St. Gerard Majella

Gerardo was born in 1726 in Muro Lucano in the Kingdom of Naples (which later became part of Italy). 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 become a tailor. He wanted to imitate Jesus Crucified and often practiced self-denial.  Gerard tried to join the Capuchin order, but his health prevented it.  He was accepted into formation by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) in 1749, and made his religious profession as a lay brother three years later.  Gerard was able to use his skills as a tailor within the religious community.  He also served as sacristan, gardener, porter, and infirmarian – wherever he was needed.  His charity, obedience, and selfless service, as well as his ceaseless mortification for Christ, made him a model for other lay brothers.  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 of tuberculosis on October 16, 1755 in the town of Caposele, at the early age of 29.

Because of his holy way of life, people remembered him and asked for his intercession.   As a result of a miracle effected through his intercession for a woman in labor,  his cause for canonization advanced.  Gerard was beatified in Rome in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, and was canonized as St. Gerard in 1904 by Pope Saint Pius X.  St. Gerard is invoked as a patron saint of expectant mothers, and for their unborn children.