of the Passion:
St. Gemma Galgani, Page 1: Bio-sketch

Feast Day: April 11

Ever since the days in which the ardent Apostle St. Paul lived there have been Saints in the Church who have honoured Our Dear Lord in His sufferings and who have been glad to suffer for love of Him. In 1878, on March 12 in Camigliano, a village near Lucca, Italy,  Gemma Galgani was born: Her name is the Italian word for gem. Her father was a prosperous chemist and a descendant of St. John Leonardi. Gemma’s mother was of noble lineage also. The Galgani’s were Traditional Catholics who were blessed with eight children.

The future Saint was Baptized the day after he was born and before she was seven years old she made her First Confession. But soon after this her mother became very ill. This was a great grief to Gemma. She used to kneel by her mother's pillow while they prayed together, till her father sent her away to be taken care of by a kind aunt. The little girl went without a murmur, but she never saw her dear mother again, for she died soon after.

Gemma developed a curvature of the spine while still a young girl. Meningitis set in and left her deaf. Large abscesses formed on her head, her hair fell off, and finally her limbs became paralyzed. A doctor was called in and tried many remedies which all failed. She only grew worse.

Gemma began a devotion to [then] Venerable Gabriel Possenti of the Sorrowful Mother [Now St. Gabriel]. On her sickbed she read his life story. She later wrote regarding Venerable Gabriel:

" ... I grew in admiration of his virtues and his ways. My devotion to him increased. At night I did not sleep without having his picture under my pillow, and after that I began to see him near me. I don't know how to explain this, but I felt his presence. At all times and in every action Brother Gabriel came to mind."

Gemma, now 20 years old, was seemingly on her deathbed. A novena was suggested as the only chance for a cure. At midnight on February 23, 1899, she heard the rattling of a rosary and realized that Venerable Gabriel was appearing to her. He spoke to Gemma:

"Do you wish to recover? Pray with faith every evening to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I will come to you until the Novena is ended, and will pray together to this Most Sacred Heart."

On the first Friday of March the Novena ended. The grace was granted; Gemma was cured. As she got up, those around her cried with joy for, indeed, a miracle had taken place!

Gemma, now in perfect health, had always desired to be a consecrated nun, but this was not to be. God had other plans for her.

On the 8th of June 1899, after receiving Communion, Our Lord let His servant know that the same evening He would give her a very great grace.

Gemma went home and prayed. She went into ecstasy and felt a great remorse for sin. The Blessed Mother, to whom St. Gemma was tremendously devoted, appeared to her and spoke:

"My son Jesus loves thee beyond measure and wishes to give thee a grace. I will be a mother to thee. Wilt thou be a true child?" The Most Blessed Virgin then opened her mantle and covered Gemma in it.

Here is how St. Gemma relates how she received the stigmata:

"At that moment Jesus appeared with all His Wounds open, but from these Wounds there no longer came forth Blood, but flames of fire. In an instant these flames came to touch my hands, my feet and my heart. I felt as if I were dying, and should have fallen to the ground had not my mother held me up, while all the time I remained beneath her mantle. I had to remain several hours in that position. Finally she kissed my forehead, all vanished, and I found myself kneeling. But I still felt great pain in my hands, feet and heart. I rose to go to bed, and became aware that blood was flowing from those parts where I felt pain. I covered them as well as I could, and then helped by my Angel, I was able to go to bed . . ."

During the remainder of Gemma's life, several people, including respected ecclesiastics of the Church, witnessed this recurring miracle of the holy stigmata to the pius maiden of Lucca. One eyewitness stated:

"Blood came from her wounds in great abundance. When she was standing, it flowed to the ground, and when in bed it not only wet the sheets, but saturated the whole mattress. I measured some streams or pools of this blood, and they were from twenty to twenty-five inches long and about two inches wide."
Like St. Francis of Assisi and recently Padre Pio, Gemma can too say: Nemo mihi molestus sit. Ego enim stigmata Domini Jesu in corpore meo porto: Let no man harm me, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body.

St. Gemma died in 1903.

To read about her canonization and much more, click HERE. [This is an external link.]

Forward for prayers. St. Gemma also has a page in the Children's Directory, HERE.


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