Aloysius, the patron saint of young Catholics, was born on March 9, 1568 in Castiglione, Italy. Since he was so full of life, his father planned to make a great soldier out of him. When Aloysius was just five, his father took him to the army camp. There, little Aloysius marched in parade. He even managed to load and fire a gun one day while the army was resting. He learned rough language from the soldiers, too. But when he found out what the words meant, Aloysius felt very bad that he had used them.
As he grew, Aloysius was sent to the court of the duke of Mantua. Dishonesty, hatred, and impurity were common there. But the only effect it all had on Aloysius was to make him more careful to live as a good follower of Jesus. He became sick. That gave him an excuse to spend some time praying and reading good books. When Aloysius was sixteen, he decided to become a Jesuit priest. His father refused to allow it. However, after three years, he finally gave in. Once Aloysius had joined the order, he asked to do hard and humble tasks. He served in the kitchen and washed the dishes.
When a terrible sickness called the plague broke out in Rome, Aloysius asked to be allowed to care for the sick. The young man who had grown up with servants waiting on him now washed the sick and made their beds. He served them until he caught the sickness himself.
Aloysius was only twenty-three years old when he died. It was the night of June 20, 1591. He said simply, “I am going to heaven.” The body of Aloysius Gonzaga is buried in the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.
Peer pressure can sometimes make us say and do things that we shouldn’t. Let’s ask St. Aloysius for the courage to do what’s right no matter what others are doing or what they think about us.
-Daughters of St. Paul