LUISA AND MANY GREAT SAINTS OF THE CHURCH
The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta,
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will
It is interesting to note that many of the great Saints of the Church are in one way or another related to Luisa’s life and/or writings. Each of the Saints is known for one or more heroic virtues that identify and make them unique from other Saints. Luisa, on the other hand, not only possessed all of the virtues, but something exceedingly more than these pillars of the Church. Luisa is only surpassed by the Blessed Virgin Mary, but she shares with Her the greatest of all gifts—living in the Divine Will. Luisa did not have the gift of the Immaculate Conception, only Adam and Eve shared this with Our Blessed Mother. However, as we well know, they both fell, while Our Blessed Mother remains always and forever Immaculate.
Luisa’s first vision of Jesus – Volume 1
Sometimes, Jesus Himself would make me the narration of the pains suffered by Him, and I was so touched that I would cry bitterly. One day, while working, I was considering the most bitter pains that my good Jesus suffered; I felt my heart so oppressed by the pain, that I could not breathe. Fearing something, I wanted to distract myself by going out to the balcony. But as I go about looking in the middle of the street – what do I see? I see the street all filled with people, and in the middle of it my loving Jesus with the Cross upon His shoulders. Some pulled Him to one side, some to another. All panting, with His face dripping with blood, He raised His eyes toward me in the act of asking for help. Who can tell the sorrow I felt, and the impression that a scene so pitiful made on my soul. I immediately went inside, I myself did not know where I was; I felt my heart crack with pain. I shouted, and crying, I said to Him: ‘My Jesus, if only I could help You! If only I could free You from those wolves so rabid! Ah! I wish at least to suffer those pains in your place, to give a relief to my sorrow. O please! my Good, give me suffering, for it is not fair that You suffer so much, while I, a sinner, remain without suffering.’
On April 23, 1865, the Feast Day of St. George and the first Sunday after Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday), Luisa Piccarreta was born. Her baptismal name, Luisa, after St. Aloysius (St. Luis), means “mighty in warfare.” She was born in the province of Apulia, which is located on the heel of the Italian “boot”—whose heel points to Jerusalem. In Genesis 3:15 God promised to crush the serpent’s head. In 1868, within 3 years after Luisa’s birth, the Church of the “Pater Noster” in Jerusalem was rebuilt for the third time, recalling the only prayer taught by Jesus: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The following is a brief list of Saints related to Luisa’s life and writings:
St. George—Feast Day April 23rd. He is a Saint in both the Eastern and Latin Rites, was a soldier in the imperial army, and is Patron of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Geona, and Venice. St. George suffered martyrdom at Lydda, Palestine. To the Crusaders he was the model of the Christian knight because of the legend of him the slaying the dragon. His coat of arms is a red cross on a white background, which became the basis of the uniforms of British soldiers and sailors, and which also appears on the Union Jack.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga—Feast Day–June 21st. He is known for his purity and the performance of great austerities and religious practices. St. Aloysius joined the Jesuits in Rome in 1585. He has been declared Protector of young students and Patron of Catholic Youth.
Jesus spoke with Luisa about St. Aloysius on June 20, 1899, in Volume 2 of the Book of Heaven.
Jesus said to me: “Tomorrow is the Feast of My Dear Luis. I must go to attend.”
And I: “And then You leave me alone? What will I do?”
And He: “You too will come. Do you see how beautiful Luis is? But that which was most [beautiful] in him, which distinguished him on earth, was the love with which he worked. Everything was love in him. Love occupied his interior, love surrounded his exterior, such that it could be said that even his breath was love. Therefore, of him it is said that he never suffered distraction, because love inundated him all over; and by this love he will be inundated eternally, as you see.” And so it seemed that the love of Saint Luis was so very great, that it could reduce the whole world to ashes.
Then Jesus added: “I pass above over the highest mountains, and form My delight there!” I, not having understood the meaning [of this], He continued to say: “The highest mountains are the Saints who have loved Me most, and in them I take My delight—both when they are on earth, and when they pass over to Heaven. Therefore, everything is in the love.”
After that, I prayed Jesus that He would bless me and those who I saw at that moment; and He, giving the blessing, disappeared.
St. Cathal—Feast Day–May 10th. He was known as the shipwrecked Saint. He is Patron of Corato.
Around 685, following the arrival of St. Patrick, holy men established small monasteries throughout Ireland. In the seventh century, a holy man named Cathal, having studied at the University of Lismore, made his way through the pass in the ancient Slieve Cua mountains and arrived at Rathan, where he established his monastic settlement. He was appointed Bishop of the area, even though it should be remembered that in those early years of the Christian Church, this did not mean that he was in charge of a diocese.
After some years at Shanrahan, Cathal set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On his return journey, he was shipwrecked off the coast of Southern Italy. There he realized that the people of the area had reverted to paganism, and he resolved to stay among them in an effort to reconvert them to Christianity.
