Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 July – Saint Alexius of Rome – (Died early 5th Century) “the Man of God” 

Saint of the Day – 17 July – Saint Alexius of Rome – (Died early 5th Century) Hermit, recluse, apostle of Prayer, Mystic, beggar – known as “the Man of God”  – Patronages – Alexians (a religious apostolate), beggars, belt makers, nurses, pilgrims, travellers.st alexius-of-rome-f7c534c7-3fc3-4fac-ad99-14bbf9779a6-resize-750.jpg

Saint Alexius, born in Rome in the fourth century, was the only son of parents pre-eminent among the Roman nobles for both their virtue and their great wealth.   They were particularly noted for their almsgiving; three tables were prepared every day for all who came for assistance — pilgrims, the poor and the sick.   Their son, fruit of their prayers, was married with splendid feasting to a noble young lady of the imperial family but on his wedding night, by God’s special inspiration, he secretly left Rome, longing for a solitude where he could serve God alone.

Garcia_Fernandes_-_Casamento_de_Santo_Aleixo,_1541
The Wedding of St Alexius

He went to Edessa in the far East, gave away all that he had brought with him, content thereafter to live by alms at the gate of Our Lady’s church in that city.   His family, in the deepest grief, could not fathom the mystery of his disappearance and would have been consoled if God had taken him instead through death.

It came to pass that the servants of Saint Alexius, whom his father had sent in search of him, arrived in Edessa and seeing him among the poor at the gate of Our Lady’s church, gave him an alms, not recognising him.   Whereupon, the man of God, rejoicing, said, I thank You, Lord, who have called me and granted that I should receive for Your Name’s name’s sake an alms from my own slaves.   Deign to fulfil in me the work You have begun.

After seventeen years spent at the portico of the church, when his sanctity was miraculously confirmed by the Blessed Virgin, speaking through Her image to an officer of the church, Saint Alexius once more sought obscurity by flight.  st alexius snip catholic art On his way to Tarsus contrary winds drove his ship to Rome.   There no-one recognised him, in this pale and tattered mendicant, the heir of Rome’s noblest house, not even his sorrowing parents, who had vainly sent throughout the world in search of him.   From his own father’s charity Saint Alexius begged a miserable shelter in his palace, under a staircase, with the leavings of his table as food.   There, he spent another seventeen years, bearing patiently the mockery and ill usage of his own servants and witnessing daily, the still inconsolable grief of his spouse and parents.

At last, when death had ended this cruel martyrdom, they learned too late, who it was that they had unknowingly sheltered.   A voice was heard by all in attendance at the Pope’s Mass, saying –‘Seek the man of God, he will pray for Rome and the Lord will be favourable to it, he will die on Friday.’   All the city undertook in vain to find this unknown Saint.  st alexius snip artBut God had commanded Alexius himself to write down his life story and sign it, in this way He Himself confirmed His servant’s sanctity, when he was found lifeless in his retreat, holding that document in his hand.   The Pope read aloud what was written on the parchment of the Saint and everywhere in Rome there was a single cry of admiration, impossible to describe. -saint-july-17-alexius-of-rome-wellcomeimages-org-cc

The house of Alexius’ father Euphemian was later transformed into a church dedicated to Saint Alexius and St Boniface and the staircase – suspended above an altar, under which he had lived for 17 years, is enshrined there as a relic.

the holy staircase of st alexius
The Holy Staircase of St Alexius at the Church of Sts Alexius and Boniface in Rome.   Below it is a statue of the pieta of St Alexius.
st alexius from the church of st pierre-es-liens in france header.jpg
Saint Alexius, from the Church of Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens in Pomport, Dordogne, France

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Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

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