Gemma Galgani was born on 12 March 1878 in Borgo nuovo di Camigliano (near Lucca in Italy) and baptized the following day. She was the fourth of eight children. From an early age, Gemma showed a keen interest in Jesus and Heaven. Her mother educated her spiritually. At seven, Gemma received the sacrament of confirmation. She was only eight years old when she lost her dear mother. She then gave herself to the Virgin Mary. As a result, she was eager to receive communion, but her age did not yet allow it. Her confessor, seeing her despair, gave her a special authorization, and Gemma was reinvigorated. As a child, Gemma surprised her superiors with her exceptional intelligence. From the age of 13, the girl lived immersed in God, drawing her life and strength from the Eucharist, and she obtained permission from her confessor to receive communion and confess often.
Subsequently, Gemma's brother and father died, and the family was reduced to great misery. Gemma was then placed in a friendly family and lived united to Christ. She made a vow of chastity and subsequently refused several marriage proposals. In 1898, Gemma was seriously ill, praying several novenas to Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Shortly afterwards, on the first Friday of March, Saint Gabriel de l'Addolorata, a passionate man who died at the age of 24, appeared to her and miraculously healed her. Having regained her health, Gemma wishes to realize the dream of her life: to become a passionate nun. Unfortunately, she was not accepted; the Lord had other plans for her. A few months later, Gemma received the stigmara and on the eve of the feast of the Sacred Heart, Jesus said to her: “learn to suffer because suffering teaches love”. Subsequently, Gemma was providentially welcomed by another family, the Giannini, who already had eleven children. In 1899, she met the fathers and Jesus told her that one of them would be her spiritual father. In fact, it was Father Germano, who asked her to write an Autobiography. Gemma's life was then divided between suffering and the ecstasies of union with Christ. Gemma relived the events of the Passion in her flesh: the sweat of blood, the crowning of thorns, and she was harassed by the demon who beat her. Gemma offered all this in a spirit of repair. For two years, Gemma was marked with stigmata every week, from Thursday at 8pm to Friday at 3pm. When Gemma was 24 years old and waiting to ascend to Heaven, Jesus asked her to offer a last terrible trial, as an atonement for sins committed in the priesthood. Thus, she endured untold suffering in the last months of her life and died on April 11, 1903. It was a Holy Saturday.
Gemma Galgani was beatified in 1933 by Pius XI and canonized in 1940 by Pius XII. She is celebrated on the day of her birth in Heaven, April 11.
Discover about Hozana other mystical and stigmatized saints. Like Gemma Galgani, these victim souls are chosen over the centuries to participate in the redemptive work of Christ: Saint Rita, Padre Pio, Marthe Robin, Saint Faustina, Maria Valtorta, etc.
At the age of 17, Gemma Galgani had a personal relationship with her guardian angel. She records all this, at the request of her confessor, in her Diary. The quotes of Gemma Galgani are full of precious spiritual advice. Gemma's guardian angel appeared to her for the first time in 1895 in the form of a very beautiful teenager and suggested that she become "the wife of the crucified King." From that moment on, he made himself a perfect spiritual master for her, preparing her for everything that Jesus would propose to her afterwards. He was at once very severe, not accepting the slightest imperfection, and at the same time very gentle, consoling and comforting Gemma whenever she needed it. In three years, the guardian angel led her to the summits of holiness, preparing her for her “visitation”, which is none other than the grace of the stigmata. Subsequently, when Gemma relived the Passion of Jesus, her good angel would always be close to her, accompanying and encouraging her in her sufferings. Here is the program of holiness proposed by the angel to Gemma:
“Remember, my daughter, that he who truly loves God speaks little and bears everything.
I command you, in the name of God, never to express your opinion, except when you are asked to do so; never to want to impose your feeling, but to yield immediately.
Obey your confessor in a timely fashion and do whatever he wants, without speaking. And, in things that require explanation, do so in a few words. In all things, be sincere.
When you have made some mistake, call it out immediately, without waiting for someone to ask you.
Finally, remember to keep your sight, and think that a mortified look will see the beauties of Heaven”
Padre Pio (1887-1968) had a great devotion to Saint Gemma Galgani, whom he prayed every day. The work of Father Bernard Gallizia, Gemma Galgani, the saint that Padre Pio prayed every day, describes the spiritual relationship that has developed between these two saints. Padre Pio was born six years before Gemma's death, so she was a “friend in Heaven” for him and a helper along his way on Earth. Many similarities in life united the two saints: the mystical experiences, the struggles against the demon, the supernatural manifestations of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary and their guardian angels.
“My dear God, I surrender entirely in Your Most Holy hands, thus, You make me and what belongs to me the best to please You. In this gentle surrender, I rest on Your Divine Heart as the tender child rests on her mother's breast. You think of everything, and I will only think of loving You and fulfilling Your most Holy Will.
So be it.”
After Gemma's death, her life of holiness became known first in Italy, and then all over the world. Many began to pray and ask for her intercession. Graces were not long in coming, and everywhere there are stories of physical healing obtained through her intercession, as well as an abundance of spiritual graces.
One of the miracles of Gemma Galgani and which was presented for the cause of beatification is that of an Italian, Maria Menicucci, suffering from an acute form of synovitis in her knee. Maria made a novena to the saint and applied a relic to her knee. When she removed her bandages on the last day of the novena, she discovered her perfectly healthy knee. Filled with joy, she wrote to a friend: “Gemma has heard my prayer, I am healed!”, doctors note the healing and its inexplicable nature.
Another miracle is that of Filomena Bini with a stomach disease that degenerated into cancer. Given this woman's advanced age (72), doctors said they could do nothing. Enduring great suffering, Filomena could no longer sleep. It was then that a relic of Saint Gemma Galgani was applied to her. The patient immediately fell asleep and woke up the next day perfectly healed. During the examination, the doctor noted the total disappearance of the signs of the disease, and exclaimed: “It is a miracle of the Lord”. He went on to certify these facts.