Saint Gemma Galgani. Life

Beyond the appearances there is an extraordinary Saint: a mystic in continuous and affectionate dialogue with Jesus; a contemplative saint who prays simply like a child and deeply like a theologian. She withdraws the most terrible difficulties by making herself to be helped by her Guardian Angel. Young girl, she maintains her soul candid and she compel herself to an immaculate life.

Gemma is born in Borgonuovo of Camigliano (Lucca) on 12th March 1878. While he receives the Confirmation in the Church of Saint Michael in Foro, Jesus asks her for the sacrifice of her mother. At the age of eighteen she is submitted, without anaesthesia, to a painful operation to the foot and on Christmas of the same year she makes her vote of chastity. Soon Gemma remains orphaned, nearly abandoned, in the most terrible misery.

When she is twenty, Gem refuses a wedding proposal, for being “all of Jesus”. During this year she recovers miraculously from a spinal disease and the mystical experiences begin. As she is healed miraculously, in the city she is called “the child of the grace”.

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She talks with her Guardian Angel and also gives him delicate assignments, like taking post to Rome to her spiritual director. “I give the letter, I have just finished, to the Angel, she writes. It is here beside me waiting for”. And the letters, mysteriously, reached the addressee without being handled by the post of the Reign.

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In June 1899 Christ gives her the stigmata. In the same year, during the mission in Saint Martino, Gemma knows the Passion fathers who introduce her to the Giannini’s. Received like a daughter in this wealthy and devout house she passes her life between house and Church. But the shocking manifestations of her holiness go beyond the walls of the bourgeois house. She produces conversions, foretells future events, and falls in ecstasy. When she prays, she sweats blood; on her body, beside the signs of the nail, the plagues of the flagellation appear. Here she knows Father Germano who will direct her confidences.

Soon people know that her black gloves and her dark and high-neck dress hide the seals of the Passion. These stigmata open, painful and bleeding, every week, on Friday eve.

In front of her the scientists cannot hide their embarrassment. Some spiritual directors, too cannot explain the extraordinary young girl: they suspect mystification, hysteria, they ask for tests, they want obedience.

Gemma Galgani although physical pains and moral tests, does not say anything, or better, she always says Yes. She does not ask for anything, or better, she asks Jesus for more pain for herself and conversion and salvation for the others.

In 1901, at the age of 23, according to Father Germano’s will, Gemma writes the Autobiography, “the notebook of my sins”. In the following year she offers herself to God as victim for the salvation of the sinners. Jesus asks her to found a monastery of claustral Bassoonists in Lucca. Gemma answers with enthusiasm. In the month of September of the same year she becomes ill seriously. Her life is marked deeply by pain.

The darkest period of her life has started. The consequences of the sin weigh heavily on her body as well as on her soul. In 1903, on Saint Saturday, Gemma Galgani dies at 25 years, pressed by pain, but asking for more pain until the end.

In 1903 Pope Pious X signs the Decree of foundation of the Passionist Monastery in Lucca.

In 1905 the claustral Passionists begin their presence to Lucca, and meet the ancient desire that Jesus expressed to Gemma.

Father Germano, spiritual director of Gemma, writes in 1907 the first biography. The canonical processes for the acknowledgment of her holiness start.

In 1933 Pious XI includes Gemma Galgani into the Blessed souls of the Church.

In 1940 Pious XII will raise Gemma Galgani to the glory of the Saints and to show her as model of the universal Church for her heroic practise of the Christian virtues.

Its liturgical memory is April 11 day of its death.

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Benin City districts

Gemma Galgani and Father Pious