The feast day of St. Aloysius Gonzaga is celebrated on June 21. He was a Jesuit Deacon who lived in Italy and Rome from 1568-1591.
St. Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy in 1568. He was one of seven children and lived in a castle. He was expected to follow his father into the military, but by the early age of nine Aloysius had decided he had a religious calling. He received his 1st communion from St. Charles Borromeo, who was a Cardinal.
St. Aloysius’ family was living in Florence when Aloysius came down with kidney disease. He spent his time while he was ill reading the lives of the saints. After reading about Jesuit missionaries in India he became determined to join the Society of Jesus. Against the will of his father he joined the Jesuits at the age of 18. He gave up his right to an inheritance.
In 1590 Aloysius returned to Rome. While he was in Rome he had a vision of Archangel Gabriel who told him he would die within a year. In 1591, a plague broke out in Rome. Aloysius volunteered to serve in the hospital. It was not long before he came down with the plague himself. After receiving another vision, St. Aloysius told several people he would die on the Feast of Corpus Christi, (Body of Christ). The Feast of Corpus Christi fell on June 21 that year. In the morning he seemed fine but he grew weaker quickly. St. Bellarmine gave him the last rites and he died just before midnight at the age of 23.
St. Aloysius was known for his purity. He had taken a vow of perpetual virginity while very young, safeguarding himself from temptation by always looking downward when in the presence of women. His prayers included the Office of Mary and the Psalms. St. Aloysius had been ordained a deacon but was never ordained a priest.
A Carmelite mystic, St. Maria Magdalena de Pezzi claimed to have had a vision of St. Aloysius on April 4, 1600. She described him as radiant in glory because of his interior works and said he was a hidden martyr for his great love of God.
Pious legend tells us his first words worth the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. His final word was the Holy Name of Jesus.
St. Aloysius was canonized on Dec. 31, 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is the patron saint of youth and plague victims.
I am but a crooked piece of iron,
and have come into religion to be made straight
by the hammer of mortification and penance.
Quote of St. Aloysius Gonzaga
St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Art
June is the Month of the Sacred Heart