St Gemma Holy Hour Booklet


In her Autobiography and Diary we read that Gemma made a Holy Hour every Thursday night, in honor of our Lord’s Passion and sufferings in the Garden. She made this Holy Hour faithfully each week until her death. Concerning this Holy Hour, Gemma writes in her Autobiography:
“Every Thursday (night) I continued to make the Holy Hour, but it sometimes happened that it would last even till 2:00am because Jesus was with me; and nearly always He would make me share in that sorrow which He felt in the Garden at the sight of so many of my sins and those of the whole world. A sorrow which can well be compared to the agony of death.”

In her Diary, concerning the Holy Hour she writes- (Thursday July 19, 1900) "This evening at last, after six days of absence of Jesus, since it was Thursday, I began my hour of prayer, thinking of Jesus on the Cross. Then it hap­pened. I found myself with Him suffering and I felt a great desire to suffer and asked Jesus to give me this grace. He granted it; He approached me, took from His head the crown of thorns and placed it upon mine, and then went aside. I looked at Him silently for I was think­ing; Perhaps He did not love me any more, because He had not pressed the crown down hard upon my head as He had done at other times. Jesus understood and pressed it upon my temples. They were painful but happy moments. I then spent an hour with Jesus. I should have liked to continue with Him thus all night, but Jesus loves obedience very much; He Himself always submits to obedience, so when the hour was up He left me. Generally Jesus took the crown off when He was leaving; this time, however, He left it until about four o'clock the following afternoon."

This Holy Hour that Gemma practised was taken from the manual of devotions entitled "Let us Pray" by Blessed Elena Guerra, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit in Lucca (also known as the Sisters of Saint Zita (Zitine Sisters). It was also published under the title "An hour of prayer with Jesus agonizing in Gethsemane". Gemma had been a student in the school that was founded by Blessed Elena, and Bl. Elena was at one time one of Gemma's teachers, and because of their association at school and also since they both lived in Lucca all their lives, St Gemma and Bl. Elena knew each other very well. And what is a miraculous sign of God's holy Providence and love for His servants, both Gemma and Elena DIED ON THE SAME DATE- APRIL 11- (Gemma in 1903 and Elena in 1914) AND WHAT IS EVEN MORE MIRACULOUS AND PROVIDENTIAL IS THAT BOTH GEMMA AND ELENA DIED NOT ONLY ON APRIL 11TH, BUT BOTH DIED ON A YEAR WHERE HOLY SATURDAY FELL ON THE DATE OF APRIL 11TH -EXACTLY 11 ELEVEN YEARS APART AND ON THE FEAST OF HOLY SATURDAY! -Fot those interested, there is more about the miraculous and Providential timing of the deaths of St Gemma and Bl. Elena here.

But, going back to the Holy Hour booklet written by Blessed Elena, Gemma was obligated to leave Bl. Elena's school due to a grave illness, which eventually brought her to the point of death in early 1899. It was during this time that she was visited a few days before her miraculous cure by one of the Sisters of St Zita, Sister Giulia Sestina, who, to help the poor girl in her great sufferings, encouraged her to make this Holy Hour and she gave her the prayer book containing the Holy Hour. It was during this exercise of devotion in honor of Our Lord's Agony in Gethsemane that Gemma received the most marvelous graces, as we read in her Autobiography and Diary. About Gemma and the Holy Hour, her spiritual director Venerable Father Germanus C.P. writes-
"She resolved to practice this devotion even while confined to bed....Gemma looked on it as a treasure, and at upon first receiving it promised Jesus that if she recovered her health, she would recite the Holy Hour every Thursday night."

By the Providence of God, she made the Holy Hour for the first time on Holy Thursday, March 30, 1899, and to prepare well for it she first made a general Confession of her whole life. This shows us the idea and importance she had of the Holy Hour.The object of this pious exercise consists in making a full hour's prayer having for its meditation the agony of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane; and it can be done at anytime, but most especially it is suited for Thursday evenings.

Padre Pio himself requests the Holy Hour as practised by St Gemma
On May 2, 1912, Padre Pio wrote the following to Padre Benedetto: “I ask a favor of you. I would like to read the small book entitled "The Letters and Ecstasies of the Servant of God Gemma Galgani"; and also the other one of the same servant of God entitled "The Holy Hour". I am sure that she, finding my desire right, will obtain them for me. I send my regards and ask for your blessing.
Your Fra Pio.”

For those interested, "The Holy Hour As Practised By Saint Gemma Galgani" booklet can be  purchased for $7.99 through the St Gemma Store here.

Also, the Holy Hour can be read in its entirety on this website here.


Anonymous said...

“The Holy Hour is an exercise of prayer, either mental or vocal, every Thursday night from 11pm to Friday morning at 3am. The Holy Hour are the Gethsemane Hours and has for its object the Sorrows of the Heart of Jesus in His Agony in the Garden of Olives.”
These are the actual hours Our Lord suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This devotion, which has been promoted and enriched with indulgences in the diocese of Autun, was originated by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, of the Order of the Visitation, to whom our Lord Jesus Christ Himself vouchsafed to teach it. “ You shall receive Holy Communion, ” He said, “the first Friday of each month, and every night between Thursday and Friday I will make you partaker of that Sorrow Unto Death which it was My Will to suffer in the Garden of Olives. This Sorrow shall reduce you, without your understanding how, to a kind of agony more bitter than death. To join with Me in the Humble Prayer which I then offered to My Divine Father in Agony, you shall rise before midnight, and remain with Me upon your knees prostrate for an hour, with your face to the ground, to appease the anger of My Eternal Father and to ask of Him pardon for sinners. You will thus also share with Me, and in a manner soothe, the bitter grief I suffered when My disciples abandoned Me and I was constrained to reproach them that they could not watch with Me one hour. During that hour you shall do what I shall teach you. Now listen to Me, My daughter, beware of believing lightly every spirit, and of trusting them with too great facility. Satan is raging with a desire to deceive you, and therefore beware of doing anything without the consent of your Director.” From "Life of the Blessed Margaret Mary Alcoque," vol i., n.53. by Languet.

Anonymous said...

The servant of God practiced with perseverance what she had been thus taught by her Divine Spouse, and in a Retreat which she made in the year 1673, our Lord made the following revelation to her, as she herself declared in writing in obedience to her Superiors:
“While I was attentively meditating in prayer upon the only object of my love in the Garden of Olives, overwhelmed with sorrow, and in an agony of loving but most cruel grief, and feeling within me a most vehement desire of sharing in His anguish, He lovingly said to me as follows —

“Here I suffered interiorly, more than in all the remainder of My Passion, beholding Myself abandoned by Heaven and earth, and loaded with the sins of all mankind. Moreover, I appeared thus in the presence of the Sanctity of God, Who, without regard to My Innocence, crushed Me in His Fury, and made Me drink the chalice filled with the bitterness and gall of His Just Indignation, as though He had forgotten the Name of Father, and would sacrifice Me as a Victim to His Anger. No creature is capable of comprehending the unspeakable torment I then endured. It is the same pain the criminal soul feels when it is presented before the tribunal of the Justice of God. His Infinite Holiness oppresses, crushes, and overwhelms it in its Just Fury.

Now My Justice,” He added, “is provoked and ready to punish secret sinners with open chastisements, unless they quickly betake themselves to condign penance. I will make you know when My Justice is about to deal its blows upon the heads of these unfortunate souls, and it shall be when you shall feel My Sanctity weigh heavily upon you. Then you shall lift up your heart and hands to heaven with the offering of prayers and good works, presenting Me continually to My Father as a Victim of Love, in Sacrifice and Oblation for the sins of the whole world, and placing Me as a secure bulwark between His Justice and sinners, to obtain Mercy, with which you shall feel encompassed when I shall be pleased to grant My Favors to any one of these sinners. You must then offer Me to My Father in thanksgiving for the Mercy I have shown. You shall know also when that soul will persevere and be saved, for I will make you partaker of some gleams of the joy which the Blessed have in Heaven and that by the communication of My Love.”

Anonymous said...

Thus our Lord gave to this pious virgin a share in the interior pains, which He suffered in His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Blessed are they who receive such a Gift! They will have a heart the more like to the Heart of Jesus, the more they shall suffer for Him. Here then you have, O souls who love Jesus Christ, an easy method of obtaining the conversion of sinners, of atoning in some degree for the horrible ingratitude that the Most Amiable Heart of Jesus receives continually at the hands of men, and at the same time of finding comfort in all your own afflictions of soul and body. It is certain that the holy Mother Teresa of Jesus used to meditate on the Agony of our Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane before lying down to rest, and she found in the Garden of Olives consolation for all her pains. Practice then this devotion, and as it is very pleasing to the Divine Heart of Jesus, so you will find it singularly adapted to give you comfort in this place of painful exile.

The adorers of the “Eternal Wisdom of the Father” can satisfy the obligations of their prayer group by keeping this Holy Hour.

Anonymous said...

Accompany in spirit Jesus Christ to the Garden of Olives, and imagining that by a special favor He chooses you as He did His three most beloved disciples, to bear witness to the pains of His Sorrowful Heart, and to unite you to the fervent prayers He is about to pour forth, make an act of faith in the presence of God, and say as follows :

O Eternal God! Infinitely Holy and Just, I prostrate myself together with Thy Divine Son, in the presence of Thy Supreme Majesty, and in profound abasement I adore Thee, and acknowledge my nothingness before Thy Infinite Greatness. I offer Thee the Agony and Sorrows of the Heart of Jesus in satisfaction to Thy Justice, and in sorrow for my sins, and the sins of the whole world; for the wants of the Holy Church both spiritual and temporal; to implore Thy Mercy and Pity upon all who are in their agony; to obtain for all Religious the first fervor of their institute; to repair the outrages which Jesus Christ receives in the Sacrament of His Love; to succor the souls in Purgatory; in prayer for the conversion of many sinners, and lastly to obtain Thy Mercy on myself in my last agony. O Father of Infinite Goodness, hearken to these my desires, and give Thy Blessing to this prayer which I am about to make in union with Thy Divine Son my Most Loving Redeemer, and for the sake of His Most Amiable Heart; and by His Merits I beseech Thee make me feel a lively sorrow for my sins, which caused such grief to Jesus my dear Savior in the Garden of Olives.