St. Gemma Galgani

St. Gemma Galgani

Gemma Galgani, who would also later be known as the Flower of Lucca was born March 12, 1878 in a small Italian town near Lucca. At a very young age Gemma developed great zeal for the faith. She made her First Communion at the age of nine, and fell in love with Christ in the Eucharist. Her Zeal for the faith led to her love for her Catholic education. Although a quiet child, she always greeted her teachers and peers with a smile. Unfortunately, due to chronic illness Gemma had to quit school before her studies were complete. 

As Gemma grew so did her immense love for helping others. Upon her fathers death she became the caregiver for her seven brothers and sisters. After her siblings became old enough to share the load, Gemma went to live with her Aunt. During this time Gemma received many marriage proposals but it became clear to her that her greatest desire was to pray and speak only to God. 

After her time in her aunt's home, Gemma returned home to Lucca. Upon her return she fell very ill.  Throughout her bouts of illness her only regret was the trouble she caused her relatives for having to take care of her. Gemma desired greatly to become a nun, but her poor health prevented her. This disappointment would be one of her greatest offerings to God as a sacrifice. 

In June of 1899, Gemma was given a spiritual warning that she was going to be granted an unusual grace. She then felt a pain in her hands, feet and heart. These were the marks of the Stigmata. Each Thursday they would appear where it would remain until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Then the wounds would dry up leaving only white marks in place of the deep gashes. 

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.

Gemma’s Stigmata would continue to appear until under the guidance of her confessor, she was advised to pray for their disappearance due to her quickly declining health. Through her prayers the wounds ceased, but the white marks remained until her death. 

She lived the rest of her life with a generous host family where she had more religious freedom for her spiritual life. She was often found in a state of ecstacy, deep prayer and even in conversation with both God and her Guardian Angel. In 1903 Gemma was diagnosed with tuberculosis, She suffered greatly for the last months of her life and she passed away on Holy Saturday of the same year.

St. Gemma Galgani is the patron saint against temptations, the death of parents, tuberculosis and of students and pharmacists. She is celebrated on April 11.

 Prayer to Saint Gemma

O Holy Gemma, I am near you, help me to pray. You know what I and those near me need; look after my urgent needs and my spiritual and material wants. You take care of them! I confide in you and entrust all to your loving care.

Offer up to Jesus that tender and constant care that you bore Him here on earth.

Oh holy Gemma, you who physically suffered all the pains of the Passion of Jesus, I beseech of you the grace to meditate on and live the Passion of Jesus, and the sufferings of Holy Mary. Pray that I will be able to walk in the path of humility, simplicity, love and sacrifice, fulfilling at all times and in all ways, the holy will of God. Let me live united with Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and you, for all eternity.



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