Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 05 August |
The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Saints Who Fought the Devil: St. Gemma Galgani

Public Domain

Aleteia - published on 10/16/15

"His claws were brutal": The Italian saint's story brings chills but builds trust in God.

This Italian saint was a mystic who lived wondrous mystical experiences. In a letter to a priest, she wrote: “For two days after receiving communion, Jesus told me: ‘Be prepared, my daughter; the Devil, at my bidding, will rage war against you.’ These words I hear in my heart continuously. Please pray for me ….” 

She understood that prayer was the best weapon against attacks from the devil. In revenge, Satan caused violent headaches to prevent her sleeping. However, despite her fatigue, Gemma persevered in prayer: “How many efforts does not that wretch make to make it impossible for me to pray! Yesterday evening he tried to kill me, and would have succeeded if Jesus had not come quickly to my aid. I was terrified and kept the image of Jesus in my mind.”

“If you would have seen him, when he fled making faces, you would have burst out laughing!”

One day while the saint was writing a letter, the devil snatched the pen from her hand, ripped up the paper and pulled the saint off the chair she was sitting on, tearing her hair out in handfuls with “his ferocious claws.” In a letter, she described another diabolical attack: “The demon came before me as a giant of great height and kept saying to me ‘For thee there is no more hope of salvation. Thou are in my hands!’ I replied that God is merciful and therefore I fear nothing. Then, giving me a hard blow on the head in a rage he said ‘accursed be you!’ and then he disappeared.

I then went to my room to rest,” she continues, “and there I found him. He began again to strike me with a knotted rope, and wanted me to listen to him while he suggested wickedness. I said no, and he struck me even harder, knocking my head violently against the ground. At a certain point, it came to my mind to invoke Jesus’ father: ‘Eternal Father, through the most precious blood of Jesus, free me!’ I then don’t quite know what happened. That contemptable beast dragged me from my bed and threw me, hitting my head against the floor with such force that it pains me still. I became senseless and remained lying there until I came to myself a long time afterwards. Jesus be thanked!”

Despite these attacks from the devil, Saint Gemma always kept her faith in Jesus. At times she would find comfort in her sense of humor. One day, she wrote to a priest: “If you would have seen him, when he fled making faces, you would have burst out laughing! He is so ugly!… But Jesus told me not to be afraid of him.

Adapted fromPortugueseby Elizabeth Lavigne

Tags:
SaintsSatan
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
2
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
3
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
4
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
5
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
6
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde’s beautiful message as she drops out of TV show
7
Gianmarco Tamberi AND Mutaz Essa Barshim
Cerith Gardiner
This Olympic event captures the true meaning of the Games
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.