Once, while Gemma was relating to her spiritual director, Father Germanus CP, a grace that Jesus had given her, he decided to test her humility, so he replied to her “Now why would Jesus want to dirty Himself with the cesspit that is Gemma?” Gemma replied with a great smile, and was filled with a great joy, as though she had found in those words what she had been seeking for a long time, namely the best phrase that she could apply to herself."
"La Povera Gemma"
In his book "The Life of Saint Gemma Galgani" regarding Gemma's humility, Father Germanus states "I made humility the test of her spirit from the moment I was called on to examine it. Many persons, even her extraordinary Confessor, manifested hesitation on witnessing such extraordinary things in Gemma.....they said 'can all this, so rarely found even among the greatest Saints of the Church, be from God?' My answer was, 'This is certainly from God, if it is accompanied by humility.'
"She never boasted or made a display of her talents or gifts; quite the reverse. No one could equal her in her modesty and her efforts to hide herself from the eyes of others. 'For charity's sake Father' she once wrote to me, 'do not speak of me to others, and if you do, tell them what I am in reality.' She would also write of herself 'what is to be done, Father, with this worthless being?'
"Great was her embarrassment when others turned to her for help in their great needs, and this was often because of the high opinion in which she was held by many. To a confidential friend she wrote once-
'Listen, I was greatly astonished that you in your letter have asked me to pray for that Lady. If you did not know me, then you could be excused, but now that you know me well enough! I say no more. What can you expect to obtain through a sinful soul, full of defects, that is so little if at all, concerned for Jesus? Nevertheless, I will obey you, but don't rely upon me because I am good for nothing.'
"Once, when asked by a Priest for her prayers, Gemma replied 'I will pray, be assured of that. But, you know well that my poor prayers are weak and without force, and Jesus Who has gone to hide will not hear them.' (Referring to the times when Jesus withdrew His sensible presence from her, in order to better purify her, Gemma would say 'Jesus has gone to hide' -editor)
Father Gemanus continues "....I remember once, while I was at the house (Giannini home where Gemma resided -editor) an eminent Prelate was announced as wishing to meet Gemma. She, not being able to escape upon being called, seized a house cat that was near and appearing to be greatly delighted by it, and fondling the animal quite childishly (a thing, be it noted, that she had never previously done) she presented herself before the Prelate. Her artifice succeeded, and he, shrugging his shoulders, showed his displeasure. Then Gemma, full of joy at having obtained her desire, sped away with the cat in her arms."
"On her deathbed, being asked by one of the nursing Sisters in attendance what virtue was the most important and dearest to God, Gemma answered 'humility; humility is the foundation of all the others.' "
For more information on the humility of St Gemma see: