Catholic Activity: Dare to be Different
A story about St. Galla of Rome, illustrating the importance to not follow the crowd, but to be oneself. Legend says that St. Galla, after becoming a widow, grew a beard to avoid any offers of remarriage.
St. Galla was the daughter of a noble Roman who was unjustly slain in the year 525, leaving behind him three daughters. Young and wealthy and, one cannot help hoping, beautiful, she married and within a year she was widowed. She determined to become a bride of Christ and persevered over much opposition — not the least of which came from her physicians — and joined a community of women who resided hard by the basilica of St. Peter. There for many years she lived a life dedicated to God and His poor and needy. Finally she fell ill with cancer; then one night she saw St. Peter standing before her between two candlesticks and she asked him if her sins were forgiven her. St. Peter nodded and said, "Come, follow me." But Galla asked if her dear friend Benedicta might come too. Yes, she might, said St. Peter, after thirty days — and that is precisely what happened. St. Galla and another holy woman departed this life for heaven three days later, and Benedicta thirty days after them. As for the physicians and their dire threats — nothing came of that nonsense. She never did grow the beard.
Not only girls who want to be nuns, but girls who just want to be good have to ignore a marvelous lot of nonsense from those who "follow the pack." Life will pass you by, they say, and you won't have any fun if you don't do as we do! About as fast as St. Galla grew her beard, it will!
Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958