St Gemma Galgani

I knew there was another saint I had to find out about! Saint Gemma Galgani was the first saint who lived in the twentieth century to be canonised. Pope Pius XII approved the decree on her miracles just three weeks after being elected and then canonised her on 2 May 1940. This information and more comes from Laus Christi, the blog of Fr Spencer, a Passionist Priest. (see the post Venerable Pius XII, Saint Gemma Galgani and the Basilica of Saints John and Paul) Thanks to Father, there is also a photo of the canonisation:

St Gemma is another saint who is not terribly popular with rationalist liberal skeptics (Catholic or otherwise.) She was a mystic who died at the age of 25. Among other things, she received the stigmata over a period of about a year and a half. This would happen on Thursday evening and continue to Friday afternoon. She saw her Guardian Angel and was on familiar terms with him, and she was frequently tormented by the devil who scorched her spiritual diary. St Gemma tried to join the Passionist Sisters but they wouldn't have her because of her health. The Passionists now have a shrine in their Church in Rome, the Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo up on the Caelian Hill. Pope Pius XII personally arranged for an altar in honour of St Gemma to be put in the basilica which was formerly his titular Church. Here is a photo I took of the altar last year:

Her canonisation was a focus of heated controversy, apparently, with some people very much against anything that might seem to approve of the extraordinary manifestations that were a a part of her life.

TAN books have her life in their catalogue. I have just ordered a copy of the original hardback via AbeBooks - there was one more listed if you are quick.

Saint Gemma's feast day is 16 May so you have just time to do a Novena. Let me see if I can find one...

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