Pilgrimage itinerary to Lucca to visit the places of St Gemma
Here is a suggested itinerary by the Passionist Nuns of Lucca:
ST. GEMMA'S MONESTARY-CONVENT-SANCTUARY-
The Passionist Monastery in Lucca in honor of St Gemma, for which Jesus had asked Gemma over and over again, gives hospitality to a community of cloistered Passionist nuns. Gemma’s venerated remains are kept in a statue-urn and within the main altar, and are visible for devotion of the faithful. The remains of Gemma’s spiritual director, Venerable Padre Germanus Ruoppolo and Gemma's Confessor, Monsignor Giovanni Volpi are also devotedly kept within the monastery Church. Also within the monastery Church are the remains of its first Mother, Mother Giuseppa (Palmira Armellini), the first Mother Superior of the Monastery at Lucca.
HER BIRTHPLACE- Gemma's birthplace is Borgonuovo, about seven kilometers from Lucca. The house where she was born is at No. 502, Pesciatina Street. Since 1943 the house has been taken care of by the "St. Gemma's Sisters" a congregation that was founded by Eufemia Giannini. (See detailed info about the St Gemma Sisters below)
THE GALGANI'S HOUSE- The Galgani's house is at No. 31, St. Gemma Street (once Biscione Street). On the first floor of the house there is still the room where Gemma miraculously recovered from dorsal tabes, received the stigmata and several times talked with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Angels and St. Gabriel of our lady of Sorrows. Now the room is a chapel. In this house Gemma passed her sorrowful youth before moving to the Gianninis.
THE CHURCH OF ST. MICHAEL - It was built in the XII century and is a tipical example of the local architecture. On the top of the church there is the statue of St. Michael while slaughtering the dragon; on both sides there are the statues of two angels. The church is called St. Michael in Forum because the present square was an ancient Roman forum. Gemma was confirmed at St. Michael's and later she often came here to confess to Monsignor Volpi.
THE CHURCH OF ST. FREDIANO – “ST. FREDERICK”- This basilica was rebuilt between 1112 and 1147 in its original structure with three portals in the Pisan style. The big mosaic represen ting the Ascension is by Berlinghero Berlingheri and is in the Italo-Byzantine style. This mosaic, the stately belltower and the ornamentation of the facade and of the apse all date back to the XIII century. At St. Frediano's, Gemma's parish church, she received her first Holy Communion.
THE GIANNINIS' HOUSE (Casa Giannini)- The Gianninis' house is at No. 10, Seminary Street. For about three years it was the scene of a simple and faithful existence and of God's extraordinary and wonderful interventions. Everything here recalls Gemma. In this house, she received the marks of Jesus' flagellation, His crown of thorns, His tears and His sweat of blood. Here the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus appeared to the Saint. Here you can venerate the big Crucifix that hugged Gemma and the little statue of Our Lady of Sorrows that the Saint saw weeping and that was a dear memory of her mother. Here there are Gemma's mantle and jacket; here you can see her bed, the famous «canterale», the desk at which Gemma wrote her «Autobiography» and many «Letters». In the garden of this house there is the well into which Gemma threw herself in order to resist a temptation against purity.
The "Sisters of St. Gemma" take care of the Giannini family home. They are a religious community founded by Eufemia Giannini who was Gemma’s favorite of the Giannini children and the confidant of many of her secrets. She was very devoted to Gemma during the time of Gemma’s last illness and she was present at her death. Influenced by Gemma's heroic virtues, she became a nun, and in 1939 became the Mother of the new Community "The Passionist Sisters of St Gemma". She took the name Mother Gemma Giannini. She died in 1971, and was officially declared “Venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI on March 15th, 2008. Their telephone number is: 0583 48237 and also 0583 927165. Click here for more info about Venerable Gemma Eufemia Giannini and the Sisters of St Gemma
ST. MARTIN'S CATHEDRAL- St. Martin's Cathedral was founded by the bishop Anselmo da Baggio in 1060. In the XII century Guidetto da Como began to rebuild the church. Inside, you can admire one of lacopo della Quercia's most representative works, namely the sarcophagus of Paolo Giunigi's young wife, Ilaria del Carretto, who died in 1405. In this church Gemma met the Passionist Fathers during the Mission they preached in 1899. The Saint often came here to pray before the «Holy Face».
THE HOUSE WHERE SHE DIED is at No. 29, Rose Street. The flat had been rented by Gemma's Aunt Elisa Galgani and on January 24th 1903 they had transferred the Saint there, due to concerns of her disease being contagious. The room where she died and which faced the Gianninis' garden has been turned into a chapel. It recalls the dreadful devilish vexations she was subjected to during the last months of her life, her painful crucifixion, her isolation and her calm and serene death after the agony she had lived together with Jesus.
SANTA MARIA DELLA ROSA CHURCH- It rises opposite the house where Gemma died. The Saint came here very often to pray and attend Mass during her stay at the Gianninis' and also during her final disease. It has a side Chapel in honor of St Gemma.
The website of the Passionist nuns at St Gemma's monastery is: http://www.santagemma.it/
Also, those interested in a pilgrimage to Rome and other popular points of interest in Italy should visit our good friends Mike and Sue Denz over at www.takeapilgrimage.com
"...I would like to have enough strength, Jesus, to help You and to suffer much for You. To save my soul, You have spared neither your blood nor even your life! For my part, I would like to die for You. Do You believe it?" -St Gemma Galgani