthy of all love!
The Glories of Mary