Our Saint of the day, Francesco Possenti (Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows), was known for his outstanding dedication and devotion to Virgin Mary. He was born in 1838 as the eleventh of thirteen children of Sante and Agnes. Possenti was liked by his peers when growing up and was a ladies’ man. Before he joined the Passionists in 1853, he was to be engaged to the love of his life Maria Panachetti.
His father had denied him permission to join the Passionists, but Posenti decided to join them even after persuasion from relatives. It was not an easy decision to join the Passionists as he had made two other promises when he was sick and survived a stray bullet while hunting with friends.
Throughout his stay as a Passionist, he displayed extraordinary academic life. He started developing tuberculosis symptoms, but that did not worry him as much as he had prayed for a slow death to prepare himself spiritually.
His fellow students kept him company even on his deathbed. He ordered the burning of his spiritual writings to avoid any pride temptation. Possenti died while smiling on 27th February 1862, before he was ordained a priest, where Norbert believes Possenti had seen Virgin Mary as he sat down, and happiness was written all over his face.
Possenti was buried on his death day, and Norbert wrote his biography. Possenti was beatified 46 years later by Pope Pius X after his grave was deserted for more than 30 years. In 1920, Pope Benedict XV canonized Francesco.