-A great booklet on the life of Saint Gemma!
From out of Great Britain and the CTS Great Saints series comes a great booklet entitled “Gemma Galgani" Gem of Christ, by John-Paul Kirkham (Catholic Truth Society, 2011, 64 pgs.).
The booklet provides a concise biography highlighting the extraordinary life of Gemma, and includes a good number of quotes from the Saint.
In preparation for this booklet the author, Mr. John-Paul Kirkham, visited the places in Lucca surrounding the holy life of Saint Gemma. Inspired by Gemma’s extraordinary life and devotion he wrote: “It has been a great pleasure to write this book and I hope that it will inspire others to explore her spirituality.”
To continue with Mr. Kirkham’s intentions in writing the booklet, the publisher kindly granted permission to reprint the author’s introduction on pgs. 3-5 here, that it might give interested readers a foretaste of the booklet.
(Introduction to the booklet “Gemma Galgani" –Reprinted with permission from the publisher)
May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts (Motto of the Passionists)
The emblem of the Passionist Order displays a white heart and cross of purity. The cross over the heart indicating that hearts dedicated to Christ must expect to be at the foot of the cross and to be always united with it. The words translate as "Passion of Jesus" and the three nails remind us of His suffering set against the black background as in mourning for the death of the Saviour. In the history of the Church it is rare for a saint to have shared closely in the Lord's Passion and one of the elect few is Gemma Galgani.
Gemma is derived from gem, meaning a precious and beautiful stone. Gemma Galgani was the very first canonised saint to have lived in the twentieth century and till her death at the tender age of twenty five portrayed a fine image, despite her many infirmities. The art of photography was young but the many pictures and descriptions taken of her reveal a radiance of striking beauty. Unusually for an Italian her eyes, often raised to heaven, were a bright and piercing azure blue and her long hair soft brown.
This young and vulnerable girl who lived her life hidden away in relative obscurity would eventually touch the lives of many. Orphaned of a loving mother at only seven years of age, Gemma matured quickly and rose to the highest state of sanctity that the church recognises. This humble servant of God became a mystic, visionary, and ecstatic and was allowed by Christ to unite with Him and suffer the wounds of His Passion by displaying the Stigmata and more as her physical heart would reveal after death.
In reading this biography of St. Gemma some of the events will appear fantastic and supernatural but all of her mystical experiences and ecstasies were witnessed, recorded or transcribed by the church authorities under the guidance of her spiritual director the Venerable Fr Germanus, CP and have been well documented. This was a life that reached into the 20th century and touches our modern existence in a special way.
Gemma was also instructed by her spiritual director Fr Germanus to write down her life from childhood to the age of twenty three and all of her diaries, letters and prayers survive as a testimony to a beautiful life consecrated to Christ. Her words were often addressed to Christ Himself and the Blessed Virgin. Gemma was often rewarded for her devotion with the gift of heavenly and divine visions and locutions with Our Lord, the Mother of God and her Guardian Angel.
Throughout the book are many of St Gemma's own compositions which draw us closer to her profound and spiritual prayer life that displayed great sadness and yet immense and unconquerable joy.
Many arduous illnesses would mean that Gemma's wish to enter various religious orders would always result in rejection. Towards the end of her shortly numbered days she urgently desired to join the Passionist Nuns of St Paul of the Cross but she was forced to remain a laywoman. However, as we shall discover, her prophetic words would strike true as she proclaimed "though you would not have me in life, you will in death".
After her life ended her bodily remains were adopted by The Passionist's. Pope Benedict XV confirmed that "if not by habit and profession, undoubtedly by desire and affection, Gemma is rightly numbered among the religious children of St. Paul of the Cross".
"I shall love You. I shall love You always. When day breaks, when evening turns into night, at every hour, at every moment I shall love You always, always, always." St Gemma Galgani_________________________________________________________
The booklet is being offered here for only $5.99 plus $2.50 shipping.
To order, click here to go to the St Gemma Gift Store.
-or those in the USA can send American cash, personal check or money order for $7.00 (well hidden in an envelope) to:
42 Crown St
Bristol, CT 06010
Please be sure to enclose your mailing address. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The booklet can also be obtained as part of the St Gemma website complete package offer, which includes all of the items that are offered on the website, including the four black and white St Gemma photo holy prayer cards, one St Gemma relic card, one color holy card, one prayer pamphlet, one medal, and one “Gemma Galgani" Gem of Christ booklet, all for $17 + $2.50 shipping worldwide ($19.50 total). Those interested can click here for more information on the St Gemma website complete package offer.
Those living in Europe and abroad can also obtain the book from the publisher, The Catholic Truth Society by clicking here. The C.T.S. website address is http://www.cts-online.org.uk/
"Who knows how many times my faith would have wavered, if You had not helped me. If You had not come to my aid, my hope and my charity would have grown weak. And, oh Jesus, how many times my love would have become weak, if You had not strengthened it with Thy caresses! And my will--the power of my soul which counts most--this will of mine would have become slothful many times, if You had not come with Thy fire to inflame it. I acknowledge that all my victories were the work of Thy infinite love....
"Oh my Jesus, I thank Thee for all the graces You have given me, and I desire to love Thee with all my heart." -St Gemma Galgani