Luisa Piccarreta and Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia
LUISA PICCARRETA AND SAINT HANNIBAL DI FRANCIA
Saint Annibale di Francia
On July 7, 2010, before his general audience in the morning, Pope Benedict XVI Blessed a marble statue of St. Annibale Maria di Francia (1851-1927), founder of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and of the Daughters of Divine Generosity. The statue is positioned in an external niche of the Vatican Basilica near the Arch of the Bells.
(Note: The Italian of Saint Hannibale Di Francia is Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia)
By Fr. John Bruno, R.C.J.
In these past few years the private revelations of Luisa Piccarreta(1865-1947) on the Divine Will have been spreading throughout the U.S.A. Some commentators have called them heretical, others have equated them to a cult. Some have questioned the judgement of Fr. Hannibal in giving the Nihil Obstat to some of her writings. Saint Hannibal had a very balanced and orthodox opinion on private revelations, but he was ready to call Luisa “a fit instrument for a sublime mission, to which no other can be compared, of the triumph of the Divine Will in the universe, as prayed in the Our Father: Fiat Voluntas tua, sicut in coelo et in terra.”
The opinion of Fr. Hannibal about how to deal with the private revelations of Luisa, can be found in his letters to the Servant of God, which go from 1924 to 1927. Don Luca Masciave’, in the preface of the letters of Fr. Hannibal to Luisa, published in Italian but now available in English, notes that Saints come in pairs: St. Francis de Sales and St. Jean Frances de Chantal; St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross; St Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. He adds:
“This is also true of Saint Hannibal Maria Di Francia, who was destined by God to be the Spiritual Director of the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta, The Little Daughter of Divine Will.”
The first formal relation of Saint Hannibal with the Piccarreta probably took place when he asked her to write in 1912 the reflections on the Passion of the Lord, to which he himself gave the title “The Hours of the Passion”. The letters, written in the last three years of his years of his life, speak in a special way of the publication of the work of Luisa. The archbishop of Trani, Msgr. Giuseppe Maria Leo, had asked him to review it for the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.
Saint Hannibal called the revelations “Sublime, with examples worthy of the divine Creator…” We can see in the letters the trials of the end of the life of Saint Hannibal and the trust he had in Luisa. He had abandoned any other work, because of the urgency he felt in publishing her writings. But he was not simplistic and he gave her very clear instructions.
We can summarize some of the teachings and suggestions of the letters:
1-Do everything for obedience. “Write everything, everything, by day, by night, but do not show it not even to your confessor, but only to your spiritual director.” He considers himself Spiritual Director only for the publication of the writings.
2-The lack of Jesus is the greatest sorrow. To lack Jesus is an irresistible pain, infinitely greater than any material sorrow.(Idem pg.19) When we read of divine punishments in the revelations of Luisa, we cannot forget this truth: to lack Jesus is the greatest sorrow.
3-Private revelations can be mistaken. The writer, the interpreter, the compilator, can make “mistakes about the divine revelation, who pass through a human channel, not totally free of subjective imperfection, not by fault but by accident: as the mystics teach us…let us therefore pray with humility and fervor.” (Idem pg 25)
4-Not all private revelations should be published. Some writings, although true should not be published because of prudence. “They would meet the criticism of Ecclesiastical Authority, which would have prejudice about the whole work. Some chapters should only be published when you will be in Heaven.” (idem pg. 54)
5-To enter in the Divine Will is more important than miracles and extraordinary events. The Lord in a mystical way with his own hands put a crown of thorns on the head of Luisa.(Idem pg.39) The Lord offered Luisa the Gift of miracles and she refused it.(Idem pg.66) Luisa once “brought back to life a murdered young man” (Idem pg.68)
6-The devil is opposed to the publishing of the writings. Saint Hannibal felt that his sickness was from “the infernal enemy, who wanted to stop the great work” to publish her writings. (Idem pg. 47 and pg. 52)
7-Holiness in the Divine Will is not a formula. It cannot ignore the Saints of the past. “Holiness does not consist in a formula. In this new Science (of the Divine Will) to form saints that will be superior to those of the past, it will be necessary that the new saints have all the virtues in heroic degree of the saints of the past, of the Confessors, of the penitent, of Martyrs, of Anacorets, of Virgins, Etc.. Etc. (Idem p. 14)
8-Devotions to spread the Divine Will should be simple to attract more people. Saint Hannibal composed the Little Rosary of the Divine Will, and was about to begin “The universal Pious Union of the Daughters and Sons of the Divine Will” with no requirements or rules or fees, but only the promise to recite 5 times a day “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” To found an order of the Divine Will would not be so effective. (Idem pg. 58) The last letter is dated May 5, 1927, less than a month before Saint Hannibal’s death on June 1st, 1927.
The Church is always skeptical about private revelation. The “Positio super virutibus” for the beatification of Saint Hannibal had to answer why the servant of God was drawn to private revelations and pious souls. He himself acknowledged such inclination, specifying however that he does not allow himself to be subdued:
“I love the private revelations of holy persons, but I never accept everything.” (The Father’s Soul pg. 88)
His successor, Fr. Francesco Vitale, writes: “Always well balanced in faith, he discriminated among true and false revelations, and demanded faith, not private revelations as a foundation for action. Not to take a false step toward mistakes or danger, he likes inner virtues best, especially obedience.” (Vitale, Life of Fr. Hannibal Di Francia pg. 280)
In a letter to Mrs. Zuccaro, Fr. Hannibal writes:
“The revelation is the one Jesus Christ entrusted to the Church through the Apostles, which contains the destiny of human being. No new comer can change it at all.” People should not accept private revelations supinely.
In 1925 in a letter to Bishop Liviero of Citta’ di Castello, he criticized the publication of St. Veronica’s entire diary:
“Being taught by the teachings of several mystics, I have always deemed that the teachings and locutions of even holy persons, especially women may contain deceptions. Poulain attributes errors even to saints the Church venerates on the altars. How many contradictions we see between Saint Brigid, D’Agreda, Emmerich, etc. We cannot consider the revelations and the Locutions as words of Scripture. Some of them must be omitted, and others explained in a right, prudent meaning.”
(The Father’s Soul pg. 89)
Fr. Hannibal elaborates these ideas in a letter to Fr. Peter Bergamaschi, who had published all the writings of a renowned Benedictine Mystic, St. M. Cecilia of Montefiascone (1694-1766). The Father criticizes such a criterion:
“Conforming to prudence and sacred accuracy, people cannot deal with private revelations as if they were canonical books or decrees of the Holy See. Even the most enlightened persons, especially women, may be greatly mistaken in the visions, revelations, locutions, and inspiration. More than once the divine operation is restrained by human nature. For instance who could ratify in full all the visions of Emmerich and St. Brigid, which show evident discrepancies? I love very much the private revelations of holy persons, but never I accept them in full!
Were I to publish revelations, I would eliminate or revise what is inconsistent with a sound criterion, or reliable tradition, or opinions of sacred, learned writers. I think of behaving prudently…
My dear father, to consider any expression of the private revelations as dogma or propositions near of faith is always imprudent! The mistakes could amount to thousands. Poulain substantiates this fact with examples of saints we venerate on the altars. It is not surprising because the visions or the news undergoes some modifications while passing through human channels… Aptitudes and dispositions may not be the same: a psychological, moral spiritual, physical event can modify them, hindering the spiritual enlightenment from shining perfectly in the soul. Thus the person is unaware of circumstances, details or propositions, and is mistaken involuntarily. In fact, everything is received through and according to the subject.
This is proved by experience, by the mystical theologians, such as St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, Castrotevere, Poulain, etc. By prudence and reason we cannot accept all the words of revelations as they were propositions near to the faith; still less when they are contrary to the authoritative opinion of renowned writers and to the simple, beneficial devotion of the saints.
(Idem pg. 90)
On one occasion, to reorganize itself, a community was expecting the revelation of a holy person, but Father Hannibal intervened:
” Do not provoke the Lord. We have faith, trust, counsel, reason, and prayer at our disposal; these are means our Lord gave us to know his adorable will, or to follow it without gratifying our selfishness. Therefore, let us pray. Our Lord taught us how effective is the humble, trustful, perseverant prayer when we surrender ourselves to the Divine Will with pure intention.’ (Idem pg. 90)
With this criteria Father Hannibal approved
“the very precious writings ” on the Divine Will for “which Hell trembles so much ” (Letters pgs. 47 and 65) Reading some of the writings of Luisa
to Pope Pius X, the pope invited Fr. Hannibal to kneel, because he felt that Jesus was really speaking. (DivineWill.org It.Page)
It seems that the same criterion was not used by Fr. Benedetto Calvi who published the 5th edition of “The Clock of Passion” of Luisa Piccarreta in 1934. Fr. Calvi wrote: “I tried to make the book more conforming to the original, putting a different order in the parts, adding many more writings of the pious Author.” (Positio Vol.II, pg.715)
The last edition by Fr. Hannibal of the same book was published in 1921, and was in circulation with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat for 13 years, without considering the previous editions. The 5th edition and other Books of Luisa Piccarreta were put in the index of forbidden books by Holy Office on July 13, 1938. [
There were three edited works, none of which were the 36 Volumes of the Book of Heaven. One of the two works was the “Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will,” which, along with the “Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ”, received the Imprimatur of Archbishop Cassati in their original form in 1997. The third work was actually an edited compilation of passages from Luisa’s writings done by Fr. Calvi. This work is no longer in circulation. The Index was abolished by Pope Paul VI in 1966.] The Osservatore Romano did not give a kind judgement about her writings [the three edited works]. (Idem pg. 714)
We still see the necessity of following the criteria of Saint Hannibal about the sublime revelations of the Divine Will and not lose a precious gift, by paying attention to the marginal, or giving undue importance to certain aspects, especially when in contrast with accepted theology. Archbishop Cassati of Trani (Italy) where the process for the Cause of Beatification is held, warned against those who publish Luisa’s writings without the approval of the Church, noting that Luisa was always obedient to Church Authority. In the beginning of this year the same Archbishop asked the promoters of the cause of Luisa Piccarreta to “pause for a period of time for reflection”, because of the many misunderstandings and exaggerated teachings about Luisa Piccarreta and the Divine Will. The directions of Fr. Hannibal to her are still very sound and necessary.
From the HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 16, 2004
“Whoever loves me will keep my word” (Jn 14: 23).
In these words of the Gospel we see illustrated the spiritual profile of Annibale Maria Di Francia, whose love for the Lord moved him to dedicate his entire life to the spiritual well-being of others. In this perspective, he felt above all the urgency to carry out the Gospel command: “Rogate ergo… Pray then to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest!” (Mt 9: 38).
He left to the Rogationist Fathers and the Daughters of Divine Zeal the task to do their utmost with all their strength so that prayer for vocations would be “unceasing and universal”. This same call of Fr Annibale Maria Di Francia is directed to the young people of our times, summed up in his usual exhortation: “Fall in love with Jesus Christ”.
From this providential intuition, a great movement of prayer for vocations rose up within the Church. I hope with all my heart that the example of Fr Annibale Maria Di Francia will guide and sustain such pastoral work even in our times.
From the HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 16, 2004
“Whoever loves me will keep my word” (Jn 14: 23).
In these words of the Gospel we see illustrated the spiritual profile of Annibale Maria Di Francia, whose love for the Lord moved him to dedicate his entire life to the spiritual well-being of others. In this perspective, he felt above all the urgency to carry out the Gospel command: “Rogate ergo… Pray then to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest!” (Mt 9: 38).
He left to the Rogationist Fathers and the Daughters of Divine Zeal the task to do their utmost with all their strength so that prayer for vocations would be “unceasing and universal”. This same call of Fr Annibale Maria Di Francia is directed to the young people of our times, summed up in his usual exhortation: “Fall in love with Jesus Christ”.
From this providential intuition, a great movement of prayer for vocations rose up within the Church. I hope with all my heart that the example of Fr Annibale Maria Di Francia will guide and sustain such pastoral work even in our times.
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI blesses the statue of Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia at Basilica Saint Peter in the Vatican Rome on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 10:15 hour
Plaza of Roman Protomartyrs (Protomartiri Romani) at the Arc of the Bells (Arco delle Campane)
The Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus and the Daughters of the Divine Zeal.
Benedict XVI blesses the statue of Saint Annibale Maria Di-Francia Messina 1851-1927
The Father Superior General of the Rogationists Fr. Giorgio Nalin and the Mother Superior General of the Daughters of the Divine Zeal Mother Diodata Guerrera
Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at the 10:15 hour in the Plaza of the Roman Protomartyrs, at the Arch of the Bells of St. Peter Basilica at the Vatican.
The image of the Apostle of prayer for Vocations and Father of orphans and of the poor has been placed in the Center of Christianity.
The event marks an important date for the history of Family of the Rogate.
Welcome of Participants in Plaza of the Roman Protomartyrs.
Greeting of Father Superior General.
Presentation of the work.
Prayer and blessing of the statue by the Holy Father Benedict XVI
Eucharistic Con-celebration near the Altar of the Cathedra in the Basilica St. Peter
presided by His Eminence Most Reverend Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of His Holiness.
Entrance: Door of prayer.
BLESSING OF THE STATUE
O God, hope of the humble, refuge of the poor and father of orphans, who wanted to choose Saint Annibale Maria, priest, as distinguished apostle of prayer for vocations, through his intercession, send into your harvest worthy workers of the Gospel, and may it be that, moved by his same spirit of charity, we grow in love toward you and toward our neighbor. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE STATUE OF SAINT ANNIBALE MARIA
The statue, 5.30 meters high (17.5’) and carved in a single block of marble from Carrara, is the work of the artist Giuseppe Ducrot.
