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Aloysius was born in the Italian province of Lombardy in 1568, the first-born son of a Marquis and the lady of honor to the Queen of Spain.

When he was seven, he experienced a spiritual awakening: he made a vow of perpetual virginity, keeping his eyes downcast in the presence of women to safeguard himself from possible temptation, and dedicated most of his time to prayer, especially the Office of Our Lady.

When he was just eleven years old he fasted in the manner of a monk, eating only bread and water three days a week, practiced austerities and taught poor children the catechism. The next year, he received his First Holy Communion from the hands of the great saint and cardinal, Charles Borromeo.

By age fourteen, Aloysius had resolved to join the Society of Jesus and become a missionary. He was to suffer much from his family's strenuous opposition to this decision, particularly from his father, who hoped Aloysius would join the military. However, he persevered, and his father finally relented.

In 1585, the seventeen-year-old Aloysius was admitted into the Jesuit novitiate in Rome where he took the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience two years later.

While the young Gonzaga was ordained a deacon at twenty, he was never to realize his dream of becoming a priest and missionary in this life.

As had been foretold to him in a vision, Aloysius died on the octave of Corpus Christi in 1591 after contracting the plague while caring for the sick in the Jesuit hospital. He was twenty-three years old.

He was canonized in 1726 and his relics remain under the altar dedicated to the Jesuit founder in the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome.

The virtue that had so marked him in his youth – purity – and which he preached and practiced to a heroic degree during his short life, became the spiritual crown by which he will be forever known.

 


 Second Photo by: Philippe Alès

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for August 3, 2021

Jesus who cannot suffer long to keep you in affliction will...

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August 3

 

Jesus who cannot suffer long to keep you in affliction
will come to relieve and comfort you
by infusing fresh courage into your soul.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Waltheof of Melrose

He strove so greatly for perfection that his confessors ofte...

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St. Waltheof of Melrose

Waltheof was born of English nobility. The son of Simon, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Maud, the grand-niece of William the Conqueror, he was also the grandson of Saint Waldef of Northumbria. As a child, Waltheof felt drawn to churches and the religious life. Following his father's death, he, and his mother and brother moved to Scotland where Maud married King David I. As part of the royal court, he was educated and became a spiritual student of St. Aelred.

Following his long-held inclination to contemplation and desiring to dedicate himself entirely to God, Waltheof left Scotland and traveled to Yorkshire to join the Augustinian Canons at the monastery at Nostell. He was soon chosen as prior, and led the monks in a more austere rule. Some time later, Waltheof left Nostell for the more austere life of the Cistercian monks.
Four years after receiving the Cistercian habit, he was nominated as abbot of Melrose, a newly established monastery. Then, in 1154, he was chosen as the new Archbishop of St. Andrews, but in his humility, he begged St. Aelred to oppose the election and not oblige him to accept.

Waltheof died in 1160 of old age. It has been said that he strove so greatly for perfection, that his confessors often found him irksome.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.