St. Gemma Galgani was born at Camigliano, near Lucca, Italy, on March 12, 1878. At twenty years of age, St. Gemma was attacked by tuberculosis of the spine. This desease was declared by the doctors to be hopelessly incurable. After countless novenas to St. Gabriel, she was completely cured on the first Friday of March, 1899. At this time, apparently free from her recent illness, the Saint sought to fulfill her lifelong wish of pursuing her religious vocation with the Passionist nuns, but her application, as previously, was rejected.
From 1899 on, this quiet and unexcitable girl who was endowed with a remarkably fervent religious disposition underwent many extraordinary religious experiences—all of which were carefully investigated by her confessor and spiritual director, Father Germano. The marks of Christ’s crucifixion (Stigmata) appeared intermittently for over eighteen months on her hand and feet, and she had ecstasies and visions.
In 1902, she was again stricken with an illness that was thought to be tuberculosis and she fell asleep in the Lord in 1905. The fame of her sanctity spread rapidly all over the world. She was beatified by Pius XI on March 14, 1933, and canonized by Pius XII on Ascension Day, 1940.
PRAYER: All-powerful God, You made the Virgin St. Gemma a living image of Your crucified Son. Through her prayers, may we suffer with Christ and so share in His glory. Amen.