He had a great following among the ladies

St Gabriel Possenti

Celebrated on February 27th


A patron of young people , St Gabriel was born in 1838, a younger son of the governor of Assisi. He studied at the Jesuit college at Spoleto where he was known for his love of clothes, dancing and the theatre. He also had a great following among the ladies.

Unfortunately he suffered from poor health. Twice, when he was taken seriously ill he decided to enter a religious order, but changed his mind when he felt better. One day during the procession of the miraculous icon of Spoleto he was overcome with the desire to be a priest. He entered the Passionists monastery in Morrovalle in 1856 where he soon earned a reputation for having a very cheerful and light-hearted nature, as well as being very prayerful. St Gabriel had a great devotion to Our Lady. Unfortunately illness was never far away. He died in 1862 from tuberculosis before he could be ordained. He was only 24.

Several of Gabriel’s letters have been published. His shrine at Assisi is very popular with pilgrims. He was canonised in 1920 and is a patron of youth and the Abruzzi region.

(from ICN)


During his novitiate there was an invasion of bandits / ex soldiers from the revolution. St Gabriel single handidly confronted them and put them to rout, after making them clean up some of their mess and put out the fires that they had started.


St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, pray for us!


St. Gabriel Possenti, pray for us!


The Canonization of this fine young man must have come from more than this story of driving off some brigands. We’re told he was of frail constitution and yet somehow demonstrated enough strength to render this mob subdued.
These renditions leave many to wonder at the validity of the process. Where are and What are the required miracles, certainly not the above.We should all aspire to holiness, Sainthood is for extraordinary acts of greatness benefitting mankind. (Opinion)


Tom, 2 minutes of Google research would have led you to a source explaining all the details of the young man’s life. And no he was not canonized for driving off brigands. It’s a story that people like to tell, along with the fact that he was a good dancer and popular with the ladies, because it humanizes the saint who otherwise just seems like some perfect phony plaster statue locked away in a monastery.

Here is a book on him, miracles discussed starting on page 252:

If you don’t wish to read a whole book, here is Wikipedia on him, also discussing the miracles and other holy aspects of his life:

He was canonized because he spent his adult life seeking perfection in his vocation. He tried really hard to be perfect. He was so well known for sanctity in his region that even though right after his death the order had to abandon the monastery where they (and he) had been living, along with abandoning his grave there, he was remembered for decades, and the townspeople didn’t want them to take the body away when they finally got around to starting canonization proceedings 30 years later.

He was a friend of the mystic saint and victim soul St. Gemma Galgani who is associated with the Passionists (though she was not able to formally join) and he is considered a forerunner of the “Little Way” of St. Therese as he was canonized in 1920, several years before she was.

I hope that clears up any misconceptions you have about his life or the propriety of his canonization. I would suggest that perhaps in the future you might at least check Wikipedia before making negative comments about a great saint or casting aspersions on his canonization process.

I was pleased to visit a local church named for him on his saints’ day and hear about how perfect he was in the homily…unfortunately because I was not sure of the location of the church, I did not allow enough travel time, and arrived at the Mass late, and walked into the Mass just as the priest was listing all of St. Gabriel’s virtues in his homily and saying, “And he was never late!”


He is also the patron saint of handgunners. I have his medal fastened to my range bag. Sancte Gabriel Possenti, ora pro nobis.

He passed so very, very young at 24

Before he entered the religious life he was called ‘il damerino’ (the dude) because he liked nice clothes and he was popular with the ladies. those aren’t the reasons he was canonized but they are the reason why he was named a patron of youth when he was canonized.
If you want to become a saint you are allowed to smile.
Oh Lord, save us from sad saints - St Teresa of Avila.


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