Spirituality for Today – October 2010 – Volume 15, Issue 3

Saint of the Month
Saint Gerard Majella, October 16

An image of Gerard MajellaSt. Gerard Majella

Gerard Majella was born about 50 miles south of Naples. After his father died, the boy apprenticed with a tailor, however, the other apprentices treated him badly. Later, Gerard tried to join the Capuchin Franciscan Order but was rejected because of his frail health.

So Gerard took a position in a religious household, as a servant of the Bishop of Lacedogna. Unfortunately, the bishop had a bad temper and mistreated Gerard. When the bishop died in 1745, Gerard returned home to live with his mother and sisters.

He worked as a tailor but gave away about two-thirds of his wages to help care for the poor to have Masses said for the souls in purgatory. Left with little money, he lived frugally. In the evenings, Gerard spent hours in prayer.

After attending a mission, Gerard decided to become a Redemptorist lay brother. He was such an eager novice that he once cried out at prayer: "Lord, let me go, I pray thee! I have work that I must do!" Alphonsus de'Ligouri, the Order's founder, was so impressed with Gerard that he shortened his novitiate, and Gerard was professed in 1752.

He spent the next three years as tailor, porter and infirmarian; but at times, he accompanied priests on missions, because he had a natural rapport with people and seemed to "see into their souls." Gerard also wrote letters of simple advice to priests and religious superiors and was named spiritual director of some communities of nuns - an unusual appointment for a layman. Known for his genosity to the poor and miraculous healings, Gerard died in 1755.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from Thee.
From the wicked foe defend me.
At the hour of my death call me and bid me come to Thee,
That with Thy saints I may praise Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives