Patron of Catholic Youth
This youthful scion of the illustrious house of Gonzaga, son of Ferdinand, Marquis of Castiglione, was born at Castiglione in diocese of Brescia, March 9, 1568. From his tenders years St. Aloysius devoted himself heart and soul to the service of his Creator. His memory has come to us with the sweet fragrance of the most unsullied purity. He united an innocence perfectly angelic with a penance truly heroic.
At fourteen years of age St. Aloysius accompanied his father to Spain, where the latter went to attend the Empress, Maria of Austria, wife of Maximilian II. Philip II made him page to Prince James, elder brother of Philip II. His innocence remained uncontaminated amid the vanities of the court, nor could the world draw his heart from God.
On his returned to Italy in 1584, the Saint manifested his desire to enter the Society of Jesus. In spite of opposition, he finally succeeded in carrying out his intention and became a novice at Rome in 1585, during the pontificate of Pope Pius V. he made his profession November 20, 1587, and soon after received minor orders.
From the beginning of his religious life St. Aloysius was a model of perfection. During an epileptic in Rome in 1591, he distinguished himself by charity towards the sick in the hospital. These labors brought on him the illness that ended in his death. His last days were the faithful echo of his briefly consummated life. He exchanged time for eternity on June 21, 1591, at twenty-four years of age. St. Aloysius was canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.
PRAYER: God, Author of all heavenly gifts, You gave St. Aloysius both a wonderful innocence of life and a deep spirit of penance. Through his merits grant that we may imitate his penitence. Amen.