Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."

As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

April 11: Saint Gemma Galgani, "The Gem of Christ"

Posted by Jacob

“If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love.”

Today, April 11, we celebrate the feast of Saint Gemma Galgani (1878-1903), virgin and mystic of the Church. Saint Gemma suffered throughout her life, and was graced with visions of Christ, earning her the titles “Gem of Christ” and “Passion Flower.” She is considered the Saint of the Passion of Christ, given her mystical ecstasies, suffering, stigmata, and desire to share in the pain of our Lord. As we approach Good Friday, Saint Gemma is a holy woman to both emulate and admire!

Gemma Galgani was born in a small Italian town near Lucca. At a very young age, Gemma developed a love for prayer, and earned a reputation for both piety and humility. She made her First Communion at the age of nine, and continued her schooling at the school run by the Sisters of Saint Zita. There, she was loved by her teachers and peers. She was obedient, diligent, and kind, although quiet, shy, and reserved. It is remarked that Gemma was always smiling, regardless of task or difficulty. Although a good student, her chronic illness (developed as a young child) prevented her from continuing her studies, and she was forced to leave school. Instead, she remained at home and taught and cared for her sisters and brothers.

Gemma lovingly cared for the needs, both spiritual and physical of her family, often at the neglect of herself. She had no use for fancy clothes, and adorned herself in simple, extremely austere black dresses. She nursed her sick father until his death, and spent her free time tending to the poor of the community, giving them all she had despite being quite poor herself. Upon her father’s death, she assumed primary care of her seven younger siblings. Two men sought her hand in marriage—which would have considerably eased the strain of her life—but she refused, reserving herself for the Lord alone. Her sole desire was to pray and be in the presence of Christ.

On one occasion, to please a relative who had given her what she considered lavish gifts, Gemma wore a gold watch and cross while going about her charitable endeavors amongst the poor. Upon returning home, she was visited by her Guardian Angel—the first of many visits she would receive. He scolded her: "Remember, the spouse of the Crucified King should wear no ornaments but thorns and crosses." She immediately pledged never to wear nor speak of things of the world.

She went back to the severity of the clothes she had been wearing, and when she ventured out, she donned a simple black cloak to cover a shapeless black dress and a straw hat. This did not detract from her fine patrician looks, but instead enhanced them.

Her Guardian Angel stressed obedience! He would repeat over and over again: "Obedience! You must obey! You must be like a dead body; whatever is asked of you, you must obey quickly and joyfully!" Gemma was tempted by the world, but turned to prayer and self-denial, listening to her Guardian Angel and growing in both love and service to the Lord.

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. As a young woman, Gemma fell ill with meningitis, a painful disease of the spine. She was forced to wear a heavy iron brace around the clock that only left her arms free. Rather than feeling sorry for herself, her sole regret was the trouble that she caused her relatives. She demonstrated her care through cheerfulness, by never complaining, and by praying for her caregivers.

Gemma’s illness progressed, curving her spine radically despite the brace she wore. She lost her hearing, and large abscessed developed on her head. Gemma lost her hair, and eventually became paralyzed. The doctors offered no hope, and her condition continued to deteriorate. Throughout all, Gemma turned to the Lord, offering up her pain and suffering to Christ. She wished for nothing more than to become a Passionist nun, but her maladies kept her from doing so.

A Sister who attended to her needs knew of Gabriel Possenti, the young Passionist Saint (Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows), and to offer consolation to Gemma, gave her a novena card and the life of Gabriel which she read. Gemma began to pray and began a devotion to Gabriel Possenti.. She later wrote regarding Gabriel: “… I grew in admiration of his virtues and his ways. My devotion to him increased. At night I did not sleep without having his picture under my pillow, and after that I began to see him near me. I don’t know how to explain this, but I felt his presence. At all times and in every action Brother Gabriel came to mind.”

