St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows: Patron of Handgunners

St. GabrielA saint for today.  Terrorists invade your town and set about to do terrible things….

… someone to pray to when ISIS – or whomever – comes to your neighborhood.

Today is the feast of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Gabriel Possenti.  His feast is set for the third day before the Kalends of March, which is two days before March 1. During a Leap Year, when there is a 29th day in February, the date two days before 1 March is 29 February. Otherwise his feast is 27 February. 27 February is the day he died and was born into heaven in 1862.  I visited his shrine beneath the great mountain Gran Sasso in Italy while I was in seminary.

Little Francesco Possenti came from a large family, 13 children, in Spoleto and was baptized in the same baptismal font as St. Francis of Assisi.

During a childhood illness he promised to become a religious if he were healed. This actually happened twice, but like many of us who make promises to God if He would only do something for us, Francesco forgot about it.  However, during a procession in honor of an image of Our Lady of Sorrows, Francesco finally felt strongly the calling to be a religious.  He took off for a Passionist house and novitiate on the eve of his engagement.

When Francesco made his vows he was given the name in religion of Gabriel adding of Our Lady of Sorrows.  Gabriel made a special promise to spread devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. His writings are imbued with this devotion and a special focus on the Passion of the Lord.  He was known for his perfect observance of the rule of the Passionists.

While still young was contracted tuberculosis.  He remained always in good spirits, never quitting his harsh mortifications however.  Before he could be ordained a priest, he died embracing an image of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Gabriel was canonized by Pope Benedict XV 1920 and declared him patron of Catholic youth. In 1959, Pope John XXIII named him the patron of the Abruzzi region, where he spent the last two years of his earthly life. His is also invoked by seminarians and novices.

St. Gemma Galgani attributed to St. Gabriel the cure which led her also to her vocation as a Passionist.

Let us look at his Collect from the 1962 Missale Romanum.


Deus, qui beatum Gabrielem dulcissimae Matris tuae dolores assidue recolere docuisti, ac per illam sanctitatis et miraculorum gloria sublimasti: da nobis, eius intercessione et exemplo; ita Genetricis tuae consociari fletibus, ut materna eiusdem protectione salvemur.


O God, who taught blessed Gabriel to reflect constantly upon the sorrows of Your most sweet Mother, and through her raised him on high by the glory of holiness and miracles: grant us, by his intercession and example; so to be joined to the tears of Your Mother, that we may be saved by her maternal protection.

Now here is the politically incorrect part of the story.  

From the Possenti Society:

In 1860, soldiers from 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”.

Thus, some consider him to be the patron of shooters and handgun users.  For good reason.

Thus endeth the lesson.

And… I encourage all you women and men out there to get lots of training and practice, whether or not you decide to get a concealed carry weapon permit.  Ask St. Gabriel to help you in the process.

Be ready for when “Garibaldi’s” troops show up and keep repeating what the saint said:

“I want to break my own will into pieces, I want to do God’s Holy will, not my own. May the most adorable, most lovable, most perfect will of God always be done.”

St. Gabriel


On Fox Radio today I head about a theme park for … guns… machine guns.   HERE


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. haskovez says:

    This is a great story. I found it interesting as well that he is the patron of Abruzzi, as the Italian part of my family came from Ateleta which is in that region. I also am a shooter, so this is a cool on multiple levels.

  2. stjoe says:

    Fr. Z,

    My ebook!



  3. Marissa says:

    What an excellent story. It’s a great example of why one learns the skills of war — they may actually prevent you from having to kill anyone!

  4. AvantiBev says:

    One united Italia for Italians. The Islamo – Nazis say they will conquer Roma; conquer Italia. Never. Remember how our ancestors defeated the Irish at Spoleto who hypocritically decried the British control of their island but took up arms against my gente and would have had my ancestors live under papal control of temporal matters.
    Now some of those of Vatican City preach that the invasion of the island of Lampedusa should continue under the guise of Christian duty. Duty to commit suicide – cultural and personal? Never.

  5. Clinton R. says:

    In Sierra Madre, CA there is a Passionist Retreat Center that has a hall named after St. Gabriel Possenti. In the chapel, there is a beautiful mural of St. Gabriel and the other Passionist saints. St. Gabriel Possenti, pray for seminarians and novices and for us to do God’s will.

  6. albizzi says:

    In addition let’s pray Saint John of Matha born in Faucon, France in 1160, dead in Rome in 1213.
    He was the founder of the holy order of the Trinitarians of which the main task was to bargain and pay the ransom for the european christian slaves held captive by the Turks and northern Africa’s mohameddans.
    On the contrary of a common and unfounded opinion, the number of european people forced into slavery by the Islam far exceeds that of the african negroes sent to America, Brasil and West Indies. That outraging trade ceased by the beginning of the XIXth century while the muslim slavery still today exists in many Middle East countries and in Africa.

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