“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of Saint Gemma Galgani

This coming Wednesday, April 11, is the memorial for one of the great young saints of the Catholic Church, and I imagine a saint that many of you don’t know well. In recent years, I have come to know a little more about this female saint of the late eighteenth century, but still have much to learn. I have not written anything on her as of yet but hope to in the next few days. The saint in which I am referring to – Saint Gemma Galgani.

Although she did not live as long as St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), she died at the age of 25, there are some rather striking similarities in their lives. Most notably, they are both considered mystics, both were given the Stigmata, and both battled demons. I would love to spend more time on writing about her life, and as I’ve just said, hope to write more this week, however, today’s post is about providing you one of her Marian prayers. Like so many of the saints before her, St. Gemma had a true and deep devotion to Our Lady, which in turn, led her to have a deep passionate love for Jesus Christ. Our Lady interceded for Gemma and led her repentant soul to the great merciful heart of Jesus Christ.

Sassoferrato – Virgin Mother

Here is the Marian prayer of St. Gemma Galgani –

Jesus entrusted me to His Mother,
and charged me to love her very much.
You are then my heavenly Mother.
You will be towards me
like any mother towards her children.
You see me weak?
You will have mercy on my weakness.
You see me poor in virtue?
You will help me.
O my Mother,
do not forsake me!
My dearest Mother,
do not abandon me!

Saint Gemma Galgani…Pray for Us. 

St. Catherine of Siena and the High School Classroom

St. Catherine of Siena

Today is the Feast Day of one of four female Doctors of the Church – St. Catherine of Siena. You can read about her life with the provided link. The other three female Doctors of the Church are St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Hildegard of Bingen. Today’s blog isn’t as educational as most, but it’s still good…and funny.

My first year in the high school theology classroom was at a Catholic school in Phoenix, Arizona. I could probably write a book on the funny things my students have said to me over the years, but this one has book title all over it. At some point in the second semester, we were discussing the stigmata – the wounds of Christ. Throughout the history of the Church, quite a few saints have received the wounds of Christ. What’s even more interesting is that many of these saints are female saints.

Somehow the discussion with my class comes around to St. Catherine of Siena. So I start talking and explaining about the life of St. Catherine. I told them about her early life a bit, that she was a Dominican, that she helped bring the Papacy back to Rome after being Avignon, and I explained that she had the stigmata. As I was explaining the stigmata, one of the students raised their hand and asked if the parish and school in South Phoenix was named after her. I affirmed the question and continued to talk about her life. During the explanation, I said that my sister had just begun her first year of teaching at St. Catherine of Siena. I think I spoke about my sister and how great of teacher she could potential become (well, I was prophetic in some sense, Carla was amazing as a teacher for 8 years…her students loved her).

So as the discussion ended, I asked the class some questions about her life and then asked if they had any questions for me. A student in the front row (yes…the front row) raised her hand with a sense of confusion.

The question she asked made me not only laugh, but shake my head too. She asked, “Wait…your sister who works at St. Catherine of Siena has the stigmata?”  “What?!”, went through my mind.

The things kids ask in the classroom! So funny! One of her best friends sitting in the back row piped up and said, “Hello!! Were you not even paying attention to Mr. Perna…brutal!”

So if I ever wrote a book on things kids say in the classroom, it will be titled – “Wait…your sister who works at St. Catherine of Siena has the stigmata?”

St. Catherine of Siena…Pray for Us!