Although he died on October 31, his feast is October 30. I apologize for the error.
His dad was a successful wool merchant, successful enough to send him to a Jesuit school. But dad's death forced young Alphonsus to come home and run the family business (into the ground). He was released from the obligation of running the failing business when his mother, wife, and daughter all died within the span of three years. He sold it and moved in with his highly religious sisters whose life of prayer and meditation began to influence him. Following the death of his son, he applied to become a Jesuit but was rejected as having too many years, too few of which were spent in school.
He went home and began to learn Latin. Six months later he showed up again, asking to be accepted to the Jesuits. Impressed with his tenacity, they accepted him as a lay brother. Eventually he was appointed door-keeper (ianitor, in Latin) of the College of Montesion in Majorca. He held the job for forty-five years, serving with admirable humility and evident religious devotion. In time, he was allowed to take the full vows; more important, though, was his growing reputation as a spiritual leader. People came from all over to seek the advice of this long-suffering, uncomplaining, dutiful door-keeper.
In my mind, he's linked to the mountaintop guru of the cartoons -- disconnected from the specific events of the day, the wars and elections and scandals. He wakes and prays, cleans and prays, eats and prays, works and prays, and then sleeps to do it again. A life wasted? It gave him contentment in a life that seemingly offered him much pain otherwise. Who among us has such wisdom to knock that?