Saint Alfonso Maria Fusco was born on March 23, 1839 in Angri, in the Province of Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Salerno, in Italy. Little Fusco was special gift of God born after four longs years of prayers to his parents. At his tender age itself he turned to the poor with love and empathy. On May 29, 1863 he was ordained as a priest. In the late 1800’s war and plague had damaged North and South Italy. The shadows of war crept into the small town of ‘Angri’ also. Crisis began in the lives of people. Their homes lost, jobs shed, health deteriorated, education prohibited and Youth got scattered. Father Fusco saw the risks that hinder the personal and social growth of the young. Many mothers were forced to leave their children and labor from dawn to dusk in the fields to provide the basic necessities of life for their families as their husbands were deceased or still at war. The sight of so many young children left in the streets moved the heart of this young priest – Father Alfonso Maria Fusco.
Father Alfonso Maria Fusco was truly a man of Providence. He began his work from nothing. In all things, he placed his trust in Providence of God. In 1878 after overcoming many obstacles and being convinced that this was God’s work for him, Father Fusco with the help of a few pious women of the parish headed by Maddalena Caputo committed themselves to caring for and educating the young children, especially orphans. Thus he began the Religious Community and Mission of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, commonly known as the ‘Baptistines’. He was inspired by the profile of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’ who was sent forth on a mission by the Father. Father Fusco lived a simple witnessing life, practicing heroic virtues following the footsteps of Jesus the Nazarene and went to the heavenly abode on February 6th 1910. His Feast is celebrated on 7th February.
One hundred thirty eight years have passed from the humble beginnings of this “Work of God”, and the seeds of new life, planted in Angri by Fr. Fusco have been extended in many parts of the world. The Institute founded by him, carries on his mission in 17 different countries.
When he was still alive, Father Fusco saw the work of his Sisters beginning to spread throughout Italy and other parts of the world. It spread its wings to India in 1977 in the beautiful temple city of South India called Madurai -Tamil Nadu. Now there are 113 sisters working in 7 different States of India and Milan.