Blessed Alfonso Maria Fusco

Son of Giuseppina Schiavone and Aniello Fusco, the eldest offive children in a pious peasant family. The couple had been unable to have children until a visit to the relics of Saint Alphonsus Maria d’ Liguori; there they received the message that they would have a son, name him Alfonso, and that he would led the life of a beati. Confirmed and received his first Communion at age seven, and at eleven he announced his intent to become a priest. Entered the seminary of Nocera dei Pagani on 5 November 1850. Ordained 29 September 1863.

Noted for his devotion to the liturgy, and as a gentle, paternalconfessor. In September of 1878, he, Maddalena Caputo of Angri (Sister Crocifissa), and three young women formed what would become the Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene, devoted to the care and education ofpoor orphans, abandoned children, and youth at risk; their first house was soon known as the Little House of Providence.

Along with the usual problems of more needs than resources, the new congregation faced serveral internal trials. False accusations were made about Father Alfonso, and Bishop Vitagliano tried to remove him as the congregation’s director. The daughter house in Rome tried to break away from the congregation, even locking the doors to the house when Alfonso came to see them. At one point, Cardinal Respighi, Vicar of Rome, recommended that he resign for the good of the congregation. He was, however, vindicated in the end, remained as director, and saw the congregation through it’s early, difficult years. Today they work in fifteen countries around the world.