O good St. Gerard, wonderful Patron of Mothers, deign to offer God my heartfelt gratitude for the great blessing of Motherhood.
In my long hours of anxiety, uncertain and doubt, your powerful intercession with Jesus my Lord and Mary my Queen, was my hope.
Obtain for me the grace ever to turn to thee in similar trials.
Help me to inspire other women with confidence in thy gracious assistance.
Aid all of us that, doing God's Holy Will here on earth, we may merit eternal life in heaven, through Christ our Lord, Amen.
+ RichardJ. Cushing, D.D., L.L.D.
Archbishop of Boston,
June 1, 1949.
THE LIFE OF ST. GERARD MAJELLA
St. Gerard Majella was born in 1726 in the southern Italian town of Muro. The son of a tailor, he himself became apprenticed to a tailor at the age of twelve, around the time of his father's death. As he grew up, Gerard spent a lot of time in prayer and he developed a great love for God. He became known to people for his kindness and led a frugal life, so that he could share his earnings with the poor.
When he was 23, a team of Redemptorists gave a mission in Muro. Gerard was so impressed by them that he decided, against the wishes of his family, to join the Order. The missioners, thinking that Gerard was not able for the religious life because of his poor health, refused to accept him. But Gerard persisted with his request and eventually left home to become a Redemptorist Brother.
As a religious, Gerard lived a life of prayer. He was particularly faithful to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, meditating on the passion of Jesus, and devotion to our Blessed Mother. His work, which varied from cleaning and cooking to giving spiritual advice, especially in the matter of confessional to many people who sought it, was an inspiration to all. He was well-known too for his love for people, in particular the poor and distressed.
At the age of 29 he got tuberculosis and, though it caused him great pain, suffered it courageously as the will of God and did not complain. He died on the 16th of October, 1755. He was declared a Saint by Pope Pius X in 1904. His feast day is on October 16th.
Today, St. Gerard had won the love and devotion of many for the numerous miracles attributed to his intercession. He is well known for his protection of expectant mothers and is recognised as Patron of Mothers and Babies. He is also venerated as Friend of the Poor and Saint of the Worker, and his special gift was as a friend and helper of those seeking to make a good confession.
John Michael Talbot - Here I Am, Lord
More write-up on St Gerard Majella:
Saint Gerard Majella is known as a Thaumaturge, a Saint who works miracles not just occasionally, but as a matter of course. It has been said that God raises up not more than one every century. He was born in Italy at Muro Lucano, south of Naples, in 1726. As a child of five, when he would go to pray before a statue of the Virgin with her Child, the Infant Jesus regularly descended to give him a little white bun. He took it home and naively told his mother, when she asked him, where he obtained it. His sister was sent to the church to observe in secret, and saw the miracle for herself. He wanted very much to receive Holy Communion at the age of seven and went to the Communion railing one day with the others; but the priest, seeing his age, passed him up; and he went back to his place in tears. The following night, Saint Michael the Archangel brought him the Communion he so much desired.
As he grew older, when anyone spoke to him about marriage, he would answer: “The Madonna has ravished my heart, and I have made Her a present of it.” He desired to enter religion, but his health was unstable as a result of the mortifications he had constantly practiced as a young man. He had acquired a reputation of sanctity, and finally, when he was 23 years old, he obtained the aid of some missionaries to second his request, and was admitted as a Coadjutor of the newly founded Congregation of Redemptorists, in 1749.
He showed himself to be a model of every virtue and he did the work of four, still finding time to take on himself that of others. He would say: “Let me do it, I am younger, take a rest.” He made the heroic vow of always choosing what appeared to him most perfect. He was perfectly obedient to his superior’s wishes, even when not expressed; and one day, to demonstrate this to a visiting authority who required a proof, his immediate Superior sent him out, saying: “I will tell him interiorly to return; he needs no other command than this.” Soon the Brother knocked on the door once more and said: “You sent for me to come back?” He conducted a group of students on a nine-day pilgrimage to Mount Gargano, where the Archangel Michael had appeared. They had very little money for the trip, and when they arrived at the site, there was none left. Gerard went before the tabernacle and told Our Lord that it was His responsibility to take care of the little group. He had been observed in the church by a religious, who invited the Saint and his companions to lodge in his residence. When the party was ready to start home again, Gerard prayed once more, and immediately someone appeared and gave him a roll of bills.
The most famous of Saint Gerard’s miracles occurred when a mason fell from a scaffolding during the construction of a building. Gerard had been forbidden by his Superior to work any more miracles without permission. He stopped the man in mid-air, telling him to wait until he had obtained permission to save him. He received it, and the man descended gently to the ground. When a plague broke out, he had the gift of bilocation; he was seen in more than one house at the same time, assisting the sick. Not a page of his life, it is said, was without prodigies, all tending to the glory of God and motivated by prodigious charity towards his neighbor. He was condemned falsely at one time, as a result of a connivance between two individuals; the Superior General, Saint Alphonsus Liguori himself, who did not know Gerard personally, was induced to believe the black calumny. Later the guilty ones wrote him a letter confessing their fault, and Gerard, who had said nothing at all when relegated into solitude, was asked why he had not said he was innocent. He replied that the Rule required that the religious not defend themselves.
He died in 1755 at the age of 29 years, was beatified in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII and canonized in 1904 by Saint Pius X.