St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
This lovable saint was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1838. He received the name Francis at Baptism, in honor of the great St. Francis of Assisi. His mother died when he was only four. Francis' father sent for a governess to raise him and the other children.
Francis grew to be very handsome and likable. He was often the most popular person at a party. He loved to have fun but there was another side to him, too. Even while having good times, he was sometimes bored. He couldn't explain why. He seemed to feel in his heart a strong desire for God and the deeper things of life.
Twice he became so sick he nearly died. Each time he promised Our Lady that if she would obtain his cure, he would become a religious. He did get better both times, but he did not keep his promise.
One day, he saw a picture of the Sorrowful Mother that was being carried in a procession. It seemed that the Blessed Mother was looking straight at him. At the same time, he heard a voice in his heart telling him, "Francis, the world is not for you anymore." That did it. Francis entered the Passionist monastery. He was eighteen. The name he took was Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother.
Gabriel's great loves became the Holy Eucharist and Mary, the Sorrowful Mother. He loved to spend time thinking about the passion of Jesus and how much the Lord had suffered for him. Gabriel also learned to practice two virtues in a special way: humility and obedience. His special trademark was joy. He was always happy and spread that happiness to those around him. After only four years in the Passionist order, Gabriel died on February 27, 1862. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.
This saintís special trademark was joy. How can I bring joy to those around me? What does it really feel like to have the joy of Christ?