Within a few years, the people of Taranto in Southern Italy had selected Saint Cataldo (in Latin, “Cathaldus” or Cataldus”) as their Bishop. Today the popularity of Saint Cathaldus (St. Cathal) in Southern Italy is equal to, if not greater than, the popularity of St. Patrick in Ireland. Over one hundred and fifty Churches are dedicated to him in Italy, and the Cathedral-Basilica in Taranto proudly bears his name. He is the Saint Protector of Corato (Bari), Italy. In 1071, during the reconstruction of the Basilica in Taranto, the tomb of Cathaldus was discovered and opened. With his body was found a gold cross bearing his name and the word “Rathcau.”
On February 12, 1904, in Volume 6 of the Book of Heaven, Luisa mentions this Patron by name:
I had neglected to say as much as I knew in writing, but now through obedience I tell [you]—although they are not sure things, but doubtful, because Our Lord was not present. “I found myself outside of myself, and it seemed that I found myself inside of a Church where there were many venerable Priests and souls from Purgatory and holy people talking among themselves about the Church of Saint Cataldo. And they spoke as with certainty that [the permit] would be obtained. And on hearing [this], I said: “How can it be? [Only] the other day word spread that the Church hierarchy (il Capitolo), had lost the case, so that the clerk of the Tribunal could not obtain [the permit]. City hall doesn’t want to give it, and you say that it can be obtained?”
And they [answered]: “In spite of those difficulties, all is not lost. And even when it comes to preparing it, one will also not be able to say [all] is lost, because St. Cataldo will defend his Temple well. Poor town of Corato if it comes to this!” But while they said this, they repeated: “Already they have brought the first things, and the Incoronata (the Crowned Virgin) has already been moved to Her House. Go before the Madonna and pray Her that having started the grace, She would finish it.”
I left that Church to go to pray, but while I did this I found myself in myself.
As a young lady, Luisa became a third Order Dominican tertiary, and took the name of Sister Mary Magdala. At the age of 16, Luisa made her profession to Jesus as His victim. From then until the end of her life she remained in a state of almost continuous suffering, enduring both the physical pains of the invisible stigmata, and the more terrible interior pains inflicted by Divine justice.
On October 16, 1888, Feast Day of St. Mary Margaret Alacoque, she received the grace of the Mystical Marriage.
St. Mary Magdalen—Feast Day–July 22nd. She is known for her great love of Jesus. She was the sinner who anointed Christ’s feet in Simon’s house, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and was at the foot of the Cross at the Crucifixion. She discovered the empty tomb, heard the Angelic announcement of the Resurrection of Christ, and was the first person to see Christ later that same day.
St. Catherine of Sienna—Feast Day–April 29th. She is Patron of Italy, and one of the greatest of Christian mystics. She began to have mystical experiences at the age of six. She was a Dominican tertiary, and beginning when she was 16, she experienced visions of Christ, Mary, and the Saints interspersed with diabolical visions and periods of spiritual aridity. She ministered to the ill and condemned prisoners, and was acclaimed for her holiness and abilities as a peacemaker. St. Catherine received the invisible stigmata, which was clearly apparent at the time of her death, and she has been declared a Doctor of the Church.
On October 16, 1888, in the presence of the Blessed Virgin and of St. Catherine of Siena, Luisa received a mystical ring from Jesus as a sign of their union. St. Catherine of Siena assisted at Luisa’s Mystical Wedding by encouraging her, as Luisa wrote in the Book of Heaven, Volume 1:
The morning of the aforesaid day, Jesus made Himself seen again—all affable, sweet, and majestic—together with His Most Holy Mother and St. Catherine. First a hymn was sung by the Angels; St. Catherine assisted me, my Mama took my hand, and Jesus put a ring on my finger. Then we embraced each other and He kissed me, and so also did my Mama.
St. Dominic Guzman – Feast Day–August 8th, founder of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) and the Saint of the Holy Rosary. When he was preaching to the Albigenses, St. Dominic at first obtained but scanty success: and then one day, complaining of this in pious prayer to our Blessed Lady, she deigned to reply to him, saying: “Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.”
The place of the revelation was the church of Prouille and the time was 1208. The claim of place and time are most strongly supported by the tradition of the Dominican Order. Pope Leo XIII repeatedly affirmed the Dominican origin of the Rosary and in a letter to the Bishop of Carcassone (1889), he accepts the tradition of Prouille as the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic and revealed this devotion. The tradition that Mary first revealed the Rosary devotion to St. Dominic is supported by 13 popes.
St. Dominic went into the villages of heretics, gathered the people, and preached to them about the mysteries of salvation – the Incarnation, Redemption, and Eternal Life. As the Holy Virgin had taught him to do, he distinguished the different kinds of mysteries and after each short instruction he had ten Hail Marys recited. St. Dominic found great success with this new devotion, which brought about the conversion of the Albigensians. The late Dominican, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, who was a teacher of Pope John Paul II when he was a student at the Angelicum in Rome, stated: “Our Blessed Lady made known to St. Dominic a kind of preaching till then unknown; which she said would be one of the most powerful weapons against future errors and in future difficulties.”
Since it was God’s Will that Luisa become a third Order Dominican tertiary, it is not surprising to see in her life such a strong devotion to the Holy Rosary. In 1980 Father Bernardino Giuseppe Bucci, Parish Priest, Cappuccino of the Immaculate Church – Trinitapoli (Foggia) wrote in a biography of Luisa:
“While still a child, I kept hearing the name of a woman who had been bedridden for more than forty years. My mother was fond of her, and often spoke about her. Especially in the moments of sorrow and oppression, she would run to her to implore her prayers. After twenty years, I went back to visit this soul again, and I found her always the same: placid with the rosary between her fingers, in attitude of prayer and smiling, working with the fusetti of the tombolo in her hands.
