Letters of Saint Gemma Galgani from 1902


In honor of Saint Gemma’s birthday, Thursday, March 12, below are three recently translated letters written by Saint Gemma.

On another note, April 11th is St Gemma's feast day. This upcoming April 11th is special in that it coincides with Holy Saturday, just like it did on the day of St Gemma's death, Holy Saturday April 11, 1903. The next time these dates will coincide again is in the year 2020, then not again for another 73 years, that is, 2093.
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Letter of Saint Gemma to Venerable Father Germano CP
Friday, August 29, 1902

My dear Dad,
Do not be angry at me; as soon as I read your letter and realized that my in­ability to write derived from Chiappino.[“Chiappino” was Gemma’s nickname for the devil -editor] I got up and instantly seized a pen. I believe it really did come from him but believe me, and I say this with Jesus truly in my heart, I no longer have those thoughts about you. I feel calm and peaceful, with complete faith in you; the only reason I did not write, dear Dad is because I am so weak that if I put my head down, when I raise it up I feel faint, but I will make an effort. Oh my God! ... Oh my Dad! ...

I was at Controne and up there Jesus did not fail to have my good angel pay me a little visit; I was so consoled. After making all my protestations, I started talking with him. My dear Dad, Jesus continues to let me taste such sweetness in prayer. Yes, if Jesus is sweetness, He spreads it all out in the Blessed Sacrament.
But how can it be that such a great majesty tolerates being with such a vile creature? How is this? Maybe He does not see the ingratitude of my soul? Does He not see my heart without devotion? And yet, nevertheless, Jesus puts up with me, loves me; and if Jesus loves me, poor as I am, how shall I not love Him, so rich and strong? Dad, help me! ...

Listen to this strange thing ... Monsignor had allowed me to confess my­self with Father Paolo, the apostolic preacher. I confessed thoroughly and he advised me among other things to pray for sinners, which I promised to do. Without thinking further about it, an hour or two after confession, the devil (whom I recognized clearly) said to me: "As long as you are acting on your own behalf, do as you wish, but don't you dare do anything for sinners because you will pay for it!"

My dear Dad, give me some advice on this. Help me, be­cause only God knows the number of sins I have committed and still com­mit; how much my nature resents every word! How imperfect I am in bear­ing with this little illness that God sends me! How many times I give people the opportunity to gossip about me and how I cause such disquiet in this household! And yet merciful Jesus caresses me and loves me: why?

It has been thirteen days now that my stomach retains only a little broth; before that it also retained a little milk, but not anymore.
I beg you, Dad, on my knees, to think about making an absolute command to my good Mom [Gemma's friend and adoptive mother, Ms. Cecilia Giannini -editor] not to force me to eat. Listen: at Controne she ordered me to eat; I ate and then in throwing up I also spit up clots of blood and you could see that it was too much effort; blood even came from my nose.
Think about making this command once and for all, begging her never to forget it. I pray continuously to good Jesus to make me well, but how can I do this when Jesus permits these things? Let us hope for the best.

Tell Mother Giuseppa to pray for my soul and soon I will send her a little letter for the feast of the Blessed Virgin. Giulia, dear Dad, is dead; pray so, so much for her. [Guilia was one of Gemma's younger sisters who died of tuberculosis -editor] Jesus is strength, He is courage, and He did not fail to give me some. Long live Jesus!

Bless me strongly, very strongly, dear Dad. I will be good, help me.
I am your poor,
Gemma

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Letter to Ven. Father Germanus CP
Saturday, August 30, 1902

My good Dad,
Jesus still has not let you know about the ingratitude of my soul? Oh dear Dad, help me, do not leave me; I will be sincere, obedient, and not with­hold anything.
I would be quite calm, but receiving holy Communion makes me a little afraid; I fear doing it wrong, not preparing properly (even though to this I usually devote most of the night); when I give thanks afterward, Jesus holds me close to Himself; but I do things without concern or reflection, so Jesus cannot be pleased, no way; so what should I do? I await from you, my dear Dad, a help­ing hand, some counsel.


The devil makes great efforts to deprive me of this good [Holy Communion -ed]; you can imagine, not a night passes that I do not dream of drinking or eating, and it seems so real to me that after, if I did not make sure I was in bed and what I dreamt could not have happened, I would go who knows where rather than to Holy Communion; nevertheless, I am not agitated [here Gemma is referring to the required fast prior to receiving Communion, which at that time was from midnight onwards –editor] . The monsignor assures me that in dreaming one commits no sin, so I go forward as Jesus likes, but I feel very badly about this believe me, my dear Dad.
So much up to today, August 30.


