- For other people with this name, see Rodriguez (surname)
Alphonsus (Alonso) Rodriguez (not to be confused with St. Alphonsus Rodriguez), born in 1526 at Valladolid (Spain) , Spain and died the 21 February 1616 at Seville (Spain), was a Spanish Jesuit priest and spiritual writer of renown. His writings, a single book, underline much the ascetical dimension of religious life.
When twenty years of age he entered the Society of Jesus, and after completing his studies taught moral theology for twelve years at the College of Monterey, and subsequently filled the posts of master of novices for twelve more years, of rector for seventeen years, and of spiritual guide at Cordova for eleven years. As master of novices he had under his charge Francisco Suárez, the celebrated theologian.
Alonso's characteristics in these offices were care, diligence, and charity. He was a religious of great piety and candour, hating all pride and ostentation. It was said of him by those who were personally acquainted with him, that his character and virtues were accurately depicted in "The Practice of Christian and Religious Perfection", published at Seville, 1609.
The Practice of Christian perfection
This work is based on the material which he collected for his spiritual exhortations to his brethren, and published at the request of his superiors. Although the book thus written was primarily intended for the use of his religious brethren, yet he destined it also for the profit and edification of other religious and of laymen in the world. Of set purpose it avoids the loftier flights of mysticism and all abstruse speculation. It is a book of practical instructions on all the virtues which go to make up the perfect Christian life, whether lived in the cloister or in the world. It became popular at once, and remained in use till the era of Vatican II by all classes of Christians, particularly by those who had entered Religious life. More than twenty-five editions of the original Spanish have been issued, besides extracts and abridgements.
More than sixty editions have appeared in French in seven different translations, twenty in Italian, at least ten in German, and eight in Latin. An English translation from the French by Fr. Antony Hoskins, S.J., was printed at St. Omer in 1612.
The best known English translation, often reprinted, is that which first appeared in London, 1697, from the French text of Abbé Regnier des Marais. P.O. Shea issued in New York an edition adapted to general use in 1878. The book has been translated into nearly all the European languages and into many of those of the East. No other work of the author was published. Gilmary Shea left a translation of the work which has never been published. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
- Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues, a translation into English from Alphonsus (Alonso) Rodriguez's original Spanish, by Joseph Rickaby, complete in two volumes. The Manresa Press: Roehampton, London, 1929.
- The Practice of Christian Perfection, various older translations into French and English, in three volumes.