Letters of St Gemma to her spiritual director

Letter of Saint Gemma to (Venerable) Father Germanus Ruoppolo C.P

June 22, 1902

My good Dad,

After you had departed, I was not able to confess myself to Monsignor [Volpi]; this morning I felt myself unable to receive Communion, so I went to Father Vallini for Confession.

My dear Dad, it's only a few days since you left and already I feel the need to speak with you again. Long live Jesus!

I find myself continuously in a sweetness of spirit that I can truly say lets me forget that I am still on this earth; indeed, this morning we went to Mass, re­ceived holy Communion and then, then I don't know ... I found myself at home and it took all my concentration to figure out how I had gotten there. Still, the enemy does not fail to put himself next to me from time to time; once again he wants to come and disturb the peace you have given me, but Jesus helps me and he was not able to do anything. It is enough, dear Dad, that I make the sign of the Cross, a prayer, the beginning of a thought of you together with Jesus, and instantly that good-for-nothing makes me think ... "What? You care about him! ... He's a loafer, a windbag ... etc., etc., etc."

But do not fear, dear Dad: Jesus is very strong and with his help I resolve not to give in to even the tiniest doubts.

Continue to stay so united with me, which I feel is so good for me; increase the prayers you offer for me because every day my need increases. Only one desire remains in me; to arrive at the salvation of my soul and to arrive there I am ready for everything; and if death should put a stop to so much faithless­ness and so many dangers, my dear Dad, let me die, because I desire to unite with my God, Who with such strong love holds me together here on earth.

Be happy, dear Dad; I will give you no further displeasures, I shall always be obedient, always docile. You pay attention to Jesus and Jesus has prom­ised me that He will not be long in manifesting Himself. As soon as you had left, Jesus inspired several resolves in me; I hope to fulfill them, if you give me a lot of help with your prayers. That little book of Meditations you left behind--for now I shall keep it, all right? It does me good, too.

Dear Dad, what of Jesus? Wherever I go He never leaves me, never moves from my side because for sure I realized that I cannot live without Him, and sometimes I think and I say: "But what, my God, have you forgotten all your other duties? Have You nothing else to do than watch over me?" And in­stantly a light goes off in my head: the immutable light of Jesus' divine vi­sion does not grow less in watching only one person, me alone, nor does it di­minish in watching many creatures.

My heart is always united with Jesus, and Jesus continues to consume me.
My dear God, I want to melt completely in Your flames. Yesterday morning, Dad, I truly believed that my heart wanted to burst out of my chest. My dear Dad, do you think I do not truly feel the need to be grateful toward Jesus? Or do you think maybe I don't want to reciprocate God ... a God who has bestowed so much on me? Help me do it, by not offending Him again; never, never again.

How happy Jesus would be if He should find my heart returning His boundless love! But how can I do what I do not know how to do? If I love Jesus a little, this is not my own doing or my own strength but entirely His mercy. Time to stop, dear Dad; write soon, tell me many things, pray a lot for me. I do so continuously for you, do you understand? Continuously. Listen to Jesus, dear Dad. Long live the will of Jesus!

Bless me with all your strength.

Your poor,

P.S.] Thursday morning, my dear Dad, from my bed I drank the chalice of Jesus with you, and I was obliged to say: "How is it, Jesus, that to my Dad, who is good, you give the chalice of bitterness, of penance, of sacrifices to drink; but to me, who has so offended you, you give the chalice of relief and comfort to drink?"


Letter to Venerable Father Germanus C.P.

June 26, 1902

My good Dad,

How happy I am now that you've decided once again to write directly to me!
If I pray for you, if I am good, and if I obey and am always docile, you will always write directly to me, right? That way I understand better. I will never stop praying for you, if Jesus helps me; His help is so necessary for me! Woe to my soul if you had not come to my aid! (You know what I mean.) I would have fallen into Hell, and not just once but who knows how many times! Watch out because the devil has not given up; he continues for one reason or another to make doubts arise in me (about you). But Jesus makes me strong and I can assure you that I have not given in again.

