-The remarkable story of St.Gemma's 50 year heavenly friendship with a German mystic named Mariella.
All the information provided here is taken from the German book "Liebe Siegt Im Opfer" (Love Triumphs in the Victim") by Alfons M. Weigl. Firstly and very importantly I would like to point out that the English translations provided here are rough translations, and may not be in complete conformity with the original. This book details the extraordinary intercession and heavenly friendship that developed between St Gemma and a German mystic and victim soul named Mariella K. whose full name was not revealed in the book as she was always to remain hidden, even after her holy death (born Feb 3, 1895- died April 26, 1969). In the book we discover how St. Gemma guides, encourages and leads Mariella into a deep mystical and sacrificial relationship and union with Jesus for the conversion of sinners, teaching her how to sacrifice and suffer out of love for Jesus. Concerning this Mariella herself writes:
"If I say the slightest untruth, Jesus sends his representatives in order to rebuke me ruthlessly. I would rather suffer all the tortures and endure all shame before men, than to not be a child of the truth. I hate lies and dishonesty and the fear of being an impostor or being decieved makes me suffer more than all the pain of the disease. I write as I am told; I write out of love for Gemma. I do not care whether it is pleasant or not, whether it is right or not. It is not from me; It would be a mistrust of Gemma if I had objections or misgivings about what I am told to write."
The school of the Cross
The hidden life of the victim soul Mariella was an unbroken chain of suffering. She came from a family of nine. When she was age two she became ill with diphtheria, then scarlet fever at age 13, at age 19 she moved to her grandmothers home to assist her grandmother in caring for her pleurisy. Then at age 25 she contracted black smallpox, from which she was miraculously cured through the intercession of St Gemma. However the smallpox was followed by other diseases such as intestinal tuberculosis, cystitis, uremia, a spinal cord disease and later joint rheumatism. Additionally, during the war in 1945 she was kicked in the stomach by an enemy soldier which caused a wound and subsequent tumor that took cancerous forms. In latter years this wound was bleeding every day, sometimes the blood flowed so heavily from this stomach wound that she became very weak and felt as if she would faint at any moment..
St Gemma makes a heavenly appearance
Saint Gemma came to Mariella for the first time on March 25, 1920 (Feast of the Annunciation) as she lay in the isolation room of the hospital suffering with black smallpox ("Black pox" as it is commonly known, is a symptom of smallpox that is caused by bleeding under the skin which makes the skin look charred or black). Interestingly, Black pox is close to one hundred percent fatal (see black smallpox wikpedia entry here) and because of this the doctors basically abandoned her to her fate. One of the local priests was called to her bedside and she was given the last rites of the Church.
Mariella explains what happened next:
"Suddenly someone came to my bed and touched my feet. Then the apparition moved closer and touched my forehead and said:.
'Follow me in suffering, persecution and contempt.'
"Terrified I looked up and at my feet there was a figure in a bright glow who smiled at me; she came close to my side and said:
"My sorella! [sister] Know that you were doomed to death. Wake up! The new life that you are receiving will not be a life of health and strength, but a life for the task that God has given to you; a new life in reparation, prayer and sacrifice.....I will be thy guide and sister. I am Gemma from Jesus"
"Then she waved farewell at me and disappeared. Suddenly I felt from my feet going up to my head a pleasant feeling that came over me, and then I felt no more pain, yet just before I could not even move my arms and legs.....I kept absolutely secret about this experience. No one had ever told me anything about her. If she had not given me her name I would not have known who she was. I must confess that I never heard such a name at that time and I had never venerated this servant of God, but since March 25, 1920 she was to be buried in my memory."
And from that day on, for the next 50 years Gemma was to be Mariella's teacher and guide, reprimanding her at times for her willful faults and sins, but even more so encouraging her in the practice of virtue--all the while enflaming her heart with consoling words and causing her to make heroic sacrifices out of love for Jesus, and in union with Him.
(It is important to point out that these are private revelations which the Church thusfar has made no judgments upon. The faithful are therefore free to discern for themselves the veracity of the alleged revelations. It should be noted that the book has received ecclesiastical approval by Josef Erhardsberger, Canon Emeritus, Regensburg, August 15, 1973).
Soon afterwards Gemma appeared to her again and allegedly said to her:
"I would like you, my sister, to rise higher in your ascent to God. Through suffering you can work miracles--miracles not perceived by the eye, but your sufferings will obtain the conversion and salvation of human souls and will benefit also those in purgatory."
"You shall be a preferred bride of Christ and as such you are allowed to participate in a special way the great life's work of saving souls."
"I will be with you and guide you in everything, but say to the confessor that you are to be hidden, and that he should keep quiet about everything. You have to be tested in many ways and you must now also learn to take humiliations upon you."
"My sorella has the wounds of the Saviour on the heart, hands and feet but they are invisible to the human eye. They are to remain hidden, like many of her other sufferings...."
"With Jesus, start a new life, even though you are suffering a lot. See, each of these spikes represents a new suffering for you. But fear not, for Jesus gives you power and grace for you to endure these sufferings with patience and resignation....Afflictions are the food of love and they nurture the flame of love...."
"The good Lord did not give the wealth to those who have it for themselves, but for others. How much do you steal from God if you live for yourselves alone in abundance! God also calls for taxes. Anyone who has much should give a lot and donate humbly, because the gifts come from God and belong to him ... "
Another lesson they taught her was that Jesus sees the alms given to the poor souls in purgatory in such a way as if it were given to him. Anyone who helps the poor souls through prayers and sacrifices not only cares for the sick and helps to free the prisoners from the dungeon, but provides hospitality by helping to open for them the door to the house of our Heavenly Father. And Gemma said: "Those who help the poor souls also cloth the naked in the garments of immortal glory."
"This department needs your help, though here there are not many since they are very near the eternal contemplation of God"...and in this first section, I saw several acquaintances, some of them children, Father X. and brother A., 3 soldiers and several women and 5 men, perhaps.
Then said the dear Mother of God: "These are on the way to the eternal home, but the justice of God retains them, as they must be cleaned so that they are worthy of Divine contemplation. They suffer great anguish and greatly desire the vision of God. You see how there number is so great, so great!"
"The living should go to the Mother of Mercy. The heavenly Mother leads out many, many souls."
"It is impossible for a great devotion and love for the heavenly Mother of divine grace to go unrepayed. I assure you, dear sorella, that through our heavenly mother I was always more than amply protected in dangers, and abundantly helped during the struggles. The more sufferings the world and hell would hurl against me, the more protection was given to me by her- the impregnable 'Tower of David'.