The son of a mercenary soldier who intended to follow in his father's footsteps, Saint Aloysius found his life turned upside down by a kidney disease he contracted while engaged in military training. Having recovered, he returned to his father's castle, where he met the great saint and cardinal Charles Borromeo. Even though Saint Aloysius was 12 years old, he had not received his First Communion, so the cardinal administered it to him.
Despite his father's initial objections, Saint Aloysius entered the Jesuit novitiate at Rome, where, at the age of 23, he succumbed to the plague, after working tirelessly with plague victims. In his short life, he burned brightly for Christ, which is why Pope Benedict XIII named the patron saint of youth at his canonization on December 31, 1726.
(Antique Polish prayer card of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Property of Scott P. Richert)
More About St. Aloysius Gonzaga:
- Profile of St. Aloysius Gonzaga
- Prayer Commending Oneself to Mary by St. Aloysius Gonzaga
- Prayer to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Youth
- A Prayer To Be Said by Young Men to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga