Recently translated ecstasies of St Gemma Galgani

Recently translated ecstasies of St Gemma

The following translation of one of Gemma's ecstasies has been especially translated for this website by a friend in St. Gemma named Angelo. Angelo is of Italian decent, is married to Cathy and lives in Westchester New York. He works in the I.T field of data architecture and his wife is a freelance designer of childrens books.  I would like to sincerely thank Angelo for his excellent translation work.  Glenn Dallaire, -webmaster.

Gemma, Conversation: October 1902 (1) 

She prays to Jesus that he lets her hear his voice. Jesus only is enough for her and he renders her happy.
[September – October 1902] (Cf. Fr. Germanus, No. XXXIII)

"And what are, oh dear Sir (Translator: Signore is literally Sir, a common way of also addressing God in Italian) the consolations of the earth, if there were not consolations from you? May you be blessed, Jesus, because you almost ordered all the creatures (of earth) to abandon me, so I may be always closer to you.What does it matter to me Jesus, that on earth I have no consolations? (Translator: comfort, someone to offer her comfort or console her)

You are enough for me. What importance is it to me that they do not appreciate me? It is you who consoles. If you would have made me understand this earlier, I would have abandoned myself in your arms. And if this is how you treat a sinner, how would you treat your pure souls, the sainted souls? Oh Jesus, let me embrace myself all to you. I knew that you were my only welfare, and instead I did not appreciate heaven (translator: cielo (sky) meaning heaven) so as to kneel in front of unworthy creatures.

Oh what was I hoping for? Maybe outside of you I hoped to find wealth, more attractive things? Please forgive all my misery, all my inequities; do not permit me to tire of your love.Your love will not permit a lot of ingratitude from me.What would the little consolations I have on this earth matter to me if I remained deprived of the consolations of my Jesus? Only you Jesus, because only you can calm the tempests that surface in my heart every once in a while.

Only you can reinvigorate my soul. Only you, even if only you alone, you can perform all."


Italian Only:
128. Gemma, Colloquio: ottobre 1902 (1)
 Prega Gesù che le faccia udire di nuovo la sua voce. Gesù solo le basta e la rende felice (Cf. P. GERM. n. XXXIII).
[Settembre-ottobre 1902].

            E che sono, o Signore, le consolazioni della terra, se non ci fossero le consolazioni tue? Via, Gesù, fammi sentire la tua voce, una sola di quelle parole, che mi facesti udire nelle vie della prova.
            Tu sia benedetto, Gesù, perché hai quasi ordinato alle creature di abbandonarmi, perché io fossi sempre più vicina a te. Ah! tu consoli, tu solo consoli. Che m’importa, Gesù, che nel mondo io non abbia consolazioni? Mi basti tu solo. Che m’importerebbe che mi disprezzassero? Ci sei tu che consoli. Se tu me lo avessi fatto capire più presto, io mi sarei abbandonata nelle tue braccia. E se così tratti una peccatrice, come tratterai le tue anime pure, le anime sante?
            O Gesù, lascia che io mi stringa tutta a te. Lo sapevo che tu eri l’unico mio bene, e invece io disprezzavo il cielo per inchinarmi a indegne creature. O che speravo? Forse fuori di te speravo di trovare più ricchezze, più attrattive? Perdona a tanta mia miseria, a tanta mia iniquità; non permettere che io mi stanchi agli amplessi del tuo amore. Per tanto tuo amore non permettere a me tanta ingratitu­dine. Che sarebbe per me quelle poche consolazioni che ho sulla terra, se rimanessi priva delle consolazioni del mio Gesù?...
            Tu solo, Gesù, perché tu solo puoi calmare le tem­peste che si sollevano nel mio cuore di tanto in tanto; tu solo puoi rinvigorire l’anima mia. Tu solo, perché anche che tu sia solo, puoi far tutto.


The above was one of the many ecstasies taken from "Lettere ed estasi" which was some of the letters and ecstasies compiled and published by Gemma's spiritual director, Venerable Father Germanus, C.P. In his capacity as Gemma's spiritual director, he was to witness first-hand many of the extraordinary graces that God  given by God to Gemma. And what did he have to say for example about Gemma's ecstasies, which he himself witnessed on many occasions? In "The Life of St Gemma" he writes:

"Her {Gemma's] ecstasies varied from half an hour to an hour and more. In these the loss of her senses was entire and continuous. To recall her, there was need of a for­mal precept, and sometimes not even that was enough, as the Holy Spirit is not bound to yield to the will of a man, even though he be His minister. There were times when at a purely mental pre­cept Gemma was seen to come out of her most sublime ecstasies, and she did so without showing the slightest sign of regret. At other times, when the return to her senses was spontaneous through suspension of the Divine influx, it was charming and at the same time most touching to see her come to herself. No yawning or stretching, no movements that could indicate weari­ness, distress, confusion of mind, or disturbed imagination; but a sweet smi le as if having had a talk with one person, she was turn­ing to speak to another who was waiting for her. This was Gemma's usual way of coming to herself. Sometimes she was seen to cover her face with both hands, as if ashamed to have been found in that state; or, perhaps it was because of her regret to see the earth after she had been contemplating Heaven. These greater ecstasies used to take place in church at the time of Holy Communion, also when she came to visit Jesus solemnly exposed during the Quarant 'Ore (Forty hours devotion), and on other such occasions when her fervor of spirit was liable to be more easily moved.

Finally, the extraordinary ecstasies were of more or less fre­quent recurrence during the year, without any fixed rule, but as it were periodically; that is, every Thursday evening about eight and on Friday afternoon about three o' clock. These periodical ecstasies came on generally while she was at supper with the family. Those who lived with her were well able to say what was coming, from the greater recollection that was seen to preoccupy her, from certain indescribably celestial glances that she gave at intervals toward Heaven and from a sort of immobility of person together with a violence that she seemed to do herself in order to resist. As soon, however, as she became aware of what was going to happen, she hastened to take what little food she was accus­tomed to, and, seeking to be unobserved, she rose from the table and ran off to shut herself up in her little room. A few moments later one or other of the family followed her and found her kneel­ing near her bed with her hands joined, her eyes raised to Heaven, lost in God and deprived of all use of her senses. When, however, the loving assault of the Divine Spirit indicated its approach with greater vehemence, the wise child, fearing want of strength to stand against it, hastened to recline upon her bed, where also she was found in full ecstasy and generally sitting in an angelic atti­tude. This ecstasy lasted about an hour.

I call these ecstasies extraordinary, although so frequent, on account of the intensity of the Divine Light that caused them, of the great things that in them were shown her, and of the mar­velous effects they produced in her. One of these effects was a participation in Our Saviour's bodily pains during His Passion, even to the extent of the sacred stigmata, of which see full par­ticulars in chapters seven and eight. How truly wonderful were these and other effects produced in Gemma's soul, and how sub­lime were the communications she received, may be gathered from what she herself manifested during those precious moments while speaking aloud to her God.

The devout friends with whom she lived, sometimes one, sometimes another, were charged by me to take down those dis­courses in writing, omitting nothing. And this was a most fortu­nate provision, as otherwise they would have been lost in great part, or else much less faithfully reproduced from memory. By this means, taking into account those ecstasies only in which she spoke and could be understood, we have been able to preserve what she said in a hundred and fifty of them, accurately repro­duced. Their subject matter is very varied, the ideas are the most exalted, the doctrine, theologically and mystically, is exact, and the expressions, full of majesty and sweet heavenly unction, sink deeply into the minds and hearts of those who read them. Imag­ine what it was to hear those words from the mouth of the ecstatic herself! 

I, for myself, must acknowledge that when listening to those words so full of fire, I could not refrain from tears. The theme of each ecstasy was generally one-it consisted sometimes in a hymn of praise to a Divine attribute, at other times in expres­sions of love to the Divine Spouse, or again in a loving contest with God's infinite Mercy for the conversion of some sinner. But it generally turned on the Passion of Christ, and on her desire to be transformed in Him Crucified.

