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Saint Alphonsus, born in 1696, a lawyer by 20. ordained priest in 1726, a founder of a religious congregation of priests and brothers, a bishop, an author and a Doctor of the Church, is remembered today’s at Mass.
Perhaps he’s best known for founding the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer – better known as the Redemptorists – in 1732 with official papal approval in 1749. The Redemptorists were did missionary work, taught catechism and gave retreats; they concentrated mostly on the country side for their spiritual labors.
It is true that you can’t force a sacrament on someone and that one’s perfect freedom has to be respected, history tells us that Alphonsus was forced against his own will, to be the bishop of Naples’ small Diocese of St. Agatha in 1762, a ministry he exercised for 13 years. During these years he set about correcting liturgical abuses and other such things, reformed the seminary, sent priests to be missionaries, and helped the poor.
On August 1, 1787, at Pagani, Alphonsus Liguori died at mid-day, as the bells were calling the faithful to pray the Angelus.
In 1839, Alphonsus was canonized and and the Magisterium declared him to be a Doctor of the Church in 1871.
As an author, Alphonsus published more than 100 books, including The Glories of Mary, Preparation for Death, and The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ.
The Redemptorists have a US province.