|St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ (1568–1591)
Better known to some as “Alo-Swishes” Gonzaga grew up in the lap of Italian Duchy. This classy, Mid-major knew from an early age that he would not sign with his Duke lineage. This kid began training as soldier and courtier at age 4 and by age 9 made private vow of chastity. Showing maturity early on, this scrappy instant classic gave away his inheritance in 1585 against his parent’s wishes and entered the Society of Jesus at age 17. Who’s surprised though? AG received his First Communion from St. Charles Borremeo and had St. Robert Bellarmine as a confessor… LEGACY! It took a plague to kill this shooting star in Rome in 1591.
G-zags is no prima donna but is also no stranger to the limelight. He’s comfortable with
the accolades he’s earned on and off the hard court. Aloysius is the “Patron of all students and Jesuit novices” because he is a youngin…but he’s due to earn some big boy hardware any moment now. He began to cement his legacy almost immediately after his death. He was beatified 14 short years after his death and then canonized a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. We celebrate Gonzaga’s feast day on June 21st even though he is already immortal in so many ways. When the plague took his life he was 23 years old. 23… hmm. Coincidence, I think not! Greatness flows in this class act’s veins. Period.
|St. Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682)
This Jesuit saint tutored the children of Colbert—what more could you want? (OK, so they were the kids of Jean Baptiste Colbert). Claude was born into French nobility in 1641. He ditched his active social life to concentrate on his Exercises, entering the Society at just 17 years old. Eventually, the Jesuits missioned Claude to the college at Paray-le-Monial. There, Colombiere met a formidable and visionary teammate, Margaret Mary Alacoque. After coaching Margaret, the Jesuits assigned Claude to England. There, he was accused of participating in the Popish Plot to assassinate King Charles II. The monarch exiled Claude to France where he died two years later at the age of 41.
Claude unabashedly takes on a visionary model in Margaret Mary Alocoque’s Sacred Heart. Colombiere takes the basic tools he learned in the Exercises and applies them to new ways of seeing the game. On the downside, Claude frequently struggles with injury and illness; but his instincts and understanding make for an overall excellent choice. Reasons to pick: ability to combine basic skills with new methods; excellent teammates; toughs it out on the road.