Fun facts about the great St. Aloysius.
If you are an Italian and your name is Luigi you can be fairly certain your patron is St. Aloysius and not St. Louis King of France. (The Irish like the name Aloysius. Happy feast day to the Aloysius who reads me.)
In the 20th century, effeminate boys often felt attracted to the saint and chose him as their patron - devotional images of the youthful saint may help explain why they chose to go into dance as a profession. What?
Though it seems to be compulsory for contemporary priests and religious to make excuses for Luigi's tights and ruffles in devotional art, it strikes me as rather ironic when they themselves carry on about lace and water-stained silks and lavish brocades and trims on their shopping trips to their favorite liturgical tailor shops and monastic liturgical studios. (Of course, if they own a gun, one can be assured of their manliness.)
Nevertheless, Luigi was a virile little chap and joined his father for war games and learned to swear like a trooper, until he found out what the 'F'-word meant - or rather, its synonym in the 1500s.
From a very early age he loved chastity and was deeply devoted to the Blessed Virgin. It was said he would never look directly at his mother's in order not to be moved by vain rejoicing in her beauty. Although one biographer suggested it was because she was terribly cross-eyed and had protruding upper teeth. (Sorry, I just made that up.)
More seriously, though his youth was surrounded by many occasions of sin, he preserved his virtue through prayer and mortification. Hence, from an early age he developed a virile and courageous temperament.
Personally, that is what I especially loved about him. He and St. Stanislaus Kostka always impressed me since their childhood and adolescence seemed to me to be filled with many challenges to their faith and devotion. Their example and legacy as saints even seemed to be dismissed as too 'sweet', too 'saccharine' for contemporary boys. Yet their perseverance and endurance in the preservation of their innocence ought to inspire and encourage us today, considering how we are pretty much surrounded and nearly smothered by immorality and faithlessness.
The Collect for his memorial asks, 'grant through his merits and intercession, that though we have failed to follow him in innocence, we may imitate him in penitence.'
St. Aloysius renounced his aristocratic lineage and title at the young age of seventeen, joined the Jesuits, and died at the age of twenty three while still in studies, nursing victims of an epidemic. He is indeed a manly Jesuit saint, a model for boys and young men - and especially seminarians, I should think.
St. Aloysius, pray for us.