Tuesday, April 07, 2009

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

I got into following my alma mater, Saint Mary's College, during last season's college basketball. SMC's main rival in the West Coast Conference is Gonzaga. I know who Saint Mary is, and she seems a good person to make a saint. I had to Google Gonzaga...

St. Aloysius Gonzaga was born in Castiglione, Italy on March 9, 1568. Reportedly, the first words St. Aloysius spoke were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Hmmm. By the age of 9 Aloysius had decided on a religious life, and made a vow of perpetual virginity. Really? That sounds very odd. To safeguard himself from possible temptation, he would keep his eyes persistently downcast in the presence of women(!). That's my favorite part. He made this vow at age 9, and apparently stuck to it.

Around this time he was laid up with a kidney disease, preventing him from much social activity. He prayed a lot during this time. As a teen he taught catechism to the poor. His father wanted him to go into the military, but of course, our hero, Gonzaga, wanted to be a priest. When he was 18, his father finally okayed Zag to join the Jesuits.

Always in delicate health, he, nevertheless, devoted himself to the care of the sick. The Plague broke out. He died at age 23 in 1591. Reportedly, the last word he spoke was the Holy Name of Jesus. I'm not sure what context this was in, but he received the last rights. He was canonized in 1726.

In 1887 Gonzaga University was founded and named for him in Spokane, WA. Bing Crosby attended Gonzaga in the early 1920s.

St. Mary's College's basketball star Patty Mills broke his hand at Gonzaga on January 29, 2009. Before the break, SMC was leading by double digits. Gonzaga came back to win. This also lead to SMC not getting to the NCAA finals.

Many believe that St. Zag put a hex on Mills and SMC (see photo). Kobe Bryant called Mills "too quick" -- but he wasn't quick enough to get away from The Saint!

Some of this info came from catholic.org, newadvent.org and wikipedia.org.

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