Saint Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori (1696-1787)
Saint Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori, Alfonso also spelled Alphonsus (born Sept. 27, 1696, Marianella,Kingdom of Naples—died Aug. 1, 1787, Pagani; canonized 1839; feast day August 1), Italian doctor of the church, one of the chief 18th-century moral theologians, and founder of the Redemptorists, a congregation dedicated primarily to parish and foreign missions. In 1871 he was named a doctor of the church by Pope Pius IX. In 1950 he was named patron saint of moralists and confessors by Pope Pius XII.
At a tender age his pious mother inspired him with the deepest sentiments of piety. The education he received under the auspices of his father, aided by his own intellect, produced in him such results that at the early age of sixteen, he graduated in law. Shortly after, he was admitted to the Neopolitan bar. In 1723, he lost a case, and Godmade use of his disappointment to wean his heart from the world. In spite of all opposition he now entered the ecclesiastical state.
In 1726, he was ordained a priest. He exercised the ministry at various places with great fruit, zealously laboring for his own sanctification. In 1732, God called him to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, with the object of laboring for the salvation of the most abandoned souls. Amid untold difficulties and innumerable trials, St. Alphonsus succeeded in establishing his Congregation, which became his glory and crown, but also his cross. The holy founder labored incessantly at the work of the missions until, about 1756, he was appointed Bishop of St. Agatha, a diocese he governed until 1775, when broken by age and infirmity, he resigned this office to retire to his convent where he died. Few saints have labored as much, either by word or by writing, as St. Alphonsus. He was a prolific and popular author, the utility of whose workswill never cease. His last years were characterized by intense suffering, which he bore with resignation, adding voluntary mortifications to his other pains. His happy death occurred at Nocera de Pagani, August 1, 1787.
Liguori’s extensive works fall into three genres: moral theology, best represented by his celebrated Theologia moralis (1748); ascetical and devotional writings, including Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ (for nuns), Selva (for priests), and The Glories of Mary—one of the most widely used manuals of devotion to the Virgin Mary; and dogmatic writings on such subjects aspapal infallibility and the power of prayer. By the middle of the 20th century, his works had gone through several thousand editions and had been translated into 60 languages. In theology Liguori is known as the principal exponent of equiprobabilism, a system of principles designed to guide the conscience of one in doubt whether he is free from or bound by a given civil or religious law.
Source: catholic.org, britannica.com