by Sophie Towne
Have you ever done something you know will annoy your parents?
How about having a party when they’ve left you home alone? Got a tattoo without telling them? How about joining a religious order? Probably not the last one, I imagine?
Well that’s just what Saint Aloysius Gonzaga did in 1581. Aloysius was meant to have a fine military career but instead he rebelled against his parents wishes and became a Jesuit. Aloysius was apparently a bit of a tearaway. Before he embraced religious life, he took part in a military parade and fired a real cannon, unauthorized.
REBEL WITH A CAUSE…
Unfortunately Aloysius’ strong-mindedness was to be his undoing. In 1591, he determinedly nursed the sick in a plague hospital and caught the disease. He stubbornly battled with the illness but ultimately succumbed a couple of months later to the disease. He was only 23yrs old. Little wonder then that this James Dean of the religious world is the patron saint of youth.
ALOYSIUS IN NORFOLK
Recently we unearthed a 19th Century statue of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga from the roller-racking at the Norfolk Collections Centre. This statue came from The Church of the Holy Apostles in Willow Lane, Norwich, Norfolk. At first glance Aloysius here looks like a contemplative saint with his eyes modestly fixed to the floor, but I like to think there is a hint, however small, of a mischievous smile playing on his lips…