St. Gerard Majella (1726-1755)
Patron of Expectant Mothers
Feast Day: October 16
Canonization: December 11, 1904
St. Gerard Majella, the patron of expectant mothers, was born in 1726 in Muro Lucano, Italy. He grew up in poverty, with a great respect for the poor. At 23, Gerard joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and three years later became a professed Redemptorist lay brother.
Gerard was esteemed for his great piety and wisdom, and for his mystical gifts of reading consciences, levitation and bilocation.
Shortly before his death, he encountered a young girl bringing him a handkerchief he had dropped. He said, “Keep it – you may need it someday.” Years later, the girl married, became pregnant and was on the verge of losing her child in labor when the handkerchief was placed upon her, immediately abating her pain and enabling a healthy birth.
Gerard also kept silent when an unmarried woman accused him of being her child’s father. His example led her to feel remorse and recant the accusation.
Dying from tuberculosis at 29, his last will consisted of a small note on his cell door that read, “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.”