St. Alexius

Feast day: July 17

St. Alexius was the lone child of affluent Roman parents. He surreptitiously left Rome on the night of his wedding and traveled to the eastern city of Edessa. He lived on alms at the chapel of Our Lady's gate and gave away everything he owned there.

Alexius was at the Church's gate when his father's servants, who had been sent, noticed him and gave him alms without recognizing him. We might infer from Alexius' conduct that he preferred a life of penance over the one his parents had planned for him.

Alexius sought blessed seclusion once more after seventeen years when the Blessed Virgin's picture revealed his sanctity. Constant winds drove his ship to Rome instead of Tarsus on the way there. Even his grieving parents failed to identify the heir to Rome's most noble family in the frail and disheveled mendicant there. With the help of his father, he pleaded for food crumbs from his table and sanctuary in a dingy part of the palace.

Alexius endured his slaves' mistreatment and his parents' sadness for seventeen years as a result. Finally, when Alexius died, his family discovered who it was they had unintentionally shielded from them thanks to writing he had written. He was immediately recognized as a saint, and his father's home was turned into a cathedral and given Alexius' protection. His feast is celebrated on July 17th in the West and March 17th in the East.

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