Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was also known as Aluigi Gonzaga, Lewis Gonzaga, Luigi Gonzaga or Aloysius de Gonzaga. He was an Italian aristocrat who was born on March 9 1568 at Castiglione delle Stivieri in Montua, Lombardy, Italy and died on June 21 1591 in Rome, Italy of plague and fever. His feast day is celebrated on June 21 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Biography|
|Date of Birth||March 9 1568|
|Place of Birth||Castiglione delle Stivieri in Montua, Lombardy, Italy|
|Profession||Member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)|
|Place of Work||Italy|
|Date of Death||June 21 1591 (aged 23)|
|Place of Death||Rome, Papal States|
|Feast Day||June 21|
|Beatification||Pope Paul V on October 19 1605 in Rome, Papal States|
|Canonization||Pope Benedict XIII on December 31 1726 in Rome, Papal States|
|Patron Saint of||
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Life History
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was the first born in a family of seven children. His father was Ferrante de Gonzaga, a nobleman of high hereditary rank and his mother was Marta Tana di Santena and all lived at his family’s castle in Castiglione delle Stiviere, Duchy of Mantua in northern Italy.
Since he was the birst born, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was the heir apparent to his father’s position. His father had the notion that Aloysius would become a soldier as was the practice then. At a very early age, Aloysius would be taken to training camps so that from an early age he would master the war tactics but the slang he acquired there displeased his mother alot.
Aloysius grew up sorrounded by brutality and violence that Italy was experiencing at that time. He even witnessed his two brothers get murdered. Still at the tender age of 8 years, in 1576, he and his younger brother, Rodolfo, ware sent to Florence to receive an education and also serve at the court of the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici.
While in Florence, Aloysius suffered a kidney disease which stuck with him for the rest of his life. It is at this time that he got the chance to pray and read about the saints. At age 9, he privately took a vow of chastity. In November 1579, at the age of 11 years, Aloysius and his brother were again sent to the Duke of Mantua where he was appalled by the sinful and violent way of life there.
On July 22 1580, Aloysius was given his First Communion from Cardinal Charles Borromeo after having returned to Castiglione. He felt a strong desire to become a missionary after reading about the works of Jesuit missionaries in India. During summers, while still in Castiglione, he taught catechism classes to young boys and visited the houses of the Barnabites and the Capuchin friars located in Casale Monferrato.
Aloysius wanted to become a priest, but his father and several other members of his family dissuaded him. His mother was on his side. He wanted to become a Jesuit and that would mean that he forfeits all his inheritance or status in society. No one succeeded in persuading him to leave his vocation, he still wanted to become a missionary.
With the confirmation by the emperor, Aloysius relinguished all rights to his inheritance in November 1585. After that he went to Rome and was accepted into the Society of Jesus in Rome on November 25 1585.
The health condition of Aloysius continued to deteroriate. Ontop of the kidney issue he contracted a skin disease, insomnia and chronic headaches. He took the three religious vows, on November 25 1587, of obedience, poverty and chastity.
He later received minor orders in February and March 1588, and to prepare for ordination, he studied theology. In 1590, in a vision, Archangel Gabriel told him that he would die within a year.
There broke a plague in Rome in 1591 and the Jesuits opened a hospital to tend to the infected people. Aloysius volunteered to work there with the sick. He also worked at another hospital called Our Lady of Consolation where he contracted plague from a man he had taken care of.
The plague took toll on Aloysius and was bedridden, He was given the Sacrament of Anointing of the sick. Again, Aloysius told some people that he had another vision that he would die on the Octave of the feast of Corpus Christi. On the morning of June 21 1591, he seemed very well, but insisted that he would die before the day ended. As the day progressed he began to grow weak and was given the last rites including the prayers for the dying.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga died just before midnight. He was looking at the crucifix he had in his hands and as he tried to pronounce the name of Jesus, he died.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Birth
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was born on March 9 1568 as the first born in a family of seven children. His father was Ferrante de Gonzaga, a nobleman of high hereditary rank and his mother was Marta Tana di Santena and all lived at his family’s castle in Castiglione delle Stiviere, Duchy of Mantua in northern Italy.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Death
He died just before midnight on June 21 1591 in Rome, Italy of plague and fever. He was looking at the crucifix he had in his hands and as he tried to pronounce the name of Jesus, he died.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was buried in the Church of the Most Holy Annunciation, which was later renamed the church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in Rome. His remains were interred into the Sant’Ignazio church. They are kept in an urn of lapis lazuli in the Lancellotti Chapel. Later on, his head was translated to the Basilica di St. Luigi Gonzaga in Castiglione delle Stiviere.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was beatified on October 19 1605 by Pope Paul V only fourteen years after his death.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was canonized on December 31 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII in Rome, Papal States.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Feast Day
His feast day is celebrated on June 21 every year in the Catholic Church.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga is the Patron Saint of
- Young people
- Valmonte, Italy
- Teenage children, teenagers
- Jesuit students
- For relief from pestilence
- For bodily purity
- Catholic youth
- Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy
- AIDS patients
- AIDS care-givers
- Against sore eyes
Major Churches and Schools named after Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
- St. Aloysius Senior Secondary Schools in India
- St. Aloysius Senior Secondary School, Jabalpur in India
- St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic School, Spokane, Washington
- St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Parish, Leonardtown, Maryland.
- St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church inside Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C.
- St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church – inside Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington
- St Aloysius’ College in Sydney, Australia
- St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow, Scotland
- Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington – a Roman Catholic university.
- Gonzaga Preparatory School, Spokane, Washington
- Gonzaga College in Dublin, Ireland.
- Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C.
Representation and Attributes
St Aloysius is represented as
- A young man wearing a black cassock and surplice, or as a page.
His attributes are
- A lily, referring to innocence;
- A cross, referring to piety and sacrifice;
- A skull, referring to his early death;
- A rosary, referring to his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Today’s Catholic Quote:
St Aloysius, you laid all your treasures, including your youth, on an altar to God. May your example of generosity, and your service to the sick and dying, inspire all Catholic youth to give God the gold of their early years, not just the silver of middle age or the bronze of their retirement.
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