Luisa’s parents prayed the Rosary daily and attended Mass as often as they could in the Church of St. Dominic.
October 7, 1928, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, was the day of Luisa’s entrance into Fr. Annibale’s Orphanage of Saint Anthony in Corato, run then and still today by the order of nuns, the Daughters of Divine Zeal, also founded by Fr. Annibale. Exactly 10 years to the day, on the Feast of the Holy Rosary, October 7, 1938, because of dispositions of the Superiors” (her Confessor says), “because of health reason” (Luisa says), she had to leave the Orphanage of St. Anthony.
Fr. Annibale was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 7, 1990.
To stress the importance of the prayer of the rosary, to a prison inmate, Luisa wrote:
“My brother, have confidence, for you have a heavenly Mother who loves you very much and who will never leave you. If you listen to her, she will make a sanctuary out of your jail; and if human frailty has borne you to that place, the sovereign Queen will come with the strength of the Divine Will to bear you up to Heaven and to make your days seem less sad…Never neglect the Rosary of the Heavenly Mother. If you have the opportunity, be the jailhouse missionary, making it known that the Queen of Heaven wishes to visit all the inmates to give them the gift of the Divine Will. If you need anything else and cannot pay for it, you can count on me. I will see that you receive it free of charge.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque—Feast Day–October 16th. At the age of 20 she experienced visions of Christ, and on December 27, 1673 Christ informed her that she was His chosen instrument to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart. Our Lord instructed her in the devotion that was to become known as the Nine Fridays and the Holy Hour, and asked that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be established. She is called the “Saint of the Sacred Heart.”
In 1860, just 28 years before Luisa’s Mystical Marriage, two French associations, the Apostleship of Prayer and the League of the Sacred Heart, had merged and launched the first worldwide movement of prayer for the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Their motto, “Thy Kingdom Come!”
Luisa was born and died in the Diocese of Trani-Nazareth, in the town of Corato, whose name in its original Latin, cor datum, means “a heart given.” This recalls the beautiful words of the Prophet Ezekiel:
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:27-28)
The Most Holy Trinity crowning Our Lady: Daughter of the Father, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Spouse of the Holy Spirit and Queen of the Divine Will—Feast Day of Her Birth–September 8th.
Eleven months after Luisa’s Mystical Marriage, on the Feast of the Birthday of Mary, September 8, 1889, Jesus took Luisa out of her body to Paradise to renew their Marriage in the presence of the Most Holy Trinity. On this occasion, Luisa was given the possession of the “Gift” of the Divine Will, her new “birth” into the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
Our Lady of Guadalupe – On December 8, 1922 in “The Book of Heaven” Luisa was thinking about the great miracle of the Immaculate Conception of Our Heavenly Queen and Mother. Jesus responded by telling Luisa that Our Blessed Mother is honored as Queen of Heaven and earth by the Holy Trinity and creation. She is described as the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jesus says:
“My daughter, the Immaculate Conception of my beloved Mother was so miraculous and marvelous that Heaven and earth were filled with wonder and made merry…. how could We resist so innocent a creature, possessed by the power and holiness of our Will? That would be to resist Ourselves. We discerned in Her our divine qualities; the reverberations of the divine attributes flowed upon Her like waves, the reverberations of our Holiness, our Love, our Power, etc. It was our Will within Her that attracted all these reverberations of our divine qualities and Which was the crown and the defense of the Divinity dwelling within Her. If this Immaculate Virgin had not possessed the Divine Will as the center of her life, then all the other prerogatives and privileges with which We enriched Her would have amounted to nothing. It was this that confirmed Her and preserved her many privileges. Indeed, It constantly increased them.
“This is the reason We made Her Queen of everyone (when We act, We do so with reason, wisdom and justice): She never gave life to her human will. … All created things…seeing this sublime Virgin Who, almost as though She were their sister, had never wanted to know her own will but only that of God, they not only celebrated but felt honored in having Her for their Queen. They ran about Her, paying Her homage by putting the moon beneath her feet as her footstool, the stars as her crown, the sun as her diadem, with angels as servants, and with men attending Her. Absolutely everyone honored Her and paid Her homage. There is no honor or glory that cannot be given to our Will, whether It acts in Us, Its own home, or whether It dwells in creatures.
Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – the Feast of the Divine Will –August 15th
Our Lady stated to Luisa, “ As I gave my last breath of pure love in the endlessness of the Divine Will, my Son received me in His arms and took me to Heaven, in the midst of the angelic choirs which praised me as their Queen. I can say that Heaven emptied Itself to come toward me. All celebrated, and in looking at me, remained enraptured and said in chorus: “Who is She, who comes from the exile, all cleaving to her Lord? All beautiful, all holy, with the scepter of Queen? Her greatness is such that the heavens have lowered themselves to receive Her. No other creature has entered the celestial regions so adorned and so striking—so powerful as to hold supremacy over all.”
