Saint Aloysius was born 9 March 1568, at Castiglione, Italy. His pious mother took care to lay early in the heart of her little son that foundation of the holy fear of God which is the beginning of all wisdom and of all virtue. His father, a brave soldier, wished to make his son a soldier also, and furnished him with all kinds of small weapons as toys, and even when the child was no more than seven years old took him to camp. Aloysius had a great veneration for the Blessed Virgin, and made a vow of perpetual chastity in honor of the most pure and immaculate Virgin. To this vow he was faithful till death. In the year 1581 he received at the hands of the holy Archbishop of Milan, Charles Borromeo, his first communion. From day to day he made more and more progress in the way of perfection. His longing to consecrate himself entirely to God grew with his life, and as he was asking enlightenment from his mother Mary, and with that intention receiving holy communion on the day of her assumption into heaven, he distinctly heard a voice which commanded him to enter the Society of Jesus, and to make this command at once known to his confessor. The latter examined the matter and encouraged Aloysius in his resolution; his mother also bade him God-speed; but his father would not listen to it. However, after three years opposition, his father gave his consent. Aloysius began his novitiate in his eighteenth year, and by his punctual obedience, and by the practice of all virtues, soon surpassed all his fellow-novices. In the year 1587 he made his vows and received the four minor orders, the grace of which incited him to press forward more zealously in the way of perfection. In the year 1591, the plague appearing at Rome, Aloysius devoted himself chiefly to the poor sick, until, being himself seized with the epidemic, on 21 June 1591, in the twenty-first year of his age, he died the death of the just.
On the Following of Saint Aloysius
For three hundred years Saint Aloysius has received, in the holy Catholic Church, the greatest veneration as an example of innocence and purity, and innumerable are the graces obtained by those who have endeavored, with perseverance, to follow him. But particularly does holy Church desire that the young should take this saint for their pattern; for experience has shown that many who have done this have been preserved from the corruption of the world, and kept their crown of virginal purity before the face of God. Therefore young people of both sexes ought, every day, to recommend themselves to this holy youth; like him, should cherish a childlike veneration for the most pure Virgin Mary, blessed above all; like him, should press deep into their hearts a holy fear of God; like him, should distrust themselves, fly all occasions of sin, control their senses, especially their eyes, receive often the holy sacraments, and be persevering in prayer.
O God, the distributer of heavenly gifts, Who in the angelic youth Aloysius didst unite a wonderful innocence of life with an equally wonderful penance, grant, through his merits and prayers, that we, who have not followed him in innocence, may imitate him in penance. Through Christ our Lord, etc.