Saint Gemma obtains heavenly graces for many in the world today
One of the blessings of creating the St Gemma website has been the many emails and letters of devotion to St Gemma that I have received from kind people throughout the world. From India to the Philippines, from Holland to Great Britain, from Canada to Argentina---letters and emails from literally all over the world expressing love, veneration and devotion to Gemma, the "Gem of Christ".
And along with the letters of devotion there are also many emails and letters expressing Gemma's remarkable intercession in the lives of many -from answered prayers, cures, conversions etc. to the dreams of Gemma and (alleged) visions; the accounts of which, all recent, are numerous and so very edifying, and they all point to St Gemma's continued and ongoing intercession on behalf of the faithful throughout the world. Gemma has even appeared and given her assistance in numerous exorcisms, as highlighted in the recent book "“The Rite-The Making of an Exorcist” (2009- Random House/Doubleday Inc). and also during exorcisms at her monastery in Lucca, both of which are detailed in this 3 part article here.
But, should Gemma's intercession in the world today really be of any surprise? One can surmise that it is simply a continuation of her apostolate for the conversion of souls of which she spent her life in great sacrifice and suffering out of love for Jesus, her beloved Spouse. And now, having passed from this life on earth to a eternal life in heaven with her Jesus, she continues, even today, her intercession on behalf of souls, to guide, inspire and help us in our earthly pilgrimage.
Gemma's spiritual director, Venerable Father Germanus, who knew Gemma intimately, wrote in his book "The Life of Gemma Galgani" quote: "I am able to assert that from the first day that I came to know Gemma up to that of her death, I always found her exercising her zeal for the conversion of sinners. I say this literally from the first day, alluding to the circumstances mentioned in Chapter 12." (Editors note: Here Father Germanus is referring to the miraculous incident of the conversion of a sinner in Lucca which occurred on the first day the he met Gemma on Sept. 1, 1900, a detailed account of which can be read here.)
For it was the Lord Himself who on several occasions appeared to Gemma and asked her to offer herself as a victim of expiation for the sins of the world, and asked her to sacrifice her life for this purpose, and in reply Gemma offered herself without reservation. He wished for her to spend her whole being for the conversion of sinners. "If you love Me," He said to her, "You will do what I ask of you," and with a clear light He lets her see the form of her apostolate in its smallest details.
"You know, oh Jesus" she answered, "how ready I am to sacrifice myself in everything. I will bear every sort of suffering for You. I will give every drop of my blood to please Thy Heart and to hinder the outrages of sinners against You."
Father Germanus continues: 'And Gemma soon found the secret of moving the Heart of her Jesus, and those innocent tears, those burning desires, that force of argument that she managed so well, seemed always successful. On the last day we shall know how many souls have been dragged in this way from the clutches of the enemy by this humble virgin. It is certain that not a day passed without her praying for sinners. A proof of this is to be found in the register of her ecstasies through which, without being aware of it, she laid open her whole soul. "Oh Jesus, do not abandon poor sinners; think of sinners and of me. I want them all saved." And as she had always some particular sinner more especially in mind, "That one," she used to say, "I want You, Jesus, to remember particularly, because I want him saved together with me." Remark my words: 'together with me.' -Ah, the persuasive eloquence of love!'
And without a doubt Gemma's 'persuasive eloquence of love' with Jesus on behalf of humanity is surely even more powerful now that she is united with her Jesus in His kingdom.
Father Germanus continues: 'This angelic girl often turned for help to her heavenly Mother, whose power with Our Lord she had well experienced in whatever she had most at heart. One day when in ecstasy she found the Holy Mother greatly afflicted and, at the same time, it seemed to Gemma that She was resolved not to take further interest in a soul for which Gemma was pleading.
Behold with what earnestness this child of Heaven set about dissuading the Mother of God from what seemed to be her determination: "But what do I hear You say, Mother? Abandon that soul? Is it not a question of one belonging to Jesus? Has He not shed all His Blood for this soul? ... 'It is true, I myself have forgotten this soul for some days, but will You abandon it on this account? No, no, be firm, go and appease Jesus."
Here it would seem as if the Holy Mother found the undertaking very difficult, for Gemma soon said: "But Jesus always obeys His Mother. And then will You say that You cannot do it?"
And again, "Oh, rather than abandon a soul! Oh Mother, it is impossible that Jesus would forsake a soul! Why, He even had mercy on the thief!"
"But do you know," replied the Blessed Virgin, "what this sinner really is? I could show thee what a malignant soul is his."
