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- Mother of Perpetual Help
Gerard was born in 1726 in Muro, a little town in Southern Italy. He was blessed with a mother, Benedetta, who showed him the overwhelming love of God which knows no bounds. He was happy because he was close to God.
Then, in 1749, the Redemptorists came to Muro. There were fifteen missioners and they took the three parishes of the little town by storm. Gerard followed every detail of the mission and decided this was the life for him. He applied to join the mission team but Fr. Cafaro, the Superior, turned him down on account of his health. He so pestered the missioners that when they were leaving the town, Fr. Cafaro suggested to his family that he be locked in his room.
Gerard fell absolutely and totally in love the the way of life Alphonsus, the founder of the Redemptorists, had mapped out. He was thrilled to find the love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was central and the love of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was also considered essential.
Neria Caggiano was one of the girls thus assisted by Gerard. However, she found convent life distasteful and within three weeks had returned home. To explain her action, Neria began to circulate falsehoods about the lives of the nuns, and when the good people of Muro refused to believe such stories about a convent recommended by Gerard, she determined to save her reputation by destroying the good name of her benefactor. Accordingly, in a letter to St. Alphonsus, the superior of Gerard, she accused the latter of sins of impurity with the young daughter of a family at whose house Gerard often stayed on his missionary journeys.
Of few saints have there been so many wonderful events recorded as of St. Gerard. The process of his beatification and canonization reveals that his miracles were of the widest variety and profustion.