Today’s Saint

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June 21 | Whatever You Do for the Least

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

A.D. 1568–1591



Throughout his life, Jesus was constantly drawing attention to the people that we most often avert our attention from. 

He was constantly placing the poor and the marginalized of every type at the center of the Gospel narrative. He was placing them in clear view where we could not miss them without also missing his central message: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga gave everything for the sick and poor, even his own life. And in doing so, he gave his own life for Jesus. 

Aloysius grew up in a royal Italian family, set to inherit massive amounts of wealth and power. But he didn’t care about any of that. Aloysius wanted to be a Jesuit.

Despite his father's initial resistance, Aloysius remained steadfast in his desire to join the Society of Jesus. He took his first vows as a Jesuit in 1585, renouncing his noble inheritance in the process. He constantly expressed his desire to serve those in dire need. And his dedication was put to the test when a plague ravaged Rome in 1591.

Aloysius immediately volunteered to care for the victims, and witnessed firsthand the profound suffering of the sick and dying. As he stayed with them day and night, he began to see the face of Jesus in every person he cared for. In tending to their needs, Aloysius understood that their suffering was deeply united with Jesus' suffering. And he realized that his own acts of mercy were deeply united with Jesus’ ultimate act of mercy on the Cross. 

Aloysius’ loving acts of mercy came at a cost. Aloysius contracted the plague and succumbed to the disease on June 21, 1591, at the young age of 23.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga is a model of mercy, and he learned everything from the ultimate model of mercy: Jesus.

Jesus tells us, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” These brothers and sisters are the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lonely, and all others that are too often ignored in our culture.

There are times when we avoid the least among us, times when we begrudgingly attend to their needs, times when we judge and resent them, and times when we are so caught up in ourselves that we don’t even notice them. In none of these instances are we the-best-version-of-ourselves. When we are at our best, we don’t just tend to them as they cross our paths, we lovingly seek them out. 

Who can you lovingly seek out and help today?

WHO CAN I LOVINGLY SEEK OUT AND HELP TODAY?

I will see Jesus in the least among us.


This reflection is brought to you from book title.


Patron Saint of: Young Students, Christian Youth, Jesuit Scholastics, The Blind, AIDS patients, and AIDS care-givers

Feast Day: June 21

Canonized: December 31, 1726

Canonized By: Pope Benedict XIII




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