Writings of Saint Gemma Galgani, 1900-1901

Letters of St Gemma Excerpts from the book “Letters of St. Gemma Galgani “, Corpus Christi Monastery, New York, 1947. Nihil Obstat John M. A. Fearns, S.T.D. Censor Librorum. Imprimatur Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York. December 4, 1946. Translated from the Italian by the Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery, New York City. Printed and bound by Our Lady’s Press, New York City.

Letter #1: Gemma timidly opens her heart to her new spiritual director (Father Germanus Ruoppolo C.P.)

"Father- All that I write is written simply through obedience, and with the greatest repugnance. [Gemma was ordered to write to Fr. Germanus by her confessor and by Jesus –editor] I feel the greatest pain in regards to all those things which seem to me that I see and hear every day; but the command has been given and that comes before everything.

Last night when I went to pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I heard someone call me-- it seemed to me that it was Jesus (Father, before you read any further, I beg you for the sake of charity not to believe anything; anything at all. I write only out of obedience, otherwise I would not say a single word about what follows). He said to me: “Daughter, write to that Father whom your confesser wishes. Do so because it is My desire.”

“But Jesus” I replied “do I understand You? Do you wish that the Father know everything concerning me?” I was about to continue but it seemed to me that Jesus (or rather my own head) would not let me, for He said “This is My will from now on.”

When I heard this and was no longer able to speak, and Jesus, it seemed to me, continued:

“Daughter, blind obedience; perfect obedience-- that is the first thing to remember!"
 He then added: “You must be as a dead body: Everything that they would have you do, do it promptly. And from now on you should do nothing without first asking counsel of Me. “

Father, for charity’s sake, don't believe a word of all of this. In order to write these things to you I have to force myself with great effort, but I do so because I wish to obey.

This morning, after Holy Communion, Jesus seemed to let me feel His presence. Father, what moments! But after a short time all was over. I kept repeating to Jesus “My Jesus!” I was not able to express myself very well but Jesus understood.

Bless me in pray very much for

Poor Gemma

(The contents of Letter 2 has already been published in another article on this website)

Letter 3: Disgust with the world, the joy at being despised and humiliated, and the desire for greater perfection.

"Father, father--- it is always the same Gemma who writes to you. I am still out in the world! But how disgusted I am with it! It is very true that one should not seek to find happiness in this world. If I, through the mercy of God, experience some happy moments, they are when I see myself or despised and humiliated. And of these things, to tell you the truth, they are not lacking. Jesus increases them for me every day. Oh, how good He is! If only you new all of the means that He has used in order to humble my pride. Oh, if you only knew how bad I really am! Who will ever give me virtue that I need in order that I may please Jesus? I pray and beg Jesus to give me in a very short time all the help that I need to repair my many faults, to enlighten my mind, and to let me know horrible and disgusting state of my soul. And I desire to combine into one all of the fervor and love of all of the holy souls -or no, better still, to equal in purity all of the Angels, and that I may see at last our mother, Mary most holy.

Bless poor Gemma of Jesus

Letter 4: She humbles herself for having felt some repugnance in obeying.

"My father: May Jesus reward you a thousand times for the great good which your words did to my soul this morning. I am quite resolved to forever and always do the will of my confessor without thinking of what might become of it. If you only knew the great good which your reproof has done for me. It is true; every bit of what you said to me, and yet there are thoughts that trouble me…..

It is high time for me to resolve to do will of my confessor in the future. Every time that I have undertaken something of my own doing I have paid dearly for it, but now no; it must no longer be so. I promise not to complain again and not to cry. I will go where my confessor wishes. But it is now already several days since the sacrifice was made.

Once again I wish to thank you for the reproof that you gave to me. Do not have any doubt about it; I will know how to profit by it, and I want you yourself to see it.

Bless me and pray to Jesus for

Poor Gemma

Letter 5: Gemma fears being in a state of illusion

"Father- I am so afraid for my soul! Father- I am so frightened lest I be in danger of damnation because yesterday I heard a priest who had come to see mama (Cecilia Giannini –editor) L. outlet none we had the mass on her hands, feet head and heart, and who went into ecstasy, too, and it was all an illusion. But am I like that, Father? If I deceive others, I shall go to hell. I wish that you would explain to me just what deceit really is because I do not wish to deceive anyone. Recommend me to Jesus, I want to be good, sincere and obedient.

Just the other night there came to me a thought, and then Jesus spoke to me in depth of my heart:
“Do you perhaps think that I am incapable of working a miracle either in regards to yourself or in regards to your confessor?"
 I do not understand exactly what He meant, Father. Ask Jesus to explain it to you.

Bless me; I will be good.

Poor Gemma of Jesus

Letter 6: She grieves over having been subjected to a physical examination by a doctor and an assistant.

"Oh Father, how much I had to suffer yesterday! And how much these things displeased Jesus! …. Jesus was not at all pleased. It was a very great humiliation for me, but I accepted it.

Jesus is in my heart. This morning I could not go to Church and Jesus Himself came to me. He asked me whether He was more loveable in consolations or in humiliation. Padre, how much more lovable He is in humiliation! Here I had Him, and there I had my Angel, who, from time to time, presented to me a large Cross to kiss. How much more loveable He is in humiliation! None of these things trouble me for my own sake but they trouble me because of Jesus- because He is not pleased with what took place yesterday evening. On the contrary, His very much displeased.

And now Father, you should see how happy I am with only Jesus and how much more He now loves me humiliated in this way. Aunt* is also very much distressed . I obeyed as best as I could and I have no ill will towards anyone, not even the one who probed me; I remained silent. I am happy with only Jesus.

Poor Gemma.

*(Gemma sometimes makes use of the word “aunt” and also “mamma” to designate the pious lady, Cecilia Giannini who had taken her in after the death of her father).

To be continued….


Gemma said...

Thank you for posting these letters, I enjoy reading them. I admire how humble and obedient Gemma is, She definitely has something we can all learn from.

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Gary said...

In reading her third letter I had such a wonderful revelation! I was mercilessly bullied in high school, 50 years ago. It continued to haunt me my entire life. And only now, in reading St. Gemma's welcoming of being humiliated to rid her of pride, do I realize my lifelong sin of such pride. I totally missed the opportunities God was sending me to purify myself. So happy I realized this now as I can repent of all the anger and hate that filled me all of these years.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Indeed that is a very good inspiration Gary! Thanks for haring your reflections here.
May God bless you and your loved ones,