The first acquaintance between the young Gerard Majella and Santomenna
The first meeting between the young Gerard Majella and Santomenna is due to his intention, then resolute, of consecrating himself to God. He decided to go to Santomenna, at the Capuchin convent, to meet Father Bonaventure, his uncle and neighbor in Muro, for a greeting, and a support for his project of faith and life. The capuchin, his mother’s Benedetta brother, was born with the name of Eusebio Galella, and must have been a leading figure among the Capuchin friars of that territory in 1744. Father Bonaventure was considered the most suitable person to guide Gerard and admit him to the Order of the Capuchins. But, if Gerard’s soul was beautiful and grew stronger and stronger, his health wasn’t as strong as his soul. And when his wise and prudent uncle saw him so frail, gaunt, pale and with a ragtag outfit, with affectionate and encouraging words, he had him read between the lines that the austere life of the Capuchins was not for him. P. Bonaventure, however, feeling a certain tenderness for Gerard’s state and his mother, sent him back home with a big hug and a new dress. Gerard thanked him, without hiding a certain disappointment. The purpose of the visit had to be quite different: starting a new life in the Order of Capuchin, but this was not possible for that moment. But God was always with him, and his heart was full of love. In fact, returning to Muro, Gerard met a young man, still poorer than himself, and immediately gave him his new dress. Some biographers, actually, maintain that this exchange occurred even in the convent gate, so p. Bonaventure would call Gerard down. But he would reply with pureness: "Uncle, if you had seen that young man, certainly you would have preferred him to me".
The miracle of St. Gerard Majella in Santomenna
The miracle of St. Gerard Majella in Santomenna: the miracle in blacksmith Salandra’s workshop In June 1753 Gerard was back to Santomenna, after having turned down by his Capuchin uncle. And he was then a Redemptorist, he was 27 years old and his holiness and wonders are already known to all, except for a certain blacksmith Salandra. Gerard went to Caposele for a visit to Father Paul Cafaro, and, before going to Deliceto, diverted to Santomenna, seat of the Capuchin monastery where his uncle lived. Here he realized that his nag found it hard to walk. It was due to its hooves. Gerard knew that horses have a frog in the middle of their hooves, a soft fibrous pad that acts as a shock absorber, reinforced by a strong nail. This natural endowment allows the animal to move freely, except when it has to bear the weight of a rider and a step on a hard pavement. By reinforcing its hoof with a horseshoe, in fact, the frog avoids contact with the ground and protects the whole leg. Even though it was not the kind of Varenne, Gerard respected his horse and any other animal as a creature of God: he would give it the right portion of water and fodder, the rest it needed and also a few caresses. Then he looked immediately for the most suitable blacksmith to solve the problem of his beast. People recommended him master Salandra. And the confident Gerard had the beast shoed... but when he had to pay, he realized he didn’t have enough to pay and, actually, he believed the worker to be too greedy. The farrier, aware of his talent, proud and rebellious of temperament and not at all inclined to reverence neither for nobility, nor for clergy and bourgeoisie (unaware of the stature of a saint who was hiding under the dress of the monk), reiterated his request and even got angry ... at this point the prodigy occurred. Gerard ordered his horse to give the four irons him back at once. And the beast obediently executed the order under the astonished eyes of the craftsman and those who flocked to for the rather animated discussion.