It was placed in the first niche at the Arch of Bells among the Saintly Founders of Religious Institutes, as perennial memory and witness of the charism of the Rogate.
In Loving Memory of Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia
The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta’s Extraordinary Confessor
and Founder of the Rogationists of the Sacred Heart and the Daughters of the Divine Zeal
He edited and published various writings of Luisa’s
Including the book “L’orologio della Passione”
and to Luisa Piccarreta,
who is the first and the depository of a good so great, to whom it was entrusted and who was chosen with a special mission. The origin of the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat, the depository, is the little daughter the Divine Will.”
“Anima, Auitami!” (“Soul, Help Me!)
“Out of so many souls, are there not some who will show this heroism of love toward Jesus?”
Volume 23 – February 28, 1928
…And do you think that the memory of father Di Francia, his many sacrifices and desires to make my Will known, to the point of initiating the publication, will be extinguished in this great work of my Divine Fiat, only because I brought him with Me to Heaven? No, no; on the contrary, he will have the first place, because by coming from far away, he went as though in search of the most precious thing that can exist in Heaven and on earth, of the act that glorifies Me the most, or rather, will give Me complete glory on the part of creatures, and they will receive complete goods. He prepared the ground so that my Divine Will might be known; so much so, that he spared nothing, neither expenses, nor sacrifices; and even though the publication did not have its completion, by even just initiating it he prepared the ways so that one day the work of my Will in the midst of creatures can be known and have life. Who will ever be able to destroy the fact that father Di Francia has been the first initiator in making known the Kingdom of my Will? – and only because his life was extinguished, the publication did not have its completion? So, when this great work becomes known, his name, his memory, will be full of glory and of splendor, and he will have his prime act in a work so great, both in Heaven and on earth. In fact, why is there a battle going on, and almost everyone yearns for victory – to win in withholding the writings on my Divine Fiat? Because he had brought the writings with himself in order to publish them. Had it not been so, who would have talked about it? No one. And if he had not made others comprehend the importance, the great good of these writings, no one would have interested himself.
Therefore, my daughter, my goodness is so great that I reward justly and superabundantly the good that the creature does, especially in this work of my Will, which I so much care for. What will I not give to those who occupy and sacrifice themselves in order to place in safety the rights of my eternal Fiat? I will exceed so much in giving, as to make Heaven and earth astonished.”
1897 – 1898
Padre Annibale and Melanie Calvat with Daughters of Divine Zeal
In the beginning, Saint Annibale entrusted the girls’ orphanage to a distinguished widow who had been converted to a life of piety through one of his sermons: Laura Jensen Bucca was a genuine help to him for several years, but then she resigned. The priest turned to various religious communities, only in vain. So he decided to found his own congregation of nuns whom he called Daughters of Divine Zeal, patterned after the inspiration of the Rogate – the expression of the zeal burning in the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.
The budding community was not without its headaches: tribulation goes hand in hand with all the works of God. Not only that, it is the bright badge of divine favor. In the light of a schism which occurred, the Institute was suppressed by Church authority. Thanks to the offices of a venerable Friar Minor, Fr. Bernard of Portosalvo, a one-year stay on the decree was given to the Fr. Annibale. The Institute was put on trial. During that year, he had as a cooperator for his work none other than Melanie Calvat, the famous young shepherdess to whom the Mother of God appeared on the mountain of La-Salette. Melanie remained at the Institute for one year, from September 1897 to September 1898 – a year which, in the words of Saint Annibale, was a year of blessing. The trial period was weathered successfully, having a healthy and vigorous effect on the community, and the women’s congregation was put on a safe footing.
Melanie died at the age of 72, alone and unattended, on December 14, 1904, at Altamura, near Bari, Italy. She is buried beneath a marble column with a bas-relief depiction of Our Lady welcoming her into heaven. In spite of her unapproved writings, Melanie was always faithful to her original account of the apparition and message of La Salette. She demonstrated this at the Shrine of La Salette during her last visit there September 8-19,1902.
In the magazine of the Monfort Fathers “Queen of All Hearts” Saint Annibale had discovered the True Devotion of St. Louis de Montfort in 1906 and had it practiced in all of his institutes.
From “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin”
46. . . . This means that the greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.
47. I said that this will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs. This has been revealed to a holy soul whose life has been written by M. de Renty.
48. These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church the Temple of Solomon and the City of God. By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone. .
December 28, Jesus foretells to Luisa the earthquakes in Messina, Sicily and Calabria and how large areas of the world will be destroyed by earthquakes, floods, and wars.
Five hours later, a massive earthquake destroyed the city of Messina, Sicily, burying thousands of people under a mass of rubble. Not a single one of Fr. Annibale’s orphans died in the earthquake, but 13 of his nuns perished in the ruins. Responding immediately to the disaster, Pope Pius X sent money to relieve the victims, including private funds specially earmarked for the orphans. Through his fatherly concern for the orphans of Messina, the pope formed a deep admiration for Fr. Annibale Di Francia, an esteem destined to have a profound impact on Luisa Piccarreta’s life and work.
Volume 8 – December 28, 1908
Finding myself in my usual state, I felt as if the earth were wavering and that it wanted to fall out from under me. I became horrified, and said to myself: “Lord, what is this?”
Upon which, in my interior, He said: “Earthquakes.” Then He became silent.
I nearly didn’t pay attention to Him, and remaining somewhat in myself I continued my usual interior acts. Thereupon, after five hours had passed since He had first spoken to me, I sensibly felt the earthquake. Consequently, hardly had I finished feeling it, then I found myself outside of myself.
Somewhat confused, I saw agonizing things. However I was immediately removed from the sight of that, and I found myself inside a Church. From the altar came a Young Man dressed in white, who I believe was Our Lord—but I couldn’t say for sure. That Young Man, coming close to me, with an imposing look said to me: “Come.”
I felt crushed, without being able to lift myself up. Also I noticed in myself that, at the same time, I was being scourged and destroyed. I said, almost refusing the invitation: “But Lord, is it already time to take me?”
Then that Young Man threw Himself into my arms, and in my interior I heard said to me: “Come, oh daughter, so I can finish with the world. This is because I will destroy large areas of it with earthquakes, floods, and wars.” After that, I found myself within myself.
December 28, 1908 Italy, Messina – The Tenth Most Destructive Known Earthquake on Record in the World (estimated) 7.5mag. Deaths 70,000 to 100,000 from earthquake and tsunami.
Saint Annibale Di Francia arrived in Corato, the Trani Diocese, to establish an orphanage. Father Annibale Di Francia met Luisa Piccarreta for the first time, beginning a series of visits and a frequent and intimate spiritual contact with Luisa, which lasted 17 years, until he died June 1, 1927.
The 1st edition of “The Hours of the Passion” written by Luisa which Blessed Annibale Maria di Francia was responsible for publishing in 1915.
The first formal relation of Blessed Annibale with the Piccarreta probably took place when he asked her to write the reflections on the Passion of the Lord, to which he himself gave the title “The Hours of the Passion”. The letters, written in the last three years of his years of his life, speak in a special way of the publication of the work of Luisa. The archbishop of Trani, Msgr. Giuseppe Maria Leo, had asked him to review it for the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.
St. Annibale took a manuscript copy of the “Hours of the Passion” with him to Rome to an audience with St. Pope Pius X. During the audience, as St. Annibale read one of the hours aloud to the pope, the Holy Father interrupted him, saying, “Father, those words should be read kneeling.
Saint. Annibale Maria di Francia soon began the printing of the 24 Hours of the Passion. Under his request, Luisa had to write them around 1913-1914. St. Annibale gave them the title of “Orologio della Passione di Notro Signore Gesu’ Cristo”, and published four editions (1915, 1916, 1917, 1925), with “Nihil Obstat” and “Imprimatur.”
In April, the mother house of the Rogationsts in Avignone burned to the ground. Some of his congregation questioned God’s providence, but Father Annibale silenced them immediately:“ Hush! Let us not ask, let us not inquire as to “why,” but let us adore God’s designs and trust in Him!”
Volume 8 – January 30, 1909
The story of ‘why’.
Finding myself in my usual state, I found myself outside of myself; I seemed to see a soul in Purgatory, whom I knew, and I said to her: ‘Take a look at how I am before God – I am so concerned about it, especially about the state in which I find myself.’ And she told me: “It takes nothing to know whether you are doing well or badly: if you appreciate suffering, you are doing well; if you don’t, you are doing badly. In fact, one who appreciates suffering, appreciates God; and by appreciating Him, one can never displease Him. Things which are appreciated, are also esteemed, loved, and one cherishes them and keeps them safe, more than oneself. Can it ever be possible that one wants evil for himself? In the same way, it is impossible that one may displease God, if he appreciates Him.”
Then, afterwards, blessed Jesus came for just a little, and told me: “My daughter, in almost all of the events that occur, creatures keep repeating, over and over again: ‘And why? And why? And why? Why this illness? Why this interior state? Why this scourge?’ And many other why’s. The explanation of ‘why’ is not written on earth, but in Heaven, and there everyone will read it. Do you know what ‘why’ is? It is egoism, which gives continuous food to love of self. Do you know where ‘why’ was created? In hell. Who was the first one that pronounced it? A demon. The effects produced by the first ‘why’ were the loss of innocence in Eden Itself, the war of untamable passions, the ruin of many souls, the evils of life. The story of ‘why’ is long; it is enough to tell you that there is no evil in the world which does not carry the mark of ‘why’. ‘Why’ is destruction of divine wisdom in souls. And do you know where ‘why’ will be buried? In hell, to make them restless for eternity, without ever giving them peace. The art of ‘why’ is to wage war against souls, without ever giving them respite.”
Fr. Annibale published a new edition of the “Hours of the Passion” including a Treatise on the Divine Will. The 1921 edition also included an introduction by Monsignor Cento, a nuncio to Venezuela and a cardinal. This “Hours” bore both the imprimatur and the nihil obstat. Cardinal Cento wrote to Luisa:
“The fundamental points of your life and spiritual doctrine have a very special attraction for me. Continue to pray that my human will may truly disappear in God’s Will.
What you wrote concerning the Kingdom of the Will of God makes me go into ecstasy. How I wish that God would make me live those truths! Furthermore, I want to express my lively desire that other volumes may since our Lord Himself wants it. The lighted lamp should not be hidden under a bushel. He who is the light of the world will know how to overcome all obstacles.”
Fr. Francis Vitale wrote about Fr. Annibale:
“ He did not suffer people to complain about problems when his institutions were in trouble; he blessed God. Once, in the Avignone courtyard, we were sitting in the shadow of a plant tossed by the wind. When a thorny branch hurt his head, [Fr. Annibale] quickly exclaimed:
“What is this plant doing here?
It is better to move it.” Then, as if aware of having made a mistake that could have ill effects, he turned around saying:
“I have been a fool asking what this plant is doing here! It is doing God’s will to make us practice patience. We have to bless it.”
“Woe to those who dared to say things like, “poor devil, deuce, curse, bad fate, and the like.” He disliked hearing pejorative words even about the weather! He said: “Speaking badly is negative; it is not good. The elements of nature are creations of God, and even though they seem severe, they still do God’s Will. Why complain then?”
Fr. Vitale and Fr. Annibale were reflecting on the virtues of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Someone mentioned that St. Ignatius’ trust in God was so great that if he had seen the Society of Jesus completely destroyed, he would only have needed fifteen minutes to calm down. Upon hearing this, without reflecting on the effect that his comment might have, Fr. Annibale exclaimed, “So long?”
By order of the Archbishop of Trani, Luisa received a new confessor: Canon Don Benedetto Calvi, Pastor of St. Mary the Greek Church in Corato. For 21 years, Don Calvi was to care for Luisa’s soul in good times and bad. Luisa’s extraordinary confessor, Fr. Annibale Di Francia, was also able to console her.
Volume 16- February 10, 1924
[Luisa:] I was thinking to myself about all that was written in these past days, and I said to myself that they were neither necessary nor serious things. I could have done without putting them on paper, but obedience wanted it so, and I had the duty to say ‘FIAT’ also in this… But as I was thinking about this, my beloved Jesus told me: “Yet, my daughter, everything was necessary in order to make known how to live in my Will. By not saying everything, some quality of how to live in It would be missing, and therefore the writings could not have the full effect of the living in my Will…
Do you see how necessary it is to make them [others] understand that complete abandonment is needed in order to live in my Will? And you say it is not necessary to write about it? I feel compassion for you, because you do not see what I see, and that’s why you take it lightly. Instead, in my All-seeingness, I see that these writings will be for my Church as a new Sun which will rise in her midst; and men, attracted by its radiant light, will strive to transform themselves into this light and become spiritualized and Divinized, and therefore, renewing the Church, they will transform the face of the earth.
The doctrine on my Will is the purest, the most beautiful, not subject to any shadow of the material or of interest, either in the supernatural or in the natural order. Therefore, just like the Sun, It will be the most penetrating, the most fecund, and the most welcomed and appreciated. And being Light, It will make Itself understood and will make Its own way. It will not be subject to doubt or suspicions of error; and if some words will not be understood, it will be because of too much light, which, eclipsing the human intellect, will not allow them to understand the whole fullness of the Truth. However, they will not find one word which is not true. At the most, they will not be able to comprehend it fully.
Therefore, in view of the good which I see, I push you to neglect nothing in writing. One saying, one effect, one simile on my Will can be like beneficial dew upon the souls, just as dew is beneficial on the plants after a day of burning sun, or like a pouring rain after long months of drought. You cannot understand all the good, the light, the strength contained in one word; but your Jesus knows it, and knows the ones whom it will serve and the good it will do.”
Now, as He was saying this, He showed me a table in the midst of the Church, and all the writings about the Divine Will placed on it. Many venerable people surrounded that table and were transformed into light and divinized; and as they walked, they communicated that light to whomever they encountered. Then Jesus added: “You will see this great good from Heaven, when the Church will receive this celestial food, which will strengthen her and make her rise again to her full triumph.”
Excerpt from Letter 1 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, May 20, 1924
Dearest one in the Lord,
I am sending you the penultimate sheet. I am reading again Volume 17 in my morning meditation. I had already read Volume 13 before.
The revelations about the Divine Will are sublime! I gave the little handwritten treatise of the lady, your friend, to the ecclesiastical Reviser, and I encountered some difficulties with him over a few points: for example, the words of the consecration which Our Lord repeats over the souls, His Hosts – and other points. I will mortify them quite a bit, and I hope to print all the chapters of the Hours. Someone from a city asked me for 50 copies of the new edition.
I hope to come to Trani in the month of June, God willing. I have a case in Palermo which will be decided on June 2nd . I beg you to pray!…We may be losing 70 thousand Lira, unjustly, because of the Masonry! All the arguments are with us! Pray!
I kiss the hands of your Confessor.
When I come to Corato, if Jesus wants, I have to make several observations to you and to the Confessors regarding certain points of the 12th and 13th books. But the doctrine seems sublime and divine to me!
I have commissioned paper for 5 thousand copies of all the treatises on the Divine Will. I may have a beautiful volume printed in our Press of the boys’ House—with our equipment. Prepare for me all the material to be printed. This morning I received a postcard from the renewed Libreria Editrice Pontificia of Rome, asking me for 100 copies of the Hours of the Passion, 4th Edition, with the Treatise on the Divine Will! How did they know? I don’t know! It is the good God who is working. Here, we are hastening the work! Pray!
I bless you and your sister, and I say,
Yours in J.C. and in the Divine Will,
Canonico A.M. di Francia
Excerpt from Letter 2 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, June 20, 1924
I already sent you the two little bottles of that ink you asked me for—for the fountain pen. Write me, if you need notebooks.
Currently, in my morning meditation, in addition to the adorable Passion of Our Lord Jesus, beloved of our hearts, I meditate—that is, I read slowly and with reflection—two or three chapters of your writings on the Divine Will; and the impressions I draw are intimate and profound! I see a sublime and Divine Science, though I still do not understand it completely, given the scarcity of my intelligence.
These are writings that must now be made known to the world. I believe they will produce great good. For as sublime as this science of the Divine Will is, so do these writings of divine dictation present it, clearly and limpidly. In my opinion, no human intellect would have been able to form them.
The Hours of the Passion, 4th Edition, is already at the end of the printing, including the little treatise on the Divine Will. However, I am preparing several new chapters chosen from your writings, and I will add them to the Treatise with a little preface. In the meantime I have commissioned new paper for the printing of one entire first volume of the Divine Will, about the size of the Hours; but we will make the choice of the material when I come, God willing, together with your spiritual Father and with you.
I received a letter from Turin, from a cleric in love with the Divine Will, who is waiting for the new publications. He had written to me three years ago, and he had published in a Catholic periodical some chapters of the Little Treatise of the Divine Will, which is in the Hours.
However, I always insist on one point—that is, sanctity does not consist of a formula. In order to form, with this new Science, Saints who may surpass those of the past, the new Saints must also have all of the virtues, and in heroic degree, of the ancient Saints—of the Confessors, of the Penitents, of the Martyrs, of the Hermits, of the Virgins, etc., etc.
Volume 17- September 17, 1924
[Luisa:] …my sweet Jesus gathered all the books written by me on His Divine Will; he united them together, then He pressed them to His Heart, and with unspeakable tenderness, added: “I bless these writings from the Heart. I bless each word; I bless the effects and the value they contain. These writings are part of Myself.”
Then He called the Angels, who prostrated themselves, their faces to the ground, to pray. And since two Fathers, who were to see the writings, were there present, Jesus told the Angels to touch their foreheads to impress in them the Holy Spirit, so as to infuse in them light in order to make them understand the truths and the good contained in these writings. The Angels did that, and Jesus, blessing us all, disappeared.
Volume 17- April 26, 1925
[Luisa:] I was thinking to myself about certain things regarding the Will of God, which good Jesus had told me, and which have been published, and therefore go around in the hands of those who want to read them. I felt so ashamed within me, that this caused me an indescribable pain; and I said: ‘My beloved Good, how could you allow this? Our secrets, which I wrote out of obedience, and only for love of You, are now before the eyes of others. And if they continue to publish more things, I will die of shame and of pain. And after all this, as recompense for my hard sacrifice, You have left me, so painfully! Ah, had You been with me, You would have had pity on my pain, and You would have given me the strength to bear so much shame and pain!’
But while I was saying this, my sweet Jesus came out from within my interior, and placing one hand on my forehead and the other on my mouth, as though wanting to stop the many afflicting thoughts that came to me, told me: “Be quiet, be quiet, do not want to continue any further – these are not your things, but Mine. It is my Will that wants to follow Its course to make Itself known, and my Will is more than sun. It takes too much to hide the light of the sun; even more, it is completely impossible. And if they stop it from one side, it surpasses the obstacle which they placed in front of it, and escaping from the other sides, it follows its way with majesty, leaving those who wanted to prevent its course confused, because they have seen it escape from all sides without being able to catch it. A lamp can be hidden, but the sun – never. Such is my Will, more than Sun; and if you want to hide It, it will be impossible for you. Therefore be quiet, my daughter, and let the Eternal Sun of my Will follow Its course, both through the writings, and through publications, through your words and through your manners. Let It surpass every obstacle, escape all impediments and, as refulgent light, cover the whole world. I long for it – I want it.
But then, how much of the truths of my Will was really put out? One could say it was just the atoms of Its Light. And although just atoms – if you knew the good they do! What will happen when, after all the truths which I revealed about my Will will be gathered – the fecundity of Its Light, the goods It contains, the infinite extension of the merits It multiplies, and all the rest – everything will be reunited as a whole and will form, not just the atoms or a rising sun, but its full day? What will happen? What good will this Eternal Sun not produce in the midst of creatures? And you and I will be – oh, how happy, in seeing my Will known, loved and done! Therefore, let Me do.”…
Volume 17- June 29, 1925
[Jesus to Luisa:] “I want to tell you something which is very consoling for you, and of great glory for Me. It will happen with you, at your death in time, just as it happened with Me, at my death. During my life, I worked, I prayed, I preached, I instituted the Sacraments, I suffered unheard-of pains, and even death itself; but I can say that my Humanity saw almost nothing, compared to the great good It had done, nor did the very Sacraments have life as long as I remained on earth. As soon as I died, my death sealed all my works, my words, my pains, the Sacraments; and the fruit of my death confirmed all that I did, and placed my works, my pains, my words, the Sacraments which I instituted, as well as the continuation of their life until the consummation of the centuries, in the act of rising again to life. So, my death put all my works in motion, and it made them rise again to perennial life. All this was right, since my Humanity contained the Eternal Word and a Will which has no beginning and no end, and which is not subject to perish. Of everything It did, nothing was to perish – not even one word; rather, everything was to have continuation until the end of the centuries, in order to pass into Heaven to beatify all the Blessed, eternally.
The same will happen with you. My Will which lives in you, speaks to you, makes you work and suffer in It, will let nothing perish – not even one word of the so many truths which I have manifested to you about my Will; rather, It will put everything in motion, It will make everything rise again. Your death will be the confirmation of all that I have said to you. And since the living in my Will is such that everything the soul does, suffers, prays and says, contain the Act of the Divine Will, all this will not be subject to perish, but will remain in the world, like many Lives – and all of them in the act of giving Life to the creatures.
Therefore, your death will tear the veils which cover all the truths which I spoke to you; and they will rise again like many suns, such as to cast away all the doubts and difficulties with which they seemed to be covered during your life. Therefore, as long as you live in this low world, you will see little or nothing in others, of all the great good which my Will wants to do through you. But after your death, everything will have its full effect.”
The Archbishop of Trani designated Fr. Francia Director for all which concerned the writings of Luisa, in sight of a publication which the Father desired to do, although prevented by his death, as well as ecclesiastical Censor for the three united dioceses of Trani, Barletta and Bisceglie.
Messina, July 12, 1926
Blessed one in the Lord, Sister Luisa Piccarreta,
I received several days ago the continuation of Volume 18, sent from Trani.
Under the date of November 1st of last year, there is a harrowing chapter about your pains of the privation of Jesus, which you compare to those of hell, and you find them greater than those. However, you believe that they are not greater than those of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, and not even comparable to them!…
In my unworthy prayers, I supplicate Our Lord for you, that He would not let you suffer so much in these privations, but that He would come back, always and quickly, to comfort you again.
I have not been well in my health, nor was I able to leave Messina due to pending businesses. But I hope that Our Lord – if my Fiat is there – may allow me to come to speak with you and with Father Benedetto about the printing. I am pleased that he undertook your direction, and I believe he fixed you up with morning Holy Mass and Communion.
I bless you in Jesus Christ. I am reading your writings. They are always sublime revelations – similes worthy of the Divine Creator, as for example that of the beating of the heart compared to the single act of the Fiat! I also bless your dear sister Angelina, the sisters Cimadomo, the nephews and the trainees.
In the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, I say,
Yours in J. C.
Canonico A.M. di Francia
P.S. The style and the clarity of your writing, as far as I have read up to now, has improved very much.
Excerpt from Letter 3 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, July 12, 1926
I have not been well in my health, nor was I able to leave Messina due to pending business. But I hope that Our Lord—if my Fiat is there—may allow me to come to speak with you and with Father Benedetto about the printing. I am pleased that he undertook your direction, and I believe he fixed you up with morning Holy Mass and communion.
I bless you in Jesus Christ.
“I am reading your writings. They are always sublime revelations—similes worthy of the Divine Creator, as for example that of the beating of the heart compared to the single act of the Fiat!”
To the Saint Don Louis Orione, he wrote:
“ I feel worn out and extremely weak. I make great efforts to eat. My inner life: spiritual desolation! . . . God’s Will be done in me, and Jesus’ love be consuming me!
To Luisa Fr. Annibale confided his conviction that his work on behalf of the Divine Will had incited the devil to afflict him with spiritual trials.
I have entered into a moral and spiritual state in which it seems to me that I see and feel the diabolical work of the infernal enemy. Night and day they attack me, making me feel discouraged and oppressed. I feel profound abandonment and desolation in myself. In a word, I feel an interior state of anguish and pain unlike anything I have ever experienced before …What I mean is that the demons were filled with rage to see me busy with the work of the publication of your writings. And since they can’t do anything to me externally, since I don’t walk along those paths, they worked on my interior to beat me down and make my health fail.
In all this I also seem to see that God is permitting everything to purify my soul in a very singular way, maybe precisely because of the great task of the publication of your writings . . .
Last night was terrible for me, both physically and spiritually. It was a time of most intense suffering. I couldn’t get any rest at all! The infernal enemy put a thought into my mind:
“Stop this publication. You should never have begun it.”
But I told the enemy, “No, no, no,” and I blessed Jesus . . .
I won’t tell you how I feel the devil’s more, many devils, trembling. This is why I perform continuous exorcisms in the Name of Jesus . . .
Another sign that it [the Divine Will doctrine] is from God, is the tremendous war that the enemy has waged against me to batter me down, which God is permitting. to keep me from beginning my prayers in the Divine Will.
Volume 17 – September 22, 1924
I continue: While I wrote what was said above, I saw my sweet Jesus who rested his mouth against my heart; and with his breath He infused in me the words that I was writing. At the same time I heard a horrible racket in the distance as if persons were beating one another, and the uproar was so great that I was afraid. And I turned to my Jesus and said to Him:
“My Jesus, my Love, who is causing such an uproar? They seem to be enraged demons. What do they want that causes them to fight each other so much?”
And Jesus: “My daughter, that is exactly what they are. They would like for you not to write about my Will. And when they see you writing more important truths about living in my Volition, they suffer a double hell; and all the damned are tormented more. They greatly fear that these writings about my Volition will be published, because they see themselves losing their kingdom on earth which they acquired when man, withdrawing from the Divine Will, gave free reign to the human will. Ah, yes, it was really then that the enemy acquired his kingdom on earth. But before the reign of my Volition, the enemy will find himself enclosed in the deepest abysses. This is why they are struggling with such fury. They feel the power of my Will in these writings. And even the possibility that they might become public makes them furious. They try with all their power to stop such a great good. But do not pay attention to them and learn by this to appreciate my teachings.” Volume 19- August 14, 1926
[Luisa:] …So, while I was so oppressed, my sweet Jesus, moving in my interior, as though feeling the weight of my oppression, clasped me in His arms, and shaking me, told me: “My daughter, what’s up, what’s up? Be cheered – I do not want you to be so oppressed. Instead of thanking Me, you oppress yourself? You must know that, so that my Supreme Will may be known, I had to prepare things, dispose means, overwhelm the Archbishop with those acts of absolute dominion of my Will, which man cannot resist; I had to make one of my great prodigies. Do you think it is easy to obtain the approval of a Bishop? How hard it is – how many quibbles, how many difficulties. And if they approve at all, it is with many restrictions, almost removing the most beautiful shades, the most striking colors from all that my goodness has revealed with so much love. Don’t you see, then, the triumph of my Will in the approval of the Archbishop, and, therefore, my great glory and the great necessity that the knowledges about the Supreme Will become known and, like beneficial dew, dampen the ardor of passions? Like rising sun, my Will dispels the darkness of the human will, and removes the torpor which almost all creatures have, also in doing good, because the life of my Will is missing in them. The manifestations about It will be like the balm which will heal the wounds produced by the human will.
