Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 67(3) August 2017
St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)
Feast Day: 11th April
The Patron Saint of Pharmacists
St Gemma was born at Camigliano, Italy, on 12th March 1878, one of eight children, to devout Catholic parents. Her father was a pharmacist, and through his work, taught his children the importance of honesty, generosity and compassion. Although St. Gemma was not a pharmacist, her virtuous life can still be an example for us for how we can provide the best care for our patients. St. Gemma demonstrated true simplicity and humility throughout her life, following a self-imposed rule that “she was nothing and God was all”. She also took it upon herself to care for the sick in the family who were afflicted with infectious illnesses. As pharmacists, we can turn to St. Gemma and ask for her intercession to increase our humility, that we may provide selfless, loving care for our patients, and in doing so, show direct acts of love to Christ.
St. Gemma’s life was marked by many extraordinary graces, including mysticism and stigmatism. Our Lord called her to be a victim of Divine Love, to sacrifice and suffer for the reparation of sins and conversion of sinners. St. Gemma was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis (or spinal meningitis) and a brain tumour, she experienced excruciating pain, yet accepted the will of God with joy, patience and obedience. All healthcare professionals are called to mirror Christ’s love and compassion to the patients they care for; one way that pharmacists aim to achieve this is through ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication regimens. Therefore, pharmacists can pray to St. Gemma, asking her help in becoming humble instruments in the physical healing of patients by the correct and safe use of medicine, but also in the spiritual healing of patients, by our caring words, listening ear and witness of Christ-like love.
With the recent revision of General Pharmaceutical Council guidelines there is a real threat to the work of Christian Pharmacists. Now more than ever, is therefore a good time to pray to St Gemma.
St. Gemma Galgani, pray for us.
- John-Paul Kirkham. Great Saints: Gemma Galgani. Published Catholic Truth Society 2011. ISBN : 9781860827105
- You can find more about the General Pharmaceutical councils Guidelines and the Catholic Medical Association’s submission to their consultation at http://www.cmq.org.uk/Submissions/submission_to_gpc_on_conscience.html
And if you like this article, why not join the CMA facebook page (cmaenglandandwales/events/)