Aloysius Gonzaga

Aloysius Gonzaga

Infobox Saint
name=Aloysius Gonzaga |

birth_date=birth date|1568|3|9|mf=y
death_date=death date and age|1591|6|21|1568|3|9|mf=y
feast_day=June 21
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church
birth_place=Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy
death_place=Rome, Italy
beatified_date=October 19, 1605
beatified_place=Rome, Italy
beatified_by=Pope Paul V
canonized_date=December 31, 1726
canonized_place=Rome, Italy
canonized_by=Pope Benedict XIII
attributes=Lily, cross, skull, rosary
patronage=Young students, Christian youth, Jesuit novices, People with AIDS and their caregivers
major_shrine=Church of Sant'Ignazio, Rome (his tomb)
prayer= "Marian Prayer of St. Aloysius Gonzaga"(Indicative of the Aloysius Gonzaga's devotion to Mary)

O my mother,into thy blessed trust and custody,and into the care of thy mercyI this day, every day,and in the hour of my death,commend my soul and my body.To thee I commit all my anxieties and miseries,my life and the end of my life,that by thy most holy intercessionand by thy meritsall my actions may be directedand disposedaccording to thy willand that of thy Son.

prayer_attrib= []

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (Italian: Luigi Gonzaga, Portuguese and Spanish: Luís de Gonzaga, March 9, 1568–June 21, 1591) was an Italian Jesuit and saint.

Early life

Luigi Gonzaga was born at his family’s castle in Castiglione delle Stiviere, between Brescia and Mantova in northern Italy. He was a member of the illustrious House of Gonzaga. He was the oldest son of the Ferdinando Gonzaga (1544–1586), Marquis of Castiglione, and Marta Tana di Santena, daughter of a baron of the Piedmontese Della Rovere family.

His father assumed that he would become a soldier, as the family was constantly involved in the frequent minor wars in the area. His military training started at an early age, but he also received an education in languages and other subjects. In 1577, at age 8, he was sent to Florence with his younger brother Ridolfo, to serve at the court of Grand Duke Francesco I de' Medici and to receive further education. While there, he fell ill with a disease of the kidneys, which was to trouble him throughout his life. While he was ill, he took the opportunity to read about the saints and to spend much of his time in prayer. He is said to have taken a private vow of chastity at the age of 9. In November 1579, the brothers were sent to the Duke of Mantua. Aloysius was shocked by the violent and frivolous life-style he encountered there.

In 1580, he returned to Castiglione. There, he met Cardinal Charles Borromeo in July of the same year. The cardinal found out that Aloysius had not yet received his first holy communion, and gave this to him on 22 July 1580. After reading a book about Jesuit missionaries in India, he felt strongly that he wanted to become a missionary himself. He started practicing by giving catechism classes to young boys in Castiglione in the summers, and by frequently visiting the Capuchins and Barnabites in Casale Monferrato, the capital of the Gonzaga-ruled Duchy of Montferrat where the family spent the winter. He also adopted an ascetic life-style.

The family was called to Spain in 1581, to assist Empress Mary of Austria. They arrived in Madrid in March 1582, and Aloysius and Ridolfo became pages for the "infante" don Diego, Prince of Asturias (1575-82). He then started thinking in earnest about joining a religious order. He had considered joining the Capuchins, but he had a Jesuit confessor in Madrid, and decided to join that order. His mother agreed to his request to join the Jesuits, but his father was furious. In July 1584, one and a half years after the "infante's" death, the family returned to Italy. Aloysius still wanted to become a priest, and several members of his family worked hard to persuade him to change his mind. When they realized that there was no way to make him give up his plan, they tried to persuade him to become a secular priest, and to arrange for a bishopric for him. If he became a Jesuit he would renounce any right to income from property or status in society. His family was afraid of this, but their attempts to persuade him not to join the Jesuits failed; Aloysius was not interested in higher office and still wanted to become a missionary.

Religious career

In November 1585, Aloysius gave up all rights of inheritance, and this was confirmed by the emperor. He went to Rome and, because of his noble birth, gained an audience with Pope Sixtus V. On 25 November 1585 he was accepted into the Jesuit Roman noviciate by the order's general, Claudius Acquaviva. He was asked to moderate his asceticism somewhat, as it disrupted his relationship with the other novices; they found it difficult to speak with him when he isolated himself. In part, this may also have been caused by his upbringing, where he had never learned to relate to people outside the court.

