Archive for May 14th, 2008

Australian Passionists visit Lucca

14 May, 2008

In October 2007 a group of Australian Passionists on pilgrimage in Italy visited the Shrine of St. Gemma Galgani in Lucca.  We were given a wonderful welcome by the Passionists Nuns. Two days in Lucca was not enough, it is a very beautiful town … we all want to return!

Of all the Passionist sites we visited during the pilrimage Lucca was special.  We were able to celebrate Mass in the Sanctuary, visit the house where St. Gemma was born, where she died and we celebrated Mass in the house where she received the Stigmata. Thanks to the Passionst Nuns at Lucca for their welcome and hospitality! The photo above shows the group of Australian Passionists – together with Father Ottaviano D’Edigio, C.P., the Passionist Superior General, and Father Paul Francis Spencer, C.P., our great tour guide, in the garden of the Passionist Monastery.  

A Passionist by desire and affection ….

14 May, 2008

Pope Benedict XV said of St. Gemma Galgani –

“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.

The Mass of St. Gemma Galgani here

16th May – Feast of St. Gemma Galgani

14 May, 2008

From the Decretal Letter Sanctitudinis Culmen of Pope Pius XII

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 frothiness of society life, she spent much 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 favoured by God with prolonged ecstasies and unusual gifts, such as we read about in the lives of many saints. Among these divine favours was the very special one of manifesting in her virginal flesh the living image of Christ and sharing mysteriously 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 of the Blessed Mother. She experienced the presence of her guardian angel as a familiar friend, and 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; Christ is living in me.

For some time, the servant of God has 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 austerity and more intensive contemplation of the passion of Christ. Since this is the main mission, a kind of sacred heritage that St. Paul of the Cross left to the religious he founded, Gemma asked more than once to be admitted into the cloistered convent at Tarquinia. But there were obstacles, particularly her poor health and the publicity that had been occasioned by her extraordinary graces. Eventually her illness progessed to such a point that it ruined all hope of her entering. But even though she could not become a member of the cloistered Passionist community, she deserved to be considered a member of it because she had professed private vows.