By Anne Parkinson
St. Gemma Galgani
March 12, 1878-April 11, 1903
Patron Saint Of: Students, pharmacists, those who have lost parents, people who suffer from headaches and back pain. She is also a great intercessor for people who are suffering from physical pain/ illness.
Why You Should Know About Her: She is a very inspirational saint who suffered much during her life and prayed for the conversion of sinners. Her example can inspire us to offer up our trials in our own life and to love Jesus more every day.
Why Is She Relevant for the Modern Woman: She is very relatable to modern women. Her perseverance in her many trials throughout her life inspire women to endure through their own hardships and unite them to Jesus’s Passion. We too can offer them up for the conversion of sinners in this modern world.
Little Known Facts: When Gemma was too poor to even pay for stamps, her guardian angel delivered letters to her spiritual director, Fr. Germanus, many times for her. Her guardian angel also appeared in visions to Gemma and helped her grow in holiness.
Best Quote: “If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love.”
One night at college I could not sleep, so I stayed up reading a magazine. I was flipping through the pages and then stumbled across an article about St. Gemma, which later led me to the St. Gemma Galgani Website. I had been having a very difficult week, so it was the perfect time to read about St. Gemma.
St. Gemma’s life was filled with much hardship and suffering. She was born on March 12, 1878 in Camigliano, Italy. She lost her mother at the age of seven and also went through a very long and difficult spinal illness. During this time, she was told by St. Gabriel Possenti to start a Sacred Heart Novena through the intercession of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Later, on the Feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Jesus appeared to her and healed her. St. Gemma was filled with an intense love for Jesus and even received the stigmata. She suffered tremendously and offered it up for the conversion of people.
Shortly before her death, she underwent a long illness thought to be tuberculosis and received visions of Jesus’ Passion and death. She later died on Holy Saturday at just 25 years old. She was declared a saint by Pope Pius XII on May 2, 1940. Her feast day is the date of her death, April 11. St. Gemma, also known as “The Passion Flower,” is very similar to St. Therese, “The Little Flower.” Both great saints lost their mothers at a tender age, underwent long illnesses, suffered greatly offering it up for the conversion of sinners, and died at a very young age. Both of these saints, therefore, are a good example and reminder to us. They show us how powerful offering up our hardships in our own lives is and how important it is to love God with our whole heart.