Food for Thought

Christian mysticism is not limited to the Middle Ages. The 19th and 20th century produced the mystics St. Gemma Galgani and St. Pio of Pietrelcina, more commonly known as Padre Pio.

Jul 13, 2017

Christian mysticism is not limited to the Middle Ages. The 19th and 20th century produced the mystics St. Gemma Galgani and St. Pio of Pietrelcina, more commonly known as Padre Pio.

-- St. Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

Gemma lost both her parents by age 19, and poor health prevented her from joining the Passionist Sisters in her native Tuscany. Following an apparition, she appeared to be cured of tuberculosis of the spine, but the disease killed her.

For a time Gemma's body had borne the stigmata and wounds like scourging, though some observers thought her hysterical or possessed by the devil. However, 230 extant letters to her spiritual director and confessor reveal a pious, humble soul, willing to suffer for Christ. Her feast day is April 11.

-- St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968)

Born in an Italian farming village, Francesco Forgione gained worldwide fame as Capuchin friar Padre Pio, who bore the stigmata, or wounds of Christ, invisibly from the time of his ordination in 1910 and visibly from 1918. As his renown as a confessor grew, the Vatican investigated the genuineness of his stigmata and ministry of prayer and healing.

At San Giovanni Rotondo, he built a hospital to treat patients using prayer and science, as well as a pilgrimage and study complex. Shortly before his death, the stigmata disappeared. He was canonized in 2002. His feast day is Sept. 23.

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