Saint Alexius, born in Rome in the fourth century, was the only son of parents pre-eminent among the Roman nobles for both their virtue and their great wealth. They were particularly noted for their almsgiving; three tables were prepared every day for all who came for assistance — pilgrims, the poor and the sick. Their son, fruit of their prayers, was married with splendid feasting to a noble young lady of the imperial family, but on his wedding night, by God’s special inspiration, he secretly left Rome, longing for a solitude where he could serve God alone.
Alexius went to Edessa in the far East, disguised as a beggar and lived as a hermit. He gave away all that he had brought with him, content thereafter to live by alms at the gate of Our Lady’s church in that city. His family, in the deepest grief, could not fathom the mystery of his disappearance, and would have been consoled if God had taken him instead through death.
It came to pass that the servants of Saint Alexius, whom his father had sent in search of him, arrived in Edessa, and seeing him among the poor at the gate of Our Lady’s church, gave him an alms, not recognizing him. Whereupon the man of God, rejoicing, said, I thank You, Lord, who have called me and granted that I should receive for Your Name’s name’s sake an alms from my own slaves. Deign to fulfill in me the work You have begun.Read More »