Next Wednesday, October 16th, we will celebrate the feast of St Gerard Majella, our Redemptorist Brother. Those of you familiar with this church will recognise his statue in the side chapel. You will be aware also of the stained-glass window showing St Gerard caring for mothers and children.
In the lunette above the window you can see Gerard’s motto which sums up his spirituality: “In here the will of God is done”. This was the inscription over the door of his room in Materdomini, Italy, where he died. It was a motto which was engraved on his heart directing his whole life, a life totally focussed on God.
St Gerard has long been known as “the Mother’s saint” because of the power of his intercession for pregnant women. But he has also acute relevance in today’s world as an informal patron of all who have to endure false accusations. He himself was the subject of an infamous slander concerning his relations with a young woman who later totally recanted her story.
Now for a small commercial! Recently I have produced a little booklet “St. Gerard Majella” which includes a short life of St Gerard. It takes a look at his early years, his vocation, spirituality and trials, leading up to his death. It also contains a special prayer to St Gerard, a nine-day novena of prayer to St Gerard, prayers to St Gerard for various occasions, a blessing of the sick, and a litany of St Gerard. The booklet contains a full-colour print of the icon of St Gerard by our own Br Richard Maidwell, C.Ss.R. The other pictures are courtesy of Mrs Sibyl Morris. Copies are on sale after all Masses this weekend and, of course, in the repository.
May our celebration on Wednesday recall us to our vocation to holiness: “Only once do I have the opportunity of becoming a saint, and if I lose it, I lose it forever!” (St Gerard’s personal rule of Life).
Fr Sean Wales, C.Ss.R.