St. Aloysius Gonzaga


(Feast Day: June 21)

St. Aloysius Gonzaga was a Jesuit student from Italy and the patron saint of Catholic youth. In 1568, he was born into an aristocratic family in Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy. Gonzaga's religious education began at home, where his mother instilled in him a love for God and a caring heart for the impoverished and sick.

Gonzaga traveled to Florence with his family when he was eight years old, and was placed under the care of the famed humanist philosopher Franciscus Toletus. Gonzaga's enthusiasm in worldly pursuits, however, began to wane, and he grew more interested in spiritual concerns, finally opting to join the Jesuit order.

Gonzaga was transferred to Rome to finish his studies after completing his novitiate. During his time there, he was noted for his unshakeable devotion to God, strong religious enthusiasm, and dedication to the Jesuit cause. He was also noted for his harsh ascetic practices, which included fasting, self-mortification, and a total renunciation of worldly goods.

When the plague struck Rome in 1591, Gonzaga volunteered to assist care for the sick at the hospital, despite the fact that he knew it would endanger his own life. He worked relentlessly until he contracted the sickness and died at the age of 23.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga is revered as an example of young devotion to God and as the patron saint of Catholic youth. He is recognized for his sympathy for the poor and the sick, his unshakeable dedication to God, and his unselfish service to others.

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