Now, my child, do you want to know who She is—for Whom the whole of Heaven sings and remains enraptured? It is I—She who never did her own will. The Divine Will abounded so much with me as to extend more beautiful heaven, more refulgent suns, seas of beauty, of love, of sanctity, with which I could give light to all, love and sanctity to all, and enclose everything and everyone within my heaven. It was the work of the Divine Will operating in me to accomplish such a great prodigy; I was the only creature entering Heaven, to have formed Its Kingdom in my soul. Now, in looking at me, all the celestial Court remained amazed, because as they looked at me, they found me heaven; and looking at me again, they found me sun; and unable to take their gaze away from me, looking at me more deeply, they saw me sea, finding in me also the most clear earth of my humanity, with the most beautiful flowerings. Enraptured, they exclaimed: “How beautiful She is! She has centralized everything within herself. She lacks nothing! Among all the works of her Creator, She is the only complete work of the whole creation!”
Now, blessed child, you must know that this was the first feast made in Heaven for the Divine Will, which had worked so many prodigies in Its creature. Therefore, at my entrance into Heaven, the whole celestial Court celebrated all the beautiful and great things that the Divine Fiat can work in the creature. Since then, these feasts have never been repeated, and this is why your Mama loves, so much, that the Divine Will reign in the souls in an absolute way: to give It the field in order to let It repeat Its great prodigies and Its marvelous feasts.”
The Greek Schism occurred in 1054 when the exchange of excommunications between the Greek and Latin Sees took place in the Diocese of Trani. Another schism, the Great Western Schism, occurred in reaction to the legitimate election of the Archbishop of Trani, Urban VI, as Pope. Two great Saints were involved in settling this schism, St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Vincent Ferrer, both of whom were among the Saints mentioned by name by Luisa in the Book of Heaven. God, by always drawing good out of evil, has destined the site of these and all schisms to become the birthplace of a spiritual renewal that will bring the traditions of Eastern and Western Christianity to a glorious fruition in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
St. Vincent Ferrer—Feast Day–April 5th. He is a famous Dominican missionary and miracle worker who traveled all over Western Europe preaching penance for sin, and preparation for the Last Judgment. Many believed he had the gift of tongues. He helped to end the Great Western Schism.
On November 11, 1899, in Volume 3 of the Book of Heaven, Luisa wrote:
I found a Priest of holy life, and, at another place, a virgin of pure and holy life. . . . And they [said to me]: “We see the strict necessity of these sad times, and that man would not surrender even if an Apostle were to be raised [up], or if the Lord were to send another Saint Vincent Ferrer—who, with miracles and portentous signs, used to induce [man] to conversion.”
St. John the Evangelist—Feast Day–December 27th. He is the son of Zebede and brother of James the Greater, the two of whom were referred to as “Sons of Thunder.” He was also a fisherman, the youngest of the Apostles, and the “Beloved Disciple.” He was, along with Peter and James, among the ones closest to Christ, and was present at the Transfiguration—as well as being the only Apostle present at the Crucifixion. Jesus placed Mary in his care. He was the first Apostle at the tomb on Easter morning, and is the author of Revelations and three other Epistles. He was known as “The Divine,” and is represented in art as a soaring eagle because of the majesty of his gospel.
Jesus loved St. John the Apostle. On December 4, 1902, in Volume 4 of the Book of Heaven, Jesus tells Luisa:
“The exact point you will find on Calvary. I, Priest and victim, [who was] raised on the wood of the cross, wanted a Priest who would assist Me in that state of victim, which was St. John, who represented to Me the nascent Church. In him I saw everyone—Popes, Bishops, and Priests—all together. And he, while he assisted Me, offered Me as victim for the glory of the Father and for the success of the nascent Church.
“That a Priest assisted Me in that state of victim did not happen by chance, but everything was [a] profound mystery, predestined even ab eterno, “from eternity,” in the Divine Mind—meaning that [by My] selecting a victim soul for the grave needs which exist in the Church, a Priest offers her to Me, assists her for Me, helps her, and encourages her to suffer. If they understand these things well, they themselves will receive the fruit of the work which they render, like Saint John—how many benefits did he not have for having assisted Me on Mount Calvary? If [they do] not, they do nothing other then put My work in continuous disputes, taking away from Me My most beautiful designs.
“Besides this, My Wisdom is infinite, and sending some crosses to the soul to sanctify her takes not only one soul, but five, ten, as many as I like, so that not only one but all of these together would be sanctified—as on Calvary it was not [just] Me alone. Besides having a Priest, I [also] had a Mother. I had friends, and also enemies, many of whom, on seeing the prodigy of My patience, believed [in] Me for the God which I was, and [were] converted. If I had been alone, would they have received these great benefits? Certainly not.”
But who can say everything that He said to me, and explain the least meanings? I have said it as best I can, as I have known how to say in my coarseness. I hope that the Lord will do the rest, illuminating them to make them understand what I have not known how to manifest well.
St. Philip Neri—Feast Day–May 26th. He entered the religious life as the result of a mystical experience, and founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity. He is known for spreading the Forty Hours Devotion, and is also known as the Apostle of Rome and Patron of Rome. He had the ability of looking into men’s minds. He experienced ecstasies and visions, performed miracles, and had the gift of prophecy.
