Faith & Life

SAINT PROFILE: ALOYSIUS GONZAGA

The patron saint of Catholic youth: 1568 – 1591/ Feast – June 21

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE     6/22/2015

Born to a noble Italian family, Aloysius served as a page in Spain and Italy. His father opposed a religious vocation, planning instead a military career for his oldest son. But Aloysius joined the Jesuits in Rome in 1585, taking his vows two years later.

His health had been compromised by kidney disease, but he served in a Jesuit hospital opened in Rome when plague struck the city. He died of plague while ministering to the sick. St. Robert Bellarmine, his spiritual director, said the young Jesuit’s austere religious practices and penances were so extreme that others should not follow them.

Canonized in 1726, Aloysius later was declared protector of young students and patron saint of Catholic youth.

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