Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

April 11 | Suffering

Saint Gemma Galgani

A.D. 1878–1903

There is no path to happiness in this life unless you can make sense of suffering, and Christianity is the only religion or philosophy that understands the transformative value of suffering. While the whole world is doing everything it can to avoid and drown out their pain and suffering, we are reminded each Sunday at Mass that our pain and suffering have tremendous value when united to the pain and suffering of Jesus on the Cross.

One of the greatest fruits of suffering is the opportunity to know yourself better. You never really know who you are until you have suffered. Really suffered. But once you know, you can never forget, and from that moment on things you never considered become possible. 

Saint Gemma Galgani only lived twenty-five years, and most of them were filled with suffering. To many of us, her life might look like the opposite of what we want. And it is OK not to desire the level of suffering Gemma endured. But we would be making a serious mistake if we simply wrote off her life as an example to avoid at all costs. Gemma Galgani’s life has endless lessons to teach us, because by the end of it, she truly knew herself and had learned how to lead others through suffering in order to know themselves

Gemma tragically lost both her parents at a young age, forcing her to give up her dream of becoming a Passionist nun in order to take care of her younger siblings. There were many other tragedies in her life, including spinal meningitis, tuberculosis, and constant spiritual attack.

Gemma chose to surrender her suffering to Jesus, and unite her pain to the pain of Jesus on the Cross. By doing this, she became extremely close to Jesus, so much so that she even received the stigmata. These are the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, which Saint Francis and Padre Pio also received. These wounds earned her the name, “The Daughter of Passion.”

Gemma learned about herself through it all, and was able to counsel others through their pain. She was constantly writing and receiving letters from those in need, and after she died, her diary became a source of spiritual solace for thousands of people. 

When you find yourself in suffering, don’t despair. God has a plan. He is teaching you to know yourself, love yourself, and love Jesus all the more. Next time you feel hopeless in your suffering, unite it to Jesus’s suffering on the Cross. And remember these words of Saint Gemma Galgani:

“If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love.”


I will let my suffering teach me to love.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Students, Pharmacists, Loss of Parents, Back Injury or Pain, Headaches and Migraines, Temptations to Impurity and Those Seeking Purity of Heart

Also Known As: The Daughter of the Passion

Symbols: Lilies and Roses, The Stigmata

Feast Day: April 11 

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Stanislaus

Canonized: May 2, 1940

Canonized By: Pius XII

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