I intend soon, if God wills it, to publish as many of these pre­cious documents as I can. My difficulty would be where they are not complete, either because of the many reticences of the ecsta­tic-unable to repeat in words what in her soul she saw and felt or because of the answers given by her Celestial Interlocutor being such that she alone could understand them. The reader will be gratified if I now give part of one of those discourses written by Gemma herself after the ecstasy, in obedience to my wishes. 

It was on the 19th of March, 1901, at 10:00 in the morning, and was as usual between Jesus and His holy servant. For brevity's sake I only give the end of it.

"Oh Jesus!" she said, when He had finished speaking, "when I hear Thy Holy Name repeated, my soul is lifted up. Thy Name only, only Thy Name, oh Jesus, soothes my life. Oh Jesus, I have detached my heart from this earth and reposed it in Thee. But the soul, oh Jesus, longs ardently and takes courage, seeing itself loaded with so many continual favors. And not being able to repay them as it ought, with heroic deeds, it finds relief in thoughts and outpourings of love." 

And Jesus [it is Gemma who still speaks], in answer to my words, made me hear His voice with greater force than ever, and His words had such effect upon me that I would gladly have died, to go to Heaven, and exclaimed: "Oh Jesus, this poor soul, thus fettered in this miserable, vile body, unable to fly to Thee, spreads its wings and lifts itself as best it can to come to Thee, to be more close to Thee. It lifts itself with the spirit [she means by thoughts and affections] because this is not tied down as is the body." 

Then, beside myself with consolation, and full of tears, I turned to my Angels in paradise, witnesses of all the wonders of God's works. "Oh, I say," I called to them, "are not these acts of God's omnipotence all wrought by Infinite Love?" 
Then, turning to Jesus, I asked Him whatever He had done to my poor heart that makes it quite impossible for me to restrain it. It always wants to go to Him and I cannot hold it back. Already, of its own accord, it has resolved not to belong to me -it has given itself to Jesus! And Jesus, with His loving and at the same time penetrating voice, said to me: "I have carried the day." Ah, yes, I am happy to be overcome by such infinite Goodness, by so much Love! Jesus now and forever!"

This thought of mine, to make Gemma put the subject of some of her ecstasies in writing, was not an idle one. By such a step I was able to ascertain that she remembered in order and detail what had happened in her ecstasy, because the words that she re­peated to me agreed perfectly with those that had been taken down in writing by members of the family during each ecstasy. A clear proof of this is in the passage just quoted, where Jesus declares Himself to be victorious over Gemma's heart. We can  compare it with the words already mentioned in another chapter that were written by persons present as she spoke them while in that ecstasy."

-St Gemma, pray for us!

"I cannot understand Jesus how You, Who are so glorious in heaven, can come and hide Yourself in my heart. Oh! my heart, cause a flame to come down and consume all my sins! Oh Jesus, grant me a taste of Your Paradise for only a instant. Oh holy Angels, I can do nothing! at least proclaim the love of Jesus! ......See Jesus, I am surrendering to Your holy love..." -St Gemma Galgani


Anonymous said...

This is a very encouraging, thought-provoking message that blessed St. Gemma has given us. We too can offer ourselves to Jesus, completely without restrain, worry, or attached conditions. It is hard for most of us to trust this much. We must try harder to trust.

Steve Browning said...

It is almost as if the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus has
taken the heart of His beloved Daughter, Gemma,
exchanging it with His own Divine Heart.

Anonymous said...

She is an inspiration to us catholics and also christians of all denomination. Thank you. Amen.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the translation of 'signore' it is like the french 'seigneur' the address of a feudal lord, as 'mon sieur' was the title given to the eldest living brother of a king, meaning My Lord.

Modern french uses monsieur to address a man, Mister, as does the italian signore mean mister. But it doesn't lose the meaning of lord in the proper context, as used by Gemma addressing Jesus, her Lord.

Cielo specifically refers to the heavens,celestial sphere, or vault of heaven,as well as the more bland synonym,sky.