One of thirteen children. After a youth devoted to the world and society, attending the theatre, chasing women and the hunt, he was led to the Passionist Order by Our Lady. His life was not marked by great events or controversy, but given to prayer, sacrifice, and a devotion to Our Lady and the contemplation of her sorrows over the suffering of Jesus. Many miracles are attributed to him after his death. Pope Benedict XV gave him as a pattern for young people.
I must admit that my admiration for St. Gabriel Possenti is due to his stand against brigands that threatened the town where the monastery he was studying was located and his abandoning his love for the material world and affirming his love for God.
In 1860, a band of soldiers from the army of Garibaldi entered the mountain village of Isola, Italy. They began to burn and pillage the town, terrorizing its inhabitants.
Possenti, with his seminary rector's permission, walked into the center of town, unarmed, to face the terrorists. One of the soldiers was dragging off a young woman he intended to rape when he saw Possenti and made a snickering remark about such a young monk being all alone.
Possenti quickly grabbed the soldier's revolver from his belt and ordered the marauder to release the woman. The startled soldier complied, as Possenti grabbed the revolver of another soldier who came by. Hearing the commotion, the rest of the soldiers came running in Possenti's direction, determined to overcome the rebellious monk.
At that moment a small lizard ran across the road between Possenti and the soldiers. When the lizard briefly paused, Possenti took careful aim and struck the lizard with one shot. Turning his two handguns on the approaching soldiers, Possenti commanded them to drop their weapons. Having seen his handiwork with a pistol, the soldiers complied. Possenti ordered them to put out the fires they had set, and upon finishing, marched the whole lot out of town, ordering them never to return. The grateful townspeople escorted Possenti in triumphant procession back to the seminary, thereafter referring to him as "the Savior of Isola".
Because of this I consider him a Patron on Masculine Christianity and of Handgunners.
Propers for Gabriel Possenti - 27 February - Seminarian and Protector
O God, who in the design of Thy love called Gabriel Possenti to live the mystery of the Cross, guide our spirit towards Thy Crucified Son so that by participating in His Passion, we may achieve the glory of the Resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God. Amen.
The Epistle - Philippians 3 : 8-14.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
The Gospel - St. Mark 10:17-21.
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Reference and Resources:
St. Gabriel Possenti Society
Brief reflection on his life. From "The One Year Book of Saints" by Clifford Stevens
New Advent - Catholic Encyclopedia - Bl. Gabriel Possenti
Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows - Wikipedia
Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows - Saints.SQPN.com
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows - WordPress