About Saint Alphonsus

St. Alphonsus Maria de ‘ Liguori was born in Marianella, near Naples, then part of the Kingdom of Naples. He was the eldest of seven belonging to the Neapolitan nobility . Two days after his birth he was baptized in the Church of Our Lady of the Virgin as Alphonsus Mary Antony John Cosmas Damian Michael Gaspard de ‘ Liguori. Liguori went to law school at sixteen, becoming a well-known lawyer . He was thinking of leaving the profession , and wrote to someone. “My friend, our profession is too full of difficulties and dangers, we lead n unhappy life and run the risk of dying a miserable death for myself, I will quit this career, it’s not for me, because I want to assure the salvation of my soul. ” At the age of twenty-seven, after losing an important case – he lost in the first eight years of law practice – has made a firm resolution to leave the profession of law.

In 1723 , after a long process of discernment, and abandoned his legal career, he decided to offer himself as a novice to the Oratory of St. Philip Blacks with the intention of becoming a priest. His father strongly opposed this plan, but after two months ( and with the permission of her confessor oratory ), he and his father’s compromise : he studied for the priesthood, but not as an oratory and while living at home . He was ordained priest on 21 December 1726 at the age of 30. He lived his early years as a priest with the homeless and marginalized youth of Naples. He founded the Evening Chapels which were managed by young people themselves. These chapels were centers of prayer and piety, preaching, community, social activities and education. At the time of his death, there were 72 chapels with over 10,000 active participants. His sermons were very effective in converting those who have been alienated from their faith.

The saint suffered from scruples much of his adult life , and he felt guilty for minor problems in the field of sin. In addition, the saint saw scruples as a blessing at times, wrote: ” Scruples are useful for the beginning of the conversion …. that cleanse the soul, and at the same time make it careful.”

In 1729, Alphonsus left his family home and settled at the Chinese Institute of Naples. It was there that he began his missionary experience in the interior regions of the Kingdom of Naples, where he found people who were very poor and most abandoned of any of the street children in Naples.

November 9, 1732, St. Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, when Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa told him that it had been revealed that he was the one God had chosen to found the Congregation. The goal of this conference was to teach and preach in the slums of cities and other poor places. They also fought Jansenism which was a heresy that denied the man free will and prevented many Catholics to receive the Eucharist. He gave himself entirely to this new mission. A companion congregation of nuns was founded simultaneously by Sister Maria Celeste.

Alfonso was consecrated bishop of Sant’Agata dei Goti in 1762. He tried to refuse the appointment, proposing his age and infirmities as arguments against his consecration. During this period he wrote sermons, books and articles to encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1775, he was allowed to retire from his office and went to live in the Redemptorist community in Pagani, Italy, where he died on August 1, 1787. He was beatified September 15, 1816, and canonized by Pope Pius VII, May 26, 1839, by Pope Gregory XVI. He was named patron of confessors and moralists by Pope Pius XII April 26, 1950.