Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 19 February

detail of an antique Italian holy card of Blessed Alvarez of Cordova, artist unknown, date unknown; swiped with permission from the Santini Imagini web siteBlessed Alvarez of Cordova, O.P.

On account of his prudence and virtues Blessed Alvarez was chosen as confessor to John II, King of Castile. But he obtained leave to quit the court and retired to a convent of strict observance, justly called “the Ladder of Heaven,” because in the solitude of retreat men are separated more and more from earthly things; ladder of Heaven because it is the near, certain and happy end of so fervent and pure a life. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and, having the souvenirs of the Passion vividly imprinted on his heart, Blessed Alvarez on his return, desired to have them always present before his eyes as food for pious thought for himself and others. He had representations of the scenes of the Passion set up in the monastery and thus he is considered to have been one of the pioneers of that devotion of the Stations of the Cross, which, later on cast into a definite form and enriched with many indulgences by the Church, has become, together with the Holy Rosary, a great source of sanctification for the souls of both learned and simple, great and lowly. Once Blessed Alvarez found on the road and took up in his arms a poor man covered with ulcers, and on taking him into the convent to attend to him, he saw his burden changed into a crucifix. Blessed Alvarez died in 1420.


Blessed Alvarez of Cordova, give me the spirit of solitude, even when I am in the midst of worldly company.


Make your meditation and preparation for Mass as if you were on Calvary.