St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius GonzagaFeast Day – June 21

Patron saint of young students

Aloysius Gonzaga was born into a noble Italian family in 1568.  The oldest of seven children, his first spoken words were Jesus and Mary.  With the promise of a great inheritance and a noble title, his father dreamed of his son’s illustrious military career and sent him off to military school at the age of 5.  Poor illness because of a kidney disease sent him home and he spent many hours in his room learning about his faith and the lives of the saints.  He received his First Communion from St. Charles Borromeo.  At the age of 9, he dreamed of becoming a priest and a missionary, which his father seriously discouraged.  He began to teach others the catechism of the church, and disciplined himself through fasting and prayer, even rising in the middle of the night to pray.  In 1585, at the age of 17, he renounced his inheritance and his noble title to become a Jesuit in Rome.  He continued to serve and teach people there, volunteering to work in a hospital of plague-suffering victims.  He contracted the disease as well, but miraculously survived.  It was not until six years later that he died, at the age of 23, having received a vision from St. Michael that he would die on the feast of Corpus Christi.  He seemed in good health that morning, but he worsened throughout the day.  As he passed away just before midnight, his last words were the same as his first, Jesus and Mary.

He is the patron saint of young students and his name is probably most recognized around the college, Gonzaga University.

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