One day, Saint Gabriel appeared to her, called her his sister, and told her she would one day wear the same habit he did. He informed her that she would be cured, and that a special grace was being prepared for her. On March 2 1899 she was miraculously cured of all her illnesses. On June 8, 1899, the evening before the Feast of the Sacred Heart, while she was praying the Holy Hour with Jesus in his sufferings, she experienced the deepest love for Him. It was the grace that Gabriel had spoken of. In her own words:. “All of a sudden I felt a piercing sorrow for my sins, grief, love, fear, hope encouragement…I found myself in the presence of my dear heavenly Mother…She opened her mantle and covered me with it. At that moment Jesus appeared with all his wounds open; but from those wounds there no longer came forth blood but flames of fire. In an instant those flames came to touch my hands, my feet and my heart….then I found myself kneeling; but I still felt great pain in my hands, feet and heart. I rose to go to bed and became aware that blood was flowing from those parts where I felt pain. Those pains did not leave me until three o’clock on Friday – the Feast of the Sacred Heart.”

On June 8, Saint Gemma experienced pain in her hands, feet and heart and blood was coming from the places where she had pain. She received the marks of the stigmata. Each Thursday evening from that point forth, Gemma would fall into rapture and the marks would appear. The stigmata remained until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning when the bleeding would stop, the wounds would close, and only white marks would remain in place of the deep gashes. Gemma's stigmata would continue to appear until the last three years of her life, when her confessor forbade her to accept them. Through her prayers, this phenomenon ceased, but the whitish marks remained on her skin until her death. At one time during her sufferings, she was asked: “If Jesus gave you the choice between two alternatives, either going immediately to heaven and having your sufferings disappear, or else remaining here in suffering to procure still more glory for the Lord, which would you choose?” She answered: “I prefer to remain here rather than going to heaven, when it is a question of suffering for Jesus and His glory.”

Gemma was graced by further extraordinary supernatural phenomena — visions, ecstasies, revelations, supernatural knowledge, conversations with her visible Guardian Angel, prophecy and miracles. Her director verified that letters which she wrote and committed to the care of her good Angel were infallibly delivered.

Despite her earlier sickness, Gemma maintained a strict life of penance and austerity, most of which she kept hidden from those who cared for her. In January of 1903, Gemma was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She died quietly in the company of the parish priest, on April 11 at age twenty-five. By his report, "She died with a smile which remained upon her lips, so that I could not convince myself that she was really dead."

Gemma had predicted that the Passionists would establish a monastery at Lucca. This came to pass two years after her death. Today, her relics are still treasured there. The inscription on the marble table that covers her relics reads: “Gemma Galgani from Lucca, most pure virgin, being in her twenty-fifth year, died of consumption, but was more consumed by the fire of divine love than by her wasting disease. On the eleventh of April, 1903, the vigil of Easter, her soul took its flight to the bosom of her heavenly Spouse. O beautiful soul, in the company of the Angels!”

We can learn so much from Saint Gemma, but perhaps the most important thing is the desire to love God with all our hearts. Gemma was not a person of half measures. She loved God with all her being. Her heart was all on fire with the love of God, and God was everything to her. So much did she love the Lord that she shared His wounds and pain, as recorded by Pope Pius XI: “She bore in her flesh the wounds of Christ!”

Selected Quotations by Saint Gemma Galgani:

“If I saw the gates of Hell open and I stood on the brink of the abyss, I should not despair, I should not lose hope of mercy, because I should trust in You, my God.”

“O my soul, bless Jesus. Never forget the many graces He has given thee. Love that God who so loves thee. Lift thyself up to Him, who has lowered Himself for thee; show thyself as He shows Himself with thee; be clean of heart, be pure. Love thy Jesus, who has lifted thee out of so much misery. Love thy God, bless thy Lord

“Oh, if all were to know how beautiful Jesus is, how loving He is! They would all die of love. And yet, how is it that He is so little loved? Oh, it is time lost to be with creatures! Our heart is made to love one thing only, our great God.”

“I am happy in every way that Jesus wills, and if Jesus wants the sacrifice of my life, I give it to Him at once. If He wants anything else, I am ready. One thing alone is enough for me; to be his victim, in order to atone for my innumerable sins, and if possible, for those of the whole world.”

"What happy moments I spent with Jesus! How could I return His affections? With what words could I express His love, and for this poor creature? Yet He did deign to come. It's truly impossible, yes, it is impossible not to love Jesus. How many times He asked me if I love Him and if I truly love Him. And do you still doubt it, my Jesus? So, He unites ever more closely with me, talks to me, says He wants me to be perfect, that He too loves me very much and I should reciprocate."