St. Philip Neri is a model for all Priests, as is shown on January 17, 1911, in Volume 10 of the Book of Heaven, when Jesus names the houses of Reunion of the Priests, and the rules they’ll follow:
“The name will be ‘The Houses of the Resurrection of the Faith,’ and they can use for rule the same rules of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri.”
St. Francis of Paola–Feast Day–April 2 – Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated there at the Franciscan friary of San Marco, and when fifteen became a hermit near Paola. In 1436, he and two companions began a community that is considered the foundation of the Minim Friars. He built a monastery where he had led his eremitical life some fifteen years later and set a Rule for his followers emphasizing penance, charity, and humility, and added to the three monastic vows, one of fasting and abstinence from meat; he also wrote a rule for tertiaries and nuns. He was credited with many miracles and had the gifts of prophesy and insight into men’s hearts. Francis died on April 2nd and was canonized in 1519.
Volume 8 April 8, 1908 – At night, while I was in these cruel torments, finding myself in my usual state, I found myself surrounded by people who said: “Recite a ‘Pater,’ an ‘Ave,’ and a ‘Gloria’ in honor of Saint Francis of Paola. This will bring some relief to you in your sufferings.”
Then, when I had recited those prayers, suddenly the Saint appeared. He brought me a small piece of bread, and gave it to me saying: “Eat it.”
I ate it, and felt myself totally strengthened. Then I said to him: “Dear Saint, I want to tell you something.”
At that he, with all affability, said: “What do you want to tell me?”
Then I said: “I fear that my state is not the Will of God. It seems that, during the first years of this illness, there were breaks. I felt called by Our Lord, that He wanted me as victim. Moreover, all the while, I felt surprise from the pains, internal wounds, and externally feeling paralyzed. Then I feared a time would come when my imagination would cause me these evils.”
Thereupon the Saint said: “The certain sign for knowing if a state is the Will of God, is if the soul is ready to do otherwise in the event she learns that the Will of God is something different.”
Then I, not being convinced, added: “Dear Saint, I have not told you everything. It feels that the first visits were every once in awhile. Since the time when Our Lord called me to continual immolation, for 21 years, I have always been in bed. Moreover, who could tell of the vicissitudes? It feels that at times I am left alone. That He—the only faithful friend of my state—takes Himself away from me, and departs. Thereupon I remain crushed, without God, and without the support of my sufferings. Then come the doubts, the fears, that my state is not the Will of God.”
Upon which the Saint, all sweetness, said: “I repeat to you what I have said to you before. If you are ready to do the Will of God as you know it, your state is of His Will.”
Thus I felt all this in my soul: That if I knew the Will of God with complete clarity, I would be ready—at the cost of my own life—to follow this, His Holy Volition. Therefore I remained calmer. Thanks be to God always!
St. Nicholas—Feast Day–December 6th. He was Bishop of Myra. He was known for his holiness, zeal, miracles, devotion to the conversion of sinners, and giving his wealth to the poor. He is Patron of Sailors, Greece, Apulia, Sicily, Lorraine, and Russia.
In the year 1087, the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra were transported to the port city of Bari in Apulia, Italy.
St. Nicholas ranks next to the Blessed Virgin as the Saint most universally loved in the two great centers of Eastern Christianity, Russia and Constantinople. St. Nicholas appears more often in the Christian art of East and West then any other Saint, except for the Madonna. St. Nicholas is the Patron Saint of Apulia, of Greece, of many cities in Europe, of Russia, and, very importantly, of all children (including the Little Children of the Divine Will).
In Russia, upon whose conversion (according to Our Lady of Fatima) the peace of the world depends, devotion to St. Nicholas has endured. Up until the Communist Revolution of 1917, crowds of Russian pilgrims flocked to the Saint’s relics in Apulia. The Russian Orthodox Church still celebrates the Liturgical Feast of the transfer of the relics of St. Nicholas from Myra to Bari. Luisa Piccarreta’s father bore the name Vito Nicola in honor of Apulia’s Patron, the special Patron of Catholic Christian unity.
Following the Great Schism dividing Rome and the Eastern Patriarchates in 1054, the Church of Constaninople split and became the first Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate was founded in 38 AD by St. Andrew, the brother of St. Peter, and also the first Apostle called by Jesus. The Ecumenical Patriarchate continues today, as in the past, to be the spiritual center and beacon of the 250,000,000 member Orthodox Christian Church. It is looked upon as the Mother Church by the Churches of Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Rumania, Georgia, and Poland. (Source: A Light from the East, by Michael O’Carroll, C.S.S.p.)
Saint Faustina Kowalska, in her diary on Divine Mercy, wrote that Our Lord said to her: “I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy. On that day the very depths of my tender mercy are open.” (Source: Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1987, Sister M. Faustina Kowalska)
Jesus emphasized to Saint Faustina that the depths of His Mercy were already open on that day, long before official recognition of the Feast by His Church. With the birth of Luisa Piccarreta on the day which would eventually be proclaimed the Feast of Divine Mercy, Jesus left a special sign of the unique importance of Luisa’s Mission, which her special confessor, Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia, described as “the triumph of the Divine Will in the entire universe.”