Those who will have the good of knowing them will feel a new life of light, of grace, of strength flow within them, in order to fulfill my Will in everything. Not only this, by in comprehending the great evil of their own will, they will abhor it and will shake themselves from the yoke, so very hard, of the human will, to place themselves under the gentle dominion of Mine. Ah! You neither know nor see what I do know and see; therefore, let Me do it, and do not oppress yourself. Rather, you yourself should have encouraged and pushed the one whom I have disposed with so much love to take on this commitment; even more, you should have told him to hurry, and not to lose time….”
Volume 19- August 18, 1926
[Luisa:] While I was praying, I found myself outside of myself, and, at the same time, I saw the reverend father who must occupy himself with the printing of the writings about the Most Holy Will of God. Our Lord was near him, taking all the knowledges, the effects and the values He has manifested about the Supreme Will, which were turned into threads of light, and impressing them in his intelligence, in such a way as to form a crown of light around his head. And as He was doing this, He said to him: “My son, the task I have given you is great, and therefore it is necessary that I give you much light in order to make you comprehend clearly that which I have manifested. In fact, they will produce their effects according to the clarity with which they will be exposed, even though they are most clear in themselves. That which regards my Will is light that descends from Heaven, which does not confuse and dazzle the sight of the intellect, but has the virtue of strengthening and enlightening the intellect so as to be comprehended and loved, and of casting into the depth of the soul the principle of her origin, the true purpose for which she was created, the order between Creator and creature. And each one of my sayings, manifestations, knowledges about my Supreme Will are as many strokes of the brush to make the soul return to the likeness of her Creator.
Everything I have said about my Will is nothing other than preparing the way, forming the army, gathering the chosen people, preparing the royal palace, disposing the ground on which the Kingdom of my Will must be formed, and therefore rule and dominate. Therefore, the task I am entrusting to you is great. I will guide you, I will be near you, so that everything may be done according to my Will…”
Then, after this, He blessed him, and He came to my poor soul, continuing to say: “My daughter, how much I care about my Will. How I love and yearn that It become known. My interest is so great that I am disposed to give any grace to whomever wants to occupy himself with making It known…”
Volume 19- August 27, 1926
[Luisa:] As I was in my usual state, my always lovable Jesus made me see the reverend father who must occupy himself with the printing of the writings about the adorable Will of God. And Jesus, placing Himself near him, said to him: “My son, the title you will give to the book you will print about my Will is this: ‘The Kingdom of my Divine Will in the midst of creatures. Book of Heaven. The call of the creature to the order, the place and the purpose for which he was created by God’.
See, I want also the title to correspond to the great work of my Will…”
Excerpt from Letter 4 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Trani, August 28, 1926
Trani, August 28, 1926
Most esteemed one in the Lord,
I received the 4th little volume. I am skimming through the 3rd one and I noticed where it begins to speak about the Divine Will.
I read the exaltation of the Cross, that of Holy Humility, and that of Holy Purity.
Volume 7 has been reviewed completely.
Sister M. Cristina, currently Vicar of this House, has the 5th and the 6th.
Pray the Lord to inspire us on how to do the publication, and do it completely according to His Divine Volition. Amen.
My thought is that the first print should be done in Oria, and that afterwards the whole printing should pass to Messina, where I reside, under my own eyes.
In the meantime, continue the 15th in black, in which You started to write what happened to You during your infancy, childhood and youth. Write everything. Write also a faithful and complete narration of the illness – that is, your being bedridden; when it was, how it happened, in what year, the oppositions of the Bishops, of the Confessors, etc., etc.
Also, in volume 19 write everything – everything that Our Lord reveals, even tiny things in passing.
Everything for Holy Obedience, great Lady, for the Glory of God, for your mortification and for the good of souls. Be careful not to distort or hide anything!
I bless You in the Lord with your dear ones, and I say,
Yours in J.C.
Canonico A.M. di Francia
Volume 19- August 29, 1926
[Jesus to Luisa:] “…Now I want to see what you wrote about the title to be given to the writings about my Will.”
And as He was saying this, He took this book in His hands, and He seemed to be reading what is written on August 27. As He was reading, He remained pensive, as though placing Himself in profound contemplation, in such a way that I did not dare to say anything; I could only hear that His Heart was beating very, very intensely, almost wanting to explode. Then He pressed the book to His chest, saying: “I bless this title – I bless it from my Heart, and I bless all the words that regard my Will.” And raising His right hand, with enchanting majesty, He pronounced the words of His blessing. After He did this, He disappeared.
Excerpt from Letter 4 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Trani, August 30, 1926
Most esteemed one in the Lord Jesus, Our Beloved and only Good!
Your Lady, which is Holy Obedience, wants you to write all that you remember of your childhood, infancy and youth as far as the blessed intimate relation with the Divine Lover, adding the beginning of the illness which confines you to bed. This will be a secret book; you will not show it to anyone – not even to Father Don Benedetto, who is your Confessor, but not your Spiritual Director. If he asks you, you will tell him that I forbid you to show it to anyone until the Lord will want it so. Then I will tell him the reason. Therefore, he should not be disappointed.
You must also write how this story began, and this great mortification of needing the Priest every day in order to be released from the drowsiness in the morning.
This very day I must go to Rome for about fifteen days. Coming back, with the help of the Lord, I will be in Corato. In the meantime, I continue to work on your manuscripts, which I must go through, one by one, taking some notes on which you will then give me explanations. In this way I will be able to better reorder them for the printing, with the help of Blessed Jesus.
I am well enough: last night most sweet Jesus gave me excruciating back pain, while I had never suffered from rheumatics in my life. I could not resist; I even felt I was passing out. I offered them in the Divine Will, but I won’t hide from you that I desired to ask the Divine Goodness to mitigate them. Around 5 in the morning they mitigated; I threw myself in bed, and I fell asleep. But how great is the strength that the Lord gave you, to suffer bitter physical pains with great willingness and with desire to suffer more! But your irresistible pain is that of the privation of Jesus, which is infinitely greater than all the material sufferings of the body!
To provide the House of Trani with a Mother Superior, we have in mind an old Sister of ours, of much spirit, of discipline, Founder of one of our Houses, very pious, energetic, smart and capable of presenting herself to the Authorities. Moreover, she knows much about farming, because her family possesses various lands, and also factories, so she will be able to take care of the factory of Corato. Mother General must decide with the 4 Councilors: pray! I won’t tell you, then, how exemplary and solicitous she is for Holy Obedience.
Now I bless you with your sister and disciple.
Commend me to beloved Lord Jesus and to most sweet Mama; then, the business of Rome, and the trips of going and coming back. Fr. Palma is there, and we have to come back together. I must take the one hundred thousand Lira in Altamura, where I would go upon coming back from Rome.
With blessings, again, I say,
Yours in J.C.
Canonico M.A. di Francia
Excerpt from Letter 6 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Rome, September 4, 1926
I give you this news: yesterday, first Friday of the month of September, I presented to Our Lord the 3rd Volume, which I finished reviewing completely. Then I went to the Sacristy and I signed it at the end with my Nihil Obstat, with the authority that Msgr. Archbishop of Trani gave me by appointing me Ecclesiastical Censor for the publications of His three Dioceses. So the authorization to publish for the world these books dictated by Our Lord about His Divine Will, is now opened. Note that it was the lst Friday of the month which is dedicated each month to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Now this is my idea: to review, myself personally, with the help of the Lord, all of the other volumes which I have not yet read—that is, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10, 11th, 19th; then, after going through them, to place my Nihil Obstat; and then to pray Msgr. Archbishop of Trani, according to His promise, to place His Imprimatur on each volume, after my Nihil Obstat. It is understood that I will also place the Nihil Obstat, without new revision, on Volumes 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, which I have already reviewed, and whose originals you have. In this way, everything will be ready for the future—who knows, Our Lord may use whomever He wants.
Do you see how, in this way, the celestial plan which wants these writings to be approved by the Ecclesiastical Authority appears to be so well outlined! Who can resist the Divine Will?
I think I will come back to Corato between the 21st and the 22nd of this month of September because, in truth, if I can, I will do everything possible with the help of Our Lord in order to present to Msgr. Archbishop of Trani all of our volumes with my Nihil Obstat on September 24, which is dedicated to the Most Holy Virgin of Mercy, Redemptrix of slaves, and to have all the Imprimaturs, or at least the beginning of the Imprimaturs, on that day, so sacred and meaningful!—which also falls on a Friday.
In the meantime, let us pray, because if this point is passed, we can say that the publication is secured.
Lady Obedience imposes on you to write, either during the day or at night, everything, everything—everything that the Lord reveals to you: let nothing escape you. This is word of the Uncreated Wisdom, and one word is worth more than the whole Universe. You are not allowed, therefore, to neglect even one syllable. If you are not impeccable in this Obedience, I will ask your Archbishop to exercise greater authority over you.
I bless you and your good sister and the young girls.
Tell Rosaria (I think that this is her name) to dare no more to touch you and to caress you, as she did once in my presence, otherwise Our Lord will chastise her. Blessing you again, I commend to you a little bit my poor health, which is worsened by the years; but before all, ask Blessed Jesus for my conversion.
If you want, you can write me a few lines. My address is: Via Circonvallazione Appia, 66 – Roma (40).
Yours in J. C., our Beloved
Canonico M.A. di Francia
Volume 19- September 9, 1926
[Luisa:] …I felt concerned because holy obedience had imposed on me not to neglect even one word of that which my sweet Jesus would tell me, while I am apt to leave them out, because I am convinced that it is not necessary to write, and to entrust to the paper, certain intimate things, certain outpoutings that Jesus makes to my poor soul, but that they should remain in the secret of the heart. So I was praying that He would give me the grace not to fail the obedience. And Jesus, moving in my interior, told me: “My daughter, if the one who guides you and directs you gives you this obedience, it means that he has understood that it is I who speaks to you, as well as the value that even one single word of Mine contains. My word is light, and is full of life. So, one who possesses life, can give it; more so, since my word contains the creative power, therefore one single word of Mine can create innumerable lives of grace, lives of love, lives, of light, lives of my Will within souls. You yourself will not be able to comprehend the long way that one single word of Mine can make. Those who have ears, will listen; those who have heart, will be wounded. So, the one who guides you is right in giving you this obedience. Ah! You do not know how I assist him and remain around him, while he reads my writings and yours about my Will, so as to make him comprehend all the strength of the truths and of the great good contained in them. And he moves around my Will, and by virtue of the light he feels, he sends you this obedience. Therefore, be attentive, and I will help you and facilitate that which seems difficult to you. You must know that my Heart is swollen, It agonizes and sighs because I want to make known the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat, the great goods which are in It, and the great good which those who will possess It will receive…”
Excerpt from Letter 7 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Altamura, October 5, 1926
Monsignor Archbishop of Trani has placed His Imprimatur on seven more volumes of your writings. Meanwhile, I have finished reading the 5th and the rest, and the admirable things of the second little volume. Truly the Lord has led you with great, immense goodness and charity. On Saturday, God willing, I will leave for Oria, to begin the printing of the first volume, divided in two parts.
In the meantime, commend me to the Lord for a little bit of health, of energy, of serene mind, because without a powerful help from above, I feel I am in the decline of life, and the publication of these admirable writings requires a divine assistance and a time length of years. Who knows what the Lord will do! Pray!
Here, one of the two: either the increase of my natural strength, as if I were to go back twenty years, or the supernatural assistance of grace. But we cannot know whether the Lord Jesus wants to use me or others for this complete publication. As far as myself, I feel a great Divine assistance for penetrating into the spirit of these writings and coordinating them for the purposes of the Divine Will. Surely Our Lord can infuse this intellect in whomever He wants, I being unworthy of a Mission so holy!
Volume 20 – October 6, 1926
New martyrdom. One who does not do the Will of God cuts off the Divine Life within himself. Deprivation of the writings. Jesus consoles Luisa, showing her how everything is written in the depth of her soul.
…..I felt afflicted because when the Reverend Father came, who must occupy himself with the printing of the writings about the Most Holy Will of God, he wanted me to give him all the writings, leaving me not even those whose copies he already had. The thought that the most intimate things between me and Jesus were out, and of being unable even to go over again what Jesus had told me about His Holy Will, tormented me. And Jesus, coming back, told me:
“My daughter, why do you afflict yourself so much? You must know that everything I made you write on paper, I Myself wrote first in the depth of your soul; and then I made you put it on paper. Even more, there are more things written in you than on paper; therefore, when you feel the need to go over again what regards the truths about the Supreme Fiat, take a look at your interior and soon will you see again whatever you want. To be sure of what I am telling you, look right now into your soul, and you will see, in order, everything I have manifested to you.”
Volume 20 – October 9, 1926
The Kingdom of the Will of God is like a new Creation. Pleasure of Jesus in hearing one speak about His Will.
