"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

St Aloysius (Latin for Louis) Gonzaga SJ (1568-1591): Patron Saint of all HIV and Pandemic Patients

The Vocation of Saint Aloysius (Luigi) Gonzaga by Guercino, c. 1650

How a member of the prestigious Gonzaga family of Castiglione, Aloysius (Latin for Louis), was called by God to live such an exemplary life is what I would like to reflect on today. He was born into phenomenal wealth and luxury. He was introduced at the tender age of four to the military life by his father, Ferrante de Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione. However, at the age of seven, Aloysius started having other plans for his life. He was quite challenged physically starting when he was bedridden with quartan ague, a type of malarial fever. But the germ did not douse the seed that God planted in his heart. When he revealed it to his mother, Marta, his mother said that it might be difficult because, being the eldest in the family, he cannot abandon his family obligations. To no avail his aspiration grew along with the conviction that court life was not his vocation.

There are two paintings that could picture for us the extraordinary feat of the young man Louis. The first piece is a detail of a painting by Guercino, titled the Vocation of St Aloysius. St Aloysius is shown renouncing the crown for the Cross. Secondly, there is an allegorical painting by Theodore Boeyermans, that depicts Louis pronouncing his vows. St Ignatius and St Francis Xavier are calling out to him from the firmament while the world below them are the archetypes of inordinate desires like the cupid symbolizing carnal desires, and the Devil who is trying to attack behind Louis's back in an ambush attempt. Take note once again of the crown on the ground.

Theodor Boeyermans - The Vows of Saint Aloysius of Gonzaga
The Vows of Saint Aloysius of Gonzaga by Theodore Boeyermans, c. 1671

Let us ask for the intercession of St Aloysius Gonzaga SJ (1568-1591). He is patron of all HIV and pandemic patients including medical personnel who take care of them. We commemorated St Aloysius' or St Louis' 450th birth anniversary last 2018 with special blessings from Pope Francis. He is also patron of the youth. Fr JM Manzano SJ

Comments

  1. Happy Feast Day of St. Louis! Very symbolic are the paintings...Thanks for sharing Fr. JM. I'm inspired with his life especially his devotion to Jesus and Mary... God bless you!

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    1. Happy feastday too... I like calling him more as St Louis since my alma mater is St Louis University. I remember his statue at the middle of the main campus in Baguio City. God bless us with his exemplary life!

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    2. Now only I know that your university is name after him. I have very good friends who have studied there too and I have visited it once long time ago with my colleagues...Amazing! Now, I like the name Louis more than before. Meaningful! Thanks Fr. JM! God bless us! : -)

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