|Venerable Eufemia Giannini (Mother Gemma Euphemia Giannini)|
Gemma and Euphemia loved each other tenderly and were united in a special spiritual bond that lasted long after Gemma's holy death in 1903--for on her deathbed Gemma had said to Euphemia that "she would take her place on Calvary”. And it was less than 3 years later on January 8, 1906 that Euphemia entered the new Passionist monastery in Lucca--the very one in which Gemma herself worked, prayed and suffered so hard to establish--and which has since become the Monastery of Saint Gemma. On March 25 of that same year (1906) Euphemia took upon herself the religious habit, and took the name of Gemma Maddalena -Gemma, the name of the holy friend who showed her how to love Jesus with all her heart. And the next year on April 11, 1907, the anniversary of the holy death of St Gemma, Euphemia, now named Gemma Magdalene in religion, made her religious profession as a cloistered Passionist within the very monastery that Gemma herself worked and prayed so hard to establish. After a long life as a nun and later a foundress of a religious Community, Euphemia Giannini passed from this life to eternal life on August 26, 1971, and in recognition of a lifetime of heroic virtues was declared "Venerable" by by Pope Benedict XVI on March 15th, 2008. Those interested can read more about the life and holy friendship of Venerable Eufemia Giannini and St Gemma here.
During her holy lifetime, Eufemia often spoke of her holy friendship with Gemma, and fortunately some of these conversations were written down, and have just recently been translated into english.
So without further ado, we present some of these translated statements from Ven. Euphemia Giannini below:
Concerning the daily life and personality traits of Gemma Eufemia states:
"Gemma was always very docile and obedient; she was simple and she never behaved with prim manners or formalities and we never noticed the least hint of falsehood in her. She did not seem to care whether she was believed or not; she replied with a «yes» or a «no» and did not normally seek to go into explanations. She was always good and kind to everybody but without ceremony. Sometimes, indeed, she didn't know even seem to know how to say «thanks». However it was Jesus who took care of doing that. She never took part in the talks we had at table about family affairs. At most, she exchanged a few words with the younger children--Dina, Prisca, Guglielma and Mary, who sat near her at the end of the rectangular table."
|Saint Gemma in ecstasy|
Jesus I want to love you with my whole soul...all the Saints of Heaven, all of you,
loan me your hearts.
it to you but You must give me a big heart to give. Even if I had many hearts, Jesus, and big, big ones, I would want to love only you...And you love me very much. I would want to love you so
much Jesus. But who reduced you to this state? Who has killed you?
And so it was that the "Gem of Christ" lived by all appearances on the outside a very simple, humble, reserved and quiet life, yet interiorly she was all on fire with the love of Jesus and the love of souls.
-St Gemma, pray for us!