Oil dedicated to St Gemma on Prayer Cloth
St Gemma on Prayer Cloth is dedicated to the 19th century Italian saint and mystic.
Gemma Galgani was born on March 12, 1878, in a small Italian town near Lucca. At a very young age, Gemma developed a love for prayer. Although quiet and reserved, she always had a smile for everyone. Although a good student, she had to quit school due to chronic ill health.
Throughout her life, Gemma was to be favored with many mystical experiences and special graces. These were often misunderstood by others, causing ridicule. Gemma suffered these heartaches in reparation, remembering that Our Lord Himself had been misunderstood and ridiculed.
Gemma had an immense love for the poor, and helped them in any way she could. After her father’s death, the nineteen year old Gemma became the mother of her seven brothers and sisters. When some were old enough to share this responsibility, she lived briefly with a married aunt. At this time, two young men proposed marriage to her. However, Gemma wanted silence and retirement. Moreover, she desired to pray and speak only to God.
Gemma wished to become a nun, but her poor health prevented her from being accepted. She offered this disappointment to God as a sacrifice.
Gemma predicted that the Passionists would establish a monastery at Lucca; this came to pass two years after her death. Today, Gemma’s mortal remains are still treasured at the Passionist monastery in Lucca.
On June 8, 1899, Gemma had an interior warning that some unusual grace was to be granted to her. She had pain in her hands, feet and heart and blood was coming from the places where she had pain. These were the marks of the stigmata.
In January of 1903, Gemma was diagnosed as having tuberculosis. She died quietly in the company of the parish priest, on April 11 at age twenty-five. He said, “She died with a smile which remained upon her lips, so that I could not convince myself that she was really dead.” She was beatified in 1933 and canonized on May 2, 1940, only thirty-seven years after her death.
Miracles and graces of St Gemma -Physical Cures
Maria Menicucci of Vitorchiano in the Province of Rome was suffering great pain from an acute form of synovitis, which they said was incurable. A novena was begun to Gemma and a relic of her applied to the knee. On the last day of the novena, when the bandages were removed, the knee was found to be perfectly normal. “Gemma has heard my prayer,” she wrote to a friend. “I am cured as you will see by the enclosed medical certificate. I am beside myself with joy.”
Filomena Bini of Pisa, was suffering from a malignant stomach disease which was pronounced by the doctors to be cancerous. She was seventy-two years of age and the doctors said it was impossible to do anything. A relic of Gemma was applied to the sick woman, who had not slept for a long time owing to the intense pain she was enduring. She at once fell asleep and did not wake till the morning, and on awaking found herself perfectly cured. The doctor was amazed at finding on examination that all traces of the disease had disappeared. “It is a miracle wrought by God,” he exclaimed and later certified.
At age 16, Galgani developed spinal meningitis, but recovered. She attributed her extraordinary cure to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of the Venerable Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (later canonized), and Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque.
Shortly after turning 18 Galgani was orphaned, and thereafter she was responsible for the upbringing of her younger siblings, which she did with her aunt Carolina. She declined two marriage proposals and became a housekeeper with the Giannini family.
A young girl, Giovanna Bortolozzi, at Miidchenheim in Switzerland, was suffering from a large tumour in the arm-pit. The doctor was to operate in three days’ time, but the sister-in-charge assured the girl that Gemma would cure her; She tied a relic of Gemma upon the arm and began a novena. When the doctor (a Protestant) came to perform the operation he found the tumour had completely disappeared. “It is a miracle,” he exclaimed. The poor girl soon returned to her work full of gratitude to her heavenly protectress.
A Camaldolesian monk, Dom Thommaso, states that after suffering from continual pain in the spine, which often prevented his being able to stand up, for over twelve years, he began a novena to Gemma and after two days was cured. “It seems,” he writes, “that I have returned from death to life.”
St Gemma healing oil 4/Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.