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St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
February 27

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Comments of Dr. Plinio:

Among the edifying lives of the Saints that the Church presents for our imitation, the life of a young man beatified by the immortal Pius X in 1908 and canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 stands out. He is the Patron Saint of Brazilian youth: He is the angelical St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862), whose life inspires all those who have the good fortune to carefully read his biography.


St. Gabriel, known for his outstanding purity, love for Our Lady & inspiring letters he wrote

Living in our corrupted and corruptive world, today's young men need a brilliant mirror into which they can look to see the image of someone who orients them on the secure path to the Beatific Vision.

His life was singular since, before becoming a religious, he was well-liked and esteemed in the world for his refined courtesy, amiability, distinguished manners and ardent spirit. He had two defects: He was impetuous by temperament and inclined to vanity.

Despite the many worldly diversions, our hero did not neglect his duties of piety: He frequently received Holy Communion and never incurred faults that stained the candor of his soul. His great love for purity was expressed when he took up a sickle and drove off a bold seductress who was attempting to drag him into the abyss of sin.

In the world his name was Francis and he belonged to a distinguished family. He was born in Assisi, the same city as the Seraphic Francis.

He was a good student under both the Christian Brothers and the Jesuits.

The most impressive characteristic of St. Gabriel, however, was his great love for the Most Holy Virgin. Proof of this is the many tributes he paid her and actions that demonstrated his ardent love for Holy Mary.

He consecrated his entire life to her. In face of difficulties he used to say to himself: "Can you not conquer yourself, Gabriel, for the love of Mary?" Then, he would overcome the obstacles. Frequently he said this prayer: "O Mary, my good Mother, help me!" He dedicated all his works to Our Lady, commending their good success to her maternal goodness and protection with this prayer: "Suscipe, suscipe, Domina mea, istam in manu Tua," (Accept, accept, my Lady, this work in Thy hands).

icon of Our Lady

The ancient icon of Our Lady of the Cathedral of Spoleto penetrated the heart of St. Gabriel

He spoke eloquently of Our Blessed Mother and conquered many hearts for her. As a reward for this devotion, the Virgo Potens (Powerful Virgin) kidnapped our hero's heart, untied the bonds that linked him to the world and lovingly called him to the religious life several times curing him of serious illnesses.

A touching scene: On the Octave of the Assumption in Spoleto, a procession was carrying an ancient icon of the Virgin Mary to the cathedral. As the statue passed by St. Gabriel who was kneeling and contemplating her, Our Lady miraculously gazed at him and penetrated his heart, speaking these words in a tender and powerful voice: "What are you doing, Francis? The world is not for you. Go, religious life awaits you."

With this episode he resolved to consecrate himself entirely to God, entering the Congregation of the Passionists, where he became a perfect model of religious observance of the Rule.

dewathbed st gabriel

Our Lady came to receive the soul of her faithful son on his deathbed

Because of his angelic purity, Leo XIII called him "our St. Louis Gonzaga." Struck with tuberculosis before his ordination to the priesthood, Gabriel died at the age of 24 in 1862.

Brazilian youth should learn from St. Gabriel to love the Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowful Mother) and to be pure and holy even when living in the world.

Let us praise this heroic Saint; let us celebrate his principal virtues of chastity and obedience; let us love the Mother of Jesus. Let us praise this Saint imitating him: Laudatio sanctorum imitativo eorum (Let us praise the Saints by imitating them).

Let us invoke him and ask him to help us to be counter-revolutionaries faithful to Jesus and Mary, to turn away from sin, corruption and impurity so that one day we may be his happy companions in eternal glory. There we will give ever-increasing praise to the loving Mother of the Virgins, the Most Chaste and Queen of Purity!

O Legionário,.February 21, 1943, n. 550, p 2.

Tradition in Action

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The Saint of the Day features highlights from the lives of saints based on comments made by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Following the example of St. John Bosco who used to make similar talks for the boys of his College, each evening it was Prof. Plinio’s custom to make a short commentary on the lives of the next day’s saint in a meeting for youth in order to encourage them in the practice of virtue and love for the Catholic Church. TIA thought that its readers could profit from these valuable commentaries.

The texts of both the biographical data and the comments come from personal notes taken by Atila S. Guimarães from 1964 to 1995. Given the fact that the source is a personal notebook, it is possible that at times the biographic notes transcribed here will not rigorously follow the original text read by Prof. Plinio. The commentaries have also been adapted and translated for TIA’s site.