St. Gemma Galgani could see her Guardian Angel and developed a strong relationship with him.
Everyone has a Guardian Angel, but not everyone is graced with a personal relationship with them. St. Gemma Galgani was one of those privileged souls who could see her Guardian Angel and talk with him on a regular basis.
In a biography of St. Gemma written by her spiritual director, Ven. Germanus Ruoppolo, he relates a remarkable friendship she had with her Guardian Angel. Ruoppolo explains, “The visible presence of her Angel Guardian, with which Gemma was singularly favored by God, was for her one of the most natural experiences. Her Angel used to talk to her as ordinary mortals talk to their friends.”
Besides ordinary encounters throughout the day, Ruoppolo relates a special routine she had with her Guardian Angel at night and in the morning.
At night, when lying down to rest, she begged of him to sign her on the forehead, and watch by her pillow; and being assured that he would, she immediately turned on the other side to sleep. What a blessed virginal repose, at which the Angels are visibly present! In the morning on awakening, when she saw her faithful Guardian still at his post, she paid little or no attention to him. Her anxiety was to fly to the Church and Holy Communion, of which she had been thinking all the night; for she slept very little: “I have what is so much better in my thoughts,” she used to say to him, “I am going to Jesus,” and left immediately. But if the Angel were taking leave of her she would reply charmingly: “Good-bye, dear Angel; offer my salutations to Jesus.”
Her angel once said to her, “I shall be thy guide and inseparable companion. Do you not know who it is that gave me charge of thee? It is the merciful Jesus.”
This unique friendship St. Gemma had with her Guardian Angel is a perfect reminder of how we should view our own Guardian Angel. God has appointed an Angel to walk with us, protect us and lead us to heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes a Guardian Angel as a “shepherd,” highlighting its role as a personal guide who watches over us and leads us to fresh pastures of repose.
For St. Gemma, this meant her Guardian Angel would encourage her in the practice of virtue as well as reprove her when tempted to vice. She said, “My Angel is a little severe; but I am glad of it. During the past days he brought me to order as often as three or four times a day.”
While we may not notice the activity of our own Guardian Angel as St. Gemma did, our Guardian Angel remains an invisible, but lively presence in our own lives. Only in heaven will we truly understand how much our Guardian Angel helped us and protected us throughout our entire lives.