In the little town of Muro, some fifty miles to the south of Naples, Gerard Majella was born of pious parents on the 6th of April, 1726. His father was a struggling tailor. Today his native village boasts a bronze statue to the tall, gaunt young man who was determined to become a Saint.
When he was twelve years old, his father died. The boy was apprenticed to a tailor, a good employer. But his foreman, an ill-tempered fellow, treated Gerard most cruelly. At the age of twenty, Gerard set up for himself as a fully qualified tailor. As might be expected, he conscientiousness itself. All the time he was given to unending prayer, fasting and, despite his none too robust health, severe penances.
Gerard was twenty-three when he made his final and successful bid to become a Redemptorist Brother. He made attempts to join a Religious community twice before; the first time presenting himself to a convent of the Capuchins. His youth - he was sixteen at the time - and his very indifferent health decided against him. Later, he inquired of a Redemptorist Brother, who dissuaded him from joining. It was on the 17th of May, 1749, that Gerard entered the monastery of Our Lady at Iiceto. Within these walls he was to spend the greater part of his religious life. That life was to last but six short years; but they were six years of unremitting domestic work, of countless conversions, of astounding miracles, of unspeakable austerities and trials, and of a love of God and his neighbour. A witness described him as "a man made entirely for God, unable to retain a single instant without God."
So obvious was Gerard's sanctity that his novitiate was shortened and he was admitted to profession of the 16th of July, 1752. He was now a Redemptorist lay-brother; henceforth after his own sanctification, domestic work of all kinds was to be his professional duty. Gerard knew well that all authentic holiness is to be found in the sphere of life allotted to each by God, and the thoroughness and constancy in the discharge of the duties of one's state; that is not the what in God's service, but the why and the how that matters; that whatever we do for the glory of God will me amply rewarded.
Gerard was not a Priest, and yet he converted innumerable sinners. From childhood he was aflame with zeal for his Master and his Master's interests. "I would give my life a thousand times," he would say, "that God might not be offered." His God-given power to read the consciences of men has won for him from grateful souls the title of, "Patron of a good confession".
God seems to give Gerard special powers to help mothers. During his life he showed that power more than once. Since his death, his help has been so great and so frequent that he is often called "the Saint of happy deliveries". Thousands of mothers have cause to thank him, and many boys have his name in gratitude.
Gerard's life tells of miracles. Sometimes the miraculous in the lives of the Saints makes good people despair of imitating the one thing that is to be imitated of the Saints - their sanctity. We cannot too often remind ourselves that Saints were not Saint because they worked miracles, but that they worked miracles because they are Saints. The sanctity came first. It was said of St Gerard's that his life was a "continuous miracle".
He was only twenty-nine when he died on the 15th of October, 1755. He was beatified by Leo XII on the 29th of January, 1893, and canonized by St. Pius X on the 11th of December, 1904. He is invoked as Patron of mothers, especially in time of pregnancy and also patron of a good confession. His feast is kept on the October 16.
Our Parish gained St Gerard as patron as at the time of the founding of the Parish, Bellshill was home to the Maternity Hospital and it fell within the boundry of the new Parish. As St Gerard Majella is patron of expectant mothers, he was naturally made patron of our Parish.
Our Parish is the only one in Scotland to have the patronage of St Gerard Majella.
Prayer in honour of St Gerard Majella
passionate lover of Jesus crucified and his mother Mary,
You spent your short life helping countless souls by your powerful prayers,
Especially mothers and families and so earning the title of “The Mothers’ Saint”.
Pray for me that I may obtain what I earnestly ask in the name of Jesus
And grant me the grace to accept wholeheartedly God’s will in my life.
Prayer for Motherhood
O good St Gerard,
powerful intercessor before God and wonder worker of our day,
confidently I call upon you and seek your aid.
On Earth you always fulfilled God's designs,
help me now to do the holy will of God.
Implore the Master of Life, from whom all paternity proceeds,
to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life,
and in the world to come, heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory.
Prayer for a Safe Delivery
O great Saint Gerard,
beloved servant of Jesus Christ,
perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior,
and devoted child of Mother of God,
enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love.
O glorious Saint Gerard,
because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men,
you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers.
Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth,
and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the purifying and life-giving waters of baptism,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer in Thanks for a Safe Delivery
Good Saint Gerard, patron of mothers,
assist me in thanking God for the great gift of motherhood.
During the months of my waiting,
I learned to call upon you and placed the safety of my child and myself under your powerful protection.
The great lesson of your trust in God sustained me; "God will provide," became my hope and consolation.
I thank God for my child and for motherhood.
Help me to prize the great treasure of motherhood and obtain for me the grace to raise my child as a child of God.
Hymn in honour of St Gerard
Strong lover of the lance torn heart
of Jesus crucified
And lover too of all poor souls
for whom our saviour died
Saint of pity, saint of power,
Hear o hear me in this hour
Saint Gerard, pray for me,
Saint Gerard, pray for me.
In all my sorrow, all my pain
O lend swift aid and sure
Great wonder working saint of God,
Kind brother of the poor.
Dear patron of the prodigal
Who would forgiveness win.
Lead, lead me to my Father’s knee
And help me weep my sin.
Saint Gerard true to Mary pure,
And true to Mary’s child.
Pray that my soul by sin’s dark stain
Be never more defiled.