St Gerard Majella was an Italian lay brother of the Congregation of the Redeemer or Redemptorists. He was born in Muro Lucano, Italy, the youngest of five children. His father died when he was 12 years old. The family was left in poverty so Gerard had to learn a trait to help support the family. He would go and visit Jesus daily. And every day, Jesus would play with him and would leave him a loaf of bread which he gave to his family.
He trained with his uncle, a tailor, for four years. The foreman was abusive to Gerard but he did not complain. He was able to divide his earnings with his family and the poor and had enough for offerings for the souls in Purgatory.
He was frail in health and the Capuchins would not accept him. One day, when the Redemptorists were in town, he left his home to join them. They, too, were hesitant because of his health but he pled his cause. He was a gardener, sacristan, tailor, porter, cook, carpenter and clerk for the Redemptorists.
At age 25, Gerard was accused of having relations with a woman. The founder of the Redemptorists, St Alphonsus Liguori, confronted him regarding these accusations. Gerard remained silent. Fortunately, the accuser recanted and cleared his name.
Many miracles are attributed to him. He restored the life of a boy who had fallen from a high cliff, after blessing wheat of a poor family they had a year supply, he multiplied bread when feeding the poor, he could bilocate and read souls. One day he walked on water to lead a boatload of fishermen through stormy waves.
He is best known as Patron of Expecting Mothers and the Unborn. A few months before dying, he visited the Pirofalo family and accidentally dropped his handkerchief and left. One of the girls ran to give him his handkerchief but he said to keep it as she might need it some day. A few years later, she was on the verge of dying in childbirth and remembered the handkerchief. Immediately all turned out well with the birth of a healthy baby.
St Gerard Majella died at the age of 29 of tuberculosis.
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