St Alphonsus Liguori on Prayer Cloth (Patron Saint for Confessors)
St Alphonsus Liguori on Prayer Cloth (Patron Saint for Confessors) is dedicated to the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. He was also a Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Alphonsus went on retreats with his father, Don Joseph. He was raised by a devout mother. By age nineteen he was practicing law. But he saw the transitory nature of the secular world. Alphonsus visited the local Hospital for Incurables in 1723. There he had a vision and was told to consecrate his life solely to God.
In response, Oil dedicated to St Alphonsus Liguori dedicated himself to the religious life. Also, he finally agreed to become a priest but to live at home as a member of a group of secular missionaries. Alphonsus was ordained on December 21, 1726. Subsequently, he spent six years giving missions throughout Naples. There he met Bishop Thomas Falcoia and mystic, Sister Mary Celeste. With their aid, Aiphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on November 9, 1732.
The foundation faced immediate problems. After just one year, Alphonsus found himself with only one lay brother. He started again. New members were recruited. In 1743 he became the prior of two new congregations, one for men and one for women. Pope Benedict XIV gave his approval for the men’s congregation in 1749 and for the women’s in 1750. Also, Alphonsus was preaching missions in the rural areas and writing. He had to accept the papal command to accept the see of St Agatha near Naples.
For thirteen years Alphonsus fed the poor. In addition, he instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses. Also, he taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous. He suffered daily from rheumatism that was beginning to deform his body. Ultimately, he spent several years having to drink from tubes. An attack of rheumatic fever, from May 1768 to June 1769, left him paralyzed. In 1780, Alphonsus was tricked into signing a submission for royal approval of his congregation. This submission altered the original rule, and as a result Alphonsus was denied any authority among the Redemptorists. Also, he was excluded from his own congregation. In time, he overcame his depression. He experienced visions, performed miracles, and gave prophecies. St Alphonsus died peacefully on August 1,1787.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person is invited to apply oil on the part of their body they want healed. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.
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