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.
PRAYER: O God, who fired Blessed Alphonsus Mary, Thy
Confessor and Bishop, with zeal for the salvation of souls, and
through him enriched Thy Church with a new progeny, grant, we
beseech Thee, that taught by his salutary admonition and
strengthened by his example, we may happily be enabled to come
to Thee. Amen. Lives of the Saints, pages 294-297