Hermit: 5th Century
+ According to legend, Alexius was born in Rome and was the son of a Christian senator.
+ Although he wanted to dedicate his life to God, his parents arranged a marriage for him but on his wedding day, his fiancé released him from his commitment and he was free to follow his vocation.
+ Alexius left his parent’s home dressed as a beggar and after traveling on various pilgrimages, he returned to Rome. He came as a beggar to his family home but his parents did not recognize him. They allowed him to stay there and he lived for many years under a stairway, praying and sharing the faith.
+ Following Alexius’ death, it was revealed that the “Man of God,” as he was known,” was the family’s long-lost son.
+ Devotion to Saint Alexius was widespread during the Middle Ages and his legend is probably based on the life of an earlier Syrian saint, Alexius of Edessa.
In the mid-1200s, a group of dedicated Belgian laymen came together to live lives of service and prayer. By the middle of the following centuries, this group had taken on a more formal way of life as religious brothers, nursing the sick—especially plague victims—and burying the dead who had no one else to care for them. The brothers chose Saint Alexius as the patron of their chapel and afterwards became known as the Alexian Brothers.
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples: if you have love for one another, says the Lord.”—John 13:35
May the intercession of the blessed Alexius, we beseech Thee, O Lord, commend us unto Thee, that what we can not have through our own merits, we may obtain through his patronage. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal [1962 Edition])
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.