While still knowing very little about St. Gemma Galgani, our family asked for her intercession to help with my husband's back pain. When I saw that her feast day was coming up I did a little more research and found that she has an incredible story. She was devoted to Christ's passion, and had an intimate relationship with Jesus which included ecstasies and bearing the stigmata. She greatly desired to be a nun, but was unable to due to her poor health. Even so, because of her devotion she was buried in the Passionist habit. You can learn more about St. Gemma at www.stgemmagalgani.com. This website even has a great little comic about St. Gemma for kids, which I've linked to directly here.
I also found that she would be a great intercessor for my husband in more ways than one. Not only is she patron of people with back pain and people with frequent migraines, both of which my husband struggles with, but she is also the patron of pharmacy and my husband is almost complete with his pharmacy tech certification! What a wonderful discovery for our family!
To help celebrate this wonderful saint we had Italian for dinner, because she was from Italy, and a chocolate cake depicting the symbol on the Passionist habit. I wanted to use a heart shaped pan, but we're in a transitional stage right now and all my special pans are in box somewhere. I've included the recipe for my spinach alfredo lasagna, and a picture of the cake. To make the cake I simply used a boxed cake mix and store bought frosting. Hey, its a weeknight!
Spinach Alfredo Lasagna
(with chicken and roasted red bell peppers)
whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 lb ground turkey or chicken
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
1 box frozen chopped spinach - thawed
1 jar roasted red bell peppers - drained and chopped
shredded mozzarella cheese
grated parmesan cheese
1. Boil the lasagna noodles. While they cook brown the meat, and mix the spinach and peppers with the ricotta cheese. Drain the noodles.
2. Spread a little alfredo sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. This helps prevent sticking. Reserve some alfredo for the top layer. Mix the rest of the alfredo sauce with the meat. Put down a layer of noodles, a layer of meat, a layer of mozzarella, and then a layer of the ricotta mixture, repeat. (the order really isn't terribly important, so don't worry about it too much!) Finish with a top layer of noodles covered with alfredo, mozzarella, and some parmesan cheese
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Enjoy!
ST. GEMMA GALGANI'S PRAYER
O my crucified God, behold me at Your feet; do not cast me out, now that I appear before You as a sinner. I have offended You exceedingly in the past, my Jesus, but it shall be so no longer.
Before You, O Lord, I place all my sins; I have now considered Your own sufferings and see how great is the worth of that Precious Blood that flows from Your veins.
O my God, at this hour close Your eyes to my want of merit, and since You have been pleased to die for my sins, grant me forgiveness for them all, that I may no longer feel the burden of my sins, for this burden, Dear Jesus, oppresses me beyond measure.
Assist me, my Jesus, for I desire to become good whatsoever it may cost; take away, destroy, utterly root out all that You find in me contrary to Your holy will. At the same time, I pray You, Lord Jesus, to enlighten me that I may be able to walk in Your holy light. Amen.