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Sunday, July 22, 2018
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Daily Saint

June 21: St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Aloysius, the patron of Catholic youth, was born on March 9, 1568. Since he was so full of life, his father planned to make a great soldier out of him. When Aloysius was just five, his father took him to the army camp. There little Aloysius marched in parade. He even managed to load and fire a gun one day while the army was at rest. He learned rough language from the soldiers, too. When he found out what the words meant, he felt very bad that he used them.

As he grew, Aloysius was sent to the courts of dukes and princes. Dishonesty, hatred and impurity were common. But the only effect it all had on St. Aloysius was to make him more careful to live his own Christian commitment. He became sick. That gave him an excuse to spend some time praying and reading good books. When Aloysius was sixteen, he decided to become a Jesuit priest. His father refused his consent. However, after three years, he finally gave in. Once Aloysius had joined the order, he asked to do hard and humble tasks. He served in the kitchen and washed the dishes. He used to say, "I am a crooked piece of iron. I came to religion to be made straight by the hammer of mortification and penance."

When the plague broke out in Rome, Aloysius asked to be allowed to care for the sick. He who had always had servants to wait on him gladly washed the sick and made their beds. He served them until he caught the sickness himself.

St. Aloysius was only twenty-three when he died. It was the night of June 20, 1591. He said simply, "I am going to heaven." The body of St. Aloysius Gonzaga is buried in the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.

Reflection: How do I respond when I feel pressured by others to say and do things I shouldn't? I must pray for courage to do what is right.