The similarities in the human and spiritual journey between Saint Gemma and Saint Padre Pio are evident, because they were similartheir mystical experiences, the fight against the devil, the supernatural manifestations of baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the guardian angel.
The two Saints were nearly contemporary
The guardian angel is the fundamental element in the mystical experience of Gemma and Father Pious. Their guardian angels brought letters and messages, from them they received illuminations and instructions that helped to understand the will of God.
Gemma Galgani is seven years old when she begins her experience with the first inner locution that finds its apex in 1899 with the signs of the redemption on her body.
Francesco Forgione, nine years younger than Gemma, is five years old when he feels the desire to be completely of God and begins to experience the first supernatural phenomena and during his novitiate (1903-1904) lives his mystical experience totally (Gemma had just died). The likeness between Gemma’s experiences and his makes him to understand that Gemma can help him to realise what he is living.
Like Gemma also Father Pious must fight with the demon, he has the same celestial experiences that are revelations, presence, of Angels, Christ and the Virgin Mary. He lives the painful experience of the stigmata, firstly invisible, for about eight years, and then visible and permanent.
Father Pious finds himself totally in the same exceptional mystical experiences of Gemma, which she described with a so simple language and he chooses her as model: in fact in many his letters (approximately 50) there are phrases and typical expressions of the language of Saint Gemma, taken from her letters, diary and writings.
The confirmation of the fact that Father Pious has read Gemma’s writings is in a letter to father Benedict dated 2nd May 1921. He writes: "Moreover I am asking you for charity: I would like to read the booklet "Letters and ecstasy of the servant of God Gemma Galgani", as well as the other one of the same servant of God, "The Saint hour". I am sure that you will agree and meet my desire. Bless me. Your father Pious."
Saint Father Pious recommended to several of his spiritual sons the devotion to Gemma that he called the "Great Saint" and when he talked about her he was moved to the tears and invited the devout visitors to know this beloved soul.
Very often Father Pious sent pilgrims coming from the Tuscany and from some regions of the North Italy to Lucca. "Why are you coming to me for graces? Run to Lucca that is nearer to you, because there is Saint Gemma there who is a great Saint."
Saint Gemma Galgani and Saint Father Pious have diffused the scent of their holiness all over the world, and, overwhelmed, we just have to praise and thank God warmly, as He has donated us so shining of love and virtue creatures.