Alphonse’s Early Years

Alphonse Charles Tobias Ratisbonne was born in Strasbourg, France, on 1st May 1814. He was a younger brother of Theodore and the second youngest of ten children.

His mother, Adelaide, died after childbirth when he was just four (4) years of age. Playful and sensitive, Alphonse won the hearts of all by his spontaneity, spiced with charm of the unexpected.

He grew up in a family that was wealthy, happy and privileged, yet where little attention was given to religious education.

The family’s assimilation into French society had brought a progressive weakening of their Judaism which mostly took the form of philanthropy.

All the members of the family were noted for their integrity, honesty and generosity towards the less fortunate.

“20th January is a light. And in this light, there is another light: Mary – Sion – Jerusalem”

-Fr. Alphonse Marie Ratisbonne -(1814-1884)
Notre Dame de Sion (Religious of Our Lady of Sion)

*Texts in italics, taken from Congregational Journals and Writings, edited by Sr. Marie Carmelle, Nds




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