Saint Alfons from Orozco - 19th September

He was born at Oropesa (Toledo, Spain) and started his studies at Talavera, and then he served as a member of a group of youths studying music at the chapel of the cathedral at Toledo. The study of music was very close to his heart. He was sent to the University of Salamanca and there he felt the call to holiness at St. Augustine’s convent. He joined the Order and made his profession in 1523 at a ceremony presided by St. Thomas of Villanova.

He carried out various responsibilities and, although he led a life that lacked frivolity, he had an ability to understand and to be compasionate. In 1547 he made an attempt to go to Mexico as a missionary but he was prevented from doing so by an attack of arthritis. In 1554 when he was superior at the convent of Valladolid he was chosed as preacher to Emperor Charles V and thereafter to King Philip II. In 1560, when the royal power was moved to Madrid, he established himself in the Augustinian convent of that city and was known as St. Philip of the King.

He was very popular with marginalised people because he used to befriend everybody without distinction. Many persons of power and culture like the authors Francisco Gomez de Quevedo (1580-1645) and Lope de Vega (1562-1635) gave their testomony during his canonization process. Although he used to mix with these eminent persons, he did no change his lifestyle because he was loved by the people as he was in the midst of them, helping the poor, the sick, and prisoners in all their needs.

He wrote profusely in Latin as also in the Castilian language; it is worth mentioning: Vergel de oración de contemplación (1544), Desposorio espiritual (1551), Bonum certamen (1562), Arte de amar a Dios y al próximo (1568), De la córona de Nuestra Señora (1588). His writings, as well as his contemplations, resulted from his reading of the Bible. As he was much devoted to Mary, he was convinced that he was writing at her behest.

He loved very much the Order and was interested in its history, thus making his readers imitate the best members of the Order. As the king’s preacher he had many privileges but he always shunned these and he lived the life of a simple friar taking part unceasingly within his community.

El Santo de S. Felipe died in 1591 and his remains are in the monastery of the cloistered Augustinian Sisters of Madrid, a community established by himself.

He was beatified in 1882 and Pope St. John Paul II canonized him in 2002.

Miguel Ángel Orcasitas, o.s.a.*



CÁMARA, T., OSA., Vida y escritos de B. A. de O., Valladolid 1882 (trad. ted. 1885; ingl. 1895); VELA, VI, 96-169; BURÓN, C., OSA., “El Santo de S. Felipe.” Vida del B. A. de O., Madrid 1981; APARICIO, T., OSA., Fray A. de O., hombre sabio y santo, Valladolid 1991; *RUBIO, L., OSA., ed. B.A. de O., OSA. Información sumaria del proceso del beatificación. Tom. II/1 e II/2. Información plenario del proceso de beatificación. Tom. III, El Escorial – Madrid 1991; *ID., Biografía B. A. de O., ivi 1991; ID., El B. A. de O., hombre de letras. Indice de sus escritos y su significación como autor, ivi 1992; *ALZCANO, R., OSA., Figura y obra de A. de O. Actas de las jornadas del-IV Centenario de su muerte, Madrid 1992; Congregatio de Cansis Sanctorum Canonizationis B. Alphonsi de O. Positio super miraculo, Roma 2000.


*A summary of the circular letter En el IV centenario de la muerte del B. A. de O., Rome 19 Sept. 1991, in AOSA. 39 (1992) 84-87.


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