|St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ (1568–1591)
Update: The first round was an easy win for this well known powerhouse. Now Gonzaga and his fans face this year’s Cinderella story. Will Gonzaga be humbled just like Ignatius?
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. Roch Gonzales de Santa Cruz (1576–1628)
Update: Showing no fear and borrowing a page from David and Goliath this year’s Cinderella story is fresh off an amazing upset against St. Ignatius himself! Could Roch go all the way?
A native son, Roch received personal coaching from his local bishop and then the Jesuits who opened a school in his hometown of Asuncion in Paraguay. He turned down the GM position (vicar general) of his first team to start a club team in a rural area (the reductions).First he had to teach the natives to play ball. Then he had to make the team economically viable. His success brought invitations to start other teams throughout the Amazon basin. He died in action when a jealous witch doctor split open his skull with an axe. Roch is a humble sleeper with lots of experience building and revitalizing teams. He plays, coaches, and manages. Moreover, his success inspired the biggest movie since Hoop Dreams: The Mission.