…Jesus: “Certainly, my daughter – it is indeed the thing that interests Me the most. You know, from within you I heard the father who took our writings with him speak about my Will to those who surrounded him, with so much love that I felt wounded deep in my Heart. So I wanted to come out of you in order to listen to him. Those are my own words which I have spoken about my Will that resound to my hearing. I hear my own echo, and therefore I want to take all the pleasure in listening to him, and I want that you too take it, as a reward for the sacrifices you have made.”
At that moment, I saw a ray of light coming out of Jesus, which extended so much as to reach the place where Reverend Father was, and investing him, it made him speak – and Jesus was all consoled in hearing the speaking about His adorable Will.
Excerpt from Letter 8 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Oria, October 15, 1926
Blessed daughter in J.C., Our Highest good, His Excellency Msgr. Archbishop of Trani to whom you belong, gave me jurisdiction over you as far as your writings and their publication—that is, to manage you and to dispose the publications as I believe is right (his words).
These faculties embrace all that you have written until now, and all that you will write in the future. The same Msgr. Archbishop was so benign as to place so much trust in me on this matter—Blessed Jesus disposing it so—that He appointed me, as you know, Ecclesiastical Reviser for the publications of His three Dioceses, and He went to the point of committing himself to placing his authoritative Imprimatur after my Nihil Obstat. And He began to do this without even examining one single volume!
From this you can understand well how everything was Will of God, and that regarding the double aspect of yourself in relation to your writings, and of the writings themselves, present and future—you are under my exclusive obedience.
Let us not even consider that something similar can be seen in your recent Revelations; but above these, there is the concept of the aforementioned authorities over you and over the writings, given to me by the Ecclesiastical Authority.
Some time ago, you wrote me that you are afraid of the obediences I may give you. But it is about time that you banish these fears of the love of self, as well as any reluctance or repugnance, when it comes to the Glory of God and the good of souls.
Until now you have formed for yourself a formidable idea of Holy Obedience, to the point of comparing it almost to a tyrant. But it is time to change language. Imagine the new Obedience, instead, like a most passionate Mother who has one daughter alone, whom she loves dearly, and all of her commitment is in raising her a saint, in rendering her wholly of Jesus, net for souls in the Holy Church, and most docile instrument in the hands of God. As much as she is tender and passionate in love toward this only daughter, this Mother, who has her origin from the very Heart of Jesus, will yet be strong in using all the appropriate means for the success of her beloved daughter, leading her to the purpose; nor should she let herself be conquered or hindered by the laments, the little tears, or the childlike reluctances of her tender daughter.
The great Lord of this tender Mother is in regions far away, and He entrusted the little daughter to her, so that this Mother, tender and strong, may raise her for Him to true sanctity, and perfect observance of the commands of the Mother, to the extent of becoming completely submitted to her. And when the Lord comes to verify the happy outcome of the little daughter, and finds her mature in Holy Obedience, and has then exhausted all His designs for the fulfillment of the third Fiat—then, the beloved creature will be delivered to Him once again, and after having espoused her in the consummation of His Divine Will, He will take her with Him to the eternal wedding.
Having considered all this, it is necessary that you, dearest daughter in J. C., do the Holy Obedience, not by force and with pain, but with generous spirit and with holy joy and gaiety, knowing of fulfilling, in this way, the Divine Will, and of cooperating for the glory of the Most High, for the greater consolation of the Heart of Jesus, and for the good of souls.
Therefore, in sight of the Divine Will which manifests Itself here, and which many times has equally manifested Itself, I, in the Most Holy Name of Jesus and with the Authority which has been conferred to me by your legitimate Ecclesiastical Superior, give you absolute and strong obedience to write precisely, day by day, night by night, time by time, everything that happens between you and Jesus!—be they even the most intimate things!
I told you of the comparison with precious pearls, and you added that the Lord had compared His words with precious diamonds, none of which must be lost!
Meanwhile, I also give you the obedience that when you finish writing the 20th volume, you let me know, so that I may take it, place my Nihil Obstat, and have His Excellency Msgr. Leo, Archbishop of Trani, place the Imprimatur.
Appendix to this letter:
This very morning after finishing this letter, continuing to read volume 7, on page 80, October 13, I read: “As I heard Jesus pronounce the word ‘desires’, I said to Him: ‘My Highest Good, my desire would be that of no longer writing—how much it weighs on me! If it weren’t for fear of going out of Your Will and of displeasing You, I would do it.’ And He, interrupting me, added: ‘You do not want it, and I do want it. Whatever I say to you—write it out of obedience. For now it serves as mirror for you and for those who take part in your direction; the time will come when it will serve as mirror for others. Therefore, everything you write which was said by Me, can be called: divine mirror. And you would want to take this divine mirror away from My creatures? Watch this seriously, My daughter, and do not want to restrict this mirror of Grace by not writing.’”
So, watch this seriously! And do not be displeased with this most Passionate Mother! But execute her orders with gladness! Jesus wants it!
Volume 7 – October 13, 1906
Detachment. Necessity of these writings, which are a Divine Mirror.
As I was in my usual state, my good Jesus made Himself seen for a little while, and He told me: “My daughter, in order to know whether a soul is stripped of everything, it is enough to see this: if holy or even indifferent desires arise within her and she is ready to sacrifice them to the Divine Volition with holy peace, it means that she is stripped; but if she becomes disturbed and upset, it means that she is keeping something for herself.”
Hearing the word “desire”, I said: ‘My highest Good, my desire is that I would rather not write any more. How it weighs on me – if it wasn’t for fear of going out of your Will and of displeasing You, I would not do it.’ And He, breaking my words off, added: “You do not want it, and I want it. That which I say to you, and which you write out of obedience, for now, serves as a mirror for you and for those who take part in directing you; but the time will come when it will serve as a mirror for others. So, that which you write, spoken by Me, can be called ‘Divine Mirror’. And you would want to take this Divine Mirror away from my creatures? Watch it, seriously, my daughter, and do not want to restrict this Mirror of Grace by not writing everything.” On hearing this, I remained confused and humiliated, with a great repugnance to write these last words of His, but obedience absolutely imposed it on me, and only to obey, I wrote. Deo Gratias.
Excerpt from Letter 9 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, October 29, 1926
Little by little, as each volume is printed, I will give you back the manuscript. I make you also reflect on the fact that this Treasure may be just as well kept in a Religious Institute, as in your home. Jesus wanted the writings to come temporarily to Messina, and He will keep them.
The printing cannot be done in Messina; it will have to be done in Oria, and I am hoping to send tomorrow the first little work to be printed. Meanwhile, I am writing a Preface—a little long, but it doesn’t matter. But since Our Adorable Lord insists, so that the writings—that is, the great teachings about the Divine Will—come to the light soon, I will divide each volume into two parts: the first part will contain the teaching about the virtues and the like; the second part will enter into the topic of the Divine Will. This, until we get to the Volumes which talk exclusively about the Divine Will. Then each volume will deal with this great topic.
You say that at the beginning of Volume 20 there is something regarding me. Well, do not delay—transcribe it for me, that I may regulate myself according to the Adorable Divine Volition. Volume 20- September 28, 1926.
I want to let you know, for the tranquillity of your conscience, that the Obedience to write everything is not under penalty of grave sin, but only for the greater satisfaction of Adorable Jesus, for His glory, for your sanctification, and for the good of souls. But if you neglect completely to write, then the sin would be grave.
As far as the copies of several other Volumes still to be made, do not think that this is a matter of a short time.
I would hope to complete the whole printing in at least five years, and with a cost of one million—maybe more.
Volume 20 – September 28, 1926
Great affliction of Luisa because of the printing of the writings. Jesus wants them in His keeping. Jesus pushes the Father who must occupy himself with it.
I felt oppressed and as though crushed under the weight of a profound humiliation, because I had been told that not only what regards the Will of God must be printed, but also what regards all the other things that my lovable Jesus has told me. My pain was such as to take away from me even the words, to be able to say something so that they would not do it; nor was I able to pray to my beloved Jesus, that He would not allow it. Everything was silence, inside and outside of me. Then, my lovable Jesus, moving in my interior, pressed me to Himself to infuse in me courage and strength; and He told me: “My daughter, I do not want you to look at what you have written as yours, but to look at it as Mine, and as something that does not belong to you. You must not enter into it at all; I will take care of everything. Therefore I want you to place it in my keeping; and as you write, I want you to give it to Me as a gift, that I may be free to do whatever I want. To you will be left only what you need in order to live in my Will. I have given you as many precious gifts for as many knowledges as I have manifested to you; and you – you want to give Me no gift?”
And I: ‘My Jesus, forgive me; I myself would not want to feel what I feel. Thinking that what has passed between me and You will be known by others makes me restless, and gives me such pain that I myself cannot explain. Therefore, give me strength; I abandon myself in You, and I give everything to You.’
And Jesus added: “My daughter, I like it this way. It is my glory, the triumph of my Will that requires all this; but It wants – It demands that Its first triumph be over you. Aren’t you happy to become the victory, the triumph of this Supreme Will? Do you not want, then, to make any sacrifice so that this Supreme Kingdom may be known and possessed by the creatures? I too know that you suffer very much in seeing that, after many years of secret between Me and you, in which I have kept you hidden with so much jealousy, our secrets are now coming out – you feel strongly affected. But when it is I who want it, you too must want it; therefore, let us be in agreement and do not worry.”
Then, after this, He made me see Reverend Father; and Jesus was beside him, placing His holy right hand on his head to infuse in him firmness, help and will, saying to him: “My son, hurry, do not lose time. I will help you; I will be near you, so that everything may go well and according to my Will. Just as I care that my Will be known, and just as I have dictated the writings about the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat with paternal goodness, so will I help with the printing. I will be in the midst of those who will occupy themselves with it, so that everything may be regulated by Me. Therefore, hurry, hurry.”
Volume 20- November 6, 1926
[Jesus to Luisa:] “My daughter, courage, let Me finish to manifest to you all that is necessary, regarding the Kingdom of my Will, so that nothing may be missing in order to form It in the midst of the human family. Then, after I have completed everything, I will quickly bring you into our Fatherland. Do you think you will see the full triumph of the Kingdom of the Eternal Fiat before coming to Heaven? Its full triumph you will see from Heaven. It will happen to you as it happened to Me with the Kingdom of Redemption. I did everything that was needed; I formed the foundation, I gave the laws and the counsels which were needed; I instituted the Sacraments, I left the Gospel as the rule of their life, I suffered unheard-of pains unto death, but while being on earth, I saw little or almost nothing of the fruits and of the carrying out of Redemption. After I did everything, having nothing left to do, I entrusted everything to the Apostles, that they might be the criers of the Kingdom of Redemption, so that the fruits of the works I did for the Kingdom of Redemption might come out.
The same will happen for the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat. We will do It together, my daughter. Your pains, your long sacrifices, your incessant prayers that my Kingdom may come soon, and my manifestations about It – I will unite everything together with Me and will form the foundations. Once I have completed everything, I will entrust my Kingdom to my ministers, so that, like second Apostles of the Kingdom my Will, they may be the criers of It.
Do you think that the coming of Father Di Francia, who shows so much interest and who has taken to heart the publication of what regards my Will, came by chance? No, no – I Myself disposed it. It is a providential act of the Supreme Will that wants him as first apostle of the Divine Fiat and proclaimer of It. And since he happens to be the founder of an order, it is easier for him to approach Bishops, Priests and people, also within his own institute, in order to proclaim the Kingdom of my Will. This is why I assist him so much and I give him special light, because in order to understand my Will it takes great graces – not little lights; it takes a sun to comprehend a Divine, Holy and Eternal Will, as well as great disposition on the part of the one to whom this office is entrusted. And then, I Myself disposed also the daily coming of the Priest, in order to find soon the first apostles of the Fiat of my Kingdom, that they might proclaim that which regards my Eternal Will. Therefore, let Me finish first, so that after I have completed it, I may entrust it to the new Apostles of my Will; and you will be able to come to Heaven, to see from up there the fruits of the longed for Kingdom of the Eternal Fiat.”
Volume 20- November 27, 1926
I was all abandoned in the arms of the adorable Will, and I prayed my sweet Jesus to make use of an act of His Power so that the Supreme Will might invest the human generations; and binding them to Itself, It might form Its first children, so longed for by It. And my Highest Good, moving in my interior, told me: “My daughter, when someone has a special mission, this person is called mother, or father. Whoever originates from this fulfilled mission can be called daughter of this mother. True mother means to carry a birth within her womb, to form it with her own blood, to bear pains, sacrifices, and if necessary, to expose her own life in order to give life to the birth of her womb. When this birth has matured in her womb and has come out to light, then, with justice, by right and with reason, this birth is called son, and the one who generated him, mother. Therefore, in order to be mother, it is necessary to first form all the limbs in one’s own interior – to generate them in one’s own blood, and the acts of these children must be generated from the very heart of their mother.
Now, my daughter, in order to be daughter of my Will, you have been generated in It; in It you have been formed. And in forming you, the light, the love of my Will, more than blood, grafted Its manners, Its attitude, Its working in you, making you embrace everyone and everything. This is so true that, since you are a birth from It, It calls you now ‘newborn of my Will’, now ‘my little daughter’. Now, only one who has been generated by It, can generate the children of my Will; therefore, you will be the mother of the generation of Its children.”
And I: ‘My Jesus, what are You saying? I am not good at being daughter – how can I be mother?’
