Feast day: October 31
Today is the feast of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ, a Jesuit lay brother who was a porter at the Jesuit college in Majorca.
Born in Segovia, Spain, July 25, 1532; died at Majorca, October 31, 1617. Alphonsus Rodriguez was a Jesuit lay-brother who entered the Society at the age of 40. He was the son of a wool merchant who had been reduced to poverty when Alfonso was still young. At 26 he married Mary Francisco Suárez, a woman of his own station, and at 31 found himself a widower with one surviving child, the other two having died previously. From that time he began a life of prayer. On the death of his third child 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, Peter Faber, SJ, among others. It was apparently impossible to carry out his purpose of entering the Society, as he was without education, having only had an incomplete year at a new college begun at Alcalá by Francis Villanueva. At the age of 39 he attempted to make up for this deficiency by following the course at the College of Barcelona, but without success. After considerable delay he was finally admitted into the Society of Jesus as a lay-brother on January 31, 1571. He was sent to the recently-founded college at Majorca, where he remained in the humble position of porter for forty-six years, exercising a marvelous influence on the sanctification not only of the members of the household, but upon a great number of people who came to the porter’s lodge for advice and direction. Among the distinguished Jesuits who came under his influence was St. Peter Claver, SJ, who lived with him for some time at Majorca, and who followed his advice in asking for the missions of South America. He was declared Venerable in 1626. His canonization took place September 6, 1887. His remains are enshrined at Majorca.