Date: June 3, 2022
By: Veronica H.
Over the past year, I have taken up the advice of a holy and faithful priest to regularly read the lives of the Saints and this has borne great fruit. Our Lord has sent me three powerful saints, St.Teresa of Avila, St. Veronica Giuliani and St. Gemma Galgani, to teach lessons to me in the spiritual life.
While reading “The life of St. Gemma Galgani” by Venerable Fr. Germanus, C.P., I realized I have had a misconception about the saints. He wrote about how many people have the sense that the Saints, because they are Saints, take on an almost celestial being and almost stop being human.(1) I was convicted. I’ve thought of the Saints as far removed from my experience of life and that they had so many graces from God that being a saint was easy for them, but, this could not be further from the truth. Fr. Germanus explained how the Saints are ideals, however, truly human, they have inherited the fallen nature of Adam. Grace perfects nature but this does not happen all at once, therefore, among the supernatural gifts found in the saints, man remains with all his misery. The Saints suffered from all our weaknesses, repugnance, weariness, and distaste for virtue, too, yet, they were able to become Saints. As those who understand our earthly struggle, their heroic example of virtue, despite their weakness, urges me on to ask for their prayers and to learn about how the grace of God has worked in their lives.
St. Gemma Galgani,(1878- 1903), an Italian laywomen, was known as “The Gem of Christ.”(2)
After being denied acceptance to the convent due to ill health, she set out to live a hidden life of prayer, and sacrifice. St. Gemma was a mystic and was often visited by Our Lord, Our Lady, her Guardian Angel and St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother. Near to the end of her life, God gave her the great grace of receiving the stigmata and of experiencing the sufferings of the Passion weekly. While reading the biography of her life, I was touched by her joyful surrender to God’s holy will. It was a great disappointment to her that she was not able to enter the convent, but she offered up this sacrifice and gave herself totally to Christ through her life as a single laywoman. She joyfully endured her suffering due to illness and those given to her by Christ. Her example encourages me in my life to growth in holiness is among the circumstances I find myself in as a single woman with a chronic illness. Her mystical visions strengthen my belief in the nearness of Jesus, Mary and our guardian angels to each of us.
St. Veronica Giuliani, (1660- 1727) a Capuchin nun and mystic, was very close to the Crucified Lord. (3) As one of my patron saints, I decided that it was time to read an account of her life.(4) God rewarded St. Veronica’s ardent desire to be like Christ Crucified by bestowing on her the gift of the stigmata. I was most edified by her gratitude and great humility that was evident through her acceptance of all her sufferings from within and without. She patiently endured the humiliating testing by others of the authenticity of her stigmata and her mystical visions. Growing in humility and gratitude to God are two virtues that I need to grow in. I have been given so much from God and yet I find myself being dissatisfied about what I don’t have. St. Veronica’s example reminds me of the importance of thanking and praising God in all circumstances.
St. Teresa of Avila, (1515- 1582), the reformer of the Carmelite order and Doctor of the Church, is known for her extensive mystical writings and teaching on prayer. Within the writing of her autobiography, St. Teresa reveals the intimate relationship Our Lord desires with each of our souls and the path we must attend to if we desire to grow in the interior life.(5) Her struggle with mental prayer for many years resonates with my own struggle and her growth in the interior life encourage me to persevere mental prayer. God waits for me to turn my heart to Him in prayer so that I may more deeply know His immense love for me.
The Saints have been given to us by God to show forth His goodness and to encourage us to strive to grow in holiness as we journey through our exile on earth to our eternal home in
Heaven. May our reading of the lives of the Saints and their prayers of intercession help us to
grow in our love of God.
1. Germanus,C,P., Father. The Life of St. Gemma Galgani. Tan Books, 2012, 151.
2. Catholic Online. “St. Gemma Galgani,” Catholic Online, https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=225
Accessed 26 May 2022.
3. “Saint Veronica Giuliani.” Franciscan Media,https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-veronica-
giuliani Accesed 26 May, 2022.
4. Salvatori, Filippo Maria. The Life of St Veronica Giuliani. St. Athanasius Press, 2014.
5. Avila, Teresa. The Life of Teresa of Jesus. Image Books, 2004.