St Alfonso Rodriguez

Unknown-3No, it isn’t St Alfonso’s day today. Presumably his memorial is celebrated on 31 October, which is the day he died. Today it’s the memorial of St Peter Claver, a saint remarkable for his service to the enslaved people brought to South America in the early 17th century. (Really, he’s remarkable–if you don’t know about him, check out the universalis entry for today or click the link above to his wikipedia page.)

Unknown-2St Alfonso Rodriguez, who was canonized the same day as St Peter Claver, was only a porter at the university in Mallorca. But he is remembered with St Peter because it was he who recognized St Peter’s vocation to evangelize the new world. (I am indebted to the universalis page for this detail, which I followed up at the New Advent website.) St Alfonso earnestly desired to enter the Jesuits himself, but lacked the requisite education. Eventually he was received as a lay brother, and served as the porter for forty-six years. Doubtless many other young men were encouraged by Br Alfonso, although they may remain nameless.

Once again, the small prevails: we remember St Peter Claver for his noble and heroic, and very public, service to the oppressed. And throughout the church year, we honor many others like him. Let us not forget to thank God for all those whose lives contributed to the upbuilding of the saints, and to ask them to pray for us. For all those holy men and women–Deo gratias.

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