Spirituality for Today – September 2012 – Volume 17, Issue 2

Saint of the Month
Bl. Alonso de Orozco

September 19

A painting of Blessed Alonso de OrozcoBl. Alonso de Orozco

He came from a well-off Castilian family. He was born on October 17, 1500 in Oropesa. The family took care of his religious education. He went to school in the nearby cities of Talavara and Toledo.

He then went to Salamanca to enter the university. I t was there he heard a sermon by St. Thomas of Villanova, prior of Augustinian hermits. With his brother Alonso, he entered that abbey. He was not even 22 years old at the time. He was a very sensitive man, which sometimes led to excessive inner turmoil and indecision, the source of much suffering. At the monastery, Alonso prepared for ordination. He led a very simple life, devoted to prayer.

In 1527, he became a priest and five years later he wanted to join the first group of missionaries traveling to Africa. However, a painful illness prevented him.

In 1549 his inner turmoil and doubts disappeared and the many opportunities for work became apparent. He started to write, publish books and preach sermons. He became a preacher and a royal confessor. He enjoyed a great authority at the court. He particularly liked to preach to nuns and poor people in hospitals and prisons.

His writings won him a major position of a theologian of spiritual life, a historian of the Augustinian order and a writer who Castilian even earlier than Cervantes. His best-known work, an autobiography, is titled "The Confessions."

He founded many Augustinian monasteries. He had great knowledge, sensitivity of a real mystic and organizational skills. In 1591 he fell severely ill, and his tired body gave up the fight on September 19.

Alonso de Orozco was beatified in 1881.

God, through the Mother of your Son,
You freed Bl. Alonso from doubts and turmoil
to make him a useful tool for preaching
Your love to the high and mighty and ordinaries alike.
Grant through Him
we are able to give all our heart to You
in love of neighbor.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives