Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (also known as Luigi de Gonzaga, 1568-1591), patron saint of Catholic youth, charity workers, and AIDS caregivers and victims. Saint Aloysius demonstrated, through his brief life, a deep commitment to charitable service to the poor and ill—a service which eventually led to his premature death at age 23. Bed-ridden for part of his life due to kidney disease, Saint Aloysius never complained, instead rejoicing in the “extra time” his illness allowed him to spend in prayer. His selfless works reminds us today of all those in need of assistance, and our call to reach out to those in our communities who suffer.
O Holy Mary, my Lady, into your blessed trust and safe keeping and into the depths of your mercy, I commend my soul and body this day, every day of my life, and at the hour of my death. To you I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life. By your most holy intercession and by your merits, may all my actions be directed and disposed according to your will and the Will of your divine Son. Amen.
"Do you see him? He will be in Heaven one day and great in glory!" Those around him began to recognize the faith and piety growing within him, unlike that of a boy his age.
"I am in your power, father, and you can do with me what you please. But know this, that God calls me to the Society of Jesus, and you're resisting His Will by opposing my vocation." His father’s only reaction was to turn to the wall and burst into tears. After a few days of his sorrow he called for his son saying, "My son, what a cruel wound you have inflicted on my heart! I have always loved and still love you, because you deserve my love and I had set all my hopes on you. And now you tell me that God calls you elsewhere, I will not keep you back any longer; go where you will, and may God grant you happiness!"
“I merely say that I am giving into your Reverence’s hands the most precious thing I possess in all the world.”
Aloysius, who had been practicing strict religious observances since youth, found the Jesuit noviaiate disarmingly easy, and much less rigorous than those restrictions he had undertaken at home. His superiors encouraged him to eat more regularly, pray less, relax more, and reduce his penances. Obediently, Aloysius accepted these curbs. In 1587, at that age of 19, Aloysius pronounced vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and the next year he received minor orders and began theology studies. He was certain of his need for continous penance, asserting that without mortification, he would revert to a sinful state. Aloysius is remembered for saying, “I am a crooked piece of iron, and have come into religion to be made straight by the hammer of mortification and penance.”
“here is Jesus.” Aloysius lifted the man out of his sick bed, tended to him, and brought him back to his bed. The man, despite the prohibition at the hospital, was infected with the plague, and Aloysius became quickly ill and bedridden himself.
“I am going, gladly,” and with his eyes fixed on a crucifix, Aloysius proclaimed, “Father, into your hands I command my spirit.” He then struggled to pronounce the name of Jesus repeatedly until he died at the young age of 23.
"May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honored lady. Your letter found me lingering still in this region of the dead, but now I must rouse myself to make my way on to heaven at last and to praise God for ever in the land of the living; indeed I had hoped that before this time my journey there would have been over. If charity, as Saint Paul says, means to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are glad, then, dearest mother, you shall rejoice exceedingly that God in his grace and his love for you is showing me the path to true happiness, and assuring me that I shall never lose him.
The divine goodness, most honored lady, is a fathomless and shoreless ocean, and I confess that when I plunge my mind into thought of this it is carried away by the immensity and feels quite lost and bewildered there. In return for my short and feeble labours, God is calling me to eternal rest; his voice from heaven invites me to the infinite bliss I have sought so languidly, and promises me this reward for the tears I have so seldom shed.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."