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St. Aloysius

This teen stood up to his dad and gave up the rich life

Born March 9, 1568

in the Castle of Castiglione, Spain

Died June 21, 1591

Feast: June 21

Claim to fame:

As a teenager, Aloysius gave up his inheritance and entered the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. He was a brilliant scholar and also a merciful caretaker of the sick, nursing them through the plague and then dying of it himself.

Famous first words:

“Jesus and Mary” were Aloysius’s first words, according to tradition. That became the motto for his life.

A wealthy childhood:

Aloysius’ father was a marquis in the court of King Philip II of Spain. At age eight, Aloysius was sent to Francesco d’Medici’s palace in Florence, as a page. At 12, he went to Brescia, where he met St. Charles Borromeo and received his first Communion from him. He was deeply influenced by Charles, and the seeds of a religious vocation were sown.

Back to Spain:

In 1581, Aloysius went back to Spain, where his father placed him and his brother as pages to Prince James, the son of Philip. At court, Aloysius was drawn to the Discalced Carmelites, but decided to become a Jesuit instead.

Giving up on the things of this world:

Aloysius went back to Italy in 1584, and after many arguments with his father, renounced his heritage in favor of his brother. The renunciation was such a serious matter that it required the approval of the Emperor, since Castiglione was a fief of the Empire. Aloysius then went to Father Claudius Acquaviva, who accepted him into the Jesuit Order on Nov. 25, 1585, when he was 17.

Scholar and saint:

Aloysius was a brilliant philosopher, even as a teen. He also passed difficult public examinations in mathematics and theology as well as philosophy. In 1591, his fourth year of theology at the university of Alcala, a plague broke out in Italy. Even though he was in frail health due to a lifelong kidney ailment, he took care of the sick and dying. He contracted the plague himself and died of it in 1591.

A short life:

Aloysius lived a short but full life. He was a man about whom you can easily say, “He really knew how to live.”