- Alphonsus Rodriguez
Third of eleven children in the family of the wealthy wool merchant Diego Rodriguez. Met Blessed Peter Faber when he was 10; the Father Faber prepared the boy for his First Communion. At age 14, Alonso was sent to study with Jesuits, Alonso’s father died within a year, and he returned home to learn and manage the business.
Married to Mary Suarez at age 26. His business suffered, and two the couple’s children died in infancy; one son survived. Widower in his early 30’s, Alonso’s mother died soon after. He sold the business and moved in with his sisters; they helped Alonso raise his son, and taught their brother prayerful meditation.
When his son died, Alonso decided to follow his call to the religious life. He gave away what little he had left, and tried to join the Jesuits; he did not have the education they required, and was refused. Attended the College of Barcelona, but could not complete the work. Self-imposed austerities nearly destroyed his health; at age 60 he was ordered to begin sleeping in a bed instead of the chair, bench or ground he had previously used. However, at the recommendation of Jesuit Father Luis Santander, Alonso became a Jesuit lay-brother, admitted on 31 January 1571 at Valencia, Spain, and began to study alongside children.
Porter and doorkeeper at the Jesuit college of Montesión at Palma, Mallorca, Spain for 46 years, a duty which involved delivering packages, seeing to the lodging of travellers, and dispensing alms to the poor. From this humble post he influenced many through the years. Obsessed with the spiritual, and given to extreme self-imposed austerities, he had a special devotion to Saint Ursula, and was so obedient to his superiors that when one told him to eat his plate, he tried to cut it with a knife and fork. Friend and room-mate of Saint Peter Claver; advised Peter to request missionary work in South America. Professed his final Jesuit vows at the age of 54.
Reputed to heal by fervent prayer. The night before his death was spent in a visionary ecstasy. Some authors claim he wrote the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, but his part was to make it more popular. Left behind a collection of manuscripts of journal entries, random thoughts, simple illustrations, and musings on things spiritual that are remarkable for their simplicity, sound and correct doctine, and spiritual understanding; they were published as Spiritual Works of Blessed Alonso Rodriguez in Barcelona in 1885.
- an old Jesuit with two hearts on his breast connected by rays of light to Christ and the Virgin
Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;
And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.
On Christ they do and on the martyr may;
But be the war within, the brand we wield
Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,
Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray.
Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by of world without event
That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.
– Gerard Manley Hopkins, in honour of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, laybrother of the Society of Jesus
- “Saint Alonso Rodriguez“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 October 2009. Web. 4 May 2015. <>