St Gemma was born in 1878 in Italy. She developed a vibrant prayer life at a very young age and was well known for her incredible kindness. She suffered from chronic illnesses for her entire life though at one point she was miraculously cured from one of her illnesses after praying to a saint who was in the process of canonization.
She received mystical apparitions for which she was frequently ridiculed but she offered up all her sufferings for the Lord. Gemma also seemed to be able to see and interact with her guardian angel, and she would hold conversations with him and join him for prayers.
At the age of 19, Gemma’s mother died and Gemma had to take care of her seven younger siblings. She was proposed to twice but each time she refused, preferring a quiet life of prayer. She was crushed that her poor heath prevented her from joining a religious order.
Three years after her mother’s death, Gemma was invited to live with some relatives, which she agreed to gladly. There she held a strong interior prayer life while living quietly and respectfully among her hosts.
In June 1899 Gemma began to feel an unusual pain and upon further investigation it was discovered that she had received the stigmata – the wounds of the Crucified Christ appeared on her hands, feet and head. Each Thursday the stigmata would reappear and remained for a day or two until the bleeding suddenly stopped and the wounds would fade back to scars.
Her many mystical raptures were recorded by her confessor and the family she lived with and complied into a book.
She died of Tuberculosis in 1903 at just 25 years old.