St Gemma and the Priesthood

St Gemma offers herself in reparation for souls, especially Priests and Nuns

This article is in honor of the "Year for Priests" requested by Pope Benedict XVI, which begins on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 19, 2009. It is taken primarily from the rare book “A Lover of the Cross –St Gemma Galgani” published in 1940 by the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery/Sanctuary of St Gemma in Lucca, Italy.

Gemma, who knew many of the secrets of the King, knew thouroughly well that those who, at times, most saddened the Heart of Jesus, were the ones who being consecrated to His service, should be enterely His. They, above all, should be the victims of His love and be the one's who especially make love and reparation the essence of their lives. However, such a most beautiful sacrifice is marred whenever such consecrated ones are slothful and cold, or in the extreme cases, deliberately sinful.

In light of this, Jesus showed Gemma in an extraordinary manner how victims were required not only for the conversion of sinners in general, but especially in reparation for some Priests and consecrated souls who, although consecrated to God, were living willful lives of sin. These consecrated souls who by their deliberate sins so wounded the Heart of Jesus, that Gemma, in her great love for Him, would do anything to bring Him some comfort amidst the sufferings of seeing the deliberate offenses of His “chosen ones”. And to encourage her to sacrifice and suffer in reparation for these and for all souls in general, one day Jesus appeared to her and made her hear a pitiful com­plaint. He said:

“How much ingratitude and wickedness there is in this world! Sinners continue to live obstinately in their sins ... My Father will no longer bear them ... Depraved and weak souls do not have the strength to overcome their sins ... Afflicted souls fall into confusion and despair ... The fervent have be­come tepid ... And, the ministers of my Sanctuary ... I have entrusted to them the great work of assisting in the Redemption... My Father will no longer tolerate even them*... I continually give them light and strength, and on the contrary they!... These whom I have looked at with predilection, whom I have always regarded as my most dear ones! ... ".
Here Jesus was silent, and then He went on:
"I continually receive but ingratitude from creatures: their indif­ference is increasing and few repent. And from Heaven I let pour down graces and favours on all crea­tures ... ". It seemed that Jesus would have went on, but Gemma with her heart breaking could no longer stand it and broke in saying that she offers herself once again and always as a victim for sinners. And nothing more was needed to send all the fibres of her heart into motion. [*Assuredly Jesus was not referring to all priests here, but to those who at that time were offending Him by sinful lives. It is quite apparent that the purpose of His address to Gemma was to incite in her a strong desire to sacrifice and suffer for all, especially for those dear to Him, out of love for Him, and those persons first and foremost being His Priests, the ones He lovingly calls His ‘most dear ones’]

Her great friend and “foster Mother” Cecilia Giannini says: “Gemma prayed a lot for priests and she even sweated blood for a whole month for them, in August. [August, 1901 -editor] Once she told me: - “If you could see how priests drag Him [Jesus] with ropes, here and there! - And she kept unceasingly praying for priests. She had a great reverence for them and never spoke a negative word about them. She also prayed much for her spirtual director and also her confessor....”

In his second book on St Gemma, “The Letters and Ecstasies of Gemma Galgani”, Gemma's spiritual director Father Germano CP publishes a letter that was written to him by Gemma that says: “You shall see what I will do when I go to heaven. I will bring you with me at any cost”. The good Father appends this with a footnote that says “I live on this hope; amidst the labors of my exile here below, these words of Gemma shall always be my comfort.”
Father Germanus is entombed near to St. Gemma in the Santuario-Monastero di Santa Gemma in Lucca, Italy. He has been officially declared “Venerable” by the Roman Catholic Church.

Gemma, notwith­standing her "inspired" knowledge about the offences that some consecrated souls bear to Jesus' Heart through the opprobium of their selfishness and the lack of fidelity and fervor in His service, kept always in highest veneration all priests. She was ready to be taught by even the least of them, and she generously lived and sacrificed in reparation for those most dear to the Sacred Heart.

