Jesuit Scholastic (1568-1591)
+ Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy, and was the eldest son and heir of the powerful Gonzaga family.
+ A pious child, Aloysius wanted to please God and seek God’s will above all things. After years of discernment, he entered into a fierce battle with his father who refused to allow Aloysius to fulfill his vocation to enter the Society of Jesus.
+ After great suffering and prayer, Aloysius received the necessary permission and renounced his title and inheritance, entering the Jesuits in Rome.
+ Known for his sense of self-discipline, modesty, and commitment to seeking God’s will in all things, Aloysius was well-liked by his superiors and religious brothers. It was his desire to go and serve in the Society’s missions in Asia.
+ Aloysius contracted a virulent form of plague in March 1591 after picking up a dying man from the street and carrying him to a hospital. Aloysius died after a long and painful illness on June 21, at the age of 23.
+ Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was canonized in 1726. Since the time of his canonization, he has been honored as the patron saint of youth and, more recently, of those suffering from HIV/AIDS and their caregivers.
For prayer and reflection
“Invoke [Saint Aloysius], that he may help you to build an intimate friendship with Jesus who enables you to live your life with serenity.”—Pope Francis
On June 21 we also remember Saint Ralph of Bourges. Having given up the wealth and privilege of his noble family, he became a monk and, in 840, was consecrated as archbishop of Bourges, France. He founded seven monasteries in his diocese and work tirelessly to promote the faith. Saint Ralph died on June 21, 866, and was honored as a saint immediately after his death.
Father of love, giver of all good things, in Saint Aloysius you combined remarkable innocence with the spirit of penance. By the help of his prayers may we who have not followed his innocence follow his example of penance. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.