Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787)

Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787)

Patron saint of theologians and vocations

Feast day: August 1

Saint Alphonsus Liguori was the forefather of the Redemptorists and a bishop. Born into a noble family in Naples, Italy, he was educated at the University of Naples, where he earned a doctorate in law by the age of 16. Alphonsus began a successful practice of law, but soon gave up his passion for something greater: exclusively serving God.

He became a priest and focused his energy on assigning missions and instructions, hearing confessions, and establishing religious groups. One such religious group was the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, which focused on living a simple life, living by Christ’s example, and doing mission work for the poor in rural areas. This congregation, known as Redemptorists, focused on being kind and simple, as opposed to the strictness and severity of the Jansenists, another religious group.

After refusing to become a bishop many times, Alphonsus finally became bishop of Saint Agatha dei Goti. As bishop, Alphonsus wrote and taught theology and tended to the needs of the poor. Alphonsus became very ill in his later years and passed away in 1787 at the age of 90. He was canonized in 1839 and professed a Doctor of the Church in 1871.

(Image in public domain-70)