At Rome, it’s the Feast of St. Alexis, the man of God

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Today, July 17, is the Feast of St. Alexis, the man of God. Here at Rome it is a Feast, because this Saint’s mortal remains are kept at the Basilica of San Alessio, on the summit of the Aventine Hill.

St. Alexis was the son of a rich Roman nobleman, who on the night of his arranged marriage, fled to the port of Ostia and boarded a ship for Syria. He wanted to live only for the Blessed Virgin, and not for a woman.

There he lived as a beggar for many years, until, one day, an angelic voice was heart in the church where he was praying:  “Behold the man of God”. Many of the faithful flocked to him for his prayers and blessings and many were cured.

So to avoid notoriety, he fled back to Rome, where, not knowing where to go, he begged at the door of his own father’s mansion on the Aventine. Not being recognized with his beard and body disfigured by years of fasting, they took him in and gave him a place to sleep under an old stairway.  There he lived on the scraps from the table till the end of his days.

In death, during his funeral, another angelic voice was heard:  This is Saint Alexis, the man of God. His father immediately was enlightened to recognize his son, and wept bitterly for the years of neglect and cruel treatment he had done to him through his servants.

Saint Alexis is the patron of beggars, young men discerning a vocation, and of all who want to live poor and patiently. He has always been for me, from my earliest days, a guiding light for my vocation as a religious and Franciscan.

Here is the image of the ancient Icon of Our Lady kept at his Shrine, which is one of the first to depict the Sorrowful Heart of Mary.  Above, at the top of this article, is a photo his side altar, where in stone there is shown the Saint in death, under the stairway where he slept.

Per voi che legge l’italiano, ecco la storia di quest’immagine:

6 thoughts on “At Rome, it’s the Feast of St. Alexis, the man of God”

  1. This is a wonderful blog, and I can see he is your patron saint as you are named after him ; Br Alexis 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing that. One of my worst experiences after 911 was when I temporarily returned to my family home in Florida, for a six month mandatory waiting period following a mass layoff. My Masonic father made it clear I was not welcome here, so I got in the habit of waking up around 3am, living in the garage until after he went to bed. I had my computer there, clothes, almost everything. Along with all sorts of tropical animals; lizards, frogs, snakes, mice, that pretty much had no fear of me or respect for my space, and no air conditioning. It wasn’t unusual for a frog to land on my head, gigantic ‘water bug’ to hop into my coffee mug, mouse to try to nibble on a toe. For a variety of reasons beyond my control this continued off and on until his passing in 2010. I feel much better about it after reading this. No matter how far we sink in this world there’s hope for us all apparently. Something to keep in mind as current events unfold. Jesus keeps saying in the locutions to trust, but having been through this experience I know just how bad this is probably going to get. I do think those of us who know what it’s like to be homeless and/or down on our luck so to speak will be better able to cope, that gives consolation as well. Thanks Brother.

  3. I love this story/history lesson, as I have never learned of Saint Alexis. Again, thank you for teaching us so many things!

  4. How nice! Thirty years ago I translated “La vie de St Alexis” from Ancient French into Dutch!
    What a good times those were.
    The first line:
    In past times the world was good, because there were faith, jusice and love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.