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Saint Gemma Galgani

Born: March 12, 1878 in Camigliano, Capanori, Italy

Died: April 11, 1903 in Lucca, Italy

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church

Beatified: in 1933 by Pope Pius XI

Canonized: May 2, 1940 by Pope Pius XII

Feast Day: April 11

Patronages: Students; Pharmacists; Paratroopers and Parachutists; Loss of Parents; Those suffering back injury or back pain; Those suffering with headaches/migraines; Those struggling with temptations to impurity; Those seeking purity of heart

Saint Gemma Galgani was born at Camigliano near Lucca, Italy, on March 12, 1878.  At twenty years of age, Saint Gemma was attacked by tuberculosis of the spine.  This disease was declared by the doctors to be hopelessly incurable.  After countless novenas to Saint Gabriel, she was completely cured on the first Friday of March 1899.

At this time, apparently free from her recent illness, she 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 experience - 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 hands and feet, and she had ecstasies and visions.

In 1902, she was again stricken with an illness which was thought to be tuberculosis and she fell asleep in the Lord in 1903.  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: God, You showered heavenly gifts on Saint Gemma.  Help us to imitate her virtues during our earthly life and enjoy eternal happiness with her in heaven.  Amen.