A group of priests from the newly formed Congregation of the Holy Redeemer (The Redemptorists) came to Muro, Italy to give a Lenten retreat. Gerard was completely enthralled by the priests and by what they preached. Towards the end of the mission, Gerard appealed to the priest in charge, Fr. Cafaro, to allow him to join the new community. Fr. Cafaro’s assessment of Gerard was much like every other religious community he had applied to.

He was too frail, too weak, to stand the rigor of religious life.

However, Gerard felt strongly about this community. He would not let up in his pursuit. The priest spoke to Gerard’s mother, telling her to be sure to lock her son in his room on the night the mission left the town. She and his sisters were not anxious to have him leave them, so she gladly obeyed the priest and locked Gerard in his room. She kept the key with her all night.

The next day, when she opened the door, the room was empty. Gerard left a sign on the wall, “I have gone to become a Saint!” He chased after the group of priests and finally caught up with them.

He pleaded with Fr. Cafaro, who realized he was not going to easily dissuade the boy, so he sent him to the Redemptorist House in Iliceto, Italy with a note for the rector of the house, “I am sending you a useless brother.” The Lord made sure that Gerard never lived down to that expectation.

Lord, Bob and Penny . Saint Gerard Majella . Journeys of Faith. Kindle Edition.

Please join us in praying Day 6 of the Novena to St Gerard Majella here

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