Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity St. Aloysius Gonzaga The Patron Saint of Youth Share Flipboard Email Print "The Vocation of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga" by Guercino, ca. 1650. Christianity Catholicism Saints Beliefs and Teachings Prayers Tips Worship Holy Days and Holidays Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Latter Day Saints View More By Scott P. Richert Catholicism Expert M.A., Political Theory, Catholic University of America B.A., Political Theory, Michigan State University Scott P. Richert is senior content network manager of Our Sunday Visitor. He has written about Catholicism for outlets including Humanitas and Catholic Answers Magazine. our editorial process Scott P. Richert Updated April 09, 2018 St. Aloysius Gonzaga is known as the patron saint of youth, students, Jesuit novices, AIDS patients, AIDS caregivers, and sufferers of pestilence. Quick Facts Feast Day: June 21Type of Feast: MemorialReadings: 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Psalm 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 9; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (full text)Beatification: October 19, 1605, by Pope Paul VCanonization: December 31, 1726, by Pope Benedict XIIIPrayers: Prayer Commending Oneself to Mary; Prayer to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Youth; A Prayer To Be Said by Young Men Youth St. Aloysius Gonzaga was born Luigi Gonzaga on March 9, 1568 in Castiglione delle Stiviere, Northern Italy, between Brescia and Mantova. His father was a famous condottiere, a mercenary soldier. Saint Aloysius received military training, but his father also provided him with an excellent classical education, sending him and his brother Ridolfo to Florence to study while serving at the court of Francesco I de Medici. In Florence, Saint Aloysius found his life turned upside down when he became ill with a kidney disease, and, during his recovery, he devoted himself to prayer and the study of the lives of the saints. At the age of 12, he returned to his father's castle, where he met the great saint and cardinal Charles Borromeo. Aloysius had not yet received his First Communion, so the cardinal administered it to him. Shortly thereafter, Saint Aloysius conceived of the idea of joining the Jesuits and becoming a missionary. His father was adamantly opposed to the idea, both because he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps as a condottiere, and because, by becoming a Jesuit, Aloysius would give up all rights to inheritance. When it became clear that the boy was intent on being a priest, his family tried to convince him to become a secular priest and, later, a bishop, so that he could receive his inheritance. Saint Aloysius, however, was not to be swayed, and his father finally relented. At the age of 17, he was accepted into the Jesuit novitiate in Rome; at the age of 19, he took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. While he was ordained a deacon at the age of 20, he never became a priest. Death In 1590, Saint Aloysius, suffering from his kidney problems and other ailments, received a vision of the Archangel Gabriel, who told him that he would die within a year. When a plague broke out in Rome in 1591, Saint Aloysius volunteered to work with plague victims, and he contracted the disease in March. He received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and recovered, but, in another vision, he was told that would die on June 21, the octave day of the Feast of Corpus Christi that year. His confessor, St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, administered Last Rites, and Saint Aloysius died shortly before midnight. Pious legend has it that Saint Aloysius's first words were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and his last word was the Holy Name of Jesus. 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.