Tag Archives: Passionist saints and blesseds

St Gemma Galgani

For years I have been intrigued by today’s saint, Gemma Galgani. Several of my friends have a devotion to Galgani, yet she has basically remained a name for me until now. It is an interesting event that her feast day this is not on Holy Saturday as when she died, but it is during the week we call great and holy. One striking thing is that St. Gemma was not a professed member of the Passionist Order yet she intimately linked to its spiritual patrimony.

A biographer writes, “St. Gemma Galgani (1878-1903) was born in Italy, the fifth of eight children of a prosperous pharmacist. Her mother and three siblings died of tuberculous when she was young, and when she was 18 her father died as well, leaving Gemma to help care for her younger siblings. She rejected two marriage proposals and became a housekeeper while trying to enter the religious life as a Passionist. She was rejected due to her poor heath, and later became a Tertiary member of the Order. Gemma developed spinal meningitis but was miraculously healed, which she attributed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Throughout her life she united herself with the Passion of Christ and experienced great suffering as a result, but not without receiving many remarkable graces as well. She experienced many visions and was often visited by her guardian angel, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. For this she was known as a great mystic, and, according to her spiritual director, developed the stigmata at age 21. After a selfless life of love given to God for the conversion of sinners, she died on the Vigil of Easter at the age of 25.

She is the patron saint of pharmacists, loss of parents, back illnesses, temptations, and those seeking purity of heart.

Gemma Galgani was beatified in 1933, and canonized in 1940.

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

St Gabriel of Sorrows

There is something very special about Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows that we ought to pay attention to today.

Saint Gabriel (1838-1862) was born at Assisi in 1838. He was guided by Our Lady into the Passionist Order founded by Saint Paul of the Cross, and became a veritable Apostle of Her Sorrows. He was a very great and truly contemplative soul, whose only preoccupation was to unite himself to God at all times. He allowed no distractions to enter his spirit, and even though Italy, his country, was in a state of ferment when he entered religion, he wanted to know nothing of it.

The way to attain union with our Savior and our God was, for Saint Gabriel, as for Saint Louis de Montfort, his Heavenly Mother. He wrote home to his father, from the first month of his noviciate, Believe your son, whose heart is speaking by his lips; no, I would not exchange one single quarter of an hour spent near the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, our consolatrix, our protectress and our hope, for a year or several years spent in the diversions and spectacles of the earth. Among his resolutions was that of visiting Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament each day, and praying for the gift of a tender and efficacious devotion to His Most Holy Mother. He wrote a beautiful Credo, worthy to be printed in letters of gold, expressing all that he believed of the Mother of God.

At twenty-four years of age Saint Gabriel died of tuberculosis, having already attained heroic sanctity by a life of self-denial and great devotion to our Lord’s Passion and the Compassion of His Mother.

Although his life was without any miraculous event, after his death in 1862 many miracles occurred at his tomb in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, and his feast was extended to the entire church by Pope Pius XI in 1932. He is the patron of youth, and especially of young religious.

***On leap years, the feast day of this Saint is celebrated on February 28.

Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O. Cist., Ph.D. (Catholic Book Publishing Co.: New York, 1951-1955)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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