Poland, the birthplace of the Divine Mercy message, and also of our current Holy Father John Paul II (who is identified as Mary’s “Masterpiece” in a message of the Blessed Mother to Fr. Gobbie), points to a more positive sign of the times—the gradual reconciliation of the Eastern and Western Churches. The period between Luisa’s death and the opening of her cause for beatification coincided with a grace-filled movement toward reconciliation between the Church of Rome and the ancient Churches of the East, especially the Orthodox Church.
As a meeting place for the Latin Rite Catholics of the West, and the Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics of the East, Poland gave to the world the devotion to the Divine Mercy that combined the Trisagion prayer of the Byzantine liturgy “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy on us and on the whole world” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostrom), with the use of the Rosary. Luisa is also connected to this same prayer, which the Priest would say while at the same time making the sign of the Cross on her hand to command her soul to return to her body. This connection between Luisa and Poland, the home of our present Holy Father John Paul II, is made even clearer by the date of Luisa’s death on March 4, 1947—the Feast Day of St. Casimir of Poland.
St. Casimir of Poland—Feast Day–March 4th. He was third of the 13 children of King Casimir IV of Poland and Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of Emperor II of Germany. He was born at the royal palace in Cracow on October 3rd. Many miracles were reported at his tomb, and he was canonized by Pope Adrian VI in 1522. He is the Patron of Poland and Lithuania.
As Cardinal Archbishop of Cracow, Wojtyla ordered a theological review of Sister Faustina’s diaries, which had been condemned by the Holy See. As a result of the inquiry, the prohibition against the spread of her writings was removed. Six months later, Wojtyla was elected to the Chair of Peter. As Pope John Paul II, he published one of his first encyclicals on the Mercy of God, and acknowledged the importance of Blessed Faustina and her writings by beatifying her on the Feast of Divine Mercy. The beatification of Blessed Faustina attracted new interest in the prophetic content of her diaries, which predicted the Second Coming of Jesus.
Saint Padre Pio, the wonder-worker of San Giovanni Rotondo – In the book “The Little Daughter of the Divine Will” translated from a biography written by Fr. Pablo Martin Sanguiao, it states “…Luisa (as referred to by some witnesses) wrote to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina – the only time in her life. Padre Pio answered only this: “I Santi si fanno, ma guai a chi fa i Santi!” [“The Saints are made, but woe to those who make the Saints!”]
Luisa was bedridden in Corato since her teen years and Padre Pio was cloistered all his adult life at Our Lady of Grace Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, therefore they never met in person. However, Luisa and Padre Pio exchanged greetings and prayers, and each referred visitors to the other. This is evidenced in the follow excerpts from the letters of Luisa Piccarreta:
“With all my heart, I thank the Lord, and additionally for the visit you made to venerable Padre Pio.”
“Thanks be to God, for that young man returned safe and sound. He went to see Padre Pio, went to confession, and cannot thank you enough for your goodness and hospitality. He brought me your dear letter.”
“Thank you, my child, for remembering me when you went to Padre Pio. Tell him to pray for me for I have great need of it.”
“Very dearest Son, why not tell the holy Padre Pio to pray in a very special way that the Divine Will be made known?”
“ Tell the holy Padre Pio to pray to the Lord that the Kingdom of His Will come if we want peace; but I believe that our lord will put His limit with a general scourge throughout the world and perhaps with an epidemic for only in this way will the heads of governments surrender.”
“Tell Padre Pio to pray for me, because I need it and with all respect I kiss his right hand.”
“The dearest Jesus says: “The first one to sacrifice will be I because you want to do My Will.” For this reason it will not harm the many miracles worked by Padre Pio to add this one also. Beg Padre Pio to pray to the Lord and obtain this cure that can produce much good for souls. Kiss His hand and tell him to pray for me.”
“With respect to Padre Pio, He is right because, the poor thing, he has had to endure great problems and therefore it is necessary to obey the Holy Church; but we do not say what is printed in the books, but rather that which the Holy Church does not know yet and what is printed in the book is but a few drops; the seas of the Divine Desire are not known yet.”
“I leave you all in the sea of the Divine Desire. I kiss the hand of Padre Pio and tell him to pray for me.”
“I leave you in the Divine Desire so that you become holy; Kiss the hand of Padre Pio on my behalf, greet him with the love of the Fiat; pray for me.”
“I leave you in the Divine Desire; pray for me, kiss the hand of Padre Pio for me and receive the greetings of the love of the Fiat.”
“Kiss the hand of Padre Pio and I would like to know what he thinks of the writings.”
In her book “The Story of a Soul” St. Therese of Lisieux “willed to be as obscure as ‘a little grain of sand.”
“I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way that is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.
Her one dream as the work she would do after her death, was helping those on earth. “I will return,” she said “My heaven will be spent on earth.” She died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24 years old. She herself felt it was a blessing God allowed her to die at exactly that age. She had always felt that she had a vocation to be a priest and felt God let her die at the age she would have been ordained if she had been a man so that she wouldn’t have to suffer.
By 1910, St. Therese’s book had become very popular with religious all over Europe. There is a photo in Corato of Luisa praying before the Cucifix with a picture of the Little Flower near by. This may have a connection to the following conversation between Jesus and Luisa:
November 29, 1910 Jesus is jealous that someone else may comfort the soul.
