St Alphonsus Liguouri

Exodus 33.7-11; 34.5-9.28; Psalm 102; Matthew 13.36-43

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) was born in Marianella, near Naples, to a noble family. He earned doctorates both in civil and canon law at the age of 16. He became a successful lawyer, but at the age of 27 he heard an inner voice calling ‘Leave the world and give yourself to me.’ He decided to offer himself to the Oratorians but his father objected; they reached a compromise agreement that he would study for the priesthood but live at home. He was ordained to the priesthood in December of 1726 and entered into a ministry with the homeless and marginalised youth of Naples, establishing what were called Evening Chapels, which were managed by the young people themselves.

In 1732 he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (more commonly known as the Redemptorists) dedicated to preaching missions both in the city and the countryside. He was a gifted musician and wrote many popular hymns and carols. In 1762 he was consecrated Bishop of Saint Agatha of the Goths, where he discovered more than 30,000 uninstructed people and 400 indifferent priests. He zealously addressed ecclesiastical abuses in the diocese, reformed the seminary and lived simply after selling his carriage and episcopal ring to raise money for the poor. In his last years he faced much physical suffering and divisions within his order. He is the patron saint of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate. His writings on moral theology earned him the title of Doctor (teacher) of the Church.

Posted in Daily Reflection.