St. Gerard Majella is the patron of expectant mothers. He was born in 1726 in Muro, Italy. Shortly after his father’s death, his mother sent him away to live with his uncle and learn to become a tailor. Later, Majella took on a job with the local Bishop of Lacedonia as a servant.
As the days passed, Majella began to grow pale and thin, often fasting and in prayer at a nearby Cathedral.
He applied to the Capuchin monastery at Muro twice, but was turned down both times. In 1749, at the age of 23, he joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Three years later he became a professed lay brother.
Majella lived with the three vows of Poverty, Chasity and Obedience. Majella was often called on by the poor and the sick. Wherever his presence was demanded he graciously presented himself. He was there to “do the Will of God.”
This humble servant of God also had faculties associated with certain mystics. This includes levitation, bi-location and the ability to read souls. Throughout his years of life, several reported miracles are tied to Majella including, restoring a boy’s life after he fell from a high cliff
Along with his miracles effected through prayers for woman in labor, Majella’s last recorded miracle is one that many credit toward his becoming the patron of expectant mothers. Shortly before his death, Majella encountered a young girl. He had dropped his handkerchief and she set out to return it, only to be told to keep it. Majella told her she “may need it someday.” Years after Majella’s passing, the young girl became married and with child. She unexpectedly went into labor and was on the verge of losing her baby. She called for Majella’s handkerchief to be applied to her. Almost immediately, her pain abated and she proceeded to give birth to a healthy child, something very rare during that time.
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil/creams is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person is invited to apply cream on the part of their body they want healed but as they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the cream is dedicated to. The Sacred healing creams do not have miraculous power, as it is God who has the power to heal. Prayer and a gesture of faith, like applying the cream, are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. By doing so we place our trust in God.
The jars of cream going out are accompanied with a prayer card personalised for the saint to whom the cream is dedicated to.
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