Pope Francis says"Children are always gifts, even in tough circumstances"
Friday, July 31, 2020
On August 1st, it is the feast day of St. Alphonsus Ligouri! He is the patron saint of moral theologians, arthritis, and vocations.
He was born into a devout noble catholic family in Naples, Italy. From a young age, he devoted himself to God. At age of 18, he joined the Confraternity of our Lady of Mercy, volunteering his time to works of mercy and compassion, caring for the sick at the hospital for “incurables”. Obeying his father’s wishes, he studied to become a lawyer. Although he was a successful lawyer, he was not satisfied. He left the profession and entered into priesthood.
As a priest, he dedicated himself completely to the service of the poor and the abandoned. With this mission in mind, he sought other brothers who were called as he was and formed a religious order called Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, commonly known as the Redemptorists. He was later appointed a bishop.
God had him defend moral theology and strongly fight against Jansenism, which was a popular heresy in his time. St. Alphonsus Ligouri had a great devotion to the life of Jesus, especially of His Passion, and the Blessed Mother Mary. From this devotion, he was inspired to write more than 100 spiritual books.
He was sickly for most of his life, but especially as he got older, he suffered from arthritis with great pain that confined him to a wheelchair. Yet through these difficulties, he persevered in prayer and intercession of our Blessed Mother. Because of his deep prayer life and intimacy with the Lord and the Blessed Mother, he was titled “Doctor of prayer” in the Catholic Church, when the Church declared him as a doctor of the Church after his death.
St. Alphonsus loved to paint! Here are some of his paintings that show his devotion to Jesus and the Blessed Mother.
- St. Alphonsus Ligouri wrote many prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit. We actually have been praying a prayer written by Him especially as many of us have not been able to attend Holy Mass: Act of Spiritual Communion.
- Another saint who was inspired by St. Alphonsus, and later professed his vows as a Redemptorist in front of him was St. Gerard Majella.
- St. Alphonsa professed her final vows as a Franciscan Clarist nun on St. Alphonsus’ feast day, and in honor of him, she took him as her patron and took his name.