St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori deserves to be mentioned as one of the most devout servants of our Lady. While still a young man, he was accustomed to fast every Saturday in her honor, and he did not allow any one day to pass without visiting her shrine and honoring her with special reverence and love. Being inspired to leave the world in order to dedicate himself entirely to the service of God, he wished to confirm his holy purpose by hanging up his sword at the altar of Our Lady of Mercy, in this way avowing that he was determined to dedicate his whole life to the service of this glorious Queen of heaven and earth.
Hardly had be embraced the ecclesiastical state when he began to propagate devotion to Our Lady, honoring her with endless fervent practices, and speaking of her to all who came his way. He loved to preach to the people on the glories of Mary and on her excellent virtues and powers, which office he performed with such zeal and perfection that often a marvelous light shone on his face and he appeared as if enraptured. Especially did he cherish a tender devotion toward the sorrows of the great Mother of God. He compassionated with lively affection the bitter sufferings which she endured in the passion of Jesus, striving to make others join in this spirit of filial compassion toward her who is truly called the co-Redemptress of the human race.
In his preaching, Alphonsus never failed to impress upon the faithful the powerful patronage of Mary, her beneficence in welcoming sinners and her motherly assistance especially in the hour of death. And this he performed with such advantage to souls, that often he was successful in converting sinners steeped in vice. In order that his teaching might come to the notice of a greater number of the faithful, he wrote several pious works in which he exalted the glories of this heavenly Mother and impressed upon all Christians the efficacy of devotion to her. Moreover, he introduced the pious custom of preaching, in the course of a mission, on the power and mercy of Mary, and this always produced a powerful effect upon the people.
After a long life spent entirely in promoting the good of souls, St. Alphonsus breathed forth his spirit to God in his ninetieth year, on the first of August, 1787.
Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).