Above: AIDS Ribbon
Image Source = Gary van der Merwe
SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA (MARCH 9, 1568-JUNE 21, 1591)
A saints book published in 2007 lists saints according to causes. For the cause “AIDS Patients and Caregivers” one finds the name of this saint. It is an appropriate choice.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591) came from an elite family of warlords. His father was Marquis Ferrante of Castiglione. The expectation was that the saint would marry, have children, and pursue the family business. Yet the young saint knew better. He spent years trying to convince his father that he had a different vocation before he succeeded. During that liminal time Gonzaga practiced religious austeries and instructed some of the poor people of Castiglione in the faith.
The saint’s six years as a Jesuit were challenging for him. His persistent health problems slowed his progress and studies, begun and Milan after he entered the order at Rome in 1585. Finally, in 1587, the saint made his vows. The order sent him to work as a nurse at a hospital in Rome. He had to overcome his revulsion at wounds and diseases to practice compassion. Plague struck Rome in 1591. The saint contracted the disease by treating patients. Thus he died, aged twenty-three years, on June 21.
May we honor all who endanger themselves to care for others. And may we do the same for all who have placed themselves in peril for the sake of others.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MAY 20, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C
THE FEAST OF SAINT ALCUIN OF YORK, DEACON AND ABBOT
THE FEAST OF SAINT HELENA, MOTHER OF EMPEROR CONSTANTINE I
O God, by whose grace your servant Saint Aloysius Gonzaga,
kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:
Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168
2 Corinthians 6:1-10
—Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723