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Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Biography of Alphonse de Liguori

Alphonse Marie de Liguori was born on September 27th, 1696 in Marianella, near Naples, to a noble and very wealthy family. As an exceptionally gifted child, he received an education commensurate with his abilities, and the greatest teachers taught him philosophy, the arts and music. At the age of twelve, he entered university and, at the age of sixteen, he was a doctor of civil and ecclesiastical law and began a brilliant career as a lawyer. For eight years, he won all his lawsuits.

In 1723, Alphonse lost his first case because of the corruption of the legal community. Disgusted and humiliated, he abandoned his profession and retired for a few days. It was then that he met Christ, who said to him: “You are missing only one thing: Go, sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and then come, follow me. ” When Alphonse returned, he was transformed and determined to become a priest. In a few years, he acquired a great theological education and was ordained in 1726.

As a young priest, Alphonsus discovered material poverty and spiritual abandonment in which the people of the lowlands of Naples and the countryside lived, the "lazzaroni".  Shaken, he decided to work for them and founded a congregation of missionaries to proclaim the Good News to them. Thus the work of the Redemptorists was born.

Alphonse had an intense spiritual life, he prayed a lot, meditated every day on the Word, and had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Virgin Mary. It was from Jesus that he drew his strength to carry out his missionary work with the most neglected. His gift for preaching allowed him to touch hearts, he also spent long hours confessing, showing himself full of compassion and understanding, far from the strict moralists of his time. His spirituality testified to the goodness of God.

Wanting to touch the most distant hearts, Alphonse would also work through writing. He wrote 111 books, which would be translated into all languages and published thousands of times. Among his major works are: Moral Theology, The Glories of Mary, Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament and to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Novenas to the Heart of Jesus, The Eternal Maxims, Preparation for Death, The Practice of Love towards Jesus Christ. This last luminous work presents the synthesis of his thought.

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A man of many talents, Alphonse was both a painter and a musician. He made paintings of the Virgin and Christ and composed some of the most popular Christmas songs and melodies in Italy today.

In 1762, Alphonse was appointed bishop, he immediately endeavored to renew his entire diocese, going from parish to parish, from convent to convent, showing himself attentive to all. He was always simple and a friend of the poor, leading a humble life himself. He had to leave his office as bishop in 1775 due to illness. All his life, Alphonse had only one desire, to follow the will of God. Exhausted and sick, he died on August 1st, 1787, at the age of 91.

Alphonse de Liguori was canonized in 1839 and proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1871. In 1950, Pope Pius XII appointed him patron of all confessors and moralists.

Discover more lives of saints on Hozana.

Spirituality and citations of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

A prominent moralist theologian and master of spiritual life, Alphonse de Liguori proposed a spirituality accessible to all, which joins everyone in his or her own environment and is centered on the mercy and goodness of God. Saint Alphonsus' spirituality is centered on Christ and his Gospel, and he often preached on the mystery of the Incarnation and the Passion of the Lord, insisting on the fact that the Redemption is offered "copiously" to all men. The spirituality of Saint Alphonsus is also very Marian; the Virgin Mary, associated with the Redemption is the mediator of grace, the Mother, Advocate and Queen. Here are several quotations from Saint Alphonsus on themes that were dear to him:

  • On priests:

Saint Alphonsus often repeated that priests are a visible sign of God's infinite mercy, which forgives and illuminates the spirit and heart of the sinner so that he may convert and change his life.

  • On prayer:

God does not deny to anyone the grace of prayer, by which one obtains help to overcome concupiscences and temptations. And I say, and I answer, and I will always answer, as long as I live, that all our salvation lies in prayer. "

All our wealth is prayer: by praying you obtain everything you want. 

  • On the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament:

"Certainly, among all the devotions, the one of worshiping Jesus the sacrament is the first after the sacraments, the one dearest to God, and the one that is most useful to us... Oh, what a delight to be in front of an altar full of faith... and to present our necessities to him, as a friend does to another close friend! 

  • On the Will of God:

Anyone who wants only the will of God is always happy, no matter what.

"All good consists in loving God: to love him is to do his holy will.

"The most beautiful prayer, when one is sick, is to submit entirely to the will of God.

  • On the goodness of God:

No kind of worry ever comes from God, no matter how good the end.

Prayers of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Prayer for spiritual communion by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

My Jesus, I believe in your presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love you more than anything and I want you to come into my soul. I cannot now receive you sacramentally in my Heart; come there at least spiritually. I kiss you as if you had already come, and I join you all together. Don't let me ever have the misfortune to part with you. Amen” 

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

This form of prayer, which today is called Eucharistic adoration, is strongly recommended by Saint Alphonsus.

Novena for Souls in Purgatory by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Find the Novena for Souls in Purgatory by Saint Alphonsus Liguori on Hozana.

Prayer of Consecration to God

O my God, I bring you everything, I offer it to you, receive everything and keep everything 

Oh, my God! I don't want you calling me in vain. Here is my heart, my will, my body, my soul, my life, my death: I bring you everything. I offer it to you by the very pure hands of your divine Mother and mine, by those of Saint Joseph, your foster father and my protector: receive everything; keep everything; and return me to myself only when I am in heaven, where I can no longer lose You, but where I will rejoice forever in having given myself everything to You. Amen

Work of Saint Alphonsus Liguori: The Redemptorists

The Redemptorist community was founded by Saint Alphonsus Liguori in 1732 in Scala, in the Kingdom of Naples. This community had a missionary vocation to bring the Good News of the Gospel, especially to the poor and abandoned. Placed under the patronage of Saint Francis de Sales, the Redemptorist congregation counted several remarkable figures among its ranks, including Saint Gerard Majella.

Even today the Redemptorists are present in many countries of the world, and with new forms of apostolate, they continue the mission of evangelization by following the example of Saint Alphonsus.

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