Gabriel was the eleventh of thirteen children, born in Assisi in 1838. During his youth, one of his formative influences was a Irishman who was a training instructor for the papal army. Major O’Reilly taught the young Gabriel how to shoot, and he became quite a marksman.
In 1860, as the wars that would eventually lead to a national Italian state were raging up and down Italy, a band of deserters from Garabaldi’s army were ravaging the town of Isola where Gabriel was in seminary with the Passionists. Gabriel went out, unarmed, to confront them, and after wresting a pair of revolvers from two of the soldiers, ordered the band to leave town. St. Possenti demonstrated his marksmanship by shooting a lizard that was scurrying across the road. The soldiers hurriedly left town.
I’m quite sure Big Brother would be impressed.
Darwin has links to more information about this fascinating saint. He’s the patron of handgunners, and as the mom of one Boy Scout and one Future Boy Scout, I’m glad to know of a saint I can plead for intercession for my boys’ safety as they learn marksmanship skills.