Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Saint Gerard

Gerard, youngest and only boy of five children of Dominic and Benedetta Majella of Muro, Italy was sickly

Even at 5, he prayed in a nearby chapel and came home with bread “from a handsome boy.” Curious, his sister followed and saw the Virgin and Child come alive!  Jesus climbed down from his mother’s arms to play with the kneeling Gerard. That was only the first miracle. His first communion was given to him by  Michael the Archangel himself. Only 12 when his tailor father died, Gerard apprenticed to a cruel tailor who beat him mercilessly.  Later, as houseboy of a Bishop, the latchkey fell in the well as he fetched water. Gerard prayed as he tied a statue of Baby Jesus and lowered it into the water. Bystanders gasped upon seeing the latchkey on the statue’s hand.

Striving to be a Brother but in ill health, he was refused 3 times.  Meanwhile, he set up shop at home.  He didn’t make much because he gave away most of his income as apportioned: 1/3 for his mother, 1/3 for the poor and the lastly, Masses for the dead. He also rendered free service to the needy.  Once, fabric brought for a suit was a few yards short when measured.  Shyly, the customer admitted he had no more money.  No problem.   Gerard simply measured it again and wonder of wonders, it magically lengthened!

 At 23,  the Redemptorists accepted Gerard upon the recommendation of a priest who warned, “useless in physical work.”  He surprised everyone by doing the work of 3 healthy men, serving as sacristan, porter, gardener, tailor and infirmarian.    Impressed by his piety, wisdom and ability to read consciences, superiors allowed him to counsel communities of religious women.

Various groups claim St. Gerard as their patron saint like workingmen, expectant mothers for a happy delivery, for a good confession.  He’s also the patron of vocations.


Reflection:

I can’t help but be amazed at what a miracle-worker St. Gerard was.  And to think that he was such a humble, self-effacing man, how admirable! On second thought, maybe the reason God so favored him with miraculous powers is precisely because of his humility, innate goodness and lack of love for material things.
since birth. Obedient, selfless and patient, he was only 29 when  TB claimed his life in 1775.  Wonders  crammed his life, it seemed he specialized in performing miracles. Grown pale and thin thru fasting and self-denial, he got weaker but this didn’t prevent him from healing the sick.  Incredibly, he also levitated in ecstasy, bi-located by materializing in front of a superior to do his bidding even if he was somewhere else and produced loaves of bread from nothing.  A farmer who lost his crops to rats asked him for money.  Penniless himself, he commanded the pests to drop dead instead.  Seeing a boatload of fishermen tossing in treacherous waves, he walked and pulled their boat to shore! He escaped from the adoring fishermen who chased him shouting, “Saint, saint!”  

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