June 21 is the Feast Day of one of the most misunderstood saints in the Catholic church: St. Aloysius Gonzaga. A little history, then, may be in order to help us begin to understand this complex and holy young man, today one of the patrons of youth. One must, in a sense, recover the real Aloysius, and the true Luigi.
Aloysius Gonzaga needs rescuing from the hands of overly pious artists. On holy cards and in countless reproductions, the young Jesuit is usually depicted clad in a jet black cassock and snowy white surplice, gazing beatifically at an elegant crucifix he holds in his slim, delicately manicured hands. For good measure, he is sometimes portrayed gently grasping a lily, the symbol of his religious chastity.
There is nothing wrong with any of those images per se, except when they obscure what was anything but a delicate life and prevent young Christians (and older ones, for that matter) from identifying with someone who was, in fact, something of a rebel.
more–lots of good stuff here