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August 1


Saint of the day:
Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Patron Saint of Pagani, Cancello, Naples; arthritis, confessors, moralists

Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s Story

Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.

In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.

At the University of Naples, Alphonsus received a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, at the age of 16, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest, and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular parish missions, hearing confessions, and forming Christian groups.

He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted after a while by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over.

Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples preaching popular missions.

He was made bishop at age 66 after trying to reject the honor, and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese.

His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, a royal official changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united.

At 71, Alphonsus was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck. Until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent.

Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of the great works on that subject, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.



Basilica of Sant’ Alfonso 

Piazza S. Alfonso, 1, 84016 Pagani SA, Italy


Lemons, lemons, lemons!

We are celebrating with Italian recipes because our Saint is the Patron Saint of Pagani, Cancello, Naples.



  • 9-10 big lemons preferably organic and meyer, see tips

  • 750 ml high-proof neutral grain spirit (such as Everclear 151)

  • 800 g sugar

  • 1 l water


  1. Make sure you have a big, very clean mason jar with a tight-fitting lid at hand. If using not organic lemons, scroll up and read my recommendations on how to prep them.

  2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peels from all the lemons. Try to remove the yellow skin only with as little pith as possible.  You can trim away pieces of pith with a paring knife if you go too deep.

  3. Transfer the lemon peels to your jar and cover them with the spirit. Use a wooden spoon to mash the lemon peels a bit, then close the lid tightly.

  4. Store your jar in a dark, cold place and shake once for a day, for at least a week or up to one month.

  5. Once finished steeping, combine sugar and water in a pot and heat until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely. 

  6. Line a strainer with a large cheesecloth or coffee filter and set it over a clean pot. Strain the infused spirit through the filter. You may need to stir the liquid in the strainer if the flow stops.

  7.  Pour the sugar syrup into the lemon- infused spirit. Stir gently to combine and. taste. Make sure you have 2 clean 1 liter bottles ready. 

  8. Insert the funnel into the neck of one of the bottles ( I like to use these) and fill with your homemade limoncello. Repeat with the remaining bottle.


Corzetti Pasta Dough 

  • 375g plain flour or “00” Italian soft wheat pasta flour

  • 2 eggs

  • 100ml dry white wine

  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Make a pile with the flour then form a “well” in the centre.

  2. Now crack the whole eggs into the crater and add the wine and olive oil so that when the dough comes together it is neither too sticky nor too dry. If the mixture is too wet, work in more flour.

  3. Once the dough comes together but is still not smooth, begin to roll it through the pasta machine at its widest roller setting.

  4. Once rolled through, fold it and roll it again leaving the roller at its widest setting.

  5. Keep rolling and folding until the dough becomes smooth and uniform.

  6. Now bring the roller setting down a little at a time until it is around 1.5mm thick.

  7. Use your corzetti cutter and moulds to form the pasta. Makes enough for 4-6 people.



Corzetti Stampati al Limone

For the Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup Ligurian extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, and moreat the table

  • 2 lemons, juice only

  • 4 tablespoons chopped herbs such as: thyme, Italian parsley and basil

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • salt and pepper

  • Taggiasca olives a a garnish on plate


  1. To make the sauce:

  2. Combine oil, Parmigiano and lemon juice, starting with juice of 2 lemons, in warm pasta bowl.

  3. Taste for balance, adding more oil or lemon juice if desired.

  4. Add pasta and toss to coat.

  5. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water to loosen sauce if necessary.

  6. Add salt and black pepper and taste again.

  7. Depending on your lemons, you may have to add more juice or more oil.

  8. Toss with herbs and top with lemon zest.

  9. Serve with additional Parmigiano and herbs.

  10. Garnish with Taggiasca olives or walnuts.

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