St Aloysius Gonzaga (21st June)

II Kings 19.9-11, 14-21,31-36; Psalm 47; Matthew 7.6,12-14

St Aloysius (1568-91) was an aristocrat who became a member of the Society of Jesus in opposition to his family’s intentions for him. He was rather frail and of delicate health, but during the plague that struck Rome in 1591 he first begged alms for the victims and then devoted himself to caring for them in the newly-established Jesuit hospital. Along with many other Jesuits he caught the disease and, though he recovered partially, a relapse led to his death at the age of 23. He was beatified only 14 years later and canonised in 1726. In 1926 Pope Pius XI declared him the patron saint of Christian youth; more recently he has been considered the patron saint both of AIDS victims and their caregivers.

Posted in Daily Reflection.