The miracles of Saint Gerard Majella

The miracles of Saint Gerard Majella

The miracles of Saint Gerard Majella let the world know the human and spiritual story of this exceptional young man. Let’s find out more about the saint Patron of Basilicata, protector of pregnant women, mothers and children.

Gerard Majella was born in a modest family in Muro Lucano, Potenza, in 1726. His father was a tailor and died early, leaving him with his mother, a pious woman who imparted him the awareness of the love of God for all the creation.

For some time as a young boy, Gerard worked for the bishop of Lacedonia, Claudio Albini, a despotic and authoritative man, but the boy was able to learn to know and appreciate him. About Gerard, people used to say that he was a bit eccentric, had no skills, no talents, and doomed to fail at any job he would do.

Saint Gerard and the religious call

Anyway, Gerard heard the religious call since he was young, which pushed him to find his way in the world. At the beginning, he tried to enter the convent of the Capuchin Friars in his town, but his delicate health pushed the friars to reject his request. Refusing to be discouraged, in 1748 Gerard met a group of redeemer priests.

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They belonged to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer also known as the Redemptorists, founded in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, whose mission was missionary evangelization. The Redemptorists wished for the mystery of redemption and merciful salvation of God in Jesus, and lived imitating Jesus and his disciples. Gerard joined them, and to do so, he ran away from home and sneaked out of the window with a rope made of sheets. He left a note to his mother: “Mother, forgive me, I am going to become a saint.

Gerard insisted for a long time because of the fear that a certain lifestyle would be too risky for his fragile health; he finally made it into the Congregation and on July 16 1752, feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, he pronounced his solemn vows. He began moving from convent to convent as useless Brother and engaged in various works: gardener, sexton, door attendant, cook, and stable cleaner. He showed a joyful spirit and a tireless will, besides obedience, mortification and devotion. He gave all he had to the poor with joy and love, and people everywhere began loving him. He faced life with bravery, patience and endurance, even when he was unjustly accused of conducting an illicit relationship with a girl (the accuser herself will set him free later) and when tuberculosis forced him into bed. On the door of his cell, he had the writing: “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.

He died in 1755 at only 29 and after only a few years of religious life, but those years were enough to make him beatified by Pope Lion XIII in 1893 and sanctified by Pope Pious X in 1904. Saint Gerard Majella became soon the patron of pregnant women and children. His existence was shaped on obedience, humiliation and hard work, on the will to live in Christ and for Christ, doing His will every day and with joy. Those who knew him told about inexplicable healings happened thanks to him, and soon he was famous as a thaumaturge, healer of body and soul.

In Materdomini, fraction of Caposele, Avellino, there is the sanctuary of Saint Gerard Majella, also dedicated to Maria SS. Mater Domini. The sanctuary rises up in place that is famous for the apparitions of Mary during the Middle Age. After Saint Gerard Majella died on October 16 1755 in the College of the Redemptorists Father next to the chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was decided to associate the cult of the Saint to the cult of Mater Domini.

The Saint is celebrated on October 16, day of his death.

Miracles of Saint Gerard

Since he was a child, Saint Gerard loved to find shelter in places of cult. One was particularly dear to him, the Chapel of the Virgin in Capodigiano. Gerard said that in that place the son of a mysterious beautiful Lady used to give him a piece of white bread, leaving his mother to go meet him. Once the saint was grown up, he will understand that the boy was Jesus.

Gerard began following the solemnity of liturgical bread and consecrated hosts straight away. When he was eight, he tried to obtain the First Communion, even though he was still too young for that. The priest denied it, but the boy said that the following night he received the visit of Saint Michael Archangel, who went to him to offer him the Eucharist he longed so much.

Another miracle happened when the Saint was still very young was the burning hay barn. At that time Gerard, who lost his father short before, worked as an apprentice in the workshop of a tailor, Martino Pannuto; there, the other apprentices constantly persecuted him. One night a hay barn burst into flames and Gerard, who was inside with the young child of his employer, crossed himself and muttered a prayer. The flames ceased immediately.

During the three years he spent as worker for Monsignor Claudio Albini, Bishop of Lacedonia, Gerard suffered from mortifications and punishments that the strict prelate used to inflict him for any lack he might show. One day, while he was fetching some water from a well, the keys of his master’s house fell into the well. Instead of getting upset for the punishments he could face, the boy ran to the nearer church, took a statuette of Baby Jesus and lowered it into the well. When he took it back up, the statuette was holding the lost keys in its fist.

Before fleeing with the Redemptorists priests, while he was working as a tailor, Gerard used to go talk to Jesus before the tabernacle very often. The sweet nickname he addressed the Savior was nutty, for he chose to stay locked in that tight place for the love of humankind.

