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St. Gemma Galgani

St. Gemma Galgani by Julie Lonneman

Artist Narrative:

Gemma endured poverty and ill health throughout her life. Because she was unable to finish her schooling, she could not realize her desire to become a Passionist nun. When she was twenty-one, this mystic and housekeeper began to display signs of the stigmata. In early 1903, Gemma learned she had tuberculosis and died soon after, in a small room next to her employers' house. Gemma is especially revered in Italy and South America.

"Try to think of a light that fills the whole universe,
that penetrates and kindles it. At the same time,
a light that gives life and animation to all things,
so that all things that exist are imbued with, or encircled in it,
and in it and through it have life. Thus I see God
and in [God] all creatures."
—Saint Gemma Galgani

Italy, 1878-1903.

Her feast day is April 11.

Art Collection: 
Lonneman collection: 
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Gemma was the daughter of a poor pharmacist.  Her mother died when she was seven, her father when she was eighteen, and she took care of her seven brothers and sisters. She was cured in her 20's of spinal tuberculosis by prayer to Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. She was rejected by the orders to which she applied who would not believe her cure, so she became a Passionist tertiary. Gemma was a stigmatist, receiving the wounds on her hands and feet each Thursday evening through Friday afternoon starting in June 1899 and continuing into 1901. She was a visionary who saw her guardian angel daily, and visits from the devil who tempted her to spit on the cross and break a rosary. Her canonization faced stiff opposition by those who either disbelieved or wished to avoid attention to her visions and stigmata. 

Born: March 12, 1878 at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy 

Died: April 11, 1903 (Holy Saturday) of tuberculosis 

Beatified: 1933 by Pope Pius XI 

Canonized: May 2, 1940 by Pope Pius XII 

Readings: 

If I saw the gates of Hell open and I stood on the brink of the abyss, I should not despair, I should not lose hope of mercy, because I should trust in You, my God.
—Saint Gemma Galgani 

O my soul, bless Jesus. Never forget the many graces He has given thee. Love that God who so loves thee. Lift thyself up to Him, who has lowered Himself for thee; show thyself as He shows Himself with thee; be clean of heart, be pure. Love thy Jesus, who has lifted thee out of so much misery. Love thy God, bless thy Lord
—Saint Gemma Galgani