And Gemma: "I know, Mother, what he is, but I don't want to look at his soul. When he is saved, yes, then I will see him. Oh my Mother, why do You treat me like this today, You who intercedes always for sinners? Have You ceased to be Mother? Surely it is impossible. But today will You leave me in such affliction? Obtain for me from Jesus what You did for me on Saturday [here she is alluding to the conversion of another sinner for whom also she had prayed very much], then how contented I will be!"
Father Germanus continues: "Abandon a soul!" -These words pierced Gemma's heart and filled her with consternation. I myself wished to have a proof of this by repeating them to her with regards to a penitent of whom I had resolved to give up because she seemed to me to be firm in her sins. This is how she answered me:
'Wicked Father! Rather than be discouraged or use that horrible word "abandon," why not call her to yourself and make her tell you all the truth, and show her affection as you did with me while I was a thousand times worse than she? Be careful. If you can see her in person that is good, but if not, write to her at once that, if she does not return into the right path as Jesus wishes and leave off all sin, He will smite her. This is all I say; I know everything, everything.'
But she did not keep her resolve to say no more and soon wrote to me again as follows:
"Assuredly Father, Jesus is not content with that soul. No, no, there is so much more that is wanting in this soul. He has told me terrible things about her! Tell her to reform, otherwise Jesus will strike her down. Act in this way, Father: when you speak to her, say something of me and tell her to come to me. If she had come already, things would not have turned out as they did.”
And Father Germanus continues: “I will relate another fact in the words of a most reliable witness who told me of it. "I was asked," said this person, "by a lady acquaintance to recommend her brother, a great sinner, to Gemma. I did so accordingly and she while in ecstasy began to plead to Jesus for him. But He [no doubt to try her faith] replied that He knew not that sinner."
"How is it that You do not know him," she said, "since he is Thy child?" Then she turned to Mary, but seeing that even She remained silent and wept, she began to pray to Blessed Gabriel of the Dolors [St Gabriel Possenti -ed.], and he also was silent. But Gemma, for all that, did not lose courage. She redoubled her prayers.
During this time she said to me: "That man must indeed be a great sinner. Jesus says He knows him not, Mother weeps, and Blessed Gabriel will not answer me."
'After about a year of this assiduous praying and pleading, one day, while returning from church with Gemma, I met the servant of the above-mentioned lady in the greatest consternation. The brother of her mistress, she said, was dying. We were greatly pained, but we had only gone about twenty yards when Gemma exclaimed: "He is saved, he is saved." I asked her who? "The brother of that lady," she answered. I learned afterwards that this man breathed his last pressing the Priests hand precisely at the time Gemma was walking home. That coincided exactly at the moment that Gemma said aloud “He is saved, he is saved!”
Because of their high opinion of her sanctity, Gemma was often asked by others to pray for certain people . But it frequently happened that God Himself made such cases known to His servant directly, while she was at home, and by providential coincidences while she was out of doors. She was always ready to take charge of them whatever way they came, rejoicing in each one as if she had found a treasure and devoting herself the more earnestly to them in proportion to their number. "I would wish," she said, "to bathe with my blood all those places where Jesus is outraged. I would wish all sinners to be saved, because they have been redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus."
The last person that she had in her mind, or, as she used to say, “that she carried on her shoulders”, was a gentleman of Lucca, a notorious and obstinate sinner, but not personally known to her. The always charitable Gemma labored long and earnestly for his conversion and renewed her assaults on Heaven without losing confidence. In her last sickness she said: "I am keeping him on my shoulders for the whole of the Lent, then he will be taken off."
On Holy Thursday, the good priest who had recommended him to Gemma, all full of joy, told me that a great sinner had been converted in his hands. It was Gemma's sinner. Two days later, freed from that great weight, with another palm in hand, the Virgin of Lucca took flight to Heaven.
This was the last conversion wrought through Gemma's intercession while alive here on earth, occuring only two days before her holy death. But how many more have occurred through her heavenly intercession in the 100 years since? God alone knows, but if this writers email inbox and letter box over the past few years is any indication of Gemma's ongoing intercession in the world, then the number of miracles, cures and conversions obtained through the “Gem of Christ” over the years since her death must number in the hundreds, if not thousands.
Gemma promised Jesus that she would do everything possible to save souls and she is continuing her mission from heaven today, by obtaining heavenly graces for those who seek them. And surely Gemma's promise to Father Germano can also be applied to us. For in his other work on Gemma, “The Letters and Ecstasies of Gemma Galgani”, Father Germano publishes a letter written by Gemma to him that says: “You shall see what I will do when I go to heaven. I will bring you with me at any cost”.
-St Gemma, pray for us!