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St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Update: 2024-06-03
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This episode of Catholic Saints delves into the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a young Italian nobleman born in 1568. Despite his family's desire for him to follow a military career, Aloysius experienced a spiritual awakening at the age of seven and dedicated himself to a life of prayer and penance. By the age of 11, he had renounced his right of succession to his father's title, choosing instead to pursue a life as a Jesuit missionary. His family initially opposed his vocation, but Aloysius persevered and eventually entered the Jesuit novitiate at the age of 18. During his novitiate, he received a revelation from God that he would not live long, which filled him with joy. When the plague broke out in Italy in 1591, Aloysius volunteered to serve in a plague hospital, instructing patients in the faith and caring for them despite his own physical revulsion. He contracted the plague but recovered, only to succumb to a fever a few months later, dying at the age of 23. St. Aloysius is considered a patron saint of youth, not only because of his young death but also because of his early dedication to holiness and his willingness to conquer his own self-will in pursuit of a life dedicated to Christ. The episode highlights the importance of balance in spiritual life, the faithfulness to one's state in life, and the need to surrender to God's will, even when it means letting go of things we believe are good. St. Aloysius's life serves as a powerful example of living a life of counter-cultural holiness in a world that often prioritizes comfort and pleasure.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces the podcast, Catholic Saints, and its purpose of helping Catholics understand, live, and share their faith. It also introduces the host, Taylor Kemp, and the guest, Dr. Ariel Harms, who is the director of the pastoral theology program at the Augustan Institute.

00:00:17
St. Aloysius Gonzaga

This Chapter focuses on the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a young Italian nobleman who renounced his inheritance to become a Jesuit and dedicated his life to serving the poor and sick. The episode explores his early life, his spiritual awakening, his desire to become a Jesuit, and the challenges he faced in pursuing his vocation. It also discusses his time as a novice, his revelation about his short life, and his service during the plague.

00:15:29
Lessons from St. Aloysius

This Chapter explores the lessons we can learn from St. Aloysius Gonzaga's life, including the importance of balance in spiritual life, the faithfulness to one's state in life, and the need to surrender to God's will. It also highlights the significance of St. Aloysius as a patron saint of youth and his role as a counter-cultural figure in a world that often prioritizes comfort and pleasure.

Keywords

St. Aloysius Gonzaga
St. Aloysius Gonzaga was an Italian nobleman born in 1568 who renounced his inheritance to become a Jesuit priest. He is known for his early dedication to holiness, his service to the poor and sick, and his death at the age of 23 from the plague. He is considered a patron saint of youth and a model of counter-cultural holiness.

Jesuit
The Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Catholic religious order founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuits are known for their emphasis on education, missionary work, and intellectual rigor. They are also known for their commitment to social justice and their service to the poor and marginalized.

Plague
The plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be fatal. It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and is spread through the bite of infected fleas or through contact with infected animals. The plague was a major cause of death in Europe during the Middle Ages and has been responsible for numerous outbreaks throughout history.

Patron Saint
A patron saint is a saint who is considered to be the protector or advocate of a particular person, place, or group. Patron saints are often chosen for their association with a particular profession, activity, or cause. For example, St. Aloysius Gonzaga is the patron saint of youth, while St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals.

Counter-Cultural
Counter-cultural refers to something that goes against the prevailing norms, values, and beliefs of a society. In the context of religion, counter-cultural figures are those who challenge the status quo and advocate for a different way of life. St. Aloysius Gonzaga is considered a counter-cultural figure because he renounced his wealth and privilege to live a life of poverty and service to the poor.

Q&A

  • What is St. Aloysius Gonzaga known for?

    St. Aloysius Gonzaga is known for his early dedication to holiness, his service to the poor and sick, and his death at the age of 23 from the plague. He is considered a patron saint of youth and a model of counter-cultural holiness.

  • What challenges did St. Aloysius face in pursuing his vocation as a Jesuit?

    St. Aloysius faced opposition from his family, who wanted him to follow a military career and maintain his position in society. He also had to overcome his own stubbornness and self-will in order to fully surrender to God's will.

  • What lessons can we learn from St. Aloysius's life?

    St. Aloysius's life teaches us the importance of balance in spiritual life, the faithfulness to one's state in life, and the need to surrender to God's will. It also highlights the significance of living a life of counter-cultural holiness in a world that often prioritizes comfort and pleasure.

  • Why is St. Aloysius Gonzaga considered a patron saint of youth?

    St. Aloysius Gonzaga is considered a patron saint of youth because of his early dedication to holiness and his willingness to conquer his own self-will in pursuit of a life dedicated to Christ. His life serves as an inspiration to young people who are seeking to live a life of faith and service.

Show Notes

Dr. Arielle Harms and Taylor Kemp share about the life of Aloysius (Luigi) Gonzaga. Raised by his father to be a soldier, an early awakening of his personal faith led him to renounce his familial right of succession and enter the newly formed Society of Jesus. As a Jesuit he soon realized that despite his radical service, bold evangelization, and strict prayers and asceticism, the only way to truly become holy was to relinquish control and allow his soul to be conquered by Christ.


 

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St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

michael.middendorf@augustineinstitute.org (Augustine Institute)