“You were not made for the world.”
Though any young lady in Italy would have gladly accepted an offer of marriage from Francis Possenti, God had different plans. As a teenager, Francis began to feel an attraction to religious life, but he was far from decisive. No fewer than three different times, when his life was in danger from various causes, the boy promised God that he would become a religious, and on one occasion, he even applied to the Jesuit novitiate. However, he always lost his nerve and pulled back on his promise. Life in the world was so enjoyable, and his father Sante was eager that his talented son pursue a secular career.
But one day in August 1856, the Blessed Mother took matters into her own hands. While Francis was participating in a Marian procession through Spoleto, he suddenly heard his beloved Mother say to his heart, “Francis, what are you doing in the world? You were not made for the world. Follow your vocation!”
The young man’s indecision was ended. Despite intense opposition from his father, within a month Francis was headed for the Passionists, a Congregation God had mysteriously planted in his heart. I wonder if he realized just what a profound impact this decision would have on his life – and ultimately on the life of the Church as a whole!
O good St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, you were taught by God to love the Passion of Jesus and to remember the Sorrows of Mary His Mother. By her side, you stood by the Cross of Jesus and shared her compassion. Following her, you grew in love for God and all His people. O St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, we humbly ask you to intercede before God on our behalf, especially for the intentions we now present before you.
For our vocation promotion endeavors
For all the women whom God is calling to join our monastic family
For the spiritual and temporal needs of our novitiate members and the novice directress
For all who pass through this novitiate – this holy training ground – that they will respond generously to God’s graces poured out in their hearts during this time of intense formation
We place our trust in your prayers St. Gabriel and wish to follow your example. Remember us, and especially our youth, with compassion. Support us all our days by your holy prayers. And when this life is done, may we join you in heaven in the company of Jesus and Mary. Amen!