And Jesus: “Yet, from you must come the generation of these children. What mother has suffered so much? Who has been confined in a bed for forty years and more, for the love of forming a birth from herself, and of giving to the light the generation of her children? No one. What mother, as good as she may be, has sacrificed her entire existence to the point of enclosing within herself the thoughts, the heartbeats, the works, so that everything might be reordered in the birth she carried, wanting to give life to it – not once, but as many times for as many acts as her child does? No one. Do you yourself not feel within yourself the generations of these children, by following their thoughts, words, works, steps, in order to reorder them all in my Will? Do you not feel like wanting to give life to each one, provided that they may know my Will and be regenerated in It? Everything you do in your interior and suffer, is nothing other than the formation and the maturation of this birth, all of Heaven. This is why I have told you many times: your mission is great, there is no one who can equal it, and highest attention is needed.”
Then, I felt oppressed because it had been written to me that reverend father Di Francia was having the memories of my childhood printed, as well as everything that follows; and in my sorrow I said to my beloved Jesus: ‘My love, look at what they are up to – from making known what You have told me about the virtues and about your adorable Will, they are putting what regards myself. At most, they should do this after my death – not now. Only for me there was this confusion and this highest sorrow; for the others – no. Ah! Jesus, give me the strength to do your holy Will also in this.’ And Jesus, clasping me in His arms to give me strength, all goodness, told me: “My daughter, do not afflict yourself so much. You must know that the other sanctities are little lights which form in the soul, and these lights are subject to grow, to decrease, and even to be extinguished; therefore, it is not right to pass it for press while one is still living in time, before the light is no longer subject to be extinguished by passing to the other life. What impression would one make, if it became known that this light no longer exists?
On the other hand, the sanctity of living in my Will is not light, but sun; therefore it is not subject either to become poor in light, or to be extinguished. Who can ever touch the sun? Who can take away from it even one drop of light? No one. Who can extinguish one atom of its heat? Who can make it descend even a thousandth from its place, from the height at which it reigns and dominates all the earth? No one. If there was not the Sun of my Supreme Fiat, I would not have allowed the printing. Instead, I am in a hurry, because the good that a sun can do, cannot be done by a light. In fact, the good of a light is too limited, and neither does it produce a great good if it is displayed, nor does it cause a great damage if it is not manifested. The good of the sun, instead, embraces everything; it does good to all, and not letting it rise as early as possible is a great damage, while it is a great good to let it rise even one day earlier. Who can tell of the good that a sunny day can produce? More so with the Sun of my Eternal Will. Therefore, the greater the delay, the more sunny days are taken away from the creatures, and the more days are taken away from the sun, constraining its rays within Our Celestial Fatherland.”
Excerpt from Letter 10 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta:
Messina, Started November 19, 1926; finished November 23, 1926
I am finishing the 11th Volume, which is all filled with Divine Will. With this, I complete the reading of those seven Volumes which still do not have the Imprimatur. As soon as they are ready, I will place my Nihil Obstat on them, and I will send my Lay Brother to Trani to Msgr. Archbishop, so that He may place His Imprimatur. In this way, this very important issue of obtaining the ecclesiastical approval for any event in the future, will be taken care of. It will be a point surpassed for which we must thank Our Lord with immense gratitude.
I thank you for the words you have copied for me regarding the Divine task which Our Lord, in His infinite goodness, deigned to give to miserable me and to my people, of publishing the marvels of His Divine Will. In this way Our Lord shows that everything is His work.
The printing has already begun—precisely, that of your childhood. I am preparing a preface for the whole work. I could not obtain that the printing would begin at the Press of my Institute in Messina because they have many works there; so it started at the Press of Oria, in which I have many of our young typographers who, quickly and with great love, have appreciated very much the privilege conceded to them by Our Lord to publish these writings.
As I keep reading, I take a few notes about observations which I hope to discuss with you personally. Meanwhile, may my meager prayers and yours, more worthy, run in the immensity of the Divine Will of the Most Holy Humanity of Jesus Christ and of His Divinity, with which He operated in the Will of His Divine Father, so that Our Lord, by the intercession of His Most Holy Mother, of His Angels, and of His Saints, may want to give to you and me the grace to fulfill this Work of Heaven. Thus the outcome will have its perfect fulfillment, in one way or another, or in a way which we don’t know yet.
There are also points in your writings in which the patience and the kindness of Our Lord toward you appear in an admirable way. Then I suspend the reading to recite quite a few Glory Be’s of thanksgiving to Our Lord for His great kindness toward you.
P.S. The publication of the entire work, with the printing, will be of about 25 thousand copies. And since the work will be fairly thick, because it is the Divine Word that speaks, and this is substantial Word of the Eternal Father, you can understand well how great the expense will have to be. But the Great Divine Treasurer certainly does not lack the means, even if it should cost a million. Besides, the books will be sold quickly, maybe more than the Hours of the Passion, and the money spent will return, and maybe even more.
Fr. Annibale worked tirelessly to prepare all of Luisa’s writings for publication and to disseminate those which had already been approved. The Archbishop of Trani-Nazareth put him in charge of all of Luisa’s writings.
Excerpt from Letter 11 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, January 8, 1927
In the Spring, if Our Lord Jesus kindly gives me life and health, I will withdraw to Oria for at least the whole Summer and part of the Fall; in this way the printing will run more rapidly.
You will receive some ink for the fountain pen. It is good, but we were not able to find those little bottles “Insuperabile” in Messina. Give us the address of the city and the factory where it comes from, and we will write them.
Excerpt from Letter11 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, January 24, 1927
Dearest one in the Lord,
I received your letter, and I tell you that you still do not have the obedience to leave this world. You will have the obedience in the Divine Will, when the Divine Incarnate Word, most sweet Jesus, has completed His Revelations, which, how much longer will last, we do not know.
Let me know whether during this period of your fever the Revelations have continued, or have been suspended; and whether you are writing as usual, or not.
As far as your fever goes, take a hot tisane of chamomile flowers for a few nights. If you want, and if it seems appropriate to you, you may also call a doctor. For this, do as Father Calvi tells you.
For myself, I let you know that I am not in good health. I feel my strength exhausting, and I spend some nights sleepless. I had to suspend, in the middle of it, the work of the correction of the proofs. I would shock you in telling you how the infernal enemy trampled me in order to destroy me when I was doing this work. For the time being, I had to suspend. We have started special prayers to the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Without a special help from Our Lord, I will not be able to go on. Pray, but don’t think of leaving us.
I bless you. I am dictating this letter from my bed, today, Monday 24th of January, at about 3 O’clock in the afternoon. I bless you again along with your sister. If you need something, make use, freely, of our money which you have with you – relieve your poor sister. Many obsequies to Father Calvi and to the sisters Cimadomo.
In the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, I say,
Can.co Annibale M. Di Francia
Volume 20- January 28, 1927
How Our Lord will have three Kingdoms. The Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat will be the echo of the Creation. How poverty and unhappiness will be banished. How in Our Lord and in the Virgin there was voluntary poverty, not forced. How the Divine Will is jealous of taking care of Its daughter.
…Then, since most reverend Father Di Francia heard that I had a fever, he let me know that, if I were in need, I should take whatever I needed from the money he had left with me for one of his works. And my lovable Jesus, in coming, almost smiling said to me: “My daughter, let father know, in my name, that I thank him and I will reward the goodness of his heart for the care he has for you. However, let him know that the daughter of my Will has no need of anything, for my Will abounds with everything; even more, It is jealous that others may offer something, because It alone wants to give everything to Its daughter. In fact, wherever my Divine Will reigns, there is no danger that natural means and abundance of goods may do harm; on the contrary, the more means she has, and the more abundance she enjoys, the more she looks at the Power, the Goodness, the wealth of the Supreme Fiat in them, and she converts everything into most pure gold of Divine Will. So, the more my Will gives to her, the more It feels glorified in carrying out Its life in the creature, in offering Its own things to the one who lets It dominate and reign. It would be absurd if a very wealthy father had poor children – such a father would deserve to be condemned. And then, what would be the purpose of his riches if the birth that came from his own body – his very children – conducted a life of hardships and miseries? Would it not be a dishonor for this father, and an unbearable bitterness for these children – knowing that, while the father is extremely wealthy, they lack everything and can hardly satisfy their hunger?
Volume 20- January 30, 1927
Why Jesus did not write. How in these manifestations there are neither threats nor frights, but the echo of the Celestial Fatherland. When this Kingdom will come. How the pains of the Most Holy Virgin and those of Our Lord were pains of their office, and how They possessed true happiness. Power of voluntary pains; happiness of the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat.
I was thinking to myself: ‘My sweet Jesus told me many times that I had to imitate Him in everything; yet, He never wrote. Only once it is said in the Gospel that He wrote, but not even with a pen, rather, with His finger; yet, He wants me to write. So, He wants to make me go out of His imitation – He did not write at all, and I must write so much.’ Now, while I was thinking of this, He came as a gracious little child; and placing Himself in my arms, drawing His face near mine, He told me: “My daughter, give Me your kisses, and I will give you Mine.”
Then, after I kissed Him various times, He incited me to kiss Him again, and then He said to me: “My daughter, do you want to know why I did not write? Because I was to write through you. It is I who animate your intelligence, who feed you the words, who give motion to your hand with my hand, to make you hold the pen and write the words on paper. So, it is I who am writing, not you. You do nothing but pay attention to what I want to write. Therefore, all of your work is attention – the rest, I do all by Myself. Do you yourself not see how many times you have no strength to write and you decide not to do it; and in order to make you touch with your own hand that it is I who write, I invest you, and animating you with my own life, I Myself write what I want? How many times have you not experienced this? Now, since an age was to pass before making known the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat, to allow some time in order to first make known the Kingdom of Redemption and then the other of the Divine Fiat, I decreed not to write at that time, but to write together with you, through you, when this Kingdom would be nearer, also to give a new surprise to the creatures with the excess of love of this Will of Mine – what It did, what It suffered, and what It wants to do for love of them.
Fr. Annial’s health became so poor that he could not celebrate Mass, but he did not complain. Fr. Annibale said, “I want to fulfill His Will. The Lord’s Will is above all things, the Holy Mass included.”( Vitale, Rev. Francis, p. 360.)
Volume 17 – June 25, 1925
I said to Him: ‘My Jesus and my Life, it seems to me that it takes complete sacrifice in order to do your Will and live in It. At first sight, it seems nothing; but then, in the practice, it seems difficult. Not having a single breath of one’s own will, even in holy things, in good itself, seems to be too painful for the human nature. Therefore, will souls never be able to come to living in your Will with the complete sacrifice of everything?’ And Jesus added:
“My daughter, everything is in understanding the great good that comes to her by doing my Will, what this Will is which wants this sacrifice, and how this Will does not adapt Itself to mixing and living with a low, small and finite will. It wants to render the acts of the soul who wants to live in my Will eternal, infinite and divine. And how can It do this, if she wants to put in the breath of her human will, be it even a holy thing, as you say? It is always a finite will; and then the living in my Will would no longer be a reality, but a way of speaking. On the other hand, the office of my Will is total dominion, and it is right that the little atom of the human will be conquered, and that it lose its field of action in my Will. What would you say if a little lamp, a match, or a spark of fire, wanted to enter into the sun to make its own way and form its field of light and of action in the center of the sun? If the sun had reason, it would become indignant, and its light and heat would annihilate that little lamp, that match, that spark; and you would be the first one to mock them, condemning their boldness in wanting to form their own field of action within the light of the sun. Such is the breath of the human will within Mine – even in good. Therefore, be attentive, so that in nothing may your will have life. I covered you and hid you completely within Myself, that you may have no eye but to look at my Will alone, to give It free field of action in your soul. Rather, the difficulty will be in comprehending the living in my Will – not in sacrificing oneself. In fact, once they have understood the great good that comes to them – that, from poor, they will become rich; from slaves to vile passions, they will become free and dominating; from servants, masters; from unhappy, happy, even amid the pains of this poor life – and all the goods which are in my Will, the total sacrifice of everything will be an honor for them; it will be desired, wanted, and longed for. This is why I push you so much to manifest what regards my Will – because everything will be in comprehending It, knowing It and loving It.”
Excerpt from Letter 13 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, February 14, 1927
Do not be worried about your manuscripts in the case that the Lord should call me to Himself; in fact, since you are living, they would be delivered to you, or the Lord would destine someone to continue this printing. And if you were in Heaven, together with me, we would converse with Our Lord, beloved Jesus. In any case, it seems to me that we should not worry about this; the manuscripts are kept in a little closet and, in substance, they are neither mine nor yours, nor of anyone, but of Jesus—”Books of Heaven,” as He called them; and He Himself knows what He has to do with them.
Currently, they serve for the printing, and they are being copied, although to copy them all, it will take a considerable time.
Here I myself, together with the secretary Sister, have corrected the proofs of many pages of the 1st Volume, which had been copied because the original cannot be given to the typographers at all; yet, I can say that it is often necessary to check if the copies are conformed to the originals.
It seems to me that what you wrote to me is coming true—that is, the demons are enraged because they see me involved in this publication; and unable to act on me externally, because I do not walk on those paths, they act interiorly in order to destroy me and, by reflection, destroy also my health.
In all this I also seem to see the permission of the Lord, who disposes all this in order to place my soul into an unusual purgation, maybe precisely because of the great Work I must publish.
During these assaults, I keep in mind what Our Lord teaches in one of the Revelations—that one must not huddle himself within his own will, but should make a jump into the Divine Will, where the weak become strong, the sick healthy, the poor, rich, etc. I often make these jumps into the Divine Will, but everything in a state of aridity. A few times some feeling added. Anyway, days are not always the same, but ups and downs, and in spite of the troubles of mine, I do not neglect to correct the proofs and to send them to Oria with letters in which I explain what to do. In sum, in order to work on this Holy Work, I expect neither recovery nor the liberation of my spiritual state, but a commitment to serve Our Lord, since He Himself said, if you remember, that I must not lose time in pushing the publication forward.
