St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)

Feast Day: 11th April

Patron Saint of Pharmacists

St Gemma was born in Camigliano, Italy, on 12th March 1878, one of eight children, to devout Catholic parents. Her father was a pharmacist, and through his work, taught his children the importance of honesty, generosity and compassion.

Although St Gemma was not a pharmacist, her virtuous life can still be an example for us for how we can provide the best care for our patients. St Gemma demonstrated true simplicity and humility throughout her life, following a self-imposed rule that “she was nothing and God was all”. She also took it upon herself to care for the sick in the family who were afflicted with infectious illnesses. As pharmacists, we can turn to St Gemma and ask for her intercession to increase our humility, that we may provide selfless, loving care for our patients, and in doing so, show direct acts of love to Christ.

St Gemma’s life was marked by many extraordinary graces, including mysticism and stigmatism. Our Lord called her to be a victim of Divine Love, to sacrifice and suffer for the reparation of sins and conversion of sinners. St Gemma was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis (or spinal meningitis) and a brain tumour. She experienced excruciating pain, yet accepted the will of God with joy, patience and obedience.

All healthcare professionals are called to mirror Christ’s love and compassion to the patients they care for; one way that pharmacists aim to achieve this is through ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication regimens. Therefore, pharmacists can pray to St Gemma, asking her help in becoming humble instruments in the physical healing of patients by the correct and safe use of medicine, but also in the spiritual healing of patients, by our caring words, listening ear and witness of Christ-like love.

St Gemma Galgani, pray for us!

– written by a young pharmacist