In 1860, Saint Possenti was attending seminary in the mountain village of Isola. He was also dying of tuberculosis which would eventually take his life less than two years later.
When a group of 20 armed marauding bandits, from Garibaldi’s army, came to the village to pillage and rape, the villagers hid the best they could and hoped that the terror would pass them by. Everyone hid except for Gabriel Possenti. With the permission of the Seminary Rector, Possenti, suffering from tuberculosis, gathered his strength and walked into the center of the town alone and unarmed.
One of the rogue soldiers had grabbed a young woman and was dragging her off to rape her and scoffed at the sickly monk being all alone and helpless. Possenti moved quickly and stripped the soldier of his pistol and held him at gunpoint demanding the woman’s release. As the bandit was doing so, one of his cohorts stumbled upon the scene and Possenti removed his pistol as well before the bandit realized what was going on.
With the woman freed and armed with two pistols the rest of the 20 men arrived to deal with the commotion. At this point a small lizard was crossing the town square some distance away. Possenti, took aim and fired, shooting the lizard with one shot (with the weapons of the time, it was an amazing feat).
The bandits quickly lost their nerve as they feared this sickly monk, while probably not be able to take them all out, could kill enough making their resolve crumble. Possenti then ordered the men to lay down there weapons and to douse the fires that they had set around the town. After that was done he marched the group out of town, ordering them never to return.
From that point on Gabriel Possenti was hailed as the Savior of Isola and was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
This volume relates the story of St. Gabriel Possenti and of the author's campaign to make him and his life known to the general public. The author seeks the Saint's official Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners. The book tells of support for and opposition to the designation.
- 145 pages