Friday 12th February 2016

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Alphonsus Liguori

July 22, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Part 1

Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, having read the works of St. Alphonsus Liguori, took him as a mentor. It is not surprising, then, that Fr. Hardon taught his students, “If you are not encountering the cross, you are not doing God’s work.” Such were the lives of saints such as St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and especially of St. Alphonsus Liguori.
To begin with, Alphonsus was baptized with ten names — quite a burden to bear. In 1696, Joseph de’ Liguori, a captain of the royal galleys, and his wife, Anna Cavalieri, welcomed their firstborn, a son, and named him Alphonsus Mary Anthony John Francis Cosmas Damian Michael Caspar de’ Liguori.     Burdened with such a name, Alphonsus began to call himself simply Alfonso Maria. Most precocious, he possessed a brilliant mind and his father sought to provide him with a formal education. He advanced so quickly in his studies that at the age of just 13 he started studying jurisprudence.
Remarkably, at the age of 16, four years before the customary age, he went to the University of Naples to sit for the examination for a doctoral degree, not just in civil law but also in canon law — the law of the Church. He passed both exams with honors.
During his rather short career as a barrister, some claim he never lost a case. Despite his pious upbringing, he soon immersed himself in worldly pursuits, though not of a nature that was seriously sinful. He greatly appreciated music, the theater, and other stage performances.
In 1717, his father arranged a marriage for Alphonsus. Providentially, the marriage was never finalized. In the meantime, Alphonsus continued to enjoy the life of society. In 1722 he attended a lenten retreat with the Lazarists. That fall, he received the Sacrament of Confirmation, which greatly restored his original piety, leading him to vow that he would not marry nor would he do anything except to continue to practice law until God made it clear he was to do something else.
Just a few months later, a court case drove him out of court never to practice again. The case between a Neapolitan nobleman and the grand duke of Tuscany over a large estate involved (in present U.S. dollars) nearly $300,000,000. Alphonsus gave a most eloquent speech on behalf of his client. Those in the court were impressed with his knowledge and his oratorical skills.
Feeling very self-satisfied, he sat and then let the opposing lawyer give his presentation. The opponent walked over to Alphonsus, complimented him on his delivery, and then chastised him for not looking at the facts. He handed Alphonsus a document showing that he had ignored the point of location. Alphonsus lost the case because he had not determined if it should be tried under Lombard law or under Angevin jurisdiction.
Alphonsus sat stunned that he had missed that most important point in the documents. He admitted his mistake, left the court, and refused to ever practice law again. Despite the pleading of his father, he refused to return to law. He also refused to entertain any thoughts about marriage. St. Alphonsus heard our Lord calling him, “Leave the world, and give yourself to me.”
Again his father insisted that his son return to the practice of law while Alphonsus insisted that he would become a priest. They finally reached an agreement whereby Alphonsus would become a priest. However, instead of joining the household of the Oratorians, he would become a priest while residing at home.
In 1726 at the age of 30 he began his studies in theology for the priesthood. He preached and gave missions around Naples for the next two years as he completed his studies. The style of preaching during this time of the Renaissance demonstrated great pomp while delivering fire and brimstone in the confessional. With his brilliant mind, St. Alphonsus was certainly qualified to engage in such practices.
He rejected such a style, however; instead, he was simple and loving. As he told his missioners, “If skill be lacking, it is unconnected and tasteless; if it be bombastic, the simple cannot understand it. I have never preached a sermon which the poorest old woman in the congregation could not understand.”
Alphonsus continued his charitable ways in the confessional as well. His yearning to heal rather than punish became well known. Word spread that he had never refused absolution to a penitent. This caused great suspicion among his peers who gave out severe penances to punish the sinners.
Within another year the saint organized the Lazzaroni — a religious order — of Naples into groups in order to teach the doctrines of the Church. When he urged an imprudent penitent to eat food because God made us to require food to live, people twisted his words to destroy his work. Some of his followers were arrested for the heresy of Quietism and for being a secret society.
Both the Church and the state brought Alphonsus before them to answer for the accusations. Although Alphonsus was exonerated, the bishop advised him that before undertaking any other such endeavors, he needed to proceed with more prudence. Thus Alphonsus continued his work, which soon had several thousand laymen who met daily for prayer and catechesis. They became known as the Association of the Chapels.
In 1729, he began work for the missionaries to China. He left home to act as chaplain at a college that trained missionaries. Here he met Thomas Falcoia.
Msgr. Falcoia founded an order of nuns with Sr. Mary Celeste. Both had received a vision and inspiration to begin an order of nuns. When a convent was established in the See of Castellammare, Alphonsus gave a retreat to the nuns. His background in law motivated him to investigate the visions with exacting detail. After much consideration, he discerned that they were authentic. With the consent of the bishop, the nuns established the Redemptorines on the Feast of the Transfiguration, 1731.
His next project involved his good friend the monsignor in establishing a congregation of missionaries to serve the peasants in the country region. Again he met with obstacles and opposition, one of which was the painful farewell to his father in Naples. In 1732, he said his goodbyes and went to Scala where on November 9, 1732 he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
With only seven postulants, Msgr. Falcoia, and Alphonsus, it would seem peace would reign. However, conflicts occurred without delay. In the end, both the order of women and the order of men split and parted ways. Sr. Mary Celeste left with some women to found a convent in Foggia with St. Alphonsus being left alone with only one faithful brother.
Slowly, the congregation grew. New postulants came, necessitating a larger house for the men. In 1733, St. Alphonsus and his men gave missions in Naples. By the fall of 1733, another house was founded at Villa degli Schiavi in which Alphonsus gave most of his missions.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading

Trump: Pope Francis ‘doesn’t understand’ America’s problems

Donald Trump dismissed Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, arguing the Catholic leader is in the dark on America’s border crisis. “I think that the Pope is a very political person,” he said on Fox Business Network’s…Continue Reading

Washington state Republicans join Democrats to uphold transgender bathroom bill

OLYMPIA, Washington, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill to reverse a public accommodations law that allows transgender people to use opposite-sex bathrooms and locker rooms was blocked in the state Senate – in part thanks to three Republicans who…Continue Reading

‘Justice has been served’ – Bishop Conley on why he invited Bishop Finn to Lincoln

Lincoln, Neb., Feb 5, 2016 / 11:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln defended his decision to allow Bishop Robert Finn, former bishop of Kansas City, Mo., to take a position as chaplain of a community of…Continue Reading

Marco Rubio, David Daleiden; Chi-Town priest ‘outs’ himself

The young investigative journalist and pro-life activist David Daleiden – whom GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio recently defended – will present himself before Judge Brock Thomas in Houston on February 4. Peter Breen, special counsel for the Thomas More Society,…Continue Reading

Catholic Italy mobilises as conservatives mount last stand against same-sex unions

It has been 2,000 years since Romans gathered at the Circus Maximus to watch chariots roar around the racetrack, but a new battle was brought to the ancient site on Saturday . Clutching banners reading “We defend our children” and…Continue Reading

New documents prove Planned Parenthood profited from selling aborted body parts: pro-life group

HOUSTON, January 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life organization has released documents that may show Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sale of aborted babies’ body parts, furthering a Texas state investigation and possibly triggering a new grand jury in…Continue Reading

TRUMP’S SPOKESWOMAN MUST APOLOGIZE

Bill Donohue comments on a remark made by Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson: On December 18, 2011, Katrina Pierson sent the following tweet: “Just saw a commercial from Catholic Church stating that Catholic Church

Faithful Catholic Education Offers Understanding of True Freedom, Says Archbishop Lucas

Catholic education prepares students to live a life of faith, but also offers students a true understanding of God-given freedom in an environment in which they can grow in virtue, said Archbishop George Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.,…Continue Reading

NFL star who refused to meet Obama over abortion gives powerful talk at March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – All the speakers at the 2016 March for Life play a pivotal role – but only one was regularly called an MVP. Matt Birk, the former center for the Minnesota Vikings and the…Continue Reading

2016 March for Life heats up blizzard-stricken Washington (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The blizzard snows are falling on the nation’s capital, layering the city in a blanket of frost that could be two to three feet thick by tomorrow morning. But for awhile this afternoon,…Continue Reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Planned Parenthood Offices Located Near Half of Catholic Colleges, Alarming Pro-Life Leaders

Half of all four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. are within five miles of Planned Parenthood facilities, a study by The Cardinal Newman Society has found. Catholic pro-life leaders warn that the close proximity of these Planned Parenthood centers…Continue Reading

81 percent of Americans support dramatically stronger pro-life reforms: Poll

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – An overwhelmingly majority – including two-thirds of self-described “pro-choice” Americans – would support greatly strengthening laws that protect the unborn, according to a new poll released this morning. In all, 81 percent of…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

INTERVIEW: Leader of US Bishops Expresses His Hopes for Pope’s Mexico Visit

Archbishop Kurtz Tells ZENIT That Welcome to Immigrants Will Enrich America, Its Church February 10, 2016 Deborah Castellano Lubov The president of the US bishops’ conference, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, says Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Mexico can bear many fruits, but in particular, his welcoming message to immigrants can enrich the whole of America and its Church. In an exclusive interview with ZENIT ahead of the Pope’s highly anticipated trip to Mexico, Feb. 12-18,…Continue Reading

Pope’s Angelus reflection: Trust in the word of the Lord

(Vatican Radio) Do not be afraid but trust in the word of the Lord: that was Pope Francis message to the crowds gathered in a windswept St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the recitation of the Angelus prayer. The Pope based his reflections on the Gospel reading which tells the story of Jesus calling his first disciples by Lake Galilee. After fishing all night without a catch, they are washing their nets when Jesus gets…Continue Reading

