Galgani, Page 1:
since the days in which the ardent Apostle St. Paul lived there have
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
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
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
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
Gemma, now 20 years old,
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?
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
On the first Friday of
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
To read about her canonization and much more, click HERE.
[This is an external link.]
St. Gemma also has a page in the Children's Directory, HERE.
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