Redemptorist Lay Brother (1725-1755)
+ Gerard was born in Muro, Italy. The son of a tailor, Gerard tried to enter the Capuchin Franciscans, but the friars would not accept him because of poor health.
+ Gerard was accepted by the Redemptorists as a lay brother and he served the community as a sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. He was known for his kindness to the poor and miracles were attributed to his intercession.
+ Brother Gerard was falsely accused of having a sexual relationship with a young woman and of fathering a child. When Saint Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorists, confronted Gerard, he remained silent. The girl later recanted her accusation and Gerard’s name was cleared. For this reason, Saint Gerard is often honored as a patron saint of those who have been falsely accused.
+ This male, celibate saint is honored as a patron saint of expectant mothers because of a story which relates that one day, as he was visiting the Pirofalo family, he dropped his handkerchief. One of the Pirofalo daughters kept the piece of cloth as a relic and, years later, as she was on the verge of losing a child during childbirth, she asked for the handkerchief. Once it was brought to her, her pain disappeared and she gave birth to a healthy child.
+ Saint Gerard Majella died on October 16, 1755, and was canonized in 1904.
For prayer and reflection
“Consider the shortness of time, the length of eternity and reflect how everything here below comes to an end and passes by. Of what use is it to lean upon that which cannot give support.”—Saint Gerard Majella
On this day we also celebrate the memory of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. A nun of the Order of the Visitation, she was graced to receive a series of private revelations during which she was given the special charge to promote devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Saint Margaret Mary died in 1690 and was canonized in 1920.
O God, who called blessed Gerard to seek your Kingdom in this world through the pursuit of perfect charity, grant, we pray, through his intercession that we may advance with joyful spirit along the way of love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Religious)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.