St. Gerard Majella
St. Gerard Majella
Feast day: October 16
Patron of expectant mothers
St. Gerard Majella, religious, is the patron of expectant mothers. He was born at Muro, Italy, in 1726 and joined the Redemptorists at the age of 23, becoming a professed lay brother in 1752. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women.
This humble servant of God also had the faculties of levitation and bi-location associated with certain mystics. His charity, obedience, and selfless service as well as his ceaselessmortification for Christ, made him the perfect model of lay brothers. He was afflicted with tuberculosis and died in 1755 at the age of twenty-nine.
Prayer: O Great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted Child of the Mother of God: enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love. O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the Patron and Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the lustral waters of baptism through Jesus Christour Lord. Amen.
Gerard medals are worn by expectant mothers or those experiencing a difficult pregnancy. Often placed in a Bible or prayer book these medals are a reminder of St. Gerard’s intercession for a safe delivery.
Saint Gerard Majella (April 6, 1726 – October 16, 1755) is a Roman Catholic saint. He is the saint whose intercession is requested for children (and unborn children in particular), childbirth, mothers (and expectant mothers in particular), motherhood, falsely accused people, good confessions, lay brothers and Muro Lucano, Italy.
Majella was born in Muro Lucano, Basilicata. He was the son of a tailor who died when Gerard was twelve, leaving the family in poverty. His mother then sent him to her brother so that he could teach Gerard how to sew and help the business. During this time, he was abused by a man whom his uncle sent to help him. He kept silent, but soon his uncle found out and the man who taught him resigned from the job. He loved to be like Jesus Crucified and tried at all costs to suffer. He tried to join the Capuchin order, but his health prevented it. He joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749. 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. He was reputed to have bilocation and read consciences. His last will consisted of a small note on the door of his cell saying, “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.” He died on October 16, 1755 in Caposele, Campania, of tuberculosis, aged 29.
Gerard Majella was beatified in Rome on January 29, 1893, by Pope Leo XIII. He was canonised less than twelve years later on December 11, 1904, by Pope Saint Pius X. St Gerard’s Church in Wellington, New Zealand, built in 1908, was the first church to be dedicated to Gerard Majella. The feast day of Saint Gerard Majella is October 16. He was featured on an Italian 45-euro postage stamp in May 2005. The St. Gerard Majella Annual Novena takes place every year in St. Josephs Church, Dundalk, Ireland. This annual nine-day novena is the biggest festival of faith in Ireland.
In 1977, St. Gerard’s chapel in St. Lucy’s Church (Newark, New Jersey) was dedicated as a national shrine. Each year during the Feast days which include October 16, there are the traditional lights, music, food stands and the street procession, it is apparent that this Feast is a spiritual exercise with all of the essential activity centered around the ‘Saint’ and the Chapel. Devotees visit the Shrine also throughout the year to pray to and petition the help of this Miraculous Wonder Worker.
The League of St Gerard (Redemptorists, Clapham, London) provides spiritual support and prayers for all expectant mothers and families.
Two towns in Quebec, Canada, are named in his honour: one in the Montérégie region and another in the Lanaudière region.
Some quotations attributed to Gerard Majella include:
- “The Most Blessed Sacrament is Christ made invisible. The poor sick person is Christ again made visible.”
- “I see in my neighbor the Person of Jesus Christ.”
- “Consider the shortness of time, the length of eternity and reflect how everything here below comes to an end and passes by. Of what use is it to lean upon that which cannot give support?”
- “Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”
- His life story and prayers can be found at SaintGerard.com
- Chapin, John, “A Treasury of Catholic Reading”
- Farrelly Jr, Peter, “Hope in the Handkerchief of a Saint”
- Rabenstein, Katherine, “For All The Saints”
- Karelse, Theun, “The Field Guide To Flying Saints”
- Saint-Omer, Edward, “Life, Virtues, Miracles of Saint Gerard Majella” PDF
- Heinegg, Peter (translator), “Saint Gerard Majella, His Writings and Spirituality” – ISBN 0-7648-0788-9
- ^ a b Patron Saints Index: St. Gerard Majella
- ^ a b J. Magnier (1913). “St. Gerard Majella”. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06467c.htm.
- ^ “St Gerard’s Church”. Register of Historic Places. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=226&m=advanced. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- ^ St. Lucy’s Church, Newark, NJ.