A life marked by mystical experience and special occurrences began for St. Gemma Galgani on March 12, 1878 near Lucca, Italy. Her first communion was in June 1887. Quiet and reserved, she loved the poor. With the death of her father in 1897, she had to take care of seven sisters and brothers. She contracted meningitis, however, preventing her from becoming a nun.

Gemma was credited with performing miraculous cures in 1899 and receiving the Stigmata in 1899 when pain and marks appeared on her feet, hands, and heart with blood emerging from wounds. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1903, she died on April 11 that year.

Following beatification in 1933 by Pope Pius XI, she was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1940. Her feast day is celebrated April 11. She is the patron saint of parachutists and paratroopers, students, those suffering back pain, headaches, and struggling with impure thoughts.