Alphonsus was born in 1696 into a loving Catholic family, and from a young age he was extremely smart and serious. The usual age for becoming a lawyer then was twenty, but Alphonsus had studied enough to become one by the time he was only sixteen! He worked as a lawyer for several years and was very successful, but began to get distracted by hard work and friends, and he didn’t spend as much time in prayer as he should have. About that time he made a mistake and lost an important case and realized God was using this experience to make him more humble. He asked God to show him His will, and one day Alphonsus was surrounded by a bright light, the building seemed to shake, and he heard a voice say, “Leave the world and give yourself to Me.” He went to a statue of the Blessed Virgin and laid his sword down at Her feet.
After Alphonsus became a priest, one of his first projects was to train people to become catechists so that they could teach the poor. He met a nun named Sister Celeste, who told Alphonsus she had a vision that she was supposed to start a new order of nuns, and he agreed to help her. When she had another vision that he was supposed to start an order of priests, he did that as well. The order was called the Redemptorists, and they became known for their gift for teaching.
When the pope made Alphonsus a bishop, he worked very hard to fix some of the errors in his new diocese. He made sure the seminarians were well educated and he stopped the people and even some of the priests from doing things they weren’t supposed to. This made some people very unhappy with Bishop Alphonsus, but he knew that he was doing the right thing. Alphonsus wrote over one hundred books on different subjects, and after he died, was declared a Doctor of the Church, which means that he made important contributions to helping people understand the Faith.
Saint Alphonsus Ligouri longed to do God’s will and joyfully embraced his vocation. Have your children copy this simple vocations prayer onto a note card and post it somewhere in your house where they will remember to pray it daily.