Saint Gerardo Maiella

Saint Gerardo Maiella

Birth
Muro Lucano, Provincia di Potenza, Basilicata, Italy
Death 16 Oct 1755 (aged 29)
Caposele, Provincia di Avellino, Campania, Italy
Burial Caposele, Provincia di Avellino, Campania, Italy
Plot Centro della chiesa dietro un'altorilievo in marmo.
Memorial ID 157196789 · View Source
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Roman Catholic Saint. Patron saint of expectant mothers and unborn children as well as of motherhood, children and falsely accused people, Muro Lucano born Gerardo Maiello was the youngest of five children born to Domenico Maiella, a tailor, and his wife Benedetta Galella. Growing up in poverty, upon the death of his father when twelve years of age, Gerardo was sent by his mother to live with an uncle and learn the same trade of Domenico. After four years of apprenticeship, he entered into the service of Monsignor Claudio Domenico Albini, Bishop of Lacedonia, as a houseboy. Returning to his trade following the bishop's death in 1744, splitting his earnings between his mother, the poor of Muro Lucano and the rest in offerings for the poor souls, he sought to enter the Franciscan Capuchin Order and then to become a hermit, but his fragile health prevented him from being admitted into religious orders. Learning of the Redemptorist Congregation while a number of its priests were leading a mission at Muro, he offered himself to the fathers as a lay-brother but was refused once more on grounds of weak health. Learning of his decision, his mother locked him up in his room yet he escaped during the night through the window from which hung a sheet, leaving a note on the table that read: "Mother, I have left to become a Saint". Catching up with the missionaries just as they were leaving town, following several entreaties and refusals, Father Paolo Cafaro finally gave in and sent him on to the rector of the Redemptorist house of Iliceto with the words: "I am sending you a useless lay brother" as a letter of recommendation to the local superior. Professing his vows through the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer on July 16, 1752, the "useless" lay brother who soon turned out to be capable to do the work of four men, became well known among the poor of the Neapolitan countryside for his charities and saintliness, while rendering services in his Redemptorist communities as a gardener, sacristan, tailor, porter, cook, carpenter and porter. Throughout his years of life, several reported miracles were attributed to Maiella, including those of restoring a boy's life after he fell from a high cliff; blessing a poor farmer's crops, ridding it of mice; blessing a poor family's supply of wheat, causing it to last until the next harvest; multiplying bread for the poor on several occasions and one that many credit toward his becoming the patron of expectant mothers: having encountered shortly before his death a young girl, dropping his handkerchief, she set out to return it, but he told her to keep it as she might "need it someday." Years after Maiella's passing, the young girl became married and with child. Going unexpectedly into labour, she was on the verge of losing her baby. Asking for Maiella's handkerchief to be applied to her, almost immediately her pain abated and she proceeded to give birth to a healthy child. Reputed to have had the gift of bilocation and the ability to read souls, a certain Neria Caggiano a girl assisted by Gerard to enter convent life, having found the latter distasteful returning home within three weeks, to explain her action began circulating falsehoods about the lives of the nuns. With the people of Muro refusing to believe such stories, determined to save her reputation she sought to destroy the good name of her benefactor. Accordingly, in a letter to Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist Congregation, she accused Gerard of sins of impurity with the young daughter of a family at whose house he often stayed at on his missionary journeys. Called by Saint Alphonsus to answer the accusation, instead of defending himself, Gerard remained silent, although his superior afforded him every chance to clear his name. In the face of his silence, St. Alphonsus could do nothing but impose a severe penance on the young religious, being denied the privilege of receiving Holy Communion and forbidden from all contact with outsiders. Some time later Neria fell dangerously ill and wrote a letter to Saint Alphonsus confessing that her charges against Gerard had been sheer fabrication and calumny. The Saint was filled with joy by the news of the innocence of the lay brother. Transferred to the house of Materdomini at Caposele with the hope that the climate there would benefit his failing health, at Naples, great scholars began seeking his advice. Suffering from tuberculosis, confined to his cell in his last days, he had a small note hung on its door reading: "Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills". Succumbing on October 16, 1755 at the early age of twenty-nine, following the numerous miracles performed through his intercession, proceedings for his canonization were instituted shortly after his death. Beatified by Pope Leo XIII on January 29, 1893, eleven years later on December 11, 1904, Pope Pius X proclaimed him saint. His liturgical memory is held on October 16.

Bio by: Eman Bonnici


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 17 Jan 2016
  • Find a Grave Memorial 157196789
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Gerardo Maiella (6 Apr 1726–16 Oct 1755), Find a Grave Memorial no. 157196789, citing Basilica di San Gerardo Maiella in Materdomini, Caposele, Provincia di Avellino, Campania, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .