Pope Pius XII Letter of Decree for the canonisation of Saint Gemma Galgani

The Decretal Letter "Sanctitudinis Culmen" of Pope Pius XII for the Canonisation of St Gemma Galgani

"Among these Divine favors was the very special one of manifesting in her virginal flesh the living image of Christ and mysteriously sharing in the various sufferings of His passion."  -Pope Pius XII

Below is Pope Pius XII Letter of Decree "Sanctitudinis Culmen" for St Gemma's canonisation on May 2, 1940. Translated, the words "Sanctitudinis Culmen" literally mean "the high point of sanctity" which in itself is a very meaningful statement from the Church concerning Gemma. But here now is the Pope's Decree:

"The distinguished servant of God, Gemma, earnestly committed herself to the spiritual life. With her adopted mother, the notable Mrs. Cecilia Gianinni, she had long discussions about Jesus and spiritual things. Avoiding the traps of society life, she spent much of her time in fervent contemplation of the passion of Christ. Day and night, she was engaged in intimate communion with God. Reliable witnesses testify that, during the last years of her life, the servant of God, Gemma, was often in a state of rapture and was favored by God with prolonged ecstasies and unusual gifts, like those we read about in the lives of many saints. Among these Divine favors was the very special one of manifesting in her virginal flesh the living image of Christ and mysteriously sharing in the various sufferings of His passion.

She felt her hands and feet pierced by nails and her side wounded with a lance. At times, the stigmata, or scars of the wounds were visible. It is reported that she saw an apparition of the Lord Jesus himself and also of the Blessed Mother. She experienced the presence of her guardian Angel as a familiar friend, and she frequently held conversations with him. There were other unusual manifestations of grace, which Gemma described in detail at the order of her spiritual director. They seem to indicate clearly that there was such a union of mind and heart between this chosen virgin Gemma and Christ that she could say with the apostle Paul: "I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; it is Christ living in me."

For some time, the servant of God had desired to enter a religious community, and thought she was being called to the Passionist nuns. She felt that God was inviting her to greater sacrifice and more intensive contemplation of the passion of Christ. Since this is the main mission and is a kind of sacred heritage that Saint Paul of the Cross left to the religious that he founded, Gemma asked more than once to be admitted into the cloistered Passionist convent at Tarquinia. But there were obstacles, particularly that of her very poor health and the publicity that had been caused by her extraordinary graces. Eventually her illness progressed to such a point that it ruined all hope of her entering.

However, even though she could not become a member of the Passionist community, she deserves to be considered a member of It because she had professed private vows. As a lay women under the guidance of such spiritual directors of holy memory bishop Giovanni Volpe and Father Germano of Saint Stanislaus, a Passionist priest, Gemma gave admirable witness to the religious spirit and was a model of Christian perfection. In fact, she practiced all of the theological and moral virtues on a heroic scale, and we can say that her whole life was spent in the continual exercise of virtue."

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