Since a good and holy priest was coming, I was a little bit anxious to speak with him, especially about my current state, in order to know the Divine Will. Now, after he came the first and the second time, I saw that nothing would be done of what I wanted. So, having received Holy Communion, all afflicted, I was repeating my great affliction to my affectionate Jesus, saying to Him: ‘My Life, my Good and my All, it shows that You alone are everything for me. I have never found in any creature, as good and holy as he might be, a word, a comfort, a solution for the slightest doubt of mine. It shows how there is to be no one for me, but You alone: You alone – the All for me, and I alone, alone – always alone for You. And so I abandon myself in You, completely and always. As bad as I am, have the goodness of holding me in your arms, without leaving me for one single instant.’
While I was saying this, my blessed Jesus made Himself seen looking in my interior, turning everything upside down to see if there was something which He did not like. And while turning and turning, He took something like a grain of white sand in His hands, and He threw it to the ground. Then He said to me: “Dearest daughter of Mine, it is absolutely right that for one who is all for Me, I be all for her. I am too jealous that someone else might give her the slightest comfort. I alone – I, Myself alone want to make up for all, and in everything. What is it that afflicts you? What do you want? I do everything to make you content. Do you see that white grain that I removed from you? It was nothing but a little bit of anxiety, for you wanted to know my Will from others. I removed it from you and I threw it on the ground so as to leave you in holy indifference – the way I want you. And now I will tell you what my Will is: I want Mass and also Communion…
1910 was also very important because in 1910, while visiting the Trani Diocese to establish an orphanage, Father Annibale Di Francia met Luisa Piccarreta for the first time, most likely at the suggestion of her confessor, Fr. Gennaro Di Gennaro. These greatest of all Saints in Heaven are working to establish the Reign of the Divine Will on Earth. Of all of these, the Saint closest and most important to Luisa and her cause is her special confessor, Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia.
Saint Annibale Maria di Francia – Was born in Messina, Italy on July 5, 1851 and died at 6:30 AM on June 1, 1927. Early in his life he felt a special call to work for the poor and the orphans and founded the Anthonian Orphanages. His charity, however, went further. Tormented by the thought that countless people had not been evangelized, touched by the Spirit, he discovered the answer in the divine command of Jesus: “Pray therefore the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers into His Harvest”. (Mt. 9,38) He is the founder of the Rogationists Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and the Daughters of Divine Zeal. Many graces are attributed to his intercession. On October 7, 1990 (Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary), Pope John Paul II proclaimed him “Blessed.”
In 1910 Blessed Fr. Annibale Maria di Francia arrived in Corato beginning a series of visits and a frequent and intimate spiritual relationship with Luisa, which lasted 17 years until his death (June 1, 1927). He knew that Luisa was for him a fundamental turning point in his life, and the manifestation of the Divine Will was decisive for his spirituality (see, “L’anima del Padre Testimonianze”, by Fr. Tusino R.C.J., pp. 222-234, as well as the numerous letters which he wrote to Luisa in those years). He was very often in the house of Luisa, being her extraordinary Confessor. In 1926 the Archbishop of Trani designated him Director of all that concerned the writings of Luisa, with the view of doing a publication that Fr. Annibale desired, although he was prevented by his death. He was designated as ecclesiastical Censor for the three united dioceses of Trani, Barletta and Bisceglie. Blessed Fr. Annibale Maria di Francia soon began the printing of the 24 Hours of the Passion. At his request, Luisa wrote them down around 1913-1914. Father Annibale gave them the title of “Orologio della Passione di Nostro Signore Gesu’ Cristo”, and published four editions (1915, 1916, 1917, 1925), with the “Nihil Obstat” and “Imprimatur.”
Several witnesses relate that one day Father Annibale came to the house of Luisa more content than ever, and said that he had brought this book to the Holy Father,Pope Saint Pius X, who had received him several times in private audiences. Father Annibale was reading him one of the Hours (that of the Crucifixion), when the Pope interrupted, saying: “Not this way, Father, but kneeling one must read. It is Jesus Christ that is speaking.” Finally, Father Annibale, as Censor of the writings, obtained the Imprimatur from His Excellency the Archbishop of Trani for the volumes written by Luisa (at that time there were already nineteen).
Pope St. Pius X—Feast Day– August 21st. Giuseppe Melchior Sarto, Pope St. Pius X, was the second of ten children of a cobbler and postman. He succeeded Pope Leo XIII, urged frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children, and demanded an oath against modernism by every priest.
The following excerpt is from the book “Father Annibale Maria di Francia His Life and Works” by Rogationist Father Rev. Francis Vitale.
A little friend of Fr. Annibale’s prided himself on owning a medal of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori. After seeing it, Fr. Annibale could not help longing to have it. Thus he proposed an exchange: the medal of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori for many of his own. Eager to have many medals, his friend handed the prize over to Father, who in turn, gave his friend a rosary and some booklets besides the promised medals. His friend, who did not understand this type of trade, was amazed. The padre said, “I was beside myself with the joy of the medal.” Throughout his life, he wore that medal…(years later, in 1900), …the padre along with his priests Fr. Bonarrigo and Fr. Ctanese as well as about ten youths went to the archbishop asking his blessing. The shepherd blessed them tenderly, wishing the developing congregation great productivity and putting them under the protection of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori, to whom he was very devout.
