Feast of the day

Feast Of The Day

8/1/2020 12:00:00 AM

Bishop and Doctor of the Church

        St. Alphonus was born of noble parents near Naples in 1696. His spiritual training was entrusted to the Fathers of the Oratory in that city, and from his boyhood Alphonsus was known as a most devout Brother of the Little Oratory. At the early age of sixteen, he was made doctor in law, and he threw himself into this career with ardor and success.

        Losing an important cause by mistake, St. Alphonsus saw the vanity of human fame and determined him to labor only for the glory of God. He entered the priesthood, devoted himself to the most neglected souls, and founded later the missionary Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer to carry on the work.

        At the age of sixty-six, St. Alphonsus became Bishop of St. Agatha, and zealously undertook the reform of his diocese. He made a vow never to lose time, and, though his life was spent in prayer and work, composed a vast number of books, filled with such science, unction, and wisdom. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871.

        St. Alphonsus wrote his first book at the age of forty-nine, and in his eighty-third year had published about sixty volumes, when his director forbade him to write more. Very many of these books were written in the half-hours snatched from his labors as missionary, religious superior, and Bishop, or in the midst of continual bodily and mental sufferings. With his left hand he would hold a piece of marble against his aching head while his right hand wrote.

        Yet he counted no time wasted which was spent in charity. He did not refuse to hold a long correspondence with a simple soldier who asked his advice, or to play the harpsichord while he taught his novices to sing spiritual canticles. He was "a man of sorrows," and met with many persecutions and disappointments.

        For his last seven years, St. Alphonsus was prevented by constant sickness from offering the Adorable Sacrifice; but he received Holy Communion daily, and his love for Jesus Christ and his trust in Mary's prayers sustained him to the end.

        He passed into glory in 1787, ninety-one years old.