Aloysius Gonzaga was born in 1568 into a family of tremendous wealth and aristocratic prestige. By age seven he showed an inclination to religious life. By age nine he possessed the clarity and conscience to describe the society in which he lived as full of "fraud, dagger, poison and lust." At age twelve he was invested as a prince, but decided to transfer his superabundant inheritance to his brother, Ridolfo.
At age thirteen, Aloysius entered the Society of Jesus, against the furious and abusive protests of his family. Even priests and bishops were sent to convince Aloysius to give up the idea. But defeated by the boy's powerful perseverance, Aloysius' father relented, allowing him to go off to begin priesthood studies at Rome in 1585.
In 1589 there was an outbreak of the plague in Rome and Aloysius asked permission to help take care of the many who were dying. Father Cepari describes the times: "It was a horrible thing to see the dying creeping to the hospitals, stinking and loathsome, and sometimes to behold them giving up their last breath in corners or falling down head first on the stairs." Within two years Aloysius became a victim of the disease himself and died.
Father Martindale writes of Aloysius: "By nature he was a hard man; uncompromising; going through life with his teeth clenched." With the energy his family gave to warfare and family fighting, Aloysius gave himself to Christ - a new Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus to carry his cross.
Do I ever clench my teeth for the things of Christ?