St. Alexis and St. Benedict Joseph Labre are my very special patrons. July 17 is the feast of St. Alexis - the saint who couldn't be married - ending his hidden life as a pilgrim, a mendicant - a beggar, living unrecognized beneath the staircase of his family home until after his death. Something was off with these two guys - Alexis, and later, Benedict Joseph. They give me hope.
Last evening I celebrated the feast of Mt. Carmel, joining a group of Carmelite friars and what seemed to me to be a full church of Secular Carmelites. It was a wonderful grace. I was astonished at how many people were there, including the six friars, three of whom are priests. I felt like I had been on a long journey and returned to find the Church renewed by Carmelites. So many holy people were there - it was a grace to worship with them.
The following is a short story about St. Alexis - he spent part of his life in Syria, so perhaps he will pray for the poor people of that country, so torn apart by civil war - especially the Christians, whose survival is very much threatened.
Story of St. Alexis.
St. Alexius the only son of Euphemianus, a wealthy Christian Roman of the senatorial class, fled his arranged marriage to follow his mysterious holy vocation. Disguised as a beggar, he lived near Edessa in Syria, accepting alms even from his own household slaves, who had been sent to look for him but did not recognize him, until a miraculous vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary singled him out as a "Man of God." Fleeing the resultant notoriety, he returned to Rome, so changed that his parents did not recognize him, but as good Christians took him in and sheltered him for seventeen years, which he spent in a dark cubbyhole beneath the stairs, praying and teaching catechism to children. After his death, his family found writings on his body which told them who he was and how he had lived his life of penance from the day of his wedding, for the love of God. (Source)