Her suffering for a Community of Nuns
In his book “The Life of St Gemma Galgani”, Venerable Padre Germanus Ruoppolo CP relates this story:
[Gemma writes] 'On Thursday during the Holy Hour, Jesus asked me if I had willingly suffered all that I went through on that night [referring to a previous occasion in the usual martyrdom of Thursday and Friday] for the ill deeds of certain nuns. I answered that I had done so most willingly. And I then heard these words:
"Woe to them, and to the one who guides them, if they refuse to do as Jesus wishes! If they refuse to hear His voice, they will very soon be sorry for it, but it will be too late, because Jesus will no longer grant that Community the peace of the past. Discord will increase among them daily, and they will soon be forced to separate."

We can speculate that these words probaly came from her guardian Angel, who spoke to and guided her frequently.

However, Ven. Father Germanus concludes: "Happily, those nuns listened to Our Lord's voice. They looked to their eternal interests, and the peace of Christ was established again in their midst. All this was due to the prayers, dolorous expiation and zeal of one who only wished to be called 'Poor Gemma.' "
And from her place in heaven may she continue to obtain from God mercy and pardon for all of us here on earth. St Gemma , pray for us!
Finally, let us thank and bless God for the countless Priests and Nuns who by giving completely of themselves out of love for God, continue to obtain mercy and forgiveness from Him on behalf of all of us.

"Oh Jesus, do not abandon poor sinners! Think of them and also of me. I wish them all to be saved!" -St Gemma Galgani


Anonymous said...

Our Lady of America came to us in 1956 with a great concern for her priests amid her call for purity in our lives. Please read her messages and learn what you can do to help foster this canonically-approved devotion to Our Lady under this special title. and

Anonymous said...

Priests are human like us, and they need our sacrifices and our prayers.
Thank you Glenn for posting this very informative post!

Anonymous said...

please pray for priests...try to remember them often...I had a dream a while back that Padre Pio asked me to pray for priests...I haven't done a good job of this...but, I will certainly start here by asking everyone to help me to pray for priests more often...thank you.....

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thank you for your kind comments.

You are very right that Priests need our sacrifices and prayers. And we are called to do this especially now, as we have just begun the "Year of the Priest" as requested by Pope Benedict XVI.

If Gemma sweated blood for a whole month for Priests, then we at the very least should offer a sacrifice of prayer for them as much as possible, and it seems to me that we should also thank God often for our Priests, who make Christ present among us.

May God bless you and be with you always!

-Glenn Dallaire

Anonymous said...

Keep them O Precious Lord, keep them for they are thine. Thy priests whose lives burn out before thy Eucharistic shrine. Keep them for they are in the world though from the world apart, when earthly pleasures, tempt, allure shelter them in thy Heart. Keep them and remember Lord they have no one but Thee, but they have only human hearts with human fraility. Keep them spotless as the host that daily they caress, their every thought and word and deed deign dearest Lord to Bless.

Rudy Kinds said...

Dear mr Dallaire

Every day I learn new facs of St. Gemma. Like today I learnd that my beloved Gemma sweatted blood for a month for the priests. On the day that our good God allowes me to see her from face tot face, I only want and only can say to her: "thanks..."

One of her prayers, translated in Dutch, helps me every Eucharistic adoration to obtain deeper knowledge of our King en my Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful to St Gemma that she learns me how to pray and that she keeps me, praying her words, with two feet on the ground looking for the way our good God has provided for me. With the praying bride of Jesus St Gemma on my side, I hope to be a priest to His Hart once. I realy hope the day of my ordination, the cathederal choir sings her name in the All Saints litany.

It was due to the canonization of Father Charles of St Andrew Houben CP by pope Benedict XVI at sunday June 3th 2007 I was in Rome for some days and visited te generalate of the Passionists. There, in the St John an Paul basilica, I saw a painting of St Gemma on the altar dedicated to her. Directly I was caught and inspired by the pulchritude of her serene face. That serene face of St Gemma: I hope one drop of blood she sweated for me during that month...

Yours faithfully,

Rudy Kinds
3th grade student at the priestseminary for the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Rudy,

Thanks for sharing a bit of your story with us. It is really wonderful to hear of your devotion to St Gemma and also that you are studying to be a priest. I pray that St Gemma may be your special advocate and friend, and may she lead you ever deeper into the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Yes, Gemma sweated blood for a whole month for Priests, and may one of those drops be for you, just as you say.

~St Gemma, pray for us!
Union in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Glenn Dallaire