01.08.

1787: St Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori – Helper of the Poor, the Neglected and the Outcasts

1787: St Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori  – Helper of the Poor, the Neglected and the Outcasts
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Alphonsus kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in a 19th-century stained glass window of Carlow Cathedral

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 1 August 1787
  • In his late twenties, St Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori decided to leave his law career behind him and become a priest. He founded the monastic community of Redemptorists, named after Jesus Christ the Most Holy Redeemer (Lat. Sanctissimus Redemptor). The goal of this monastic community was to help poor and neglected people.

St Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, founder of the Catholic monastic community of Redemptorists (Congregatio Sanctissimi RedemptorisC.Ss.R.) died on this day.

St Alphonsus was born to a noble family in Marianella near Naples (today a suburb of Naples).

He received a good education and became a lawyer. Still, in his late twenties, he decided to leave his law career behind him and become a priest.

His father objected to this, but St Alphonsus persisted and managed to convince his father to agree. Thus he was anointed a priest at age 30.

St Alphonsus Liguori immediately began acting to help resolve the problem of homeless or marginalized young people who lived on the streets of Napoli.

In order to help these people, he organized centers for communal prayer, education and social activities. Later he also made journeys to the villages in the hinterland of Naples, where he had noticed the presence of large numbers of poor and outcast people.

In 1732 St Alphonsus founded the monastic community of Redemptorists, named after Jesus Christ the Most Holy Redeemer (Latin: Sanctissimus Redemptor).

The goal of the monastic community was to help poor and neglected people. One of the most famous members of the community St. Gerard Majella, child of a poor family from the Kingdom of Napoli.

To this day four redemptorists have been proclaimed saints, and a further nine have been proclaimed Blessed of the Catholic Church.

St Alphonsus was also appointed the bishop of Sant’Agata dei Goti in the hinterland of Napoli.

Redemptorists placed special emphasis on caring for people from poor neighborhoods and suburbs, and for social outcasts.

St Alphonsus was a prolific writer and authored 111 works on the subject of spirituality. He was declared a saint in 1839, while Pope Pius IX even proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church (Doctor Ecclesiae) in 1870.

St Alfonz was also the author of the well-known Italian Christmas song „Tu scendi dalle stelle“.

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