Welcome to the first Lady’s Night on its new day! Since I barely have the energy to write anything coherent at the moment, I present to you a little bio and meditation of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows from a little devotional book called Lent and Easter with Mary by Thomas J. Craughwell.
“When St. Gabriel Possenti entered the Passionist order in 1856, he took the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. While this name reveals his devotion to Mary, and particularly to her seven sorrows, it is a bit misleading in terms of Gabriel’s personality. As a child he was an outgoing, happy boy—in spite of his own sorrows, the death of several of his brothers and sisters, and the loss of his mother when he was only four years old. In adolescence Gabriel was popular with the boys, and liked to flirt with the girls. And at some point he learned how to shoot.
In 1860, while Gabriel was a novice at the Passionists’ monastery in Isola di Gran Sasso, a band of rebels from Garibaldi’s army rampaged through the town, breaking into homes and shops and setting several buildings on fire. Gabriel arrived on the scene just as one of the soldiers was dragging a screaming woman across the piazza. He rushed the would-be rapists, freed the…woman, and began wrestling with her attacker. Somehow he wrenched a pistol from the man’s belt, then, at gunpoint, ordered him out of town.
At that moment the other marauders arrived in the square and burst out in laughter at the sight of one of their own made helpless by a boyish seminarian in a cassock. They were about to make their own move against Gabriel when a lizard darted across the piazza. Gabriel wheeled to the side and shot the lizard through the head. The display of marksmanship dumbfounded the soldiers. Before they could recover, Gabriel ordered them to drop their weapons and get out of town. After this incident, Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows became a local hero, and the patron saint of marksmen.”
“Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.”
- St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Heart of Mary