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Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez
  • Century: 16th & 17th Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: October 30th

St. Alphonsus was a Spanish Jesuit lay brother that is now venerated as a saint.  He was a native of Segovia.  He was the son of a wool merchant who had been reduced to poverty when Alphonsus was still young, leaving the business to him when he was only 23.  At the age of 26, he married Maria Suarez, and they had three children.  At the age of 31, he found himself a widower with one surviving child.  The other two had died.  From that time on he began a life of prayer and mortification, and he separated from the world around him.  Soon after, his third child passed, and his thoughts turned to a life in a religious Order.  

He had previous encounters with the first Jesuits who had come to Spain, Blessed Peter Faber among others, but he knew it was impossible to carry out entering without education.  At the age of 39, he attempted to make up his education by taking a course at the College of Barcelona, but with no success.  His austerities had also undermined his health.  After consideration and delay, he was finally admitted into the Society of Jesus as a Lay Brother on January 31, 1571 at the age of forty.  

After six months he was sent to the recently founded college at Majorca, where he remained in the humble position of Porter, for 46 years, exercising a marvelous influence on the sanctification not only of the members of the household, but upon a great number of people who came to the porter’s lodge for advice and direction.   St. Peter Clavier lived with him for some time at Majorca, and followed his advice in asking for the missions of South America.  

He imposed bodily mortifications to himself that were extreme.  His obedience was absolute, and his absorption of spiritual thing was amazing.  It is believed that he was the author of the well-known “Little Office of the Immaculate Conception”.  He died on October 31, 1617.  He was declared venerable in 1626, and in 1760, Pope Clement XIII decreed, “the virtues of the Venerable Alonso were proved to be of a heroic degree”.  He was Beatified in 1825, and Canonized in 1887.  His remains are enshrined at Majorca.  

Practical Take Away

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez was a pious man that was raised in poverty.  He went on to marry and they had three children.  All three of his children passed away, and by the age of 31 he became a widower.  He turned from the world, and retreated to prayer and communion with God.  He tried to enter the religious life as a Jesuit, but because of his lack of education, he was only received as a Lay Brother.  He was a Porter for 46 years, and gave spiritual advice to many.  He held heroic virtues that were noted by Pope Clement XIII.  His live shows us that with the loss of his wife, and all three of his children, he turned to God and worked to help others.  Many times life throws us terrible situations, but with God by our side, we, like St. Alphonsus Rodriguez can overcome them, and be a blessing to others.