Christie and Bush attack Cruz, Rubio for being too pro-life

Fr. Mark Hodges WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-lifers across the nation are scratching their heads and saying, “With friends like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, who needs enemies?” Their frustration comes from both Christie and Bush attacking other presidential candidates as unelectable because they are pro-life without compromise. This morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie attacked Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio for not favoring aborting children conceived in…Continue Reading

INTERVIEW: Padre Pio In Rome: Saints as Living Icons of Divine Mercy

Stefano Campanella, Director of Padre Pio TV and Author of Publications on the Friar of Pietrelcina, Reflects on Significance of the Historic Transfer •February 4, 2016•Osvaldo Rinaldi• Stefano Campanella, born in 1964 in Putignano, Italy, lives with his family at San Giovanni Rotondo. He has been a parliamentary journalist and Vatican expert. Currently, he serves as director of Padre Pio TV and heads the press office of the religious province of Sant’Angelo and Padre Pio…Continue Reading

Pope: The Faith is the greatest inheritance we can leave

(Vatican Radio) The most beautiful inheritance we can leave to others is the Faith: that was Pope Francis’ message during Holy Mass on Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, he invited us to not fear death, because the course of life continues. Thinking about death illuminates life The day’s first reading tells the story of the death of King David. “In every life there is an ending,” the Pope said. This…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Says . . . Lent Is A Time Of Pruning And Reconciliation

By ELISE HARRIS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — In his Ash Wednesday homily, Pope Francis said that Lent is the perfect time to let go of selfish and indifferent attitudes, returning to God with the help of prayer, penance, and acts of charity. “Lent is a beneficial time of pruning from falsity, from worldliness, from…Continue Reading

Bloomberg Vs. Trump?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The morning of the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump, being interviewed on Morning Joe, said that he would welcome his “friend” Michael Bloomberg into the presidential race. Which is probably the understatement of 2016. The three-term mayor of New York and media mogul whose fortune is estimated at $39 billion, making…Continue Reading

A Potpourri . . . To Be Is To Give, And Other Matters

By GEORGE A. KENDALL The most fundamental question for all of is: What are we for? What is life about? What is selfhood about? Are we here to aggrandize ourselves with things like power, wealth, brilliance? Or are we here to give ourselves? We think that by working to add to the self, we increase…Continue Reading

Blessed José Sanchez Del Rio… Miraculous Cure Of A Baby Leads To His Sainthood

MEXICO CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — The miraculous cure of a baby with brain damage through the intercession of Mexican martyr Blessed José Luis Sanchez del Rio has been approved by the Vatican, completing the final step for the teen’s path to sainthood. Pope Francis signed the decree January 21, verifying the inexplicable recovery of a…Continue Reading

Begging For Mercy

By DONALD DeMARCO When we do not hear another person’s words correctly we say, “I beg your pardon.” A moderator appears on stage and apologizes for a momentary inconvenience by saying to the audience, “I beg your indulgence.” These words flow easily from our lips, usually without much reflection. They have become automatic responses, polite…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I understand that plenary indulgences are available during this Jubilee Year of Mercy if one passes through the “Holy Door of Mercy” in a Catholic cathedral and meets all the other conditions for an indulgence. But what if one has no opportunity to visit a cathedral? Can the plenary indulgence still be obtained? — P.D., via e-mail. A. Yes.…Continue Reading

Listening To Jesus

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Lent (YR C) Readings: Gen. 15:-12, 17-18 Phil. 3:1-4:1 Luke 9:28b-36 In the Gospel reading today the apostles were blessed to hear the voice of God speaking about His Son. The first part of the statement, that Jesus is the Son of God, is pretty easy for us to handle. The second part…Continue Reading

The Year Of Consecrated Life Ends . . . Answering God’s Call And Proclaiming His Mercy

By MOST REV. LEO O’REILLY KILMORE, Ireland (ZENIT) — Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore gave this homily on Sunday, January 31 to mark the closing of the Year of Consecrated Life. The year ended February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and the World Day of Consecrated Life. Bishop O’Reilly told consecrated persons that they have been…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Jesus Gave Witness In The Public Square

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Seems to me that Jesus wants us to love our neighbors and leave the judging up to Him.” This is a typical response of many people when they encounter the Church and her members witnessing to their faith by speaking out on moral teachings in the public square. Christian witness in a visible, public way…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . Hostility Against The Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 40 Fourth objection: Why do so many people have hostility to the Catholic Church? Reply: Why was Jesus the object of hostility from so many people? In simple terms, the Pharisees may have refused Him as they could not accept His doctrine and felt threatened by His power to perform miracles. The Sadducees may…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Miguel Febres Cordero Munoz

By CAROLE BRESLIN There have been many saints born in Europe who came to the Americas to convert the natives and work among immigrants. These included St. Isaac Jogues, St. Frances Cabrini, and St. Damien of Molokai, to name a few. There were few saints who were born in the Americas and then went to Europe and died there far…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Boleslava Maria Lament

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church observes the Church Unity Octave from January 18 through January 25. For each day of the octave, we pray for a different form of unity. For example, on January 18, the intention is for the return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See. Another day the intention is for the restoration…Continue Reading