At age 7 Aloysius experienced a profound spiritual quickening. His prayers included the Office of Mary, the psalms, and other devotions. At age 9 he came from his hometown of Castiglione to Florence to be educated; by age 11 he was teaching catechism to poor children, fasting three days a week, and practicing great austerities. When he was 13 years old, he traveled with his parents and the Empress of Austria to Spain, and acted as a page in the court of Philip II.
O Lord, help us to be just like St. Aloysius as he was declared by Pope Benedict to be the patron saint of young students. For his compassion and courage in the face of an incurable disease, Aloysius Gonzaga has become the patron both of AIDS sufferers and their caregivers. Amen.