"Guardian Saint of Marksmen Defenders of Faith"
Long before Dirty Harry stared down a posse of punks with his .44 Magnum, there was Saint Gabriel Possenti, a monk in northern Italy who saved the village of Isola del Gran Sasso in 1860 from a band of brigands armed only with faith in the Almighty Father, brass cajones and a pair of pistols.
After disarming two leaders of the gang, Possenti convinced them to go marauding elsewhere when he took a shot at a lizard crossing the street and sent it to the hereafter. The would-be pillagers fled after witnessing his marksmanship.
More than 140 years later, John Snyder, founder of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, is urging the Vatican to name Possenti as the patron saint of handgunners. łAny organization that believes in the right to life has got to believe in the right of decent people to use guns to defend themselves,˛ says Snyder.
The St. Gabriel Possenti Society promotes the public recognition of St. Gabriel Possenti, including his Vatican designation as Patron Saint of Handgunners.
ST. GABRIEL POSSENTI
Feast: February 27
On a summer day a little over a hundred years ago, a slim figure in a black cassock stood facing a gang of mercenaries in a small town in Piedmont, Italy. He had just disarmed one of the soldiers who was attacking a young girl, had faced the rest of the band fearlessly, then drove them all out of the village at the point of a gun. The young man was Francesco Possenti, whose father was lawyer for the Papal States and who had recently joined the Passionist Order, taking the name of Brother Gabriel.
Francesco Possenti had been the fanciest dresser in town as well as the best dancer. He was a superb horseman and an excellent marksman. Engaged to two girls at the same time and a great partygoer, he had shocked his family by announcing after his graduation that he was going to become a Passionist monk. No one believed him and expected him back within a few weeks. He stayed, and when Garibaldi's mercenaries swept down through Italy ravaging villages, Brother Gabriel showed the kind of man he was by confronting them, astonishing them with his marksmanship, and saving the small village where his monastery was located.
He had become very sick during his school years and had promised that if he got better, he would dedicate his life to God. St. Gabriel Possenti got better and forgot about it. He got sick again and made the same promise, but again got well and forgot his promise. Once, during a church procession in which a great banner of Our Lady, Help of Christians, was being carried, the eyes of Our Lady looked straight at him and he heard the words: "Keep your promise." Shaken, he remembered his promise, changed his life completely, and entered the Passionists.
He hoped to be sent to the missions after his ordination to the priesthood, but at the young age of twenty-four, he died. Canonized in 1920, he is, along with St. Aloysius, one of the patrons of youth. He was very fond of his family and is particularly remembered as a remarkable young man who, at the age of twenty, threw all aside for God, determined to become a saint.
Provided Courtesy of: Eternal Word Television Network
"The Mass and Office in honour of Blessed Gabriel are allowed to the whole Passionist congregation, and his feast day is celebrated on 31 May. It is the express wish of Leo XIII and Pius X that he should be regarded as the chief patron of the youth of today, and especially as the patron of young religious, both novices and professed, in all that concerns their interior lives."
Prayer to Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother
O good St. Gabriel, God inspired you to love the passion of Jesus as it was reflected in the heart of Mary, his mother.
By her side, you stood beneath the cross of Jesus, gazing on him as she did, and sharing her compassion.
O St. Gabriel, we wish, like you, to grow in love for God and all his people.
Remember us in the trials of our life. Remember especially those who are young and in need.
Support us, all our days, by your holy prayers. And when this life is done, may we join you in heaven in the joyful company of Jesus and Mary.
From the website of the Parish of St Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, Avondale, PA