Today is the feast of Aloysius Gonzaga, a saint who made his mark even though he lived only 23 years. Aloysius was born in a grand Italian noble family in 1568. His life at home was marked by conflict. His father wanted him to be a soldier; Aloysius wanted to be a priest. His family was horrified when he joined the Jesuits because he was required to give up his social position, honors, and wealth.
Aloysius entered the Jesuits when he was 18. Five years later he died of disease contracted as he helped plague victims in Rome. He is honored for his piety and persistence. He has long been considered a patron saint of young people and is a patron saint of people with AIDS. Shortly before he died he wrote this in a letter to his mother:
Our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven; we shall be united with our savior; there we shall praise him with heart and soul, sing of his mercies for ever, and enjoy eternal happiness. When he takes away what he once lent us, his purpose is to store our treasure elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have.
More about Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ, here and here.
St. Aloysius’ life was brief but he is an incredible inspiration to us. Thank you.