He was encouraged by his fellow citizens to find a woman to marry, so he jumped on the platform for the parade on the third Sunday of May, and put a ring on the Virgin Mary’s finger. By doing so, he showed his will to consecrate himself to her with a vow of chastity. Sometime later, though, a girl named Nerea Caggiano, whom he’d helped when she was in need, accused him of having an illicit relationship with Nicoletta Cappucci, seduced and abandoned by a troublemaker noble man. Nerea publicly accused Gerard even before Alfonso Maria de Liguori. Summoned by his superiors and invited to clear his name, the young man did not speak. He silently accepted the accusations and punishments given to him, which included not being able to receive the Eucharist and being isolated. Gerard behaved so in order to be faithful to the rule that imposed him to suffer any mortification in silence. Shocked by his modesty and acceptance of God’s Will, later Nerea converted and cleared his name.

Gerard was also famous as discerner of hearts, able to find the good hidden in the souls of those above suspicion, as it happened with the game warden of the Duke of Bovino: he beat the saint to death, and he endured the massacre without saying a word. Later, the warden regretted his actions and followed him to the convent to begin a new life.
Even a well-known sinner, who was unable to change his life and give up the pleasures of flesh, was convinced when he saw Gerard lifting up a crucifix that began bleeding and then turned into Baby Jesus.

Many and varied were Saint Gerard’s miracles. Here, we want to tell the one of the handkerchief of Saint Gerard Majella, which made the saint become patron of pregnant women and children.

It is said that while the young man was in Oliveto Citra for health reasons, he went to meet the Pirofalo family. While he was leaving, the youngest of the daughters ran after him to give him back the handkerchief he forgot. He smiled to her and told her to keep it, that one day she might need it.

Many years later, the girl became a woman and was having a risky delivery. Remembering Gerard’s words, she asked for the handkerchief he gave her. The women with her laid it on her belly, the pain stopped and she gave birth to a healthy infant. Since then, pregnant women invoke Saint Gerard and the sanctuary of Materdomini is blooming with colorful bows that recall the pregnancies that ended well thanks to his protection.

Prayer to saint Gerard Majella

Every year on October 16, at the sanctuary of Materdomini, people recite the act of entrustment of women and children to the Virgin Mary and Saint Gerard. We propose it here, reminding you that there is also a novena dedicated to him.

O Mary, Virgin and Mother of God, who chose this sanctuary to grant favors together with your faithful servant Gerardo Maiella, (on this day dedicated to life,) we turn to you with confidence and invoke upon us your maternal protection. To you, O Mary, who accepted the Lord of life, we entrust the mothers and their spouses so that in welcoming life they may be the first witnesses of faith and love. To you, Gerard, the heavenly patron saint of life, we entrust all mothers and especially the fruit they bear in their womb, so that you may always be close to them through your powerful intercession. To you, attentive and caring Mother of Christ your Son, we entrust our children to grow up like Jesus in age, wisdom and grace.  To you, Gerard, the heavenly protector of children, we entrust our children so that you may always guard them and defend them from the dangers of body and soul. To you, Mother of the Church, we entrust our families with their joys and sorrows so that every house may become a small domestic Church, where faith and harmony reign. To you, Gerard, defender of life, we entrust our families so that with your help they may be a model of prayer, love and hard work and may always be open to welcome and solidarity. Finally, to you, Virgin Mary, and to you, glorious Gerard, we entrust the Church and Civil Society, the world of work, young people, the elderly and the sick, and all those who promote your worship so that, united to Christ, Lord of life, they may rediscover the true meaning of work as a service to human life, as a witness of charity and as a proclamation of God’s love for every person. Amen.

O glorious Saint Gerard, who saw the living image of Mary in every woman, the wife and mother of God, and you wanted her, with your intense apostolate, up to her mission, bless me and all the mothers of the world.

Make us strong to keep our families united; help us in the difficult task of educating our children in a Christian way; give our husbands the courage of faith and love, so that, following your example and comforted by your help, we can be an instrument of Jesus to make the world more just and good.

In particular, help us with illnesses, pain and any need; or at least give us the strength to accept everything Christianally, so that we too can be the image of Jesus crucified as you were.
Give our families joy, peace and love of God.

O Lord Jesus, who was born of the Virgin Mary,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who were obedient to your mother Mary,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who sanctified childhood,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who suffered from poverty when you were a child,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who have suffered persecution and exile,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who welcomed and loved children,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who gave them a new life in baptism,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who give yourself to them as food in the Holy Communion,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who have loved St. Gerard from an early age,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who played with the young Gerard,
– protect and bless our children.
You, who brought him white bread,
– protect and bless our children.
In sickness and in suffering.
– protect and bless our children.
In hard times and dangers.
– protect and bless our children.

We pray.
Ord Jesus Christ, hear our prayers for these children,
bless them in your love and guard them with your constant protection,
so that they may grow in Christianity and come to give you full witness
with free and sincere faith, with fervent charity and with persevering hope in the coming of your kingdom.
You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.