My people are grieving because of my state, but sometimes, joking, I would say that I am in the novitiate, for mine is a training that the Great Divine Master is making me do, to render me suitable for such a great enterprise. Truly, the enterprise is great—first, because of the importance of these Divine Revelations; second, because of the hard work which must be done for the publication, for which I believe Our Lord has given me special lights, as you will see from the first printed Volume that will be published, with the help of the Lord, with my going to Oria next Spring, with the help of God.
I am glad that you are doing a little better with your health; so you will again be able to write everything that Our Lord will dictate to you about His Eternal Divine Will. Who knows when His Revelations will end?
For now, keep Volume 20 with you.
You tell me that in this 20th Volume there are things for which it seems incredible how much our Supreme God has done for us! It is indeed so.
I also tell you that in reading the nine Exercises of Christmas, of which we have already prepared the proofs, one remains astounded at the immense Love and the immense suffering of Our blessed Lord Jesus Christ for love of us, and for the salvation of souls. I have never read in any other book on this topic a Revelation so touching and penetrating!
For everything, let us give glory to our blessed Lord!
And now, I cannot do without commending myself, warmly, to your prayers before Our Blessed Lord Jesus, for the work, for the strength, and for the tranquility of spirit and of mind in order to publish—or better, to compile, to reorder and to publish—these most precious writings, according to the enlightenments which I seem to have received by Our Lord, that He may want to restrain the infernal legions with His Divine Power, so that they may not succeed in destroying me. And for this, also commit the power of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, that She may Keep Lucifer and his demons in chains, and may keep me sheltered under Her maternal mantle.
Know that I no longer occupy myself with almost anything of the other things of my Institutes, since I dedicated myself completely to the great Work of the Divine Will. I talk about it with people of spirit; I engage in conversation about this topic with whomever I best can; I promote it as much as I can, also in my Institutes. As soon as possible, with divine help, we will establish the Pious Universal Union for the Children of the Divine Will, with the little chaplet included, about which I wrote you the other time.
You wrote me that whenever I write and speak with others about this topic, Adorable Jesus seems to go out of your heart (in which He always remains), in order to come to listen to what we say here in Messina; and He is pleased.
Therefore, in this state, now light, now grave, of interior perturbations and of aridity in which I find myself, help me with your prayers before your beloved Spouse and my most loving Father, Jesus, that He may give me confidence, patience, and transformation in His Divine Fiat—in sum, that He may make me do a good novitiate.
This enterprise is great not only because of everything I told you, but consider that it is about 25 thousand copies of the whole Work, of all the volumes, present and future; therefore it is an enterprise of millions of lira.
Those dear young men of mine in Oria, the typographers, are working with great affection and great care; and I assure you that the edition presents itself as very beautiful, and I hope to send you a sample soon.
From the handwriting of this letter, you will notice that I have a secretary, as I told you the other time, who is Sister M. of the Eucharist, to whom the Lord is giving this great grace of cooperating with me in the compilation and in the revision of the proofs, letters, recordings, keeping of the manuscripts in the little archive, etc. . . She commends herself very much to your prayers, that she may fulfill her offices well.
I keep explaining my thoughts regarding the compilation and publication of this great Work to Canco Vitale, a Priest so very dear to me, and to my young Priests; and since they are very intelligent and of good spirit, they might be my successors in this great work, if the Lord should call me to Himself. And they would proceed with the same method and system which I started.
Excerpt from Letter 14 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, February 23, 1927
Dearest one in Jesus Christ, our Highest Good – blessed daughter,
Your letter has been of great comfort for me. I feel I have become a nothing before the great Mercy of the Lord, and the great deposit of the Revelations about the Divine Will!
Last night, unexpectedly, I had a tranquil sleep, as in the times of my good health, and I was able to celebrate Holy Mass at 6 in the morning. This is why I sent you the second telegram – that you might be tranquil, though you always are, by the grace of the Lord, as the Firstborn Daughter of the Divine Will. Unworthily, I pray for you, that Our Lord may not let you struggle so much in finding Him, and that He may always be near you to comfort you and to sustain you along the hard pilgrimage of life, until He introduces you into His celestial Glory.
Yesterday I wrote to Oria for the publication of the Divine Will, whose first sheets are in the course of being printed.
Also the Press of the girls’ Mother House here in Messina is printing a little work about the Divine Will, which I believe will be of great effect, and very pleasing to our Lord. It is a spiritual universal Pious Union, called ‘Children of the Divine Will’. It will be instituted in a very simple way. There will be neither registers, nor regulations, nor reunions, nor payments, nor obligations of conscience. With the help of the Lord we will print thousands of Cards on which there will be the recitation of the little chaplet of the Divine Will, formed of an ejaculatory prayer taken from the Our Father, in two parts:
Fiat, Domine, Voluntas tua,
Sicut in Coelo et in Terra. Amen.
It is preceded by the recitation of the Pater, Ave and Gloria. After 10 repetitions, by oneself or in company, there is the Glory Be, and so on for 5 decades; and then, for as many as one wants. In the Card there will be many other little things, specifically about the Kingdom of the Divine Will and the Children of It. The 5 decades end in this way:
Lord Jesus, we praise You, we love You, we bless You and we thank You,
God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in your Holy and Eternal Divine Will. Amen.
I will present this Pious Union, with ecclesiastical approval, to the Sacred Congregation for the Indulgences in Rome, and I hope it will be enriched with holy Indulgences. It will serve to spread the publications and the knowledge of the Revelations about the Divine Will throughout the world.
If the Adorable Heart of Jesus will deign to give me back strengths, energy, health, and especially His divine Grace, these Cards will be translated into many languages and spread in many nations. On them, there will be an announcement about the upcoming publication of the Revelations.
I don’t know if you remember that in one of your visions you saw Jesus giving a sob of anguish that penetrated Heaven and earth, because of the sins of man. But soon after He sent out a cry of joy, because He saw the Children of His Divine Will appear in the world.
Since this Pious Union does not have special forms of regulation, everyone can belong to it, from any status and class – men, women, Religious, lay people, etc.
Excerpt from Letter 15 of Saint di Francia to he Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, February 24, 1927 (morning)
Last night I had an hour of terrible interior distress, which added to my great difficulty in breathing, and especially because of a trifle, which, maybe, was imaginary—the fear of a physical trouble in my ear. It was a most painful hour—I could find no refuge! The enemy, or I myself, put a thought into me: “Leave this publication—if only you had never started.” I said to the enemy: “No, no, no,” and I blessed Jesus, etc., etc. All of a sudden, I don’t know how, I found myself asleep. Your letter of comfort preceded the terrible fight of last night! Comfort me, still, if Jesus inspires you!
Excerpt from Letter 16 of Saint di Francia to The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, March 4, 1927
I received your second letter. The first one I gave to Mother Superior to read, and also to some of the Old Sisters, and all of us have remained consoled—also my Priests, because the rumor has spread in our Institutes that the Lord, by His infinite goodness, has destined me to start up to a good point, the publication of the Divine Will, and therefore all of them hope for my healing—as I do too.
In truth, it seems that the Lord wants it, both because He has placed all of the writings—that is, the great deposit of His Divine Revelations—in our power, and also because of the special enlightenment that the Lord has given me on how to regulate the publication, which you will see rather soon in the first booklet that is being printed in Oria; and also because of the great means and equipment that are necessary, as well as labor—and of all this, the Lord has given us, and gives us, a unique abundance.
If these works were to be published in an external press, it would be an expense of hundreds of thousands of lira—and it would even reach a million. Another sign is the terrible war that the devil has been waging against me in order to destroy me—by divine permission, so that I myself may begin the practice of the Divine Will.
In my afflictions, I have kept in mind that everything is the love of Jesus that operates. Your advice and suggestions are most dear to me, but I am still a baby in this great Science of the Divine Will. I thank you very much for your holy encouragements.
As far as the Pious Universal Union of the Children of the Divine Will, I have not conceived it in the way you understood, that is, with many houses that should be formed in the world of Sisters dedicated as Daughters of the Divine Will. In this way the Institution would not be universal, nor could it develop rapidly. In the way I conceived it, all Religious Houses of men and women, and all lay categories, and any person in the entire world., can become son or daughter of the Divine Will, by simply accepting the Card, and reciting every day, with no obligation of conscience, 5 decades of the ejaculatory prayer: “Fiat, Lord, Your Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven. Amen.” Alternating with the Glory Be, and with the premise of an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be. There will not be registers for memberships, nor regulations, but men and women supporters to spread the Cards.
As far as our House in Corato, it is understood that our Sisters and all of the internal and external personnel will be Children of the Divine Will.
Letter 16 continued on March 8, 1927:
P.S. The proofs are being reviewed by my people. As far as the writings, don’t worry. If I should pass away, my Priests have received from me all the lights that the Lord has given me, and they will continue the work.
I apologize to dear Father Calvi, but we are already a Religious Order approved by the Holy Church, and therefore we can give greater guarantee than a simple individual. And then, how could Fr. Calvi manage to improvise press, labor, means, etc., etc., etc.?
Therefore let us follow the Divine Will.
Excerpt from Letter 17 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, March 13, 1927
A first section of the first volume will come out as soon as possible, with the stamps of Oria; and you will still remain unknown.
However, a Preface is indispensable. I have it in my mind, and if I could dictate it, it would be as it should be in order to call attention to the whole Work and to its great interest. But I cannot dictate it because my exhaustion is grave!
Volume 21- March 19, 1927
Concern on whether one who does not complete his mission on earth, will fulfill it in Heaven. How the mission of the Fiat will be extremely long. The order of the infinite Wisdom.
I was concerned about the health of Rev. Father Di Francia. The letters I had received from him were almost alarming. I was thinking about the destiny of my writings, since he had had so much interest in taking them all with him – where would they end up, if our Lord took him with Him to the Celestial Fatherland? And then, his mission for the publication of the knowledges about the Fiat would be without fruit, because one could say he has done nothing yet. At the most, it can be called the beginning – the will he has to do the publication – but in order to put out a work so long, who knows how long it takes. And just as for Father it will be a mission without fruit, if Jesus takes him away at the very beginning, so it will be for me, if I am fortunate enough to go to my Fatherland. What will be the fruit of my mission – of having sacrificed myself so much, of spending entire nights writing? Also the many interests of Jesus will be without fruit, because – He Himself said it – only then does a good bring fruit, when it is known. Therefore, if they are not known, they will remain as hidden fruits, without anyone receiving the good which they contain.
Now, while I was thinking about this, my sweet Jesus moved in my interior and told me: “My daughter, one who has been given a mission, and has only just started it, or has not completed the carrying out of his mission, and at that very moment I bring him to Heaven with Me, will continue his mission from up there, because he will bring, in the depth of his soul, the deposit of the good of the knowledges which he has acquired in life. In Heaven, he will comprehend them with more clarity; and in comprehending the great good of the knowledges about the Supreme Fiat, he will pray, and will make all Heaven pray, that they be known on earth; and will impetrate a light more clear for those who will have to occupy themselves with them. More so, since each knowledge about my Will will bring him one more glory – a greater happiness; and as they become known on earth, his glory and happiness will be redoubled, because this will be the fulfillment of his own mission, which he had the desire to accomplish in his will, and it is right that he receive the fruit of his mission, as it is carried out on earth. This is why I told him to hurry, and I pushed him so much not to waste time – because I wanted him not only to start, but to advance greatly with the publication of the knowledges about the Eternal Fiat, so that he would not do everything from Heaven. One who has completed his mission on earth, can say: ‘My mission is finished’; but one who has not completed it, must complete it from Heaven.
As for you, then, your mission is extremely long, nor will you be able to complete it on earth. Until all the knowledges are known, and the Kingdom of the Divine Will is known upon earth, your mission can not be called finished. In Heaven you will have much to do; my Will, which has kept you busy on earth for the sake of Its Kingdom, will not let you be without working together with It in Heaven. It will always keep you in Its company; therefore, you will do nothing but descend and ascend from Heaven to earth, to help to establish my Kingdom, with decorum, honor and glory. This will be for you of great delight, happiness and highest glory – to see your littleness that, united to my Will, has transported Heaven onto earth, and the earth into Heaven. Greater contentment you could not receive. More so, since you will see the glory of your Creator completed on the part of his creatures, the order re-established, the whole Creation with its full splendor, and man, Our dear jewel, at his place of honor. What will be Our highest contentment, Our highest glory, Our happiness without end – as well as yours – in seeing the purpose of Creation fulfilled? To you, then, We will give the name of Redemptrix of Our Will, constituting you mother of all the children of Our Fiat. Aren’t you happy?”
Excerpt from Letter 18 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, March 24, 1927
One of my greatest torments at night is that of not being able to breathe well.
In the middle of so many troubles, day and night, I don’t know how I can resist—there is certainly an extraordinary grace. Good-bye to the work on the Publication of the printing; good-by to the Pious Universal Union for the Children of the Divine Will! The doctors assure me that my organism is healthy—perfect the pulse, the heart, the kidneys, the stomach. They only noticed that at one point, under my shoulder blade, the pleura adheres to the lung. They assure me that this inconvenience can be overcome; that many have had it and are now well. I don’t know what to say; it seems to me that I am getting worse each day, more than the other.
