Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez was born in Segovia, in 1532, the son of a well-to-do wool merchant. When he was about 10 years old, Blessed Peter Favre, one of the companions of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, stayed at his father’s house for a few days. During this time, Blessed Peter prepared Saint Alphonsus for first communion. At the age of 14, Saint Alphonsus was sent to study under the Jesuits in Alcala but, within a few months of his arrival, his father died and he had to return home to help his mother run the business. Thirteen years later, he married and had two children. Times were bad and his business started to flounder. Then his little daughter died. This painful loss was followed by his wife’s death soon after giving birth to their second child, a boy. Two years later, his mother also died. Saint Alphonsus had always been a righteous man but all these misfortunes brought him ever closer to God and made him seek His will in his life. He sold his business and went to live, along with his son, with his two sisters. The two devout women taught Saint Alphonsus mental prayer, an exercise which he followed faithfully, and which deepened his relationship with Our Lord. After a few years, it was his son who died. Saint Alphonsus at long last left the world and became a lay brother with the Jesuits. In 1571 he was sent to the College of Montesione in the island of Majorca. Here he served as a porter for 45 years, the remainder of his life. Among many other students, he counseled Saint Peter Claver and encouraged him to minister in South America. Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez died at the age of 85, in 1617. At the moment of death, from his deathbed, he looked around lovingly at his brethren, kissed the crucifix, uttered the Holy Name and breathed his last peacefully.