Saint Alfonso de Orozco

September 19

Newest Augustinian Saint

Alfonso de Orozco, O.S.A. (also known as Alonso de Orozco) is the newest Augustinian saint.

Pope John Paul II on the Feast of Pentecost, May 19, 2002, canonized this Spanish follower of Saint Augustine.

Alfonso de Orozco was born October 17, 1500 in Oropesa, Province of Toledo, Spain.

His father sent him to study in Salamanca. There, inspired by the preaching of the Augustinian Thomas of Villanova, Alfonso entered the Order of St. Augustine in 1522.

In his Confessions, Alfonso recounts that during his formation, he was tempted to leave the Augustinians. The freedom of the times was very attractive, while he found difficult the solitude, the practice of obedience and other hardships of religious life. But he persevered, professing permanent vows and eventually being ordained a priest.

He started a journey to Mexico in 1547 as a missionary. But a serious attack of arthritis during the journey made his return to Spain necessary.

Alfonso was a gifted preacher. He preached to kings and simple people alike. For Alfonso, preaching was a necessity inspired by the love of Jesus and done for the love of Jesus.

Alfonso was also a prolific writer. He had a dream in which the Mother of Jesus told him, "Write." So he began to write. He produced numerous books on Christian spirituality. At age 90, he was still writing.

Respect and love for the human person was a strong characteristic. Alfonso wished to remedy the needs and overcome the difficulties of everyone. The fact that he was not able to do this caused him great sorrow.

All this preaching, writing and caring for others flowed from Alfonso's prayer and contemplation. He felt a responsibility to transmit to others what he had received in prayer.

Alfonso's spiritual life was not without trials. For many years he battled scrupulosity and felt tormented by Satan. He overcame these difficulties with the strength that he found in prayer. He continued to seek God in prayer even when prayer brought him no pleasure.

At the age of 91, Alfonso became quite ill. It is said that at this time he became very aware of the presence of Jesus, Mary, and St. Augustine helping him prepare for death.

Alfonso entered eternal life September 19, 1591. He was declared "Blessed" in 1882.