St. Gabriel lived in the 20th century and grew up in Piedmont, Italy. Born Francesco Possenti, he was known to be a ladies man and a partygoer. He shocked the town when he announced that he would become a Passionist monk upon graduation. This change of heart came from a promise he made to God while he was at school. He had fallen quite sick he promised to dedicate his life to God if he were to get better.

After he entered the monastery it is said he came upon a gang of mercenaries including one who was attacking a young girl. He confronted them in his monks robes at gunpoint and drove them from his village. It is from this event that some have taken up the cause that he be named the patron saint of Handgunners. He had a spirit of adventure and longed to be sent to mission, but died at the age of 24.

St. Gabriel was responsible for showing that holiness is not opposed to qualities of manhood. He was courageous in the face of danger and this is meant to remind everyone that courage is needed to witness faith. St. Gabriel Possenti’s day of feast is on February 27 every year.

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