picture of St. Gemmas autobiography that was burned by the Devil (held by
P. Ioannes Zubiani C.P. the Postulator General of the Passionists Order in Rome,
Under obedience Gemma
was ordered to write a diary with the purpose to give Father Germanus, her director,
knowledge of the twenty-one years of her life before they met. While writing it,
she had to battle continually with her reluctance to speak of herself. This
autobiography/diary was hated by Satan as he foresaw the great good it could do
in his book The Life of St. Gemma Galgani, writes, Satan was enraged at
it and used all sorts of cunning to overthrow it. I have here to relate what seems
incredible, but it is a real and historical fact in which there was no room for
the play of imagination
Gemmas manuscript, when finished, was by
my orders given in charge to her adopted mother Signora Cecilia Giannini, who
kept it hidden in a drawer awaiting the first opportunity of handing it to me.
Some days elapsed, and Gemma thought she saw the demon passing through the
window of the room to where the drawer was, chuckling, and then disappearing in
the air. Accustomed as she was to such apparitions, she thought nothing of
it. But he, having returned shortly after to molest her, as often happened, with
a repulsive temptation and having failed, left gnashing his teeth and declaring
exultingly: War, war, thy book is in my hands.
she (Gemma) wrote to tell me. Then owing to the obedience she was under to disclose
to her vigilant benefactress (Cecilia Giannini) everything extraordinary that
happened to her, she thought she was obliged to tell her what had occurred. They
went, opened the drawer and found that the book was no longer there. I was
written to at once, and it is easy to imagine my consternation at having lost
such a treasure. What was to be done? I thought a great deal about it, and just
then, while at the tomb of Blessed Gabriel of the Dolors, a fresh idea came to
my mind. I resolved to exorcise the devil and thus force him to return the
manuscript if he had really taken it. With my ritual stole and holy water I went
to the tomb of the Blessed Servant of God and there, although nearly four hundred
miles from Lucca, I pronounced the exorcisms in regular form.
God seconded my ministry, and at that same hour, the writing was restored to the
place from which it had been taken several days before. But, in what a state!
The pages from top to bottom were all smoked and in parts burned as if each one
had been separately exposed over a strong fire, yet they were not so badly burned
as to destroy the writing. This document, having thus passed through Hell
fire, is in my hands. It is truly a treasure, as I have already said, of most
important information which, had it been destroyed, could never have become known.