Saturday, December 4, 2021

Saints for Today: Gabriel Francis, Religious (1838-1862)

Must Read

“Terror of Demons”: The Significance of the Year of St. Joseph

In this year of Saint Joseph, this title may well help us all to understand his particular patronage over the universal Church as well as his personal protection for all of us.

Saints for Today: Josephine Bakhita, Nun (1869-1947)

Feast Day: February 8 Kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of seven by Arab slave traders, this Sudanese...

St. Rita’s Church in Show Low: Celebrating 50 Years of History

From a gathering in a lodge to a thriving parish.
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Feast Day: February 27

Born Francis Possenti in Assisi, Italy, a younger son of the governor of Assisi and his wife, Francis studied at the Jesuit College at Spoleto. There he was usually vain and known for his love of clothes, dancing, and the theatre, and was called Il Damerino (‘the ladies’ man’) before finding his religious vocation.

Twice during a serious illness he decided to enter a Religious Order, twice he failed to do so. Later, in a procession of the miraculous icon of Spoleto, he experienced an overpowering urge to become a religious and a priest. Despite his considerable physical weakness, Francis achieved the first in 1856 by joining the Passionists, an Italian contemplative and missionary congregation; the second was never fulfilled because he died young.

As a Religious, he was noted for his cheerfulness and was a model novitiate, exceptionally studious, and scrupulous in the execution of his spiritual duties. He was committed to prayer and penance and especially devoted to the Sorrows of Mary, but the shadow of serious illness was never far away. He died at Isola del Gran Sasso of tuberculosis at the age of only twenty-four after a short but exemplary Religious life.

Gabriel was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. Immense numbers of pilgrims have visited his shrine. He was nominated patron of youth; later he was declared patron of the Abruzzi, Italian region. Some of his writings, mainly letters have been published.

In the United States, a campaign was launched to have Saint Gabriel Francis declared the patron saint of handguns, apparently based on a story in which Gabriel is said to have chased a band of gun-waving bandits out of the town of Isola, Italy.

“I want to break my own will into pieces, I want to do God’s Holy will, not my own. May the most adorable, most loveable, most perfect will of God always be done.” —St. Gabriel


Bunson, Matthew, Margaret Bunson, and Stephen Bunson. “Encyclopedia of Saints-Revised.” Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2003.
Farmer, David. “Oxford Dictionary of Saints.” New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Heritage, Andrew, ed. “The Book of Saints: A Day-By-Day Illustrated Encyclopedia.” San Francisco: Weldonowen, 2012.

Featured photo: Wikimedia Commons


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Diocese Adds 11 New Names to List of Credibly Accused Clergy

The new names are also included on lists from the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist and the Dioceses of Lafayette and Alexandria.


Other recent stories:

“My Faith Has Sustained Me”: Kathleen Bowman, Anti-Death Penalty Activist and Navajo Nation Public Defender

Bowman, educated at St. Michaels Indian School, sees no conflict between her Catholic faith and Navajo traditions.

Friday News Briefs: Fall Fiestas and Fundraisers Around the Diocese!

All the latest on fall fiestas, rosary rallies, AZ family conference, school golf fundraiser, and more!

AZ Bishops Urge Support for Hyde Amendment, Which Prevents Broad Federal Funding for Abortion

Preserving the Hyde Amendment and Protecting the Vulnerable

Meet the Diocese’s Two Newest Deacons

For Deacons Marty Smith and Ron Chavez, the ordination is the culmination of several years of study and service.


More Articles Like This