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Rodríguez, Alfonso


Jesuit spiritual writer; b. Valladolid, April 1538; d. Seville, Feb. 21, 1616. After studying philosophy and arts at the University of Valladolid, and theology at Salamanca for two years, Rodríguez entered the Society of Jesus in Salamanca in July 1557. He was novice master in Salamanca in 1564, in Montilla from 1585 to 1597, and in Seville in 1607. He held also the posts of rector in Monterrey (157076) and moral professor and "resolver" of cases of conscience in Monterrey (156779) and in Valladolid (157985). From 1598 to 1607 he was in Córdoba engaged in the apostolic ministry. Rodríguez participated as a delegate for his province in the fifth general congregation at Rome. His contemporaries described him as a man of regular observance, mildness, and spiritual discretion, and, by nature, shy. His fame is due to his work the Ejercicio de perfección y virtudes cristianas (The Practice of Perfection and of Christian Virtues, Seville 1609). There are about 50 complete and 15 partial Spanish editions of this treatise. It was fully or partially translated into 23 languages. This work is a revision of the sermons he had given to the novices in Montilla [see I. Iparraguirre, Répertoire de spiritualité (Rome 1961) n.324]. In some places one can see the influence of the sermons of Gil González Dávila. The work is primarily a practical treatise, although it contains abundant spiritual doctrine, set forth with marvelous clarity through the use of Scripture and the Fathers, as well as medieval and contemporary authors. Emphasis is put upon the practice of the virtues and the specific means for acquiring them. The tone is that of a work intended for novices, with frequent illustrations and examples, of which many are historically inaccurate; however, they are always correct in style, and charming. The work lacks unity in its theological concepts.

Bibliography: c. sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus 6:194663. j. de guibert, La Spiritualité de la Compagnie de Jésus, ed. e. lamalle (Rome 1953).

[i. iparraguirre]

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