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PRAYERS TO SAINTS - St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius Gonzaga the eldest of seven children was born 9 March, 1568 in Castiglione, Italy. Legend has it that his first words were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and his last word was the Holy Name of Jesus. Although destined for the military (he was from a noble family), he had decided on a religious life by the age of nine. It was then he made a vow of perpetual virginity. It is believed that by eleven he was teaching catechism to poor children and fasting three days a week. In November 1585 he renounced all rights to his inheritance and joined the Jesuit novitiate. In 1591, a plague struck Rome and the Jesuits opened a hospital of their own. It was here the superior general himself and many other Jesuits rendered personal service. Aloysius caught the disease shortly before his ordination. He was bedridden for many weeks before finally dying on the very day (21June 1591) he had foretold after receiving a vision. Owing to the manner of his death, he has been considered a patron saint of plague victims. (He is also the patron of both AIDS sufferers and their caregivers. In his short life, he burned brightly for Christ, which is why Pope Benedict XIII named him the patron saint of youth at his canonization on December 31, 1726.)


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