“Everything in me must go that is not for God!”
On September 21st, 1856, Francis Possenti began a new life as Confrater (Brother) Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. The new Passionist novice threw himself into religious life with as much gusto as he had once exhibited for parties, dances, and social events. The Rule of his new Congregation became his treasured daily guide, and he strove to be faithful to Christ Crucified even in small things. One day he sincerely pleaded with his spiritual director, Fr. Norbert, “Father, do you know of anything in me that is not pleasing to God? Tell me and I will root it out at any cost!”
Fr. Norbert was tasked with harnessing this great enthusiasm and making sure the fervent young man didn’t take his newfound spirit of penance and poverty too far. It’s easy to imagine Fr. Norbert’s sometimes-exasperated, sometimes-laughing voice: “No, Gabriel, you really can’t use up that two-inch piece of thread . . . no, Gabriel, you can’t do that excessive penance . . . no, Gabriel, you can’t brand yourself with the names of Jesus and Mary!”
Under this wise guidance, Gabriel began to mature and to grow by leaps and bounds in his spiritual life. By the time he made his perpetual vows in 1857, his holiness was no secret to his Passionist brothers or to the local community! Over the next four days, we’ll take a closer look at just what it was about Confrater Gabriel that made him a saint.
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!