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"Angelic youth, so chastely fair,

Inflamed with love divine!

Around thy Jesus Sacred Heart

Our best affections twine.

And pray the Queen of Angels bright

To guard our purity,

That when these exile-days are past

We may His vision see."

Ave Maria.


ST. ALOYSIUS, the eldest son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione, was born on the 9thof March, 1568.  The first words he pronounced were the holy names of Jesus and Mary.  When he was nine years of age he made a vow of perpetual virginity and, by a special grace, was ever exempted from temptations against purity.  He received his first communion at the hands of St. Charles Borromeo.  At an early age he resolved to leave the world and, in a vision, was directed by Our Blessed Lady to join the Society of Jesus.  The Saint’s mother rejoiced on learning his determination to become a religious, but his father for three years refused his consent.  At length St. Aloysius obtained permission to enter the novitiate on the 25thof November, 1585.  He took his vows after two years, and went through the ordinary course of philosophy and theology.  He would say he doubted whether without penance, grace would continue to make head against nature, which, when not afflicted and chastised, tends gradually to relapse into its old state, losing the habit of suffering acquired by the labor of years.  "I am a crooked piece of iron," he said, "and am come into religion to be made straight by the hammer of mortification and penance."  During his last year of theology a malignant fever broke out in Rome; the Saint offered himself for the service of the sick, and he was accepted for the dangerous duty.  Several of the brothers caught the fever, and Aloysius was of the number.  He was brought to the point of death, but recovered, only to fall, however, into slow fever, which carried him off after three months.  He died, repeating the Holy Name, a little after midnight, between the 20th and 21st of June, on the octave-day of Corpus Christi, being twenty-three years of age.  


Cardinal Bellarmine, the Saint’s confessor, testified that he had never mortally offended God.  Yet he chastised his body rigorously, rose at night to pray, and shed many tears for his sins.  Pray that not having followed his innocence; you may yet imitate his penance. 


There is something moving in the letter he wrote to his mother upon this occasion, and it would be doing the reader an injury not to lay it before him in the very words he wrote it. 



"The peace of our Lord be with you”


"I pray the Holy Ghost to pour down upon you grace and perpetual benediction.  I was still an inhabitant of this vale of death when your last letter arrived; but I must now begin to look upon myself as an inhabitant of Heaven, and prepare to enter into that land of the living, to praise God for all eternity.  I did not imagine I should have held out so long but the fever, when come to its greatest height, abating on a sudden, as I informed you in my last letter, carried me on to the feast of the Ascension.  Since that time the humor has fallen upon my breast, and the fever has become so violent, that it cannot be long before I go to receive the embraces of the Eternal Father, in whose bosom I hope to find secure and everlasting rest.  Thus you see the report which was spread abroad concerning me, was not very wide of the truth, as I wrote to the marquis.  If it be the part of true charity to weep with those that weep, and to rejoice with those that rejoice as St. Paul tells us, you should be exceedingly glad, my honored mother, when you hear with what joy I find myself upon the point of entering into a state in which I shall be no longer under the apprehension of losing God.  For my own part, I confess that whenever I consider the goodness of God, which I represent to myself as an immense ocean, without either shore or bottom, I am lost in the thought, incapable of comprehending how God should grant me rest without end for labor of so short a continuance how he should be willing to give me a reward which I have so little deserved, and promise such plentiful fruit for the few tears I have shed in His service.  Take care, I beseech you, lest you prove deficient in a grateful acknowledgment to this sovereign goodness; which certainly you would be guilty of by lamenting as dead, one who will be living in God, and will be of much greater service to you there above, than he could possibly be here below.  Our separation will soon be over.  We shall then see one another again in Heaven, where, united with our Redeemer, we shall find an infinite beatitude in praising Him, and singing forth His mercies for all eternity.  When we view things not with the eyes of flesh and blood, but with those of faith and religion, neither you nor I shall find any great difficulty in conforming ourselves to His will, and giving Him what belongs to Him.  We shall make this sacrifice the more willingly, as the thing we offer is more dear to us, persuaded that God disposes of nothing but wisely and for our greater good.  For He only withdraws what He has given us to put it in place of security, and to confer upon those we love that happiness which we desire for ourselves.  I write you these lines, madam, that you and all the family may look upon my departure as a great favor from the hand of God, and that, by your blessing, you may help me in the passage I am going to make out of this life to that happy shore, which I long to gain as the term of all my desires.  I am the more eager to communicate these sentiments to you, because I see no better way to express that fondness and respect which a son owes his mother.  I conclude by begging your blessing once again, for 

"Your dutiful son,



God revealed to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzis, a Saint whose conversation seemed rather in Heaven than on earth, that the glory of Saint Aloysius was very eminent.  On the 4thof April, in the year 1600, she was rapt into an ecstasy, saw Heaven opened and the glory of St. Aloysius; in astonishment at so extraordinary a sight, she began to say slowly, making an occasional pause between her words: 


"O what glory is that of Aloysius, the son of Ignatius!  I could never have conceived it unless my Jesus had revealed it.  Fain would I fly all the world over to declare that Aloysius, the son of Ignatius, is a great Saint.  O that to all nations I could proclaim his happiness, that God may be glorified!  He is exalted to this pitch of glory, because he led an interior life.  O who can tell the inestimable value of an interior life?  Between the interior and exterior there is no comparison.  Aloysius, while here below, kept his eye constantly fixed upon the Word divine.  He was a hidden martyr; for to one who loves Thee, O my God, it is a martyrdom to see that he does not love Thee as he desires to love Thee, and that Thy creatures, far from loving Thee as they ought, daily offend Thee.   Aloysius was likewise a martyr by the austerity of his life.  O how he loved on earth, and now enjoys God in the satiety of love.  While on earth he continually sent up darts of love to the divine Word, and now those darts return to settle in his own heart and fill it with gladness." 


Here the Saint seeing that Aloysius prayed fervently for those who had formerly assisted him in the way of virtue, added: "And I will likewise to the best of my power help souls, that when any of them go to Heaven, they may pray for me, as Aloysius now prays for those who have been of service to him." 



Ah! see that flower of wondrous whiteness,

Just rising from Three Centuries mould,

Its crown is of the rarest brightness,

Its heart is of the purest gold.

Hail to thee St. Aloysius,

Flower of love, and gem of truth,

Praised on earth and crowned in Heaven,

Sweet Mary’s flower, Angelic youth.


Ah! sinless youth, the fairest luster

All from thy hallowed name is caught;

Around thy Shrine what virtues cluster

In rare mosaics richly wrought!


And all who read thy life’s grand story--

All these may see thy noble heart

And how thou’st bartered earthly glory,

All to secure the better part.


Fair type of youth, ah, thou were tender;

True type of manhood, thou were brave;

Ah, be our patron and defender,

So sweet to comfort, strong to save.


Ah, may we strive as thou hast striven

Against a world of sin and pride;

And may our lives be wholly given

Like thine to Jesus crucified.


Sister N. D., Phila. 

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