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Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Friend St. Gerard Majella

In May, Sarah at Cherishing Everyday Beauty contacted me about contributing to her Saints series, Our Friends, the Saints. Of course, I told her that I would love to write about St. Gerard. You can read my full story at Sarah's blog

*Update* It looks like Sarah's blog is no longer available, so I have updated this post with the entire story. 




My friendship with St. Gerard started after I left the Catholic Church and while I was a member of a non-denominational church. I found myself pregnant after years of trying to conceive and a devastating miscarriage at twelve weeks along. 



Around eight weeks pregnant with my son Thomas, I started spotting. Finding bright red blood was like a dagger being shoved into my gut. My husband was working late, and I felt sure that I was miscarrying again. I called my husband and my mother-in-law to ask for prayers. Then I went to bed with a heavy heart. The next morning I called my doctor, and she had me come in for a quick ultrasound. She said that everything looked all right, but we would need to wait and see. 



My mother-in-law went to work that morning and told her co-worker about my bleeding. Her co-worker gave her a medal of St. Gerard that had been worn by all the female members of her family while they were pregnant. She was the last one to wear it, and as no one currently was in need of it in her family, she suggested my mother-in-law give it to me to wear during my pregnancy. 



I accepted it from her, but I did not start wearing it right away. I kept it tucked away in the zipper portion of my wallet for several days. I had a desire to wear it, but I felt a little silly about it since I was no longer Catholic. 



My spotting continued, so I decided to take the medal out, put it on a chain, offer up a half-hearted request to St. Gerard and place it around my neck. By the next week, my spotting had lightened up considerably, and another ultrasound showed a growing baby. 



I continued to wear the medal for the rest of my pregnancy. 



After Tom's birth, I gave the medal back to my mother-in-law's friend. I missed wearing it, but I had a new colicky baby and some serious postpartum depression to keep me busy for the next six months. During that time, there was a big split at our church, and Chris made the suggestion that we return to the Catholic Church. I was hesitant, and I spent some time studying the history and traditions of the Church. I found the saints and their stories and came to know St. Gerard better through a little book that my sister-in-law gave me called St. Gerard Majella The Mothers' Saint



When Tom was ten months old, Chris and I came back into full communion with the Catholic Church. I know many people were praying for us, and I know that St. Gerard played a role in our re-conversion, as well. When Tom was two years old, I went on a Catholic women's retreat. While I was there, I purchased a beautiful gold St. Gerard medal and had it blessed by the priest that was running the retreat center. 



In the years following Tom's birth, I experienced several more miscarriages. I had prayed many novenas to St. Gerard for more children, but I felt that my prayers weren't being heard. Finally in the fall after Tom's fourth birthday, I prayed another novena to St. Gerard but I offered it for my husband's intention for our family. Six weeks later I found myself pregnant. I experienced more spotting during my pregnancy with Ralph, but I did not experience the worry in quite the same way. I felt comfort and knew in my heart that St. Gerard was praying for me and my baby. My pregnancy and the postpartum period with Ralph was the easiest and most joyful of all my experiences. 



I am thankful that my mother-in-law's friend introduced me to St. Gerard twelve years ago. I never thought about calling St. Gerard my friend, but now that I look back through the years I can see that he is my friend. And as he has helped me through some very hard times in my life, I can see that he has been one of the best friends that I have had. 



In addition to being the patron saint of mothers, St. Gerard's intercession is also sought for children, making a good confession, and for people who have been falsely accused. One of St. Gerard's favorite sayings was, "God will provide." St. Gerard's life is an example of complete trust in God and his provision. 



If you haven't gotten to know S.t Gerard, I encourage you to take a little time to get to know him. He is definitely a friend to have in your life!

4 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post Erica! I am commenting here because I wanted to make sure you know that I read it and loved it. I have a St. Gerard prayer card on the window sill of my kitchen. I see it everyday. Thank God for such an awesome saint! Also, I am so sorry for the losses of your precious babies. Praying for you!

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    1. He is an awesome saint! Thanks for the prayers Mia!

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  2. I just read this over at Cherishing Everyday Beauty--what a wonderful post! My daughter-in-law prayed to St. Gerard throughout her pregnancy with our twin granddaughters. He is a powerful friend!

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