Vincent from New York, a friend in St Gemma, kindly gave permission to post our email exchange describing a little bit of his spiritual journey into the Catholic Church. God willing, Vincent will be entering the Catholic Church and receiving his First Holy Communion this upcoming Easter Vigil, April 3 2010. The webmaster would like to gratefully thank Vincent for sharing his inspirational and edifying spiritual journey with us.
Here is Vincents' email:
Thank you for your kind e-mail. I am very happy to contribute modestly to your beautiful website on St. Gemma.
I would like to share with you the reason of my recent devotion to St Gemma. It is not to talk about myself - it is of no importance - but to testify on the intercession that I obtained from this great Saint.
A few months ago I decided to become a Catholic – I was baptized as a child, but did not practice any religion, rarely prayed, had little faith, and, as a result, became desperate. I talked to a priest who asked me to read the Catechism, then I joined a RCIA program. I am now going to Mass on Sunday, praying the rosary daily, and eagerly waiting for my first Communion.
A few days ago, reflecting on these sudden and dramatic changes in my life, I had the conviction that something must have happened, that I had been helped. Then I remembered that, when I decided to become Catholic, I made a short prayer to St Gemma, to help me convert. I don’t know why I prayed to her, maybe because she is a modern saint, maybe because she inspired me faith and kindness. I can’t really explain. I kept on the desktop of my computer a small file that I wrote at that time, with the prayer that I addressed to St Gemma. I forgot about it, until I opened it a few days ago, and it struck me. I am now certain, a grace from God, that She helped me in my conversion. I’ll never been able to thank her enough. I’ll take Gemma as my confirmation name, in her honor.
Reading your website, I discovered, yesterday, two things, of which I had no prior knowledge. One is that St Gemma was “especially called to sacrifice and suffer for the conversion of sinners”. The second is that her feast is May 16th. This is precisely the day, in 2009, when I decided to convert.
Thank you for your devotion to St Gemma, and may God bless you always.
Immaculate heart of Mary pray for us !
I asked for clarification on a few points and Vincent kindly responded below:
I will receive my first Communion, God willing, on April 3rd of this year. I do not recall precisely when I first heard of St Gemma, I think I was looking for some information on the web about St Maximilian Kolbe and, since he is a modern Saint, I also found some information about St Gemma. It was approximately 2 years ago. Both saints impressed me much.
The prayer I wrote was very simple, reflecting my lack of religious education and practice at that time, but it was sincere. I first asked God to forgive me and to show me the way (meaning : receive the true faith). I simply added (I copy and paste here) : "Je prie Sainte Gemma pour son intercession" (I pray St Gemma for her intercession). As you can see, it could not have been more simple.
The word "conversion" does not technically apply to me, since I am baptized; however I never had any religious education or practice, even as a kid, so I consider it an actual conversion, or a conversion of the heart, if you will.
I e-mailed a catholic Church on Saturday, May 16 of last year, explaining my willingness to convert and asking for advice, and met with a priest in early June.
May I ask you, Glenn, in one of your prayers, to thank St Gemma for interceding for me. I would really appreciate it.
God bless you and your family.
It was not until recently that Vincent discovered that May 16th is the feast day of St Gemma as celebrated throughout the world by the Passionist Community. And so we join with Vincent in thanking God for the intercession and help of His Saints, who inspire and guide us, and obtain for us countless graces. And let us also pray for our brother Vincent as he enters the Church and receives his First Holy Communion this upcoming Easter Vigil. ~St Gemma, pray for us!
Click here for an exraordinary and remarkable story of a miraculous conversion through the intercession of St Gemma, that occured during her lifetime.
"...Why today, 0 Jesus, do You not hear me? For one soul only You have done so much! Why then will You not save this other one? Save him, Jesus, save him. Be good, Jesus. Do not say that to me. In Thy mouth, Who art Mercy itself, that word 'abandon' sounds bad. You must not say it. You have not measured the Blood that You have shed for sinners, and now do You wish to measure the enormity of our sins? Do You not listen to me? And I, to whom must I turn? You have shed Thy Blood for him as well as for me. Will You save me and not him? I will not rise from here. Save him. Promise me that You will save him. I offer myself victim for all, but particularly for him. I promise not to refuse Thee anything. Will You grant it to me? It is a soul. Remember, 0 Jesus, it is a soul that has cost Thee so much." -an excerpt from the link listed above