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October 30

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez - October 30

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez

Jesuit Lay Brother

(1532 – 1617)

“The difference between adversity suffered for God and prosperity is greater than that between gold and a lump of lead.

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez

Saint’s Life Story 

Alphonsus was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1533.  Alphonsus was the third child of a large family of wool merchants. When Saint Peter Faber and another Jesuit came to preach a mission at Segovia, they stayed with Alphonsus’s family and took up the invitation for a short holiday at their country house. Young Alphonsus, then about 10, went with them and was prepared for his First Communion by Saint Peter.

Managing the Family Cloth Business

When he was 14, Alphonsus was sent with his elder brother to study under the Jesuits at Alcala. Before the year was out, his father Diego was dead and it fell to Alphonsus to interrupt his studies to manage the family business.

When he was 23, his mother retired and Alphonsus inherited his father’s business. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, he sold cloth all day long, buying with one hand and selling with the other. 

Marriage Followed by Tradegies

At the age of 27, Alphonsus married María Suarez, a woman of his own station, with whom he had three children. When he was about 35, his wife died shortly after giving birth to their only son. Two years later his mother died. The business didn’t prosper either. This succession of misfortunes forced Alphonsus to seriously consider God’s plan for his life. He began to realize that he was meant to do something different from the numerous businessmen who led exemplary but unheroic lives in Segovia. So, he sold his business and took his son to live with the boy’s two maiden aunts, Antonia and Juliana.

From these two ladies, Alphonsus learned to meditate for at least two hours a day. He was an assiduous communicant. His life was austere and happy, though he still longed to devote himself to God. So, after abandoning his business, he resumed his studies at the point where he had broken them off. He had always taken religion seriously so when his son died, Alphonsus decided it was finally time to become a Jesuit, if possible, as an ordained priest.

Jesuit Lay Brother

Alphonsus was barely literate and his health tenuous. It’s no wonder that the Jesuits of Segovia unhesitatingly refused him entry. Undaunted, Alphonsus presented himself to Father Luis Santander, SJ, at the novitiate of the Jesuits of Aragon at Valencia. Father Santander recommended him to be ordained as soon as possible, and requested that he learn Latin. He had given away most of his money by now, so he became a hired servant, hoping to pay for his necessary extra education by this and by begging. Thus, he put himself through school with the young boys.

At the age of 39,  Alphonsus attempted to make up this deficiency by following the course at the College of Barcelona, but without success. Happily the provincial of the order spotted the saintliness of Alphonsus’s life, and he was admitted to Society of Jesus as a lay brother on January 31, 1571, at the age of 40. It was said that if Alphonsus was not qualified to become a brother or a priest, he could enter to become a saint.

Doorkeeper at Majorca

After six months, Alphonsus was sent to the recently founded college on Majorca, where he remained in the humble position of porter or doorkeeper at Montesión College. for 46 years, exercising a marvelous influence not only on the members of the household, but upon a great number of people who came to the porter’s lodge for advice and direction.

His Duties

As doorkeeper, Alphonsus’ duties were to receive visitors who came to the college. He would search out the fathers or students who were wanted in the parlor, Alphonusus also would deliver messages and run errands. He consoled the sick at heart who, having no one to turn to, came to him. Alphonsus gave advice to the troubled and distributed alms to the needy. Alphonsus tells that each time the bell rang, he looked at the door and envisioned that it was God who was standing outside seeking admittance. Among the distinguished Jesuits who came under his influence was Peter Claver, who lived with him for some time at Majorca, and who followed his advice in asking for the missions of South America. He made his final vows in 1585 at the age of 54.

HIs Final Vows as Brother

Brother Alphonsus proves Mother Teresa’s axiom that small things done with great love is the call of the Christian. Every day Alphonsus Rodriguez prayed to more than 20 confessors, martyrs, and Church Fathers. He had a great veneration for Saint Ursula. Persevering, Brother Alphonsus professed his final vows in 1585, at the age of 54.

Many of the varied people who were thus brought into contact with him learned to respect him and value his advice.  In particular, Saint Peter Claver ,as a student, used to consult him frequently.  Saint Peter Claver received from Brother Alphonsus the impetus for his future work among the slaves of South America.

His Death

After receiving Communion on October 29, Alphonsus lay as if dead, but he was in ecstasy. At midnight on October 31, the ecstasy ended and the final death pangs began. One-half hour later the brother regained his composure, lovingly looked at his brethren, and kissed the crucifix. Still a porter, he died in 1617, saying only one word: “Jesus”.

In art, Alphonsus is depicted as an old Jesuit with two hearts on his breast, connected by rays of light to Christ and the Virgin. (Roeder) Alphonsus was named patron of Majorca in 1633.

Born:                    July 25, 1532 in Segovia, Spain

Died:                    October 31, 1617 age 85 in Palma, Majorca, Spain

Beatified:            May 29, 1825 by Pope Leo XII

Canonized:         January 15, 1888 by Pope Leo XIII

Feast Day:          October 30

Patron Saint:     Jesuit Lay Brothers; Majorca, Spain



Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez shows us that through his life as a simple doorkeeper that he cared for every person knocking on the other side the door to show them Christ by his example. So, when we take our simple every day work and family activities and dedicate them to God, his will be done through the example of our lives as we interact with those around us each day.

What are your simple every day work and family activities that you will do today as an example of your love that you can dedicate to God so his will be done?


A Prayer to Seek the Consolation of the Cross
By St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ

Jesus, love of my soul,
centre of my heart!
Why am I not more eager to endure pains and tribulations for love of You,
when You, my God, have suffered so many for me?
Come, then, every sort of trial in the world, for this is my delight, to suffer for Jesus.
This is my joy, to follow my Saviour
and to find my consolation with my Consoler on the Cross.
This is my happiness,
this my pleasure:
to live with Jesus,
to walk with Jesus,
to converse with Jesus,
to suffer with and for Him,
this is my treasure.


Saint Links 

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

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 31 October – St Alphonsus Rodríguez, SJ (1532-1617)

Angelus News – Saint of the day: St Alphonsus Rodríguez

Catholic Exchange – St. Alphonsus Rodríguez

Catholic Fire – St. Alphonsus Rodriguez: Husband, Father, Widower, Priest, Doorkeeper

Catholic Ireland – Oct 30 – St Alphonsus Rodriquez (1533-1617) Jesuit lay brother

Catholic News Agency – St. Alonso Rodriguez Feast Day: Oct 30 – Saints of the Day – Saint Alphonsus Rodríguez

New Advent – St Alphonsus Rodríguez

Saints, Feast, Family – The Story of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez 

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez (1533-1617)

Wikipedia – St Alphonsus Rodríguez

Video Link

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez – YouTube (Cradio)