Saint Gemma

St. Gemma Galgani Receives The Stigmata

Saint Gemma Galgani (1878–1903) offered her life as a victim soul in reparation for the sins of the world. This seraphic soul was blessed with immeasurable graces and mystical experiences all throughout her life. Saint Gemma received the stigmata in 1899. 


Gemma’s Desires To Be Like Jesus

From every page of this story the reader has been able to see that Gemma’s chief thought, the ardent incessant desire of her heart, was to become like Jesus; and, as the Son of God is the Man of Sorrows, that was enough for her: Jesum et hunc Crucifixum. The mysteries of the magnificence that faith shows us in our Saviour did not seem to move her much. “Ah, my Beloved,” she kept repeating with the Spouse in the Canticles, “is for me a bundle of myrrh. I don’t want to see anything else in Him since He has not wished anything else for Himself. Let whoever wishes it contemplate Him on Mount Tabor; I will contemplate Him on Calvary with my dear Mother Addolorata.” She did not even seem to make account of the images of Our Lord; and in fact she did not wish to keep any by her through devotion except those that represented Him Crucified. “O Mamma,” we have heard her say to her Mother when quite little, “tell me of the Passion of Jesus.” And to her school mistresses: “Sisters, explain to me some point in the Sorrowful Mysteries of Jesus.” And we have seen the saintly child so moved at this explanation, that, for fear of seeing her faint and get ill, those good religious had to stop the devout exercises. This ardent desire kept on increasing until it had effected the perfect transformation of this chosen virgin into Christ Crucified. God Himself is about to show to Heaven and earth, by wonderful means, that Gemma is truly crucified with Jesus.

The Throne Of True Lovers

When Gemma left the convent a mysterious voice seemed to say to her: “Rise, take courage, abandon thyself without reserve to Jesus, love Him with all thy being, offer no obstacle to His designs, and thou shalt see the great strides He will cause thee to make in little time without thy knowing how. Fear nothing, for the Heart of Jesus is the throne of Mercy, where the miserable are the most readily received.” Comforted by these words, the Servant of God, turning to an image of the Sacred Heart exclaimed: “O my Jesus, how greatly I wish to love Thee, but I don’t know how!” And the same Voice replied: “Dost thou wish to love Jesus always? Never cease even for a moment to suffer for Him. The Cross is the throne of true lovers; the Cross is the patrimony of the elect in this life.”

Gemma Receives The Stigmata

At last one day after Holy Communion, she heard Jesus say to her: “Gemma, courage! I await thee on Calvary, on that Mount whither thy course is directed.” To that noble appointment He had directed those numberless contradictions, those torturing pains, those spiritual exercises in the convent, that extraordinary contrition for her sins and that General Confession made with such compunction, of which matters we have already spoken.

It was the 8th of June 1899. After Communion, Our Lord let His servant know that the same evening He would give her a very great grace. She ran at once to tell her confessor of it. She wished to receive again from him the absolution from all her sins. Then with her soul overflowing with unaccustomed joy and peace, and her mind full of engrossing thoughts, she went home. Now let us hear what happened from her own lips:

We were on the vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, Thursday evening. All of a sudden, more quickly than usual, I felt a piercing sorrow for my sins; but I felt it so intensely that I have never since experienced anything like it. That sorrow, I might say, almost brought me to death’s door. Next I felt all the powers of my soul in recollection. My intellect knew nothing but my sins and my offenses against God. My memory recalled them all and set before me all the torments that Jesus had endured to save me. My will moved me to detest them all and willingly suffer everything to expiate them. A world of thoughts turned in my mind, and they were thoughts of grief, love, fear, hope, encouragement.

This recollection was quickly followed by a rapture out of my senses, and I found myself in the presence of my dear heavenly Mother who had my Guardian Angel on her right. He spoke first, telling me to repeat the Act of Contrition, and when I had done so my Holy Mother said: “My child, in the name of Jesus may all thy sins be forgiven thee.” Then she added: “My Son Jesus loves thee beyond measure and wishes to give thee a grace. Wilt thou know how to render thyself worthy of it?” My misery did not know what to answer. Then she added: “I will be a mother to thee. Wilt thou be a true child?’ She opened her mantle and covered me with it.

At that moment Jesus appeared with all His Wounds open, but from those Wounds there no longer came forth blood, but flames of fire. In an instant those flames came to touch my hands, my feet and my heart. I felt as if I were dying, and should have fallen to the ground had not my Mother held me up, while all the time I remained beneath her mantle. I had to remain several hours in that position. Finally she kissed my forehead, all vanished, and I found myself kneeling. But I still felt great pain in my hands, feet and heart. I rose to go to bed, and became aware that blood was flowing from those parts where I felt pain. I covered them as well as I could, and then, helped by my Angel, I was able to get into bed. In the morning I found it difficult to go to Holy Communion, and I put on a pair of gloves to hide my hands. I could not remain standing and felt every moment that I should die. Those pains did not leave me until three o’clock on Friday—Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

This article is taken from a chapter in The Life of Saint Gemma Galgani by Venerable Fr. Germanus, CP which is available from TAN Books

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