|St. Gemma Galgani|
Born in Italy in 1878, Gemma became very sick with meningitis when she was a teen. Good medical treatment for this disease had not been invented yet, so Gemma prayed and the Lord healed her. Then when she was 21, she got a strange pain in her hands, feet and heart. Wounds opened up in each spot, and blood oozed out. This is called “the stigmata” – when a person miraculously gets the same wounds that Jesus suffered on the Cross. Gemma would get them every Thursday night, and they would last until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Then the wounds would close, leaving a white mark until the following week.
Saint Gemma Galgani wanted so much to be united with Jesus in His sufferings that she actually received physical wounds for a couple years of her life. This doesn’t happen to most of us. However, there is a beautiful devotion called the Stations of the Cross that can help us deepen our appreciation and love for Jesus. You can do this on your own at any church that has Stations on display, either in paintings, plaques or garden statuary. As you do this devotion, offer yourself to Jesus and ask Him to open your mind and heart to the greatness of His mercy, the way Saint Gemma’s mind and heart were open.