Saint Spotlight Saint Gerard Majella

1725 - 1755
Feast Day 16 October

Part three of our four part series Gerard achieves his goal

Who except God can give you peace? - St Gerard

Saint Gerard’s Short Life

Saint Gerard had desperately wanted to be part of a religious order and his wish was eventually fulfilled.

He took up his duties with great passion and sincerity. He became very close to the peasants and the poor who lived in southern Italy. In his work with the Redemptorist community, he worked as a gardener, cook, carpenter, sacristan, tailor, and porter, among other things.

St Gerard’s life was always dedicated to God and others. On one occasion he raised a dowry to assist a local woman who wanted to enter the convent.

At 27, St Gerard was controversially embroiled in a scandal involving a young woman. The woman who was pregnant claimed he was the father of her child. St Gerard wrongly accepted blame to avoid exposing the real father. His superior, St Alphonsus Ligouri questioned him, but St Gerard remained silent and was subsequently banned from receiving Holy Communion.

After several years the woman, while on her deathbed, revealed the truth and testified to St Gerard’s innocence.

It would have been a bitter pill for St Gerard to swallow but his resolve was steadfast. While he was dedicated to the Redemptorists, sadly, the ill health that had plagued him for most of his life finally caught up with him and he died on October 15, 1755. He was only 29.

A life cut tragically short but as you will read in next week’s fourth instalment of St Gerard’s life, his legacy after almost 300 years lives on.

(continued next week)