Alphonsus Ligouri was born in 1696 near Naples in Italy. He was a rising young barrister until, having lost an important case, he left the practice of law and became a priest in 1723. He did mission work around Naples and organised a group of missioners intended specially for work in the country area.

Alphonsus worked hard: preaching, writing hymns and many books. He told people about how much God loved them and how important religion was to their everyday lives. His sermons were very simple so everyone, especially children, could understand them.

In 1762 he was made Bishop of Sant’ Agata dei Goti, a small but difficult diocese.

During the last twenty years of his life he became rather ill, resulting in a permanent deformity, deafness and blindness with attacks on his teaching and with the troubles of the Redemptorist congregation.

For eighteen months he was afflicted with acute spiritual trials and temptations, but he was enabled to overcome them and he died peacefully in retirement in 1787, aged 91 years old.

St Alphonsus was canonised in 1839 and his feast day is August 1st.