Saturday, February 1, 2014


Bl. Alfonso Maria Fusco

Feast day: February 6

1839 - 1910
Beatified By: October 7, 2001 by Pope John Paul II

Blessed Alfonso Maria Fusco was a Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, commonly known as Baptistine Sisters. Their mission was to evangelize, educate and promote youth, especially those who were most poor, abandoned and at risk.

Don Alfonso Maria Fusco was born to Aniello Fusco, a farmer and his wife Giuseppina Schianova, at Angri, Salerno, Italy, March 23, 1839. Alfonso's birth was attributed to the intercession of St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, whose tomb was visited by the couple. A Redemptorist Father assured them that they would have a son, whom they would call Alfonso. Two months after the infant's birth, Alphonsus de Ligouri was canonized.

Due to the unusual circumstances related to the boy's birth, Aniello and Giuseppina sent him to a church school, trusting him to priests. This made Alfonso dream of becoming a priest. As a child, he played the role of a priests, saying a mass, singing hymns, and building an altar. From his days of childhood, his parents noticed his compassion for needy children, as told in the book Operaio di Dio ('Alfonso Is His Name'), by Monsignor Salvatore Garofalo.

At age 11 on November 5, 1850, Fusco entered the Seminary of Nocera dei Pagani. According to Eliodoro Tedesco's Biographic Profile of the Venerable Don Alfonso Maria Fusco, Founder of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, the presence of the army in 1860 during battles related to unification, caused the dispersion of the Seminary's Archives. Fusco's coursework cannot be reconstructed. Giuseppe Nappi recalled that the Fusco was always respectful towards his professors. During these days, Fusco had a dream that Jesus Christ ordered him to found an Institute for nuns, and an orphanage for boys and girls. After he was ordained, he set about to make the dream happen.