St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the Patron of our college and the patron of youth, despite his exposure to a “society of fraud, dagger, poison and lust” decided to be different. His decision to be faithful to his conscience more than his family, friends and relatives changed the destiny of his life. St. Aloysius Gonzaga was the firstborn in a powerful Italian noble family. As a son of princely family, he grew up in royal courts and army camps. His father wanted Aloysius to be a military hero. At the age of seven he experienced a profound spiritual awakening. At the age of nine he came from his hometown of Castiglione to Florence to be educated and by the age of eleven he was teaching poor children. When he was 13 years old he traveled with his parents and the Empress of Austria to Spain and acted as a page in the court of Philip II. The more Aloysius saw of court life, the more disillusioned he became, seeking relief in the experience of God.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, wanted to serve people in distant land and offer his life in service to God and the needy. He decided to enter the Jesuit Order. When he communicated that decision to his parents, there was opposition. Then began a four year contest with his father. Eminent churchmen and lay people were pressed into service to persuade him to remain in his “normal life” of wealth and aristocracy. Young Aloysius was determined and finally he prevailed and was allowed to renounce his right to succession and was received into Jesuit novitiate. After completion of his introduction of two years to be a Jesuit, St. Aloysius spent 4 years in philosophy.
In 1591, a plague struck in Rome, The Jesuits opened a hospital of their own with several of them rendering service. He nursed patients, washing them and making their beds, Aloysius caught the disease himself. A fever persisted after his recovery and he was so weak he could scarcely rise from bed. Yet, he maintained his great discipline of life of prayer and service. Three months later, Aloysius developed the symptoms of plague and died on 21st June 1591 at the age of 23.
His death was peaceful and he went to meet God whom he joyfully, generously and happily served with single-mindedness. Aloysius Gonzaga was canonized in 1726 and was named ‘Patron of all students’ in the year 1729. His feast is celebrated on 21st June.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga pray for us!
Dear St. Aloysius Gonzaga, you were a faithful follower of God. You served God by risking your life in the service of others. You were heroic in serving the plague-stricken. You gave your life to save other victims of plague with generosity and love. Help us students of St. Aloysius Degree College to imitiate you by becoming men and women for others.
Show us how to harness our energies and to use them for the service of others and for the greater glory of God. Give us graces from above and strengthen us to make our lives fruitful in service.