Jesus continues with His usual sweetness. I live on the earth but on this earth I feel I am like a lost soul because my thoughts never, never stray from my Jesus. There will still be a time as you say, when these consolations will change into punishments, afflictions, dryness, etc.? May God's will be done! But I am afraid, dear Dad, I am afraid for my soul. Assist me, and if you see my soul in danger, have no respect for my human self, do whatever Jesus wants. I will not hide anything, anything, no more, no more.

Things are going normally, like when you were here; is that all right? Oh Dad, pray for me; will things go well, does that ugly good-for-nothing have any part in all this? I'm ready for anything.
With regard to your order that I stay healthy, I have one thing to say.
Jesus, I hope, will allow me to carry out your order; indeed, I am certain that by the end of the month I will no longer throw up any food. But now, dear Dad, for quite some time I feel Jesus has been inspiring me to ask a favor of you. Don't get mad, my dear Dad; I'll do what you say but you will see: it will do no harm to grant me this. Sure, you'll have many excuses to offer: that I am too thin, that it is not necessary; but these are worthless. Listen: are you happy if I ask Jesus the grace of not letting me sense any taste in any food, for as long as I live? My dear Dad, I need this grace. I hope Jesus will tell you to grant it to me; in any case ... I am happy. You think about it.

Whether my good Mom [Mrs. Cecilia] is pleased with my behavior I do not know, but she must not be. I will do everything to please her, dear Dad, something you already know, and she also knows; I will try to obey you and hold back nothing.

I no longer remember anything from all the notes I've thrown away, but for the most part they dealt with conversations with Jesus, others with temp­tations, etc. (all regarding you). Long live Jesus. Here's something for you to judge. Early this morning, before 2:00am, I awakened; all of a sudden a multi­tude of thoughts about my soul came to disturb me. Thoughts like this:
'And what if I am deceived? And if everything that happens to me should bring me to my fall? And if Father Germano is deceived?'

In this combat I stayed un­til ... Do you know how long, my dear Dad? Until 5:00am. I don't know where Jesus went; He didn't say even one word to me. In the end He was moved to a little compassion, and taking me for a bit out of my senses, He let me hear (I thought) these words: "Daughter, do not fear. It is I who work in you. I shall never leave you; live happily." Dad, ask Jesus if it was Him, or else who said these words? Whatever, the happiness I felt at these words was infinite and I am inclined to believe them. Dad, on this tell me many things; but do not write unless you are certain.
-How great is the magnitude of Jesus' sweetness!

I have various permissions to ask of you, my dear Dad. Do not get upset, but I want another permission from you. My Dad is so good that if Jesus inspires him just a little, he'll grant it instantly. I want to make a prom­ise to Jesus, to not seek ever again, never, comfort in anything. And do not doubt, my dear Dad: I can handle it, you know; do not think I will fall into excesses. But understand me clearly: no comfort in anything, nothing (I in­tend this to include everything).
Summed up, then, these are two little things I ask, and there is no harm in granting them! Either way I am happy. Pray a lot for me, for I fear be­ing unfaithful to Jesus; pray especially about this and I will always think of your soul.

I do not know if I have responded to every point, and if I have pleased you, but if I have not done what you want, when you write, number the points you make, so I can better respond to them.

That usual laziness about oral prayer still lingers; what will happen, dear Dad?
Jesus promised to let me keep down a bit of food, so even if my body continues wasting away (as I feel it doing) by keeping down food, it will consume more slowly.
It had been many days since I had last felt pain for my sins but last night Jesus wanted to give me again that grace; if you do not assist me, you will quickly see me reduced to ashes, the ashes of sin.

For now I'll stop, dear Dad. Soon you are going to Rome and you'll surely see Serafina. Have her pray a lot for me, go ahead and reveal to her all my sins: I am happy; tell them to everyone: I want to be known for what I am.

Bless me with all your strength, my dear Dad; pray for me.

I am your poor Gemma

[P.S.] If Serafina says she wants to come to Lucca, you won't prohibit her, because don't you think Jesus wishes it?

"My heart is always united with Jesus, and Jesus continues to consume me. My dear God, I want to melt completely in your flames." -St Gemma Galgani

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