[Korazym.org/Blog dell’Editore, 03.10.2022 – Vik van Brantegem] – In all times of crisis and difficulty, to whom, if not the saints, should we turn? For this reason, on Saturday 15 October 2022, the Lepanto Foundation will go to pray at the tomb of Sant’Alfonso Maria de ‘Liguori (cover photo) in the basilica dedicated to him in Pagani, province of Salerno. On this occasion, Prof. Roberto de Mattei will hold a conference on Sant’Alfonso Maria de ‘Liguori, a beacon in the spiritual and moral crisis of our time.
The meeting will take place at 10.00 in the conference room of the Santa Maria della Pietà Spirituality Center in Corso E. Padovano 71 in Pagani.
After the conference, the Lepanto Foundation will go to venerate San Paolino, Bishop of Nola, in the basilica where he is buried together with San Felice.
For those interested in participating, they are invited to contact the Lepanto Foundation via email [QUI].
Sant ‘Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori
Musician, composer, bishop and doctor of the Church, who shone with his concern for souls, his writings, his word and his example. In order to promote Christian life among the people, he committed himself to preaching and wrote books, especially on morals, a discipline in which he is considered a teacher, and, albeit among many obstacles, he established the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer for the evangelization of the simple . Elected bishop of Sant’Agata dei Goti, he was extremely committed to this ministry, which he had to leave fifteen years later due to the onset of serious illness. He therefore spent the rest of his life in Nocera de ‘Pagani in Campania, amidst great sacrifices and difficulties.
Drawing a short profile of a saint, great and long-lived, such as Alfonso Maria de ‘Liguori, is almost an undertaking. He is remembered above all for his protection of moralists, as in the new title conferred on him by Pope Pius XII in 1950. The meaning of his name, Alfonso, briefly reflects his personality: valiant and noble.
Its relevance lies in the fact that, while substantially contrasting moral relativism and recognizing the Catholic Church as the supreme teacher, it gave space to the “inner voices of conscience” and maintained a position of balance and practical prudence between the two extremes of rigorism and laxity. This position emerges in almost all of his numerous works of meditation and ascetics, but above all it is always present in the still studied today. Theologia moralis. This is in fact the true masterpiece of the one who, canonized in 1839, was decreed by Pope Pius IX Doctor of the Church in March 1871.
He was born on 27 September 1696 in Marinella, near Naples, in the holiday palace of the noble family. His father Giuseppe was a naval officer and his mother, Anna Cavalieri, belonged to the family of the Marquises d’Avenia. He was the first of their eight children and grew up under the banner of a robust religious education, but always softened by feelings of compassion for the unhappiness of others. It is customary to divide his life into five distinct periods, in each of which his personality was enriched or modulated with so much faith in Jesus and with great devotion to Mary and her “glories”.
Private studies in the fields of music, science, languages and law prevailed until the age of twenty-seven, followed by an initial brilliant career in law. This was suddenly interrupted by a disappointment experienced in a judicial process tormented by falsehoods and in 1723 he decided to dedicate himself entirely to the Lord. Ordained a priest in 1726, he dedicated almost all of his time and ministry to the inhabitants of the poorest neighborhoods of eighteenth-century Naples. While preparing for a future missionary commitment in the East, he continues his activity as a preacher and confessor and, two or three times a year, takes part in missions in the countries within the Kingdom of Naples.
When in 1730 he was sent to Scala, above Amalfi, in a moment of forced rest, he met the shepherds of the mountains of Amalfi and, noting their profound human and religious abandonment, he felt the need to remedy a situation that scandalized him both as a shepherd than as a cultured man of the age of enlightenment. He leaves Naples and with some companions, under the guidance of the Bishop of Castellammare di Stabia, he founded the Congregation of the SS. Salvatore, subsequently approved by Pope Benedict XIV as the Congregation of the SS. Redeemer. The intent was to imitate Christ, starting with the Redemptorists themselves, who were gradually working for the redemption of many souls with missions, spiritual exercises and various forms of extraordinary apostolate.
Retaining the position of Rector Major of the Congregation of the Redemptorists, Alfonso Maria de ‘Liguori was then, from 1762 to 1775, Bishop of S. Agata dei Goti, a center today in the province of Benevento and then an episcopal seat in a mountainous, poor and in need of every form of help, to which the saint responded generously. Sick of deforming and almost blind arthropathy, after twelve years of diocesan government, Alfonso Maria resigned and retired to the house of his brothers in Nocera de ‘Pagani (part of the municipality of Pagani since 1806), between prayers and meditations. There he died on 1 August 1787, not without first having suffered the hard tribulation of a doubling of his brothers, which was recomposed only six years after his death..
San Paolino di Nola
Bishop, who, having received and left the office of consul, from being very noble and very rich he became poor and humble for Christ and, moving to Nola in Campania at the sepulcher of San Felice, a priest, to follow closely his example of life, led an ascetic life with his wife and companions; after becoming a bishop, distinguished by culture and holiness, he helped pilgrims and lovingly helped the poor.
“Hearts devoted to Christ reject the Muses and are closed to Apollo”, so wrote Pauline to the teacher Decimo Magno Ausonius, who had initiated him into rhetoric and poetics. Paolino had been a young man with an artist’s temperament. He was descended from a rich Roman patrician family. He was born in 355 in Burdigala (Bordeaux), where his father was an imperial official) and favored in his political career by high-ranking friendships, he became consul suffectus, that is, substitute, and governor of Campania. He met the Bishop Ambrose of Milan and the young Augustine of Hippo, from whom he was initiated into the Christian faith. Received baptism at the age of twenty-five, during a trip to Spain he met and married Therasia. After the premature death of their only son, Celsus, both devoted themselves entirely to Christian asceticism, on the model of oriental monastic life. Thus, by mutual agreement, they distributed the enormous wealth to the poor, and withdrew to Catalonia, to begin an original ascetic experience.
Paolino was now in his forties. Known and admired in high society, he was now also loved by the people, who loudly asked the Bishop of Barcelona to ordain him a priest. Pauline accepted with the clause not to be incardinated among the clergy of that region. He also declined Ambrose’s invitation, who wanted him in Milan. Pauline always cherished the monastic ideal of a devout and solitary life. He went almost immediately to Campania, to Nola, where the family owned the tomb of a martyr, San Felice. He began the construction of a sanctuary, but first of all he was concerned with erecting a hospice for the poor, adapting the first floor to a monastery, where he retired with Therasia and some friends in fraternitas monachathat is, in a monastic community.
He maintained contacts with the world through correspondence (51 letters were received) with friends and leading personalities in the Christian world, including Augustine. For his friends he used to write down epithalamus and poems of consolation. But to put an end to that mystical quiet, in 409, the election as Bishop of Nola took place. Stormy years were preparing for Italy. Genseric had crossed the sea at the head of the Vandals and was preparing to sack Rome and all the cities of Campania. Pauline turned out to be a true father, concerned with the spiritual and material good of all. He died at the age of 76, in 431, a year after his friend Sant’Agostino.