Lessons from a Little Known Saint
When people mention their favorite saints, you may not hear them immediately mention St. Gemma. But that's probably because they haven't heard of her! St. Gemma, whose feast day we celebrated April 11 (or May 16th for Passionists), is a profound example for kids and adults of someone who gave herself 100% to Christ.
Known as "the Flower of Lucca", Gemma was born in 1878 near this landmark Italian town. By secular standards, she didn't accomplish much-she was not a CEO, a warrior, or a creative genius. Her life, however, has these incredible lessons to teach us:
- Humility: While originally loved by teachers and classmates alike, when Gemma had mystical experiences of God in prayer, she was ridiculed. She bore these insults with love, however, uniting her sufferings with Christ's. Talk about radical!
- Selfless: Orphaned at 19, Gemma became a mother figure to her SEVEN brothers and sisters. In an age that promotes "self care" above all, Gemma is a witness to the selfless love God calls us to.
- Charitable: Understanding what it was like to be poor herself, Gemma always extended a helping hand to the poor. This stemmed from her love of God, seeing each person as His beloved son or daughter.
- Faithful: Even in suffering: Gemma received the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) and experienced painful bleeding from these wounds each week. She did not waver in her love of God and her desire to bring His message of redemption to others.
- A young saint: It can be tempting to put off holiness, thinking "I'll really pursue a relationship with Christ when I have my career/family/goals settled". Yet, Gemma died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. She suffered so greatly and yet died with a smile on her lips. Her passionate life is an inspiration to all of us to pursue holiness today!
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