Saint Anthony of Padua also assisted Bl. Annbale in his life’s mission: “Even though there was no center of those devoted to St. Anthony in those days, aid for the orphans and the poor were increasing, due to devotion to St. Anthony’s bread, the press, the alms boxes, and devotion to the saint in the church of the Annunciation. Hence the padre felt inspired to make St. Anthony the special patron of the orphanages. Our founder was urged to do so by his helper Fr. Bernardo of the Friars Minor.”
St. Alphonsus Liguori—Feast Day–August 1st. St. Alphonsus was born in Naples, Italy in 1696. He was a renowned Doctor of both Canon and Civil Law. St. Alphonsus was ordained a Priest in 1726. He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (The Redemptorists). He was chosen as Bishop of Sant’ Agata dei Goti. St. Alphonsus is the Patron Saint of Confessors, Moral Theology, and Vocations.
His literary output, however, was not limited to moral theology. His pen was as apostolic as his preaching. His one hundred and eleven published works were directed to every category of Christians: Bishops, Priests, Religious, and Laity. His themes were solidly pastoral, and his topics diverse; one of his works was even called “Conformity to the Divine Will.”
St. Anthony of Pauda—Feast Day–June 13th. He is a Doctor of the Church known for his miracles and being one of the greatest preachers of all times. He is known as the “Hammer of the Heretics,” “Living Ark of the Covenant,” and “Wonder Worker.” He is Patron of the Poor. In art he is depicted holding the Christ Child. He is widely invoked for the return of lost articles.
It seems no accident that these two great Saints were both placed in protection of Blessed Annibale’s Orphanages and Religious Institutions. Luisa lived 10 years in the Orphanage of St. Anthony in Corato. These two saints are also important to Luisa’s cause because of St. Liguori’s Patronage over Confessors, Moral Theology, and Vocations, and St. Anthony’s help to return man’s greatest loss—that of the Holy Divine Will.
The Holy Family
Last of all, but not least, is the special connection of Luisa to Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph as expressed in many of her writings. One of the most beautiful is from Christmas 100 years ago. It is as follows:
Volume 4- December 25, 1900
ON CHRISTMAS EVE, LUISA FINDS HEFSELF IN THE CAVE AT BETHLEHEM WITH THE MOST HOLY VIRGIN MARY
Finding myself in my usual state, I felt myself leave my body and after wandering around I found myself in a cave, and I saw the Queen Mamma who was giving birth to Baby Jesus. What a marvelous wonder! It seemed to me that both the Mother and the Son were transformed into the purest Light, but in this Light you could clearly discern the human nature of Jesus, which served as a veil to cover the Divinity that He contained within Himself, so that, tearing open the veil of human nature, He was God, and covered with this veil, He was man, and this is the wonder of wonders: God and man, man and God! Who, without leaving the Father and the Holy Spirit, for true Love never disunites, comes to live with us and takes on human flesh. Then it seemed to me that the Mother and the Son, in this supremely happy moment, became spirits, and without the slightest difficulty Jesus emerged from the Mother’s bosom, both of them overflowing with an excess of Love. That is, these Most Holy Bodies were transformed into Light, and without the slightest obstacle, Jesus’ Light emerged from within the Light of the Mother, both One and the Other remaining whole and intact, returning then to their natural state. But who could describe the beauty of the Little Baby, who at the moment of His birth shone with the rays of Divinity even through to the outside? Who can tell of the beauty of the Mother, who was completely absorbed by these Divine rays? And Saint Joseph, who seemed to me not to be present at the act of birth, but who remained in another corner of the cave, quite absorbed by this profound Mystery; even if he did not see with his corporeal eyes, he saw perfectly well with the eyes of his soul, for he remained enraptured in sublime ecstasy. Then, at the moment the Little Baby emerged from the Light, I wanted to rush over to take Him into my arms, but the Angels held me back, telling me that the honor of holding Him first belonged to the Mother. Whereupon, the Most Holy Virgin, as if shaken, turned inwards and, from the hands of an Angel, received the Son into Her arms, and She held him so tight, in the enthusiasm of Her love, that it seemed She wanted to return Him inside of Her. Then, wanting an outlet for Her ardent love, She set him to suckling at Her breasts. At that moment, I remained perfectly still, waiting to be called, so that I would not receive another reproach from the Angels. Whereupon, the Queen said to me:
“Come, come take your Beloved, and delight in Him also and show Him your love,”
As She spoke I drew close to the Mamma and She put Him in my arms. Who can describe my happiness, the kisses, the hugs, the tenderness I showed Him? After I showed my love for a while, I said to Him:
“My Beloved, You have nursed the milk of our Mother, give some to me.”
And He, quite agreeing, poured part of this milk from His mouth into mine, and then He said to me:
“My beloved, I was conceived in sorrow, born in sorrow and died in sorrow, and with the three nails that they crucified me, I nailed down the three powers: intellect, memory and will, for those souls who yearn to love Me, allowing them to remain drawn completely to Me, because original sin had rendered them weak and scattered from their Creator, without any restraint.”
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