5 March 2006

St Gabriel Possenti

Today we attended 9:00am Mass at the local Monastery and we were surprised to see this glass coffin in front of the altar. It is a statue of St Gabriel Possenti and was in place for the special Mass being held at 10:00am for an Italian community from Sydney. The monastery expected about 1,000 people to attend.

There is a movement to make this saint the patron of hand guns, primarily from this incident which caused the village of Isola in Italy to call him "The Saviour of Isola".

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 ... 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".

That's today's history lesson. Further information about him can be found at EWTN.

Update: It appears as though the story with the gun may not be true.  Even without this story St Gabriel still makes fascinating reading.  Thanks to Mr Anonymous for the tip.


Melissa O. Markham said...

What an interesting article! And what an amazing event! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Actually it seems that story isn't true;