One of the great means of sanctification St Alphonsus proposed to his sons was the practice of what is known as The Twelve Monthly Virtues. St Alphonsus realized that to be a saint is the whole purpose of our creation and redemption: to love the Lord with all our hearts and souls and minds, our neighbor as ourselves.
He realized, too, that it is precisely the virtues that make this holiness real, enfleshed, and relatively easy. The virtues are "habits" that, as a result of God's Grace at work and our own graced cooperation, by practice, by determination, by perserverance, give a solidity and consistency to our attitudes and actions.
St Alphonsus' vision of spirituality was deeply evangelical and missionary. The holiness of the Redemptorist was to glorify God and to be a means of effectively radiating Christ to others, especially the poorest and most abandoned. Without holiness of heart and life, preaching would be in vain. But holiness was not meant to be hoarded and isolated! It was meant to make Christ known and loved, and this holiness compelled Redemptorist to follow closely the path trod by the first apostles and missionaries of the apostolic Church.
Thus for each month and its specially emphasized virtue, the Redemptorist would also invoke the help of one of the twelve apostles during that monthly period.
Here in a original and pyschologically profound approach the saint combines, so simply, the inner and the outer, the interior and the exterior, the heart and the pulpit, the vertical and horizontal, the love of God and love of others---a beautiful synthesis!
Here is a selection from the Rules and Constitutions of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer that many Redemptorists heard and read many times, given here as an introduction to the traditional practice of the Twelve Monthly Virtues:
"These twelve virtues are the foundation-stones on which chiefly they should build the edifice of their perfection; in each of them they should strive with all their power to make progress under the patronage of the holy Apostles, one of whom they shall take as their special patron and advocate every month of the year, according to the order in which they are mentioned in the Canon of the Mass.
To the virtue of the month they shall direct the meditations they have to make in private, their particular examens, and the good resolutions they form. And that no one may forget it, on the last evening of the month, not excepting Thursday, the virtue to be practiced during the following month shall be announced from the reading-desk in the refectory; and on the first day of the month a short explanation of the same virtue shall be read at table."