The saint for February 27
Saint Gabriel Possenti of the Sorrowful Mother
 
Optional Memorial
Local Calendar, Roman

Born March 1, 1838 at Assisi, Italy
Died February 27,1862 at Abruzzi, Italy of tuberculosis
Canonized 1920 by Pope Benedict XV

Gabriel was the son of the mayor of Assisi, and his father wanted him to have the good life that seemed to be opening up before him. He also had hopes that his young, dashingly handsome son would be his father's support in old age. The handsome young man was popular, once engaged to two women at one time, and a lover of dance and parties.

But he had a serious side as well, and a love of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. When young Gabriel was 16, he was taken with a serious illness and prayed to then Blessed Anthony Bobola for healing, promising to devote his life to God if he was cured. Well, he was cured, and like so many of us, he promptly forgot his promise. But the Lord, through his mother, pursued. During a church procession, in which a large banner of Our Lady , Help of Christians, was being carried, Gabriel looked up at the banner and her eyes looked deep into his. In his heart he heard the words, "Keep your promise." Deeply shaken, he took these words to heart and changed his life.

Immediately after graduation he entered the Passionist monastery, much to the sorrow and confusion of his father. His life from then on was characterized by extraordinary piety and devotion, and a supreme determination to shatter his own will and immerse it in the will of God.

Gabriel, grew in faith and holiness, even as his body failed him, exhausted by sickness and the rigors of his new life. Stricken with tuberculosis, he died in 1862 at the age of 23, just before his ordination to the priesthood.
Patron of: Youth, Seminarians, Young Clerics, the Abruzzi Regionof Italy
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