Gemma is rejected by the local convent, but is visited again by Jesus.
Note: This is part of a serial fiction series focusing on the life of St. Gemma Galgani, following the life of a fictional character as she encounters the saint. New chapters are released every Sunday! For the previous chapter(s), click here.
Life returned to normal for Maria, and she hadn’t heard much about Gemma after she entered the local Visitandine convent. It was very possible that Maria would never see her again, unless she asked for permission to visit her, though parlor visits were typically reserved for family members, not nosy neighbors.
One day she was on her way to Mass when something unexpected happened.
Maria saw Gemma walking towards her on the road!
“I wonder why she is out of the convent,” thought Maria to herself.
As Gemma approached, Maria decided she would uncover the mystery and ask her pious neighbor the reason for her exit.
“Little Gemma!” exclaimed Maria. “What happened? Why aren’t you in the convent?”
Gemma wasn’t her usual jovial self and looked disappointed and ashamed of her new situation.
“I-I … Reverend Mother said my health wouldn’t allow me to stay.”
Her gazed remained on the ground in front of her; Gemma was clearly not pleased with the decision.
“I thought Jesus cured you?”
Gemma looked-up when she heard the name of Jesus and smiled.
“Yes, yes he did! But my body still hasn’t fully recovered from all the attempted surgeries of the doctors and I easily get tired from the daily routine of the convent.”
“Surely Reverend Mother could make some accommodations for you? I feel you belong in a convent!”
Gemma looked back towards the convent with sorrow in her eyes.
“I wish I could have stayed there. What a joy it was to be with Jesus! I asked the archbishop for permission to stay, but he said the same thing. My health wouldn’t allow it.”
Maria was starting to get frustrated with the situation, noticing how much Gemma longed to be in the convent.
“Is there anything else we could do? I will storm the archbishop’s office if you need me to!”
Gemma giggled at the suggestion and replied, “Thank you, Maria, for the offer! They did give me one possibility. If I could bring at least four medical certificates with me I could be accepted into the convent.”
Maria moved closer to Gemma and grabbed her arm.
“Well let’s go then! Let’s get those certificates today!”
The two women knocked on the local doctor’s door, but he refused. He still didn’t believe that Gemma was cured by Jesus and thought she shouldn’t be living in the convent. Her health was too precarious and unpredictable.
Saddened by this defeat, Maria walked Gemma home and said her goodbyes, promising to ask a different doctor tomorrow. Maria wasn’t going to stop until she acquired those certificates.
However, something unexpected happened next.
After Gemma received Holy Communion the next day, she heard a voice tell her, “I will give you a very great grace tonight.”
Come back next Sunday for the next chapter!