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St. Gemma Galgani – Mystic of Lucca

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Ave Maria Hour Radio Show

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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour,” a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

This week’s broadcast is the story of St. Gemma Galgani, Mystic of Lucca. She has been called the "Daughter of Passion" because of her profound imitation of the Passion of Christ.

Gemma Umberta Maria Galgani was born on March 12, 1878 in a small town near Lucca, Italy. At a very young age, St. Gemma developed a love for prayer. As a pupil at the school run by the Sisters of St. Zita, she was loved by her teachers and her fellow pupils but had to leave school due to chronic poor health.

At the age of twenty, St. Gemma became very ill with meningitis. She prayed for help to the Venerable Passionist, Gabriel Possenti. (Gabriel was later canonized.) Through his intercession, St. Gemma was miraculously cured.

At the age of twenty-one, St. Gemma began to receive the marks of the stigmata. Each Thursday evening, she would fall into rapture and the marks would appear and remain 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.

In January of 1903, Gemma was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She died on April 11, 1903 at the age of twenty-five. St. Gemma was beatified in 1933 by Pope Pius XI and canonized in 1940 by Pope Pius XII.