St. Alphonsus Liguori
St Alphonsus graduated from college with a civil and canon law degree at the age. of 16. He practiced law for 8 yrs and when he lost a legal matter he ceased his law practice. He subsequently heard an inner voice speak to him while visiting the terminally ill at a local hospital: “Leave the world and give yourself to me.” He heeded and went to a church dedicated to the Blessed Mother, placed his sword on the altar, and asked through the intercession of the Virgin Mary to be accepted in a religious Order.
St. Alphonsus was ordained a priest in 1726 and ministered in and around Naples. He was a missionary became known as a lion in the pulpit and a lamb in the confessional. He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1732 and spent the rest of his life building up the Order. Like so many nascent Orders, it struggled with internal divisions over its identity, matters of authority, and its specific mission in the Church. These struggles caused our saint no end of spiritual torment, especially after a deep division resulted from an act of forgery and betrayal by one of Alphonsus’ closest priest collaborators.
Saint Alphonsus set aside an hour daily to write a page or two, to dictate a few lines, or to take rough notes on a train of thought that had just crossed his mind. Over time he wrote volumes on theology and devotion, becoming known as a moral theologian. He was clear on the Church’s teachings, and eventually, the Pontifical University in Rome dedicated to moral theology was founded by the Redemptorists and is named the Alphonsianum in his honor.