St. Gemma, ora pro nobis!

This picture of an icon was sent to us by our nuns in Lucca, Italy . Their monastery is attached to the Sanctuary of St. Gemma and her remains are encased there. They have a gorgeous Chapel- very fitting to hold the heart of a woman whose love for Jesus knew no bounds!

     The following biography I found on St. Paul of the Cross Monastery website.

     St. Gemma Galgani was born on March 12, 1878 at Camigliano, near Lucca in Italy, to Henry and Aurelia Galgani. Gemma’s mother died when Gemma was was very young. Her brother Gino to whom she was also very close, died soon after in 1894, after a battle with tuberculosis. Gemma’s father was a chemist and had been prosperous, but prolonged sickness in the family was a drain on his resources and resulted in complete financial ruin. To add to this Gemma’s father was stricken with cancer of the throat and she nursed him until his death in 1897. Thus, before Gemma was twenty she knew the sorrow of seeing her parents and family suffer tremendously.


    At nineteen Gemma became ill with a painful curvature of the spine and meningitis, resulting in a partial paralysis. One of Gemma’s greatest sufferings came about because of her confusion concerning God’s will for her in becoming a religious. While not juridically ascribed in the Passionist family, she aspired to the Passionist Nuns at Tarquinia and embraced profoundly the spirituality of the Passion. On June 8, 1899, Gemma entered into a deeper experience of the Passion of Jesus by suffering the physical wounds of Christ on her body. The agony continued on Thursdays and Fridays in various parts of her body, usually with the flow of blood. Although Gemma always remained a lay-woman, she absorbed the Passionist spirituality. Only after her death did the Monasteries of the Passionist Nuns enjoy a marvelous blossoming.


     Gemma died in Lucca on Holy Saturday April 11, 1903. Her holiness was evidenced by her whole life, her spirit of prayer, her loving acceptance of suffering, and her writings, all proclaim her desire to please God and to be united with Him. In 1923 her body was transferred to a shrine at the Passionist Monastery in Lucca. (Gemma foretold: “The Passionists will not receive me in life but they will have me in death.”) Gemma was beatified by Pope Pius XI on May 14, 1933 and on May 2, 1940 she was canonized by the Servant of God Pope Pius XII.


     St. Gemma is a model for lay people who want to pray, who want to turn to God, for help and consolation in their worried lives – plagued by financial insecurity, broken homes, and emptiness – caused by the death of loved ones, the rejection felt by some handicap, and the frustration of the willing who are unable – in a society where the able are unwilling.


If not by habit and profession, undoubtedly by desire and affection, Gemma is rightly numbered among the religious children of St. Paul of the Cross.

~ Pope Benedict XV said of St. Gemma Galgani

     For those who can read Italian – I just found an address Pope John Paul II gave to cloistered religious at the Shrine of St. Gemma where our Passionist Nuns Monastery is located in Lucca, Italy.



15 thoughts on “St. Gemma, ora pro nobis!

  1. Olá Irmãs! Que nesse dia todo especial, dedicado a nossa querida Santa Gema, que ela interceda por todas nós, lá do céu, e nos ensine a amar Jesus Crucificado como ela amou!!!
    Daniela – Brasil

  2. Daniela,
    Did you say, “Hello Sisters,
    On this very special day dedicado to you dear St. Gemma, who intercedes for all of us on earh and those who have the same love for Jesus Crucified that she has.” ? Is this a pretty accurate translation? Let me know.
    Your friend,

  3. Abby,
    That is the translation. Thanks! I don’t know how to write very well in English.
    Your friend,

  4. This is the first time I’ve ever seen an icon of our beloved St. Gemma. It’s beautiful.

    Thank you for posting it on your website.

    May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts,

    Melody, Lay Missionaries of the Passion

  5. Does anyone know the story, meaning of the drawings in the icon? My family has great devotion to St Gemma, for my birthday this year my husband and daughter gave me a statue of St Gemma.
    Thanks , Kathy Brezinski, Passionist Associate
    St Ann Basilica , Scranton Pa

    Kathy, I don’t know the official interpretation of the icon but I can share a few thoughts. Although, you probably can figure this out already. Angel on her left – she had a very close relationship with her guardian angel. Our sorrowful Mother on her right – Our sorrowful Mother and Gemma’s guardian angel supported her when she received the stigmata. The image of Christ crucified – that the passion of Christ would be ever in our hearts – that is our Passionist motto!

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  8. can some people pray for 2 people in hospital for our family please????
    for Kathy & Shirley. does anyone have a prayer to st Gemma galgani that you can share with me??? I can’t find any anywhere. also can someone find an address to one of her shrines I need it real bad too please.

  9. Dear Jon, we will certainly pray for Kathy and Shirley. Below is a link to a great St. Gemma Galgani website. Glenn will have your information there. May the Lord give you all His peace.
    In right hand column scroll down to “Holy Cards/Books/Medals” to see where you can get a prayer card.

    Here is the address to her Shrine in Italy:
    Santuario di Santa Gemma
    Fuori Porta Elisa
    55100 – Lucca

  10. I am thrilled to see this biography of St. Gemma on your website. St. Gemma is one of my personal patrons. As a single woman striving to live a life totally given to the Lord, I find her to be a great role model for me. Her devotion to the Eucharist is most moving. Her willingness to suffer really impresses me, especially as she requests to have suffering in her life. I don’t feel that I could ever request suffering, but I try to accept suffering when it comes to me. As someone who tried two forms of consecrated life and was not destined for either, I resonate to her feelings and seek to imitate her resolution to belong wholly to the Lord while remaining in the world. She is an amazing saint!!!

    Dear Judy, thank you for your beautiful message. May St. Gemma be your dear companion as you pilgrimage to the Father through Jesus Crucified. She will help you!


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