St. Gerard Majella, Redemptorist lay brother, was made a saint of the church in December 1904. But long before he was declared a saint of the church he was the one expectant mothers went to in all their needs.
Gerard lived the simple and hard life as a lay brother in the Redemptorist communities of southern Italy during the time of St. Alphonsus in the middle 1700s. He was known for his intelligence, humble disposition and holiness of life. His daily life was one of helping in the monastery. He was at times a baker (not a very good one), a porter (a very hospitable one) and a sacristan (a very faithful one). In whatever he did he did for the greater honour and glory of God and the salvation of souls.
On one occasion a pregnant mother, fearing the loss of her baby, asked Gerard to pray for her and bless her. In those times about 2/3 of pregnancies never resulted in live births! Gerard obliged, The mother had a healthy baby and the rest is history. Gerard became, unofficially and by popular choice, the saint of expectant mothers.
Since that time hundreds of thousands of hopeful mothers and others have prayed to Saint Gerard for his intercession on their behalf for help in getting pregnant, for a safe and healthy pregnancy both for baby and mother and, in more recent times, for respect for human life from the moment of conception.
In 1941 Father Daniel Ehman, pastor of St. Patrick’s German parish in Toronto, began the League of Saint Gerard to pray for all matters relating to pregnancy and birth and in a special way, to pray for the affirmation of new life and to stem the rising tide of abortions around the world. Since then the League has become worldwide.
In our time the wonders of modern medicine and especially faithful health care providers, like many doctors and nurses and midwives, Mother and Child have made conception and pregnancy safer for both mother and baby. Yet there are still many miscarriages and many couples have great difficulty in becoming pregnant. Carrying a baby is still a great risk and challenge. There is still the great need for us all to develop and grow in our appreciation, honour and respect for life from conception to death and to make abortion an unnecessary response to unwanted pregnancies.
When you become a member of the League of St. Gerard you promise to join with thousands of others around the world to pray for expectant mothers that they may have healthy and safe births, and pray for all of us to honour and support human life from its very beginnings.
The annual fee for belonging to the League is $15 (please make cheques payable to The Redemptorists – League of St Gerard). The money collected is used to offer a weekly Mass for life, to promote the League and its purposes and to offer support to those people and places who help mothers carry their babies to birth. (If you cannot afford the fee, you are still welcome as a member.)
The benefits of belonging are:
- A special weekly Mass for your intentions
- Inclusion in the daily prayer and Masses of Redemptorists
- A semi-annual newsletter on the works of the League, a blessed St. Gerard medal and booklet entitled “St Gerard Majella – The Mothers’ Saint”.