"Oh, how I love my Mother, Mary! She knows it; and then Jesus Himself gave Her to me, and told me to love Her so much. And what great goodness this Heavenly Mother has always shown me! What would have become of me, if I had not had Her? She has always helped me in my spiritual wants; She has preserved me from countless dangers; She has freed me from the hands of the devil who was ceaselessly com¬ing to molest me; She pleaded my cause with Jesus when I sinned, and She soothed Him when I moved Him to anger by my wicked life; She has taught me to know Him and to love Him, to be good and to please Him. Ah, my dear Mother, I will love Thee always and forever!"

“Is it possible that there are souls who do not understand what the Blessed Eucharist is? Who are insensible to the Divine Presence.....to the mysterious and fervent effusions of the Sacred Heart of my Jesus? O Heart of Jesus! Heart of love!" "Yesterday, in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I felt myself burning so fiercely that I had to go away. I felt stunned that so many could stay so close to Jesus and not be reduced to ashes. I felt that I would be consumed. Jesus is such a sweet and irresistible Lover; how can one fail to love Him with one's whole heart and soul? How can one not wish to be wholly united in Him, and consumed in the flames of His holy love?"

“....Let us go to Jesus. He is all alone and hardly anyone thinks of Him. Poor Jesus!” "....See, oh Jesus, even at night, those hours, those hours! I sleep, but Jesus my heart does not sleep. It watches with Thee at all hours." ".....Can You see that as soon as the day breaks I think of You? As evening comes, I am near You.....I am near You at every moment.......I love You, Jesus....."

Saint Gemma Galgani's Prayer

O my crucified God, behold me at Your feet; do not cast me out, now that I appear before You as a sinner. I have offended You exceedingly in the past, my Jesus, but it shall be so no longer.

Before You, O Lord, I place all my sins; I have now considered Your own sufferings and see how great is the worth of that Precious Blood that flows from Your veins.

O my God, at this hour close Your eyes to my want of merit, and since You have been pleased to die for my sins, grant me forgiveness for them all, that I may no longer feel the burden of my sins, for this burden, Dear Jesus, oppresses me beyond measure.

Assist me, my Jesus, for I desire to become good whatsoever it may cost; take away, destroy, utterly root out all that You find in me contrary to Your holy will. At the same time, I pray You, Lord Jesus, to enlighten me that I may be able to walk in Your holy light. Amen.

All powerful God,
you made Saint Gemma Galgani
a living image of your crucified Son.
Through her prayers,
may we suffer with Christ
and so share in his glory,
for he lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen

Year 2: Day 103 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faith and consuming love; willingness to suffer and sacrifice for others; To be joined with Christ.
Requested Intentions: Financial ability to send children to school (S); Safe return of a runaway (J); Healing of a family (J); Reconciliation of marriage (S); Healing of a daughter with congenital heart disease (F); Healing and an end to suffering (J); For the children (M); For a son fighting a rare immune system disease (R); Freedom from imprisonment (J); Employment and end to depression (H); Successful employment (A); Health for a soon to be delivered baby (T); Financial security (L); Healing of tooth pain (A); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Purification of the souls in Purgatory (A); Guidance in studies (J); Healing and security for a displaced family (C); Healing of high blood pressure; Recovery of brother following surgery (A); For a sister in trouble, that she may make better decisions in the light of Christ (M); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Attainment of funds for surgery (J); Freedom from financial difficulties (E); For employment and college acceptance (E); Recovery and healing of a friend (C); For successful outcome to surgery (C); Healing for brother (M); Successful employment (C); For the victims of the Japanese tsunami/earthquake (J); Healing (E); For a son struggling with depression (B); Successful conception (M); Freedom from social anxiety; confidence in the Lord (J); Improved success in employment and studies (D); Freedom from illness (T); For a wife’s employment (E); Healing of a husband’s knee (M); Freedom from sickness (R); Healing (C); Restoration of marriage (F); Freedom from medical difficulties, employment, successful relationship (D); Healing of a father following stroke (S).


  1. Anonymous said...

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