Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, he lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists. Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort
to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor,
consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the
Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will
of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.
His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the
priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of
tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful
effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no
special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24,
having been an example to both young and old.
Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.
When we think of achieving great holiness by doing little things with
love and grace, Therese of Lisieux comes first to mind. Like her, Gabriel
died painfully from tuberculosis. Together they urge us to tend to the
small details of daily life, to be considerate of others’ feelings every
day. Our path to sanctity, like theirs, probably lies not in heroic
doings but in performing small acts of kindness every day.
"Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I offer you my heart and soul.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul with you in