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Saint Gemma Galgani -Saints of the Sacred Heart Series

We continue our series in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by learning from our friend St. Gemma Galgani. Her love for Christ led her to love the passion and to offer herself as a victim also for the sins of the world. Although his vocation was thwarted, he was never discouraged in his surrender to God, and constant prayer for the church.


 

Oración:

O Most Holy Heart of Jesus, source of all blessing, I adore you, I love you and with living sorrow for my sins I offer you this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure, and totally obedient to your will. Grant me, good Jesus, to live in you and for you.


Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing in all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.


 

St Gemma Galgani was an Italian saint and mystic who received the stigmata (the wounds of our Lord). She dedicated herself to God and to prayer and suffered greatly in her short life, dying at age 25. She is known as the Flower of Lucca and the Daughter of Passion.

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At a very young age, Gemma developed a love for prayer. She made her First Communion on June 17, 1887. Gemma was loved by her teachers and her fellow students, as a student at a school run by the Sisters of St. Zita. Though quiet and reserved, she always had a smile for everyone. Unfortunately, Gemma had to quit school due to her chronic ill health before completing the course of study.


Throughout her life, Gemma was to be chosen with many mystical experiences and special graces. These were often misunderstood by others, causing ridicule. Gemma suffered heartaches in reparation, remembering that Our Lord Himself had been misunderstood and ridiculed.


Gemma had an immense love for the poor and helped them in any way she could. After her father's death, the 19-year-old Gemma became the mother-figure for her seven brothers and sisters. Gemma became very ill with meningitis. Feeling herself tempted by the devil, Gemma prayed for help to the Venerable Passionist, Gabriel Possenti. Through his intercession, Gemma was miraculously cured.


Saint Gemma wished to become a nun, but her poor health prevented her from being accepted. She offered this disappointment to God as a sacrifice.


On June 8, 1899, Gemma had an internal warning that some unusual grace was to be granted to her. She felt pain and blood coming from her hands, feet and heart. These were the marks of the stigmata. Each Thursday evening, Gemma would fall into rapture and the marks would appear.


Such marks, called the stigmata in the language of the Catholic Church, refers to the appearance of the wounds of the crucified Jesus Christ appearing on the bodies of some men and women whose lives are so conformed to His that they reflect those wounds of redemptive love for others.


The stigmata remained until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. When the bleeding would stop, the wounds would close, and only white marks would remain in place of the deep gashes. Gemma's stigmata would continue to appear until her confessor, Reverend Germanus Ruoppolo, advised her to pray for their disappearance due to her declining health. Through her prayers, the phenomenon ceased, but the white marks remained on her skin until her death.


Through the help of her confessor, Gemma went off to live with another family where she was allowed more freedom for her spiritual life than she was at home. She was frequently found in a state of ecstasy and on one occasion she was believed to have levitated. Her words spoken during her ecstasies were recorded by her confessor and a relative from her adoptive family.

At the end of her ecstasies, she returned to normal and carried on quietly and serenely. Gemma often saw her guardian angel. She sent her guardian angel on errands, usually to deliver a letter or oral message to her confessor in Rome.


In January of 1903, Gemma was diagnosed with tuberculosis. At the start of Holy Week in 1903, Gemma began suffering greatly. She died at age 25 on Holy Saturday, April 11.. The Parish Priest in her company said, "She died with a smile which remained upon her lips, so that I could not convince myself that she was really dead."


 


Born: March 12, 1878

Extraordinary Mystical Experiences begin: 1898

Miraculous Cure: Friday, March 3, 1899 -1st Friday of the month (Sacred Heart devotion)

Received Stigmata: June 8, 1899 -Vigil of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Died: Holy Saturday, April 11, 1903

Feast Day: April 11th (or May 16th for those in the Passionist Congregation).


I made certain resolutions regarding the conduct of my life:  1. I will receive Confession and Communion each time as though it were my last.  2. I will visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament often, especially when I am afflicted.  3. I will prepare myself for every feast of our Blessed Mother by some mortification, and every evening I will ask my heavenly Mother’s blessing.  4. I want to remain always in the presence of God. 5. Every time the clock strikes I will repeat three times: My Jesus, mercy.

 

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Assist me, my Jesus, for I desire to become good whatsoever it may cost; take away, destroy, utterly root out all that You find in me contrary to Your holy will. At the same time, I pray You, Lord Jesus, to enlighten me that I may be able to walk in Your holy light. Amen.



 

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