St. Gemma Galgani, also known as the Flower of Lucca, was an Italian mystic born on March 12, 1878.
At a very young age, Gemma developed a love for prayer. Throughout her life, she had mystical experiences and special graces. They were often misunderstood and ridiculed by others.
Gemma loved the poor greatly and helped them in any way she could. After her father’s death, 19-year-old Gemma became the mother-figure for her seven brothers and sisters.
She wished to become a nun, but her poor health prevented her from being accepted.
On June 8, 1899, Gemma felt an internal warning that some unusual grace was to be granted to her. She felt pain and blood coming from her hands, feet and heart. These were the marks of the stigmata. Each Thursday evening, Gemma would fall into rapture and the marks would appear.
They remained until the following Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. When the bleeding stopped, the wounds closed, and only white marks remained in their place. Gemma’s stigmata continued until she prayed for them to stop due to her declining health.
Gemma then went to live where she was allowed more freedom for her spiritual life than she was at home. She was frequently found in a state of ecstasy and on one occasion she was believed to have levitated.
During apostolic investigations into her life, all witnesses testified that there was no artfulness in Gemma’s manner.
In January of 1903, Gemma was diagnosed with tuberculosis. At the start of Holy Week in 1903, Gemma began suffering greatly. She died at age 25 on Holy Saturday, April 11.
St. Gemma Galgani was beatified in 1933 by Pope Pius the 11th and canonized in 1940, only 37 years after her death, by Pope Pius the 12th.
She is the patron saint against temptations, the death of parents, of students, of pharmacists, and against tuberculosis. Her feast day is celebrated on April 11.
Learn more on St. Gemma Galgani: https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=225