St. Alphonsus was born in the village of Marianella near
Naples, Italy, September 27, 1696. At a tender age his pious
mother inspired him with the deepest sentiments of piety. The
education he received under the auspices of his father, aided by
his own intellect, produced in him such results that at the early
age of sixteen he graduated in law. Shortly after, he was
admitted to the Neapolitan bar. In 1723 he lost a case, and God
made use of his disappointment to wean his heart from the
world. In spite of all opposition he now entered the
ecclesiastical state. In 1726 he was ordained priest. He
exercised the ministry at various places with great fruit,
zealously laboring for his own sanctification.
In 1732 God called him to found the Congregation of the
Most Holy Redeemer, with the object of laboring for the
salvation of the most abandoned souls. Amid untold difficulties
and innumerable trials St. Alphonsus succeeded in establishing
his Congregation, which became his glory and crown, but also
his cross. The holy founder labored incessantly at the work of
the missions until, about 1756, he was appointed Bishop of St.
Agatha, a diocese he governed until 1775, when broken by age
and infirmity, he resigned this office to retire to his convent of
Pagani, where he died.
Few saints have labored as much, either by word or writing,
as St. Alphonsus. He was a copious and popular author, the
utility of whose works will never cease. His last years were
characterized by intense suffering, which he bore with
resignation, adding voluntary mortifications to his other pains.
His happy death occurred at Nocera de Pagani, August 1, 1787.
Lives of the Saints, Pgs. 295-297