Monday, September 15, 2008

St. Gabriel Possenti's Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows

[The following is excerpted from pgs. 24-26 of TAN Books and Publishers "Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother," originally published in 1958 under the title "Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows."]

"The life of St. Gabriel Possenti, who died February 27, 1862 at the age of twenty-four, manifests how quickly the Sorrowful Mother guides her clients to sanctity. The early life of the Saint gave no presage of his future holiness. In fact, for some time he resisted the grace of a religious vocation. However, having been called in a special manner by Our Lady to enter the Passionist Order, the hitherto rather worldly and pleasure-loving youth was changed to the humble, mortified Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows."

"It has been asserted that one of the chief sources of his sanctity was his tender, fervent devotion to the Sorrowful Mother. A particular love for her prompted him to choose this title for his name in religion. His devotion was concentrated on the Dolorous Mother. His meditations were made in her pierced heart; his constant desire was to meet her approval. Devotion to her clothed all his virtues and led him in a short time to the height of religious perfection. He spoke of her sorrows very often. She was his predominant thought, his heart, his all. 'My heaven is the dolorous Heart of my dear Mother!' he would often say."

Statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, Most Likely In/From the Philippines

"St. Gabriel sought every means to promote this devotion among his companions. 'When we have a few minutes left over from our office,' he would say to them, 'we can use them to no better advantage than in compassionating our dear Mother.' If he had a little free time during the day, he always employed it in this exercise. 'Let us not forget her anguish, and at the hour of death, she will console and assist us,' he would say. Nor was his hope confounded. During his last illness, which he bore with heroic patience, he manifested most touching marks of affection for his sorrowing Mother. Often he would press her picture to his parched and burning lips. His dying act was to place an image of the Sorrowful Virgin upon his heart; then raising his eyes to Heaven, he cried with indescribable confidence and love: 'O my Mother, make haste!'"

"'He became a saint in so short a time and has had such a beautiful death!' exclaimed a brother religious at the edifying death of this angelic youth. Truly, Mary Sorrowful was his guide; she led him quickly up the mount of perfection and, at his peaceful death, enclosed him securely in the sanctuary of her wounded heart."

"Contary to custom, this youthful Saint was beatified less than fifty years after his death. His canonization took place on May 13, 1920."

St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!

Mater Dolorosa, ora pro nobis!


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