St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
Feast Day: October 30
Born: 1532 :: Died: 1617
Alphonsus was born at Segovia in Spain. He was one of eleven children and his father was a wealthy wool merchant. When he was a teenager, Alphonsus and his older brother were sent to study in a Jesuit college. But a year later his father died and he had to return home.
He took over the family business of buying and selling wool when he was twenty-three. Three years later, he got married to a good woman named Mary Suarez. God blessed him and his wife Mary with two sons and a daughter.
But in five years God took away two children and his wife. He then moved in with his sisters who helped him to raise his little son. But when Alphonsus was nearly forty, that son died too.
All this heartbreak did not weaken his trust in God and Alphonsus now began to pray even harder, he did severe penance, and received the sacraments more than he had ever done.
Alphonsus gave away all that he had and decided to return to the religious life that he had given up when he was young. He wanted to join the Society of Jesus but he was told that he must study first.
So he went back to school. Little boys made fun of him. He had to beg for his food, as he didn't have any money left. At last, he was accepted as a brother and was made door-keeper at a Jesuit college.
"That brother is not a man - he is an angel!" his superior said years later. Priests who knew him for forty years never heard him say or do anything wrong and they all knew how kind and obedient he was.
Once, all the chairs in the house were borrowed for a Forty Hour Devotion. They forgot to return Brother Alphonsus' chair and only returned it the following year but he did not complain.
He suffered his physical illness and pain gladly for Jesus. Then, just before he died, he was filled with peace and joy. He kissed his crucifix and looked lovingly at the other priests.
He died in 1617 with the name of Jesus on his lips.
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