Alphonsus had to leave school when his father, a wealthy wool merchant in Segovia, Spain, died. He was put in charge of the family business at age 23, but it declined. He married and had children, but within a few short years lost his mother, wife, daughter and son. He was introduced to the practice of daily meditation by his sisters. And, when he tried to join the Jesuits, he initially was rejected as too old and uneducated. But, in 1571, he was accepted as a lay brother, and served as doorkeeper at the Jesuit college in Majorca for 45 years. Alphonsus mentored St. Peter Claver and others, and is the subject of a sonnet written by another Jesuit, the priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.