St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ - image courtesy of Thomas Rochford SJ and JJ Mueller SJ/Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province

Many saints experienced a crisis of faith at some point during their lives. Rather than shy away from the pain, they embraced it. This stage is the one you probably find yourself in now. Can you find your way through this pain to a rebirth of faith? Many before you have succeeded in this. We can draw inspiration from reviewing how other saints managed to reawaken their spirits.

One such saint is Alphonsus Rodriguez, who was born in Segovia, Spain, in 1533. His life is a testament to everlasting faith, for he suffered unimaginable tragedies and disappointments yet remained loyal to God.

When Alphonsus was fourteen years old, his father died, leaving him to run the family business. At that young age, Alphonsus did not have the necessary experience and skill, and the business failed. He married when he was twenty-six, but his wife died giving birth. Only a few years later, both his mother and child died also, leaving him without the anchor of family.

Amazingly enough, Alphonsus’s faith never died, and he recognized his call to the religious life. This path was not an easy one, either, for he was forced to go back to school to complete the education he had left in midstream. Imagine attending school with your child, and you might have some appreciation for the embarrassment Alphonsus might have felt. Still, he persevered and was finally accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits of Segovia. Even in his limited role, he was able to influence many people and pass along his faith.

St. Alphonsus’s words can inspire us in our own trials: “Another exercise is very valuable for the imitation of Christ—for love of him, taking the sweet for the bitter and the bitter for the sweet.”

—Excerpted from Good Parents, Tough Times: How Your Catholic Faith Provides Hope and Guidance in Times of Crisis by Margaret Sagarese and Charlene C. Giannetti


  1. Brothers are serving Society and Humanity with dedication and distinction. Creative humility has been the most powerful weapon in their armory. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez and all brothers of the Society – Pray for us.


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