Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

May 27 | Courage (Pt. 3)

Saint Gonzaga Gonza

A.D. 1862–1886

The most dominant emotion in our modern society is fear. 

We may not like to admit it, but we are afraid. Afraid of rejection and failure, afraid of certain parts of town, afraid of certain types of people, afraid of criticism, afraid of suffering and heartache, afraid of change, afraid of losing the things we have worked hard to buy, and afraid to tell people how we really feel... 

We are afraid of so many things. We’re even afraid to be ourselves. 

Saint Gonzaga Gonza overcame his fear. He remained true to himself and his faith, even in the face of death.

Gonza was born in Uganda around 1862. Not much is known about his upbringing, but he was a servant in the court of King Mwanga. Under the king, Christianity had been outlawed and made punishable by death. Gonza wasn’t a Christian at the time, so he watched from a distance as countless Christians lived under a reign of terror and violence.

That all changed in 1880, when Gonza became friends with some missionaries who had courageously traveled to the kingdom. They taught him about Jesus, and other Ugandan friends wrote Catholic prayers for him in Arabic—a language Gonza could understand. Surely these men must have been afraid, but they still boldly shared their faith. Their courage led Gonza to convert to Catholicism that same year.

Now Gonza faced the same fear as all Christians in the land: the possibility of persecution and even death. Eventually, his fears would come true. Gonza and his fellow believers were arrested and subjected to severe torture. Yet, it was in this suffering that Gonza's courage shone brightest. He refused to renounce his faith and embraced his suffering out of love for Jesus. He moved beyond even the fear of death. In the end, he and 44 other Christians were executed.

We may never face death for our Christian faith. But we are sure to face opposition, and that opposition, at one point or another, is likely to scare us. Will we give into fear, or move beyond it?

Fear is a great limiter of life. Fear stops more people from doing something with their lives than lack of talent, resources, or opportunity. Fear has a tendency to paralyze and imprison us. Don’t let that happen to you.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the acquired ability to move beyond fear. It’s time to start acquiring that ability.


I will not let fear limit my life.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Prisoners, Travelers, and the Ill-Treated

Symbols: Spear

Feast Day: May 27

Canonized: October 18, 1964

Canonized By: Pope Paul VI

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