His health continued to cause problems. In addition to the kidney disease, he also suffered from a skin disease, chronic headaches and insomnia. He was sent to Milan for studies, but after some time he was sent back to Rome because of his health. On November 25, 1587, he took the three religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. In February and March 1588, he received the lower ordinations, and started studying theology to prepare for the priesthood. In 1589, he was called to Mantua to mediate between his brother Ridolfo and the Duke of Mantua. He returned to Rome in May 1590. Later that year, he had a vision in which the Archangel Gabriel told him that he would die within a year.

In 1591, a plague broke out in Rome. The Jesuits opened a hospital for the stricken, and Aloysius volunteered to work there. He was allowed to work in a ward where there were no plague victims, as they were afraid to lose him. As it turned out, a man on his ward was infected, and on March 3, 1591 Aloysius showed the first symptoms of being infected. It seemed certain that he would die in a short time, and he was given Extreme unction. To everyone's surprise, he recovered, but his health was left worse than ever. While he was ill, he spoke several times with his confessor, cardinal Robert Bellarmine. Aloysius had another vision, and told his confessor that he would die on the Octave of the feast of "Corpus Christi". On that day, which fell on June 21, he seemed very well in the morning, but insisted that he would die before the day was over. Cardinal Bellarmine gave him the sacraments, and recited the prayers for the dying.

Purity was his notable virtue; he never looked even his mother's face and never looked at his queen so that he could only recognize the queen by her voice. St. Maria Maddalena de Pazzi saw him in a vision in a great glory because he have lived a particularly strong interior life.

He died just before midnight on June 21, 1591.


Aloysius was buried in the Church of the Annunciation in Rome. His name was changed to Robert before his death, in memory of his confessor. Many people considered him to be a saint soon after his death, and his mortal remains were moved to the Sant'Ignazio church in Rome, where they now rest in an urn of lapis lazuli in the Lancelotti Chapel. His head was later translated to the basilica bearing his name in Castiglione delle Stiviere. He was beatified only fourteen years after his death by Pope Paul V, on October 19, 1605. On December 31, 1726, he was canonized together with another Jesuit novice, Stanislaus Kostka, by Pope Benedict XIII. Pope Benedict XIII also declared him to the patron saint of young students in 1729. In 1926, he was named patron of Christian youth by Pope Pius XI. Owing to the manner of his death, he has always been considered a patron saint of plague victims. In recent years, many have felt it proper to extend this to include victims of AIDS.

In art, St Aloysius is shown as a young man wearing a black cassock and white rochet, or as a page. His attributes are a lily, referring to innocence; a cross, referring to piety and sacrifice; a skull, referring to his early death; and a rosary, referring to his devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Saint Aloysius' feast day is celebrated on June 21, the date of his death.



*cite web | title=Gonzaga College | url= | , Dublin, Ireland.
*Two Irish Jesuit schools: Gonzaga College in County Dublin and Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare; see St Aloysius' College (Cork)
*cite web | title=St Aloysius School | url= | - all-girls Voluntary Secondary School in County Cork, Ireland
* St Aloysius primary school in Lisburn, Northern Ireland
* St Aloysius College, London, England
*cite web | title=St Aloysius RC Primary School | url= | in Oxford
*St Aloysius Church in Oxford, England
*cite web | title=St. Aloysius' College | url= | in Glasgow, a Jesuit school dedicated to the life and works of St. Aloysius. One of the first Scottish schools to replace Standard Grade with Intermediate 1 and 2. The school is set at Garnethill and consists of five buildings.
* St Aloysius College, Den Haag, Nederland
*A Parisian school, founded in 1894 by the Jesuits, is also named after him.
*St Aloysius' College (Malta) is a Jesuit Secondary School in Birkirkara, Malta. It was founded in 1907 by the Society of Jesus.
*He is patron saint of Stonyhurst College, a Jesuit school in Lancashire, England, where a private chapel and classroom are named after him.

