St. Gerad Majella

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St. Gerard Majella – Patron Saint of Mothers and Children

St Gerard was the son of a tailor who died when the boy was 12, leaving the family in poverty. Gerard tried to join the Capuchins, but his health prevented it. He was accepted as a Redemptorist lay brother serving his congregation as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. When falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, he retreated to silence; she later recanted and cleared him and thus began his association as patron of all aspects of pregnancy. Reputed to bilocate and read consciences. His last will consisted of the following small note on his cell door: “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.“ St Gerard is the Patron Saint of childbirth; children; expectant mothers; falsely accused people; good confessions; lay brothers; motherhood; mothers; Muro, Italy; pregnant women; the pro-life movement; unborn children.

St. Gerard Majella – Patron Saint of Mothers and Children

Saint Gerard Majella was born on the 6 of April 1726 in Muro Lucano, a little town in Southern Italy. He was blessed with a mother, Benedetta, who showed him the overwhelming love of God, which knows no bounds.

When he was twelve, his father died, and he had to support his mother and his sisters and becomes an apprentice tailor. The foreman was very cruel. One day the foreman beat him because he thought that Gerard was making fun of him, but Gerard said: “I am smiling because God’s hand is striking me.”

Gerard’s next occupation also proved his heroic patience in the face of ill-treatment. Monsignor Albini, of neighbouring Lacedonia, administered Confirmation to Gerard on June 5, 1740.

In any event, Gerard’s services were requested in the Bishop’s house. Apparently, the Bishop’s servant rarely stayed employed for more than a couple of weeks because his Excellency was a difficult taskmaster!

One memorable and miraculous incident during his service was the Bishop was concerned as well and brought much attention to the obscure saint. Gerard had accidentally dropped the Bishop’s keys down the well. Knowing the terrible consequences, Gerard prayed for the return of the keys. A crowd gathered as Gerard, having been inspired by prayer, tied a rope to a little statue of the Infant Jesus and lowered it down the well. When the statue was reeled up, the key was in its hand! The delighted exclamations of the crowd resounded at the miracle. The well was henceforth known as “Gerard’s Well”.

Gerard’s profession was on the July 16, 1752, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. His mother was not present because she had died three months earlier.

In November 1753, an epidemic broke out in Lacedonia. The wonderworker was soon in town amidst the sick, curing some by simply making the sign of the cross on them or preparing others to die a holy death.

While in Lacedonia, Gerard was hosted by the Capucci family, who were relatives of the archpriest of the cathedral.

One of Gerard’s spiritual daughters, named Neria Caggiano, had entered the convent at Foggia. Unfortunately, she did not persevere and returned home. Determined to take the blame for her failure off herself and to appear as a victim, she began to attack Brother Gerard, her spiritual director. She fabricated a detailed and malicious story accusing Gerard of seducing one of the Capucci daughters while staying at her home in Lacedonia. Brother Gerard’s reputation was more than that of a pious person; all hailed him as a saint!

Gerard was ordered to remain at Nocera and forbidden to receive Holy Communion from April through most of June.

Meanwhile, Saint Alphonsus received a letter from Neria Caggiano, who was very ill and close to death. Her guilty conscience was more than she could bear. In the letter, she explained that she had fabricated the accusations she had made against Gerard and that he was totally innocent.

Most of his miracles were performed in the service of others. One day he walked across the water to lead a boatload of fishermen through stormy waves to the safety of the shore.

His miraculous apostolate for mothers also began during his lifetime.

Always frail in health, it was evident that Gerard was not to live long. In 1755 he was seized by violent haemorrhages and dysentery, and his death was expected at any moment. However, he had yet to teach a great lesson on the power of obedience. His director commanded him to get well if it was God’s will, and immediately his illness seemed to disappear, and he left his bed to rejoin the community.

Before long, he did have to return to his bed, and he began to prepare himself for death. Often he was heard to say this prayer: “My God, I wish to die in order to do thy most holy will”.

A little after midnight on October 16, 1755, his innocent soul returned to God.

At the death of Gerard, the Bother sacristan, in his excitement, rang the bell as if for a feast. Thousands came to view the body of “their saint”.

After his death, miracles began to be reported from almost all parts of Italy, attributed to the intercession of Gerard.

In 1893, Pope Leo XIII beatified him, and on December 11, 1904, Pope Pius X canonised him as a saint.