The eldest son of Ferrante Gonzaga (1544-1586), first marquess of Castiglione, and Marta Tana Santena de Chieri, Luigi (who was later canonized as Saint Aloysius de Gonzaga) was born in March 1568.

Although destined to become a lord as well and educated in this direction by his father, Luigi was instead interested, from the age of 10, in the religious spirituality instilled by his mother.

He was attracted by readings on the Jesuit missions in India and wanted, against his father’s wishes, to enter the Society of Jesus. In 1585, in Rome, after finally receiving approval from his father, Luigi could finally become a novice. He said of himself: “I am a twisted piece of iron. I entered the religious life to straighten myself.”

In 1587, Luigi took his vows at the age of 19. He left Rome in 1589 to settle a family affair. He would stop in Milan before returning to Rome. In 1590, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and revealed to him that he would die within a few months.
The following year, the plague swept through Rome. Like some of his other fellow Jesuits, Luigi was called upon to care for the sick. He was infected and, after three months of illness, passed away on June 21, 1591.

Luigi Gonzaga was beatified in the early 17th century by Pope Clement VIII and canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.

Designated as the patron saint of Catholic youth since the 18th century, in 1991, Pope John Paul II also declared him the patron saint of AIDS patients.

Luigi Gonzaga therefore became “Saint Aloysius de Gonzaga.”

In the province of Quebec, in honour of this saint, there is the parish municipality of Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague-du-Cap-Tourmente (Louis being the French name of this saint) in the Capitale-Nationale administrative region, Côte-de-Beaupré subdivision. There is also the parish municipality of Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague in the Montérégie administrative region, Beauharnois-Salaberry subdivision.

Donation from a collector
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1987 63 S