Santa Gemma

giannini house
Lourdes and Tessie of LC, at the entrance
 of the Giannini house, Lucca, 2009


At age 21 St Gemma Galgani became a destitute orphan and was adopted by the Giannini family. The Giannini had 11 children of their own and Gemma was a great help. She diligently served the family in spite of her illnesses and sufferings. At the family's dinning room there is still today a crucifix. Gemma frequently contemplated Jesus crucified.  At least once, while she felt an intense thirst for Him, she found herself raised from the floor. The crucifix had become alive and Jesus was holding her with His arm detached from the cross. Her arms were around Him, while she kissed the wound at His side and drank His Precious Blood. St. Gemma's kiss was true love, which is always total oblation and union. As Pope Pius XI said: "She bore in herself the wounds of Christ". >>>

Her mystical experiences caused many to reject her or to think she was crazy. She suffered greatly but found her life and strength in Christ Crucified with whom she became one.  She was a victim soul who did much reparation for priests.

I took the picture of the miraculous crucifix, above, in 2009 during a pilgrimage to her home in Lucca, Italy. The sisters that live there now had to go to the doctor and allowed us to stay in the living room, in front of this crucifix for a few hours until they returned! What a blessing!  We could sense the presence of St. Gemma and joined with her in prayer, offering our community of Love Crucified and each member to Christ, that we too may enter His passionate embrace; that we too love Him and not be afraid of rejection and injuries for His sake; that we may enter the simple path of holiness as she did, unto the kiss of union. 
-Fr. Jordi Rivero

Gratitude: "Behold me at Your Most Sacred Feet, dear Jesus, to manifest every moment my recognition and my gratitude for the many and continued favors that You have given me, and that You still wish to give me" -St. Gemma Galgani.

-From Love Crucified's "Simple path to Holiness"

"Suffer ALL with perfect faith in My crucified love."  (1/13/11)

"Desire solely the Cross and give Me rest... Very few souls participate in My suffering and share in My sorrows." (9/7/11)

Our human nature does not desire the cross; it is repulsed by the cross. Our human nature desires pleasure, consolation, rest... When God presents to us the "treasured pearl of suffering" we do not desire to receive it of our own will.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus expresses the immense sorrow of His Heart. He says to Peter, James and John, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." (Mat. 26:38) Our Lord then goes out to pray, "My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." (Mat. 26:39)

Our Lord desires for us to remain with Him and partake of His chalice. True intimacy is to suffer as one heart with the beloved, to enter a union of sorrows. It is in the Sacred Heart of Jesus that we enter true intimacy of suffering. The fire of love of the Holy Spirit that consumes the Sacred Heart of Jesus also consumes our heart and we begin to desire to drink and partake in our Lord's suffering. This is pure love. The soul desires desolation before consolation because the chalice of our Lord's suffering is filled with desolation. The soul desires hardships before pleasures because our Lord's chalice is filled with hardships. The soul desires exhaustion before rest because our Lord had nowhere to lay his head. Our soul desires tears before laughter because his chalice is filled with the tears of His sorrows for every soul. Who will drink from our Lord's chalice and suffer with Him solely to be ONE with Love?

This intimacy of suffering experienced in the Sacred Heart of Jesus is expressed by the prayer of St. Gemma Galgani:

"Do grant, oh my God, that when my lips approach Yours to kiss You, I may taste the gall that was given to You; when my shoulders lean against Yours, make me feel Your scourging; when my flesh is united with Yours, in the Holy Eucharist, make me feel Your passion; when my head comes near Yours, make me feel Your thorns; when my heart is close to Yours, make me feel Your spear." (St. Gemma Galgani)

But in order for our hearts to enter the fire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and participate with intimacy in His sufferings we must allow the Holy Spirit and our Blessed Mother to lead us through the purification at the feet and in the pierced side of Jesus crucified.

"Suffering is not meaningless, but rather when embraced as the Cross of Christ, it becomes "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24)... It is not useless, but rather is tremendously precious because it brings salvation to souls by applying the power of the Cross to their need... Nor is redemptive suffering a rejection of healing; rather, it is a way of bringing total healing, that is, salvation to ourselves and others. One effect of healing is that it removes the obstacles within us that prevent us from recognizing the Cross and embracing the Cross and embracing it with joy. -The Spirit and the Bride Say Come p. 74

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