St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (Feast: October 30)
Alfonso was the third child of a well-to-do merchant in Segovia. He met the Jesuits early on when Blessed Peter Fabre and another stayed with them for a while, and at fourteen was sent to Alcala to study under the Order.
But his father soon died and he carried on the business with his mother. At twenty-three, his mother retiring, he ran it alone. He married Maria Suarez with whom he had two children, a girl and a boy.
But business began to go badly, then his little girl died and after, his wife. Two years later his mother died, and this succession of misfortunes turned Alfonso’s thoughts to what God might be calling him.
After selling his business, he moved in with his two sisters, pious women who initiated him in the practice of meditative prayer, to which he took assiduously.
After a few years his son also died, and dividing all he had left between his sisters and the poor of Segovia, he applied to the Jesuits. Being forty, and not too strong in health, he was refused. With the support of a friend, Father Louis Santander, S.J., he put himself through Latin school, and was finally accepted in the Jesuit Order as a lay brother.
Sent to the College of Montefiascone in the island of Mallorca, he was made hall-porter. He fulfilled this duty until too old and infirm. At this post he was known by all: clergymen, noblemen, students, professionals, poor men, merchants, etc. All grew to respect and love Br. Alphonsus. One of his “pupils” was St. Peter Claver.
Every minute that he was not working was dedicated to prayer, and Alphonsus developed a deep intimacy with God, though he had periods of painful aridity. He wrote many a manuscript on the spiritual life, which, after his death, was published as “Obras Espirituales del Beato Alfonso Rodriguez”.
In October, 1617 Alphonsus sensed that his end was at hand. After receiving Holy Communion on October 29, all pain of mind and body left him. He lay in an unbroken ecstasy until midnight of October 31, when a terrible agony began. After half an hour he again became peaceful. Looking around lovingly at his brethren, he kissed the crucifix, cried out “Jesus”, and died.
He was canonized in 1888 with St. Peter Claver.
SAINT OF THE DAY
Here we discover something akin to the “Secret of Mary,” of which Saint Louis de Montfort speaks.