10 Things to know about St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

10 Things to know about St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ, patron of Jesuit lay brothers;

  1. He’s known as the Holy Porter. “I’m on my way, Lord,” is the phrase he repeated every time the doorbell rang at the Montesion College in the Spanish city of Palma, on the island of Majorca, where he lived for more than 40 years. He exercised the role of porter (or doorkeeper) with a prayerful passion.
  2. Vocation to service:This phrase describes well his humble, simple character, and his desire to be open to God’s will.
  3. He joined the Company of Jesus at the age of 39.He was a merchant who lost everything, and decided to start his life over after losing his wife and children. He was the second of 11 siblings.
  4. He knew St. Peter Faber, disciple of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Alphonsus’ father was a wealthy merchant, and his family had welcomed St. Peter when he arrived in Segovia to preach.
  5. He was a famous spiritual counselor. Alphonsus’ sensitivity towards others and to God’s will, which inspired him to carry out his task as porter with great joy, led many people to seek him as a spiritual guide. St. Peter Claver, apostle to African slaves, was one of those who turned to Alphonsus for counsel.
  6. He possessed the gifts of vision and healing.  Alphonsus knew by divine revelation that St. Peter Claver was destined to evangelize in South America, where Claver later baptized more than 300,000 slaves. St. Alphonsus also cured the superior of his community, who suffered from very painful rheumatism; after Alphonsus prayed for him all night, his superior woke up completely cured.
  7. Absolute obedience.His faithfulness to his vocation was such that, even when he was elderly and sick, he accepted an order from the father superior of his community in Montesion to go as a missionary to South America. The order was actually just a test of his loyalty, so the saint never went on the voyage.
  8. He had almost no formal education. When he requested to join the Jesuits, the provincial is said to have commented that while Alphonsus might not have had the education to become a priest or a brother, he was qualified to enter the Jesuits in order to become a saint.
  9. He was canonized in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII. Although Alphonsus died in 1617, the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain delayed his cause for beatification and canonization.
  10. Fellow Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a sonnet about him.Hopkins, considered one of the greatest poets of the Victorian era, praised St. Alphonsus for his heroic sanctity in daily service.

Source: https://aleteia.org/2017/10/18/10-things-to-know-about-st-alphonsus-rodriguez-sj-patron-of-jesuit-lay-brothers/


Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez

Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. At the age of 26 he married María Suarez, a woman of his own station, with whom he had three children. At the age of 31 he found himself a widower with one surviving child, the other two having died. From that time on he began a life of prayer and mortification, separated from the world around him. On the death of his third child he stepped back and reassessed his life.  His thoughts turned to a life in some religious order.

Previous associations had brought him into contact with the first Jesuits who had come to Spain, Saint Peter Faber among others, but it was apparently impossible to carry out his purpose of entering the Society as he was without education, having only an incomplete year at a new college begun at Alcalá by Francis Villanueva.

Finally at 40 years old, Alphonsus  sought to join the Jesuits. The provincial is supposed to have said that if Alphonsus was not qualified to become a brother or a priest, he could enter to become a saint. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted.

For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. His Jesuit superiors, seeing the good work he was doing among the townspeople, were eager to have his influence spread far among his own religious community, so on feast days they often sent him into the pulpit in the dining room to hear him give a sermon. On more than one occasion the community sat quietly past dinner time to hear Alphonsus finish his sermon.Read More »