Today, September 3, I take up the pen again; I have a fever, since yester­day after dinner. Long live Jesus!
I have to communicate something to you, Dad. For about eight days I have been feeling a mysterious fire where my heart is, I do not understand. The first few days I made nothing of it because it gave me little if any trouble but today is the third day that this fire is growing rapidly, almost to the point that I cannot bear it; I would need some ice to extinguish it; it is very annoying, prevents me from sleeping, eating, etc. etc. It's a mysterious fire, Dad, that extends to the outside of me as well, and on the skin it leaves a burn mark; it is a fire that does not torment me, you know, it gives me plea­sure, but it destroys me, it consumes me. Jesus will make you understand everything tomorrow morning, indeed, He will already have made you un­derstand everything. Great God, I love you! I want to love you so much!

Dear Dad, in this condition how can I remedy things with the monsi­gnor? I am fully ready to reveal everything to him and to undergo a medi­cal visit, to do everything he wants. I await an indication about what to do from you, my good Dad.
I'll stop, because with my fever I cannot go on. Jesus and my good an­gel will tell all.

Bless me with all your strength and your heart. Goodbye, my dear Dad,
Your poor,
Gemma
P.S. -Pray for my soul, in danger of falling. Oh God, I will do anything, do not permit it.

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Letter to Mother Maria Giuseppa
Sunday, August 31, 1902

Reverend Mother,
Long live Jesus! Long live merciful Jesus! For how long, dear Mother, Jesus has nourished me with His Blessed Sacrament alone! For how long He has guided my life with such affection! And for how long He has placed persons in His place to help me, bear with me, love me.

Poor Jesus! How does He put up with and suffer such thanklessness and ingratitude from me? Jesus, Jesus who cannot bear the smallest fault in His souls, how does He put up with me, who offends Him at every hour, every mo­ment? Often I hear Him cry, I feel Him afflicted, and He tells me He does this for sinners. But, my God, do not cry for sinners; cry, cry for me ... No, no, Jesus, do not cry for me either; I will cry, I will make amends, I will become good, obedient. There are so many souls who pray for me; you will see, they will succeed in changing me; save my soul.

Finally this soul, so proud in seeing Jesus so humble, will be ashamed; ashamed even to raise its head. Why such difficulty in yielding to obedience, remembering the admirable obedience of Jesus?


Dear Mother, pray for me, for I need it badly; continue as you are doing, as I feel almost continuously your prayers directed to God on my behalf; indeed, increase them because the need increases, and I fear ... I fear for my soul. Tell me, dear Mother: the continual frequency of Holy Communion, the repeated banquets at the celestial table, the food of the angels--why does it not do to my soul as much good as it does so abundantly in so many souls? ... I fear, I fear of receiving Communion badly, and who knows how many times I would have abandoned it had Jesus' repeated invitations not made me know clearly that it was truly He who called me.
Do I perhaps receive communion well? Then why do I see no fruit? Do I perhaps receive communion badly? Oh God ... make me die rather than receiving Communion badly and living in sacrilege, no, no ... Dear Mother, pray for me, for this, for all of me.


If good Jesus granted us the grace of be­ing together, how I would consider myself fortunate! How I want to listen to your counsels! How I want to make you happy. How I want never to make you cry, as I have made my poor Dad cry so many times ... but he already has forgiven me. Poor Dad! A few days ago I feared that the enemy once more would torment me with his dirty tricks ... unfortunately, it must be true that my inability to write derived from him; nevertheless my thoughts were free from his influence. As soon as I got Father Germano's letter, where he warned me, I got up and took a pen and in fifteen minutes I did everything. And I could not wait until my Dad would receive that let­ter, containing little sense it is true, but at least reassuring him that the devil was not tormenting me by undermining my faith in him. Long live Jesus!


Dear Mother, we want to belong entirely to Jesus alone, to that good Fa­ther, to that loving Lord, to that generous Benefactor, to that sweet Consoler, to that passionate Lover ... to Jesus, that's it.

It would be a great charity if you would commend to God the soul of one of my little sisters. [Gemma is referring to her younger sister Guilia who had recently died -ed.] She was an angel, you know, but still I feel I should ask for prayers for her. She is happy, Jesus has taken her! One more prayer, dear Mother, that Jesus give me the grace to be, at least in this family, a good example and not a scandal. If in the past I was a scandal, and I caused dam­age with my bad example, let this be the moment to end my scandals; to be the beginning of edification, of an holy and virtuous life, where in the past I was a bad example.

Now, dear Mother, let us leave each other, but to find ourselves in a little while with Jesus. I pray for your blessing, for your prayers, and to never for­get poor

Gemma


"Poor Jesus! How does He put up with and suffer such thanklessness and ingratitude from me? Jesus, Jesus who cannot bear the smallest fault in His souls, how does He put up with me, who offends Him at every hour, every mo­ment? Often I hear Him cry, I feel Him afflicted, and He tells me He does this for sinners." -St Gemma Galgani

1 comment:

jeffrey weiss said...

Gemma, I love you and thank I thank the Lord for your earthly life that has taught me so much of faith and prayer.

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