Patron Saint: Roman Catholic Youth,
AIDS patients and care-givers, Jesuit Students, Single Laywomen, Youth
Shrine: Church of
Saint Ignazio, Rome, Italy
Saint Aloysius was born into a wealthy family in
Italy, the eldest of seven children. His father was Ferrante Gonzaga, Marchese
di Castilione. He was destined to join the military or be a political leader. He
was sent to the Ducal Courts in Florence and then to the Royal Courts in Madrid
from when he was young to get a good education.
During this period, he started to have kidney problems, that would
trouble him for the rest of his life. As
he recovered, he read a lot of spiritual books including the experience of Jesuit
missionaries in India and found the calling to become a priest.
Aloysius spent many hours in prayer and fasted
several times a week. He signed away his
large inheritance to his brother as he announced he wanted to become a Jesuit
at seventeen years of age. His director
was Saint Robert Bellarmine who taught Aloysius to spend more time helping
others and less time in private devotion.
While in Rome at 23, a serious epidemic broke out, the Jesuits opened
their own hospital and Aloysius started looking after the sick. However, he developed the symptoms and died on
21st June 1591.