One of Saint Gabriel’s more well known devotees was St. Gemma Galgani. Gemma was born on March 12, 1878, near Lucca, Italy. She was a popular pupil at the school of the Sisters of St. Zita, where she was known for her sharp intelligence and cheerful manner. To her great sadness she was forced to leave school on account of ill-health. During the course of her life Gemma was privilaged to received many mystical visions and the signs of the stigmata; the wounds of Christ on her own body. She predicted that the Passionists would establish themselves in Lucca, which indeed became true. She was the subject of great ridicule, even from her own family, but this was borne with resignation and sacrifice. With the death of her parents she became responsible for her younger brothers and sisters but felt an ever growing desire to follow God in the religious life. She suffered terribly from meningitis. Throughout this illness, her one regret was the trouble she caused her relatives who took care of her. Feeling herself tempted by the devil, Gemma prayed for help to Gabriel and through his intercession, Gemma was healed. Her ill health prevented her from entering the convent as she so desired, but this too was offered up in a spirit of humility and resignation to the adorable will of God. Gemma died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. She was beatified in 1933 and canonized on May 2, 1940, only thirty-seven years after her death.
St. Gemma’s spiritual director, Fr. Germano was instrumental in the cause of the canonisation of the then Venerable Gabriel and it was through him that she cultivated her devotion to the saint. Her letters and diary contain many references to St. Gabriel. May St. Gemma pray for us and for all devotees of St. Gabriel that through his intercession and through her’s we may all meet in heaven.
For more on St. Gemma please see here.