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Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
  • Century: 16th Century
  • Patronage: Youths, Scholars, Students
  • Feast Day: June 21st

St. Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy.  The first words St. Aloysius spoke were the Holy names of Jesus and Mary, showing us that the life of this little boy was going to be special.  His life was destined for the military because of his father’s wishes and stature, but at the age of 9, Aloysius had decided on a religious life and made a vow of perpetual virginity.  He received his first Holy Communion from St. Charles Borromeo – who was a Cardinal at the time, and realized that Aloysius had not yet received his first Holy Communion.  

A kidney disease prevented St. Aloysius from a full social life, so he spent his time in prayer and studying the saints.  St. Aloysius kept up his many devotions and had a strong desire to become a Jesuit.  After moving to Spain, eventually his family moved back to Italy, where he taught catechism to the poor.  When he was 18 he joined the Jesuits.  It took a lot of convincing his father, as he had refused his entrance to the Order, but he finally gave in and allowed his joining.  

St. Aloysius served in a hospital during the plague of 1587 in Milan, and dided from it at the age of 23, after recieiving the last rites from St. Robert Bellarmine.  The last word he spoke was the Holy Name of Jesus.    

Purity was his notable virtue.  In an effort to maintain his perpetual vow of chastity, he never looked upon women’s faces, and never looked at his queen so that he could only recognize the queen by her voice. St. Maria Magdalena de Pazzi saw him in a vision in a great glory because he had lived a particularly strong interior life.

Practical Take Away

A strong interior life can be possible for all that seek it, and St. Aloysius shows us by his life that it can be achieved.  He was a young man when he died – age 23, but did a lot in his short life to impact others in their faith.  He shows us through sickness and even death at an early age, we can merit sainthood by keeping our “interior” focused on God and not the things of this world.  By calling upon St. Aloysius he is eager to help all, but especially invoked for youths, scholars, and students.  Everytime a student has a tough time in school – don’t hesitate to call upon his intercession.  After having received his First Holy Communion by St. Charles Borromeo and his last rites by St. Robert Bellarmine, shows us the providence of God to take care of his own.  God never abandons us, and we can see that through the life of this young saint.