North and South America

*Colegio San Luis Gonzaga [] in Manizales, Colombia, named after the saint.
*The Colegio de San Luis Gonzaga, founded in 1842 in Cartago City by Jesuits, is the oldest high school in Costa Rica. Some 19th century Costa Rican presidents were graduated there.
*Gonzaga College High School and the attached St. Aloysius Parish in Washington, DC
*Gonzaga University of Spokane, Washington, a Jesuit University.
*Gonzaga Preparatory School, a secondary school in Spokane, Washington.
* [ St. Louis de Gonzague Catholic Parish] in Nashua, NH
*St. Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
*St. Aloysius primary school and parish in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
*St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
*St Aloysius Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is also an elementary school/middle school.
*St. Aloysius Church [] and Catholic school in Sauk City, Wisconsin.
*St. Aloysius Orphanage [] is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, St. Aloysius Gonzaga parish is in Bridgetown, a suburb of Cincinnati, and St. Aloysius-on-the-Ohio Church and School is another parish located in Cincinnati.
*Saint Aloysius Catholic Church in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Ohio
*Saint Aloysius Catholic Church in Great Neck, New York.
*Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Retreat Center is in Los Gatos, California.
*St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church in Leonardtown [] , Maryland was founded in 1710.
*Statue of St. Aloysius in the American Croatian Lodge in Eastlake, Ohio. []
*St. Aloysius Parish and School in Jackson, NJ.
* [ St. Aloysius Parish and School] in Pewee Valley, KY
* [ St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish and School] in Sheperdsville, KY
*St. Aloysius Church [] and school [] in Yoder, Indiana


*cite web | title=St. Aloysius' College | url= | , in Mangalore, India, is named after Aloysius Gonzaga. An elementary school, high school and college are a part of the institution.
*St. Aloysius High School, in Visakhapatnam, India, An elementary school, high school are a part of the institution.
*St.Aloysius Senior Secondary School is a prestigious school in Jabalpur, India
*cite web | title=Gonzaga College | url= | in Jakarta, Indonesia, a high school and a seminary
*The Saint Aloysius Secondary and High School in Bandung, Indonesia is part of the St. Aloysius school system, founded by Dutch priests as early as the 1860s in the city of Surabaya.
*St Aloysius' College (Mangalore), India
*St.Aloysius' High School in Kanpur, the only boys school in the city, was established in 1948 and is named after him.
*St Aloysius College, Galle, Sri Lanka
*A seventh-grade class in the Ateneo de Manila University, a Jesuit school in the Philippines is named after him: 7-Gonzaga.
* University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao is a CICM Catholic university in Tuguegarao City, Philippines, dedicated to academic excellence, professional responsibility, and social awareness and involvement. []
*A building at the Ateneo de Manila University is named after him-Gonzaga Hall
*A building in Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines is named after him. Gonzaga building is mainly used by the College of Education, College of Law and College of Nursing students of the university. The building is found within the SLU Elementary Laboratory Campus. The same building is also used for NSTP classes wherein college students are trained for Civic Welfare Service.
*A high school in Mandaue City, Cebu is named after him. St. Louis School of Mandaue, which is a CICM (Congregatio de la Imamaculata Cordis Mariae). The schools philosophy is based on the values and works of St. Aloysius, and annually celebrates the death of the saint.
*A chapel in the main building of Fr. Saturnino Urios University, Butuan City, Philippines is named after him.
*St Aloysius Church and Primary School in Limbanak, Sabah, Malaysia. The school and church were founded by Fr August Wachter in the years 1910 and 1925 respectively, during the era of the British North Borneo Company. It is the third oldest school and church in the Penampang district in Sabah, Malaysia. [ Catholic Sabah: "Limbanak Zone Celebrates 120 Years of Good News in Penmpang"]


*St Aloysius' College (Sydney) is a Catholic Jesuit school, for boys from Year 3 to Year 12, situated in the Milson's Point area, overlooking Sydney Harbour.
*St Aloysius' College (Melbourne)
*St. Aloysius Catholic College and nearby St. Aloysius Church, are in Kingston, an outer suburb of Hobart.
*St Aloysius College, Adelaide


* St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School is a Jesuit high school in Kibera, a slum outside of Nairobi, Kenya, that serves AIDS orphans.

External links

* [ Patron Saints Index]
* [ St Aloysius College - Sydney, Australia]
* [ St Aloysius College - Glasgow, Scotland]
* [ St Aloysius College - Mangalore, India]
* [ St Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School For AIDS Orphans - Kibera Slum, Nairobi, Kenya]

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