St. Gemma Galgani. The Diary of St. Gemma. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2022. Paperback $15.95. Ebook $9.99. Available from the publisher.
Our life on earth is a struggle—a winnable struggle—on the way to Heaven. Most of us battle against sins, such as pride, gossip, fear, laziness, anger, and lying. It is easy to forget that the saints waged war against vices too.
In The Diary of St. Gemma, the remarkable example of this patron saint of temptations teaches readers in a fresh and original way about the wonders and the potential of the spiritual life. When she was twenty-one years old, St. Gemma (1878-1903) received the stigmata, Jesus’ five wounds.
St. Gemma’s spiritual director ordered her to write about her mystical experiences, including raptures and ecstasies — along with numerous supernatural encounters with Jesus Crucified and Our Lady — whom she lovingly called “Mom.”
It is enthralling to read about the close relationship that St. Gemma had with her guardian angel, whom she would send on missions and whom she saw almost always in later life. St. Gemma’s angel helped her to pray and grow in virtue.
Despite her many sufferings, St. Gemma exercised heroic virtue in completing even menial tasks while wearing a hidden crown of thorns. Readers will find out why St. Gemma is the patroness of those with back pain, orphans, and many other needs.
St. Gemma is a powerful intercessor for us in escaping the snares of the evil one. She was mocked by others, including some family members, and harassed by the devil.
Moreover, St. Gemma will aid souls who are experiencing scruples, especially about receiving Holy Communion in times of spiritual aridity and darkness.
Readers will be fascinated by St. Gemma’s connection to St. Gabriel Possenti. He appeared to her several times and miraculously interceded for her. He further instructed her about the relationship between bodily illness and spiritual healing.
St. Gemma also offered up small things with great love for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and sinners. Her fervent life of prayer continued even when she was confined to a bed.
Although at first glance it may seem that St. Gemma’s life doesn’t relate to ours, many of her inner trials are similar to those we face and her candor in sharing them is a source of encouragement for us.
Most significantly, through the life of St. Gemma readers will reflect on the Passion and develop a deeper, more intimate union with Jesus in their daily lives through the mysteries of His glorious wounds.
Members of the media may send an email to Sophia Institute Press’ Director of Publicity, Sarah Lemieux at slemieux@SophiaInstitute.com to receive a physical or digital copy of The Diary of St. Gemma, and/or to schedule an interview.