I no longer review the proofs of the first printing, but my people do. And the Preface? Alas! I no longer have the mind to be able to dictate it! Mysteries of God, in which I find myself enwrapped without seeing the light! Yet, if I am able to dictate it, the Preface will come out so simple and effective as to impress even the highest personalities of the Holy Church, including the Supreme Pontiff.
I won’t tell you how I feel the demon rage—or rather, many demons; this is why I often make exorcisms against Satan in the Name of Jesus.
When this state will end so that I may continue with new vigor the Publication, because of which Hell trembles so much—I know nothing, I see nothing. Humanly speaking, it seems to me that it will not end, but Our Lord, in one instant, can extend His divine and omnipotent hand, as He did with St. Peter, at the moment at which I am about to drown, and say to me: “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”
As far as the issues of the Work, I have not done anything for quite some time. Everything weights upon Can.co Vitale, Fr. Palma, my Priests, and the Sisters.
Volume 16 – September 9, 1923
It Is Impossible that It Be the Demon Who Manifests the Knowledges and the Secrets of the Divine Will Because He Is in Hell and He Knows It Only to Hate It.
I felt a strong fear still: Who can say that it would not be my adorable Jesus but Who in His kindness speaks to me by manifesting to me so many sublime Truths, especially about the Divine Will, but rather the enemy in order to deceive me and it seems that with so many Truths He has hurled me up high, then only to precipitate me into the abyss and I said to myself: “My Jesus, free me from the hands of the enemy; I do not want to know anything what I have in my heart is to save my soul.”
And so Blessed Jesus, moving in my interior, said to me: “My daughter, why do you fear? Do you not know that the least thing that the infernal serpent knows about Me is my Will? Because he did not want to do It; and not doing It, he does not know It nor love It; much less penetrate into the secrets of my Inscrutable Volition in order to know the effects, the value of my Will and if he does not know them how can he speak about them? Indeed, the thing that he most abhors is that the Soul do my Will. He does not care if the Soul prays, if she confesses, if she goes to Communion, if she does penance and if she works miracles; the thing that injures him the most is that the Soul do my Will because as he rebelled against my Will so there was created in him the inferno, his unhappy state, the rage that tortures him. Thus, my Will is hell for him, and each and every time he sees the Soul subject to my Volition and knows its merits, its value, its holiness he feels redoubled the hell, because he sees created in the Soul Paradise, happiness, the peace lost by him; how much more my Volition is known, so much more does he become tormented and enraged. Therefore, how can he ever speak to you of my Volition if it forms his hell? And if he would speak to you, his words would be hell in you because he knows my Will only to hate it, not to love it and that which is hated never carries happiness and peace. And then his word is empty of grace, therefore he cannot confer the grace of doing my Will.”
Excerpt from Letter 19 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, April 17, 1927
You confided to me that Jesus offered you the gift of miracles and you refused it. Well then, ask Our Lord, with faith and love, at least to be able to perform my miraculous healing. If you truly ask this of Jesus, He will not deny it to you. I ask you this for the sake of the 19 Volumes which are locked in the Archive of which I sent you the pictures, and for those which are now in process. Oh! how I would immediately get down to work, helped by the Secretary whom you love! In my mind there is the whole plan and carrying out of the grandiose Publication. Oh! how Hell would be defeated!
Courage, then, Jesus will not deny you the prodigy.
At this moment here in Messina there are lightnings and thunders and pouring rain; the sky is all darkened. I believe this is the infernal enemy who fears that you may obtain this miracle.
You should see how much Saint Joseph is committed in this work, and how he laughs in looking at the Archive!
Volume 20 – January 6, 1927
The order of Providence in the Incarnation and in the manifestations of the Holy Magi.
…my always lovable Jesus told me: “My daughter, see the order of my Divine Providence: for the great portent of my Incarnation, I chose and used a Virgin, humble and poor; and the Virgin Saint Joseph as my custodian, who acted as a father to Me, and who was so poor that he needed to work in order to sustain our lives. See how in the greatest works – and the mystery of the Incarnation could not be greater – We use people whose outward appearance attracts no attention from anyone, because dignities, scepters, riches, are always fumes which blind the soul, and prevent her from penetrating into the celestial mysteries in order to receive a great act of God – and God Himself.
Excerpt from Letter 20 of Saint di Francia to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: Messina, May 5, 1927
Last night I slept little and I suffered much with the breathing. But, maybe, the worst is to come. I abandon myself in Jesus, in whose hands one cannot perish.
Volume 21- May 12, 1927
[Jesus to Luisa:] “My daughter, when I call souls in a special and extraordinary way, I act like a king when he chooses his ministers and, together with them, he forms the laws, and dominates and rules the kingdom. By doing so, I call these souls to participate in My regime, in My dominion, in forming the laws which rule the whole world. Since I have called you in a special way to make you live in the royal palace of My Will, My Volition Itself brings you My most intimate secrets, and shows you the grave evils, the wars, the infernal preparations, which will destroy many cities; and your littleness, unable to bear the sight of these grave evils, justly wants to come to Heaven. However, know that many times the ministers dissuade the king from forming punishing laws; and if they do not obtain everything, they always obtain something. The same will be for you: if you do not obtain everything on earth, you will still obtain something. Therefore, pluck up courage, and let the flight of My Will be continuous.”
Tuesday, May 31, after receiving Holy Communion in bed, Fr. Annibale beheld a vision of the Baby Mary. “Oh, the Baby Mary,” he exclaimed. “How beautiful she is! How beautiful she is! Behold, the 12 stars, her little face, her feet!
Blessed Anniable Maria Di Francia died on June 1, 1927, omforted by a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom he so dearly loved. On
October 7, 1990, he was declared Blessed by Holy Father, Pope John Paul II and on May 16, 2004 In Rome, in St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Fr. Annibale, Saint.
Volume 22 – June 1, 1927
How Jesus knows how to make all miracles except for that of separating from His own Will. Sorrow because of the death of Father Di Francia. The good of one who puts the truths he has known into practice. Jesus allows her to see that blessed soul, and speaks to her about him.
… I was feeling very afflicted, not only because of the privations of my sweet Jesus, but also because I had received the unexpected news of the death of Reverend Father Di Francia. He was the only one left to me, to whom I could open my poor soul. How well he could understand me – it was to a saint that I would entrust myself, who had very much comprehended all the value of what Jesus had told me about the Divine Will. He had so much interest in it that, with insistence, he had taken all the writings with himself in order to publish them. So, I was thinking to myself: ‘After Jesus allowed that he would take the writings with himself, to my great sacrifice, because I did not want it, and only because he was a saint I had to surrender… And now, Jesus has taken him to Heaven.’ I felt I myself being tortured because of the pain, but – Fiat! Fiat! Fiat! everything ends down here. I poured out in tears, commending to Jesus that blessed soul, who had so much suffered and worked for Him; and while I was doing this, my sweet Jesus moved in my interior, and told me:
“My daughter, courage, you must know that everything which that soul, so dear to Me, has done, all the knowledges he has known about my Will, have caused him to enclose as much light within his soul. So, each additional knowledge is a greater light that he possesses, and each knowledge places a distinct light in the soul, one more beautiful than the other, together with the seed of the distinct happiness which each light contains. In fact, in anything good that the soul can know, with her will of putting it into practice within herself, she remains in possession of the good she knows. But if she does not have the will to put the knowledges she acquires into practice, it happens as when someone touches a flower or washes himself once with very fresh water: in that act, he will feel the fragrance of the flower, or the refreshment of the fresh water, but since he does not possess the flower nor the fount of fresh water, little by little the fragrance with vanish, as well as the good of the freshness of that water, and he will find himself empty of that fragrance, and without the freshness he had enjoyed. Such are the knowledges when one has the good of knowing them but does not put them into practice. Now, that soul had all the will to practice them; so much so, that in seeing the great good he felt, he wanted to make them known to others by publishing them. So, as long as he remained on earth, his body, more than wall, walled up that light; but as soon as his soul went out of the prison of his body, he found himself invested with the light he possessed. And as the many seeds of happiness he possessed developed, which are the effects of the knowledges about my Divine Will, he began to feel the beginning of the life of true beatitudes. And diving into the eternal light of his Creator, he found himself in the Celestial Fatherland, in which he will continue his mission about my Will, assisting everything himself, from Heaven.
If you knew the great difference in glory, in beauty, in happiness, which exists between one who, upon dying, brings light from the earth, together with the seeds of many happinesses, and one who only receives it from his Creator… There is such distance as to surpass the distance between Heaven and earth. Oh! if mortals knew the great good they acquire by knowing a true good, a truth, and by making it their own blood in order to absorb it in their own lives, they would compete among themselves, they would forget about everything in order to know one truth – and would lay down their lives to put it into practice.”
While Jesus was saying this, I saw the blessed soul of father before me, near my bed, invested with light, suspended from the earth, fixing on me, but without telling me one word. I too felt mute before him, and Jesus added: “Look at him, how transformed he is. My Will is light, and has transformed that soul into light; It is beautiful, and has given him all the shades of perfect beauty; It is holy, and he has been sanctified. My Will possesses all sciences, and his soul has been invested by divine science. There is nothing which my Will has not given to him. Oh! if all understood what Divine Will means, they would put everything aside, they would care about doing nothing else, and their whole commitment would be to do my Will alone.”… After this, I was thinking to myself: ‘But why did blessed Jesus not concur in making a miracle for Father Di Francia?’ …. The miracles which God Himself wants to be made, without mixing of human will, are perennial miracles, because they start from the divine fount which is never exhausted, and it is enough to want them in order to receive them… This is why I did not allow that you would make the miracle of healing him; but you made for him the great miracle of letting him know my Will, and he left the earth with the possession of It. And now he enjoys, in the sea of light of the Divine Will – and this is more than anything.”
Volume 22 – June 17, 1927
How the Will of God is everything. She sees Father Annibale again, who tells her of his surprises.
…After this, I found myself outside of myself, and while looking for my sweet Jesus I encountered Father di Francia. He was all cheerful, and he told me:
“Do you know how many beautiful surprises I found? I did not think it would be so when I was on earth, though I thought I had done good by publishing the Hours of the Passion. But the surprises I found are marvelous, enchanting, of a rarity never before seen: all the words regarding the Passion of Our Lord changed into light, one more beautiful than the other – all braided together; and these lights grow more and more as creatures do the Hours of the Passion, so more lights add to the first. But what surprised me the most were the few sayings published by me about the Divine Will: each saying changed into a sun, and these suns, investing all the lights with their rays, form such a surprise of beauty that one remains enraptured, enchanted. You cannot imagine how surprised I was at seeing myself in the midst of these lights and these suns – how content I was; and I thanked our Highest Good, Jesus, who had given me the occasion and the grace to do it. You too, thank Him on my behalf.”
Volume 23- January 18, 1928
How the Virgin is isolated in Her glory, and how She awaits the cortege of the other queens, so as to have Her retinue. How the works of God hold hands among themselves. How the manifestations on the Divine Will will be the Gospel of His Kingdom. The issue about the writings. Necessity of the first priests of the Kingdom of the Fiat.
…Then, in hearing this, I was thinking to myself about the big issue concerning the writings on the Divine Will, which are in Messina, brought there by the blessed memory of venerable father Di Francia: how myself and my other superiors absolutely want them here, while the superiors in Messina, rigorously recommended by the venerable father before dying, want to keep them over there, for their publication when God pleases. So, we do nothing but [send] letters of fire, back and forth – them, to keep them, and us, to get them back. And I was feeling all worried, bored and tired, and was saying to myself: ‘How could good Jesus allow all this? Who knows whether He too feels disappointed?’ And He, moving in my interior, told me: “My daughter, you are worried, but I am not disappointed at all; on the contrary I enjoy in seeing the interest that priests take in these writings which will form the Kingdom of my Will. This means that they appreciate the great good of them, and each one would want to keep such a great treasure with himself, to be the first to communicate it to others. And while the issue of who is going to win lasts, one approaches the other in order to consult one another on what to do. And I enjoy that more of my ministers get to know that there is this treasure so great, of making known the Kingdom of my Divine Will; and I use this to form the first priests of my coming Kingdom of my Fiat. My daughter, it is a great necessity to form the first priests; they will serve Me like the Apostles served Me to form my Church; and the ones who will occupy themselves with these writings in order to publish them, putting them out to print them – to make them known, will be the new evangelists of the Kingdom of my Supreme Will. And just as the ones who are most mentioned in my Gospel are the four evangelists who wrote It, to their highest honor and my glory, so it will be for those who will occupy themselves with writing the knowledges on my Will in order to publish them. Like new evangelists, there will be greater mention of them in the Kingdom of my Will, to their highest honor and my great glory in seeing the order of the creature, the life of Heaven on earth – the only purpose of Creation – return into my bosom. Therefore, in these circumstances I expand the circle, and, like a fisherman, I catch those who must serve Me for a Kingdom so holy. Therefore, let Me do, and do not be worried.”
Volume 23 – February 28, 1928
Just as God has the hierarchy of Angels in Heaven with nine distinct choirs, so will He have the hierarchy of the children of His Kingdom with nine more choirs. Condition of the late confessors, and how the memory of father Di Francia will not be extinguished in this work.
I was thinking about the Holy Divine Volition, and a thousand thoughts crowded my poor mind. They seemed like many stronger lights that were arising, which then unified themselves within the same light of the eternal Sun of that Fiat which knows no setting. But who can say what I was thinking? I was thinking about the many knowledges spoken to me by Jesus on the Divine Will, and how each of them brings a Divine Life into the soul, with the imprint of a rarity of beauty, of happiness – but distinct from one another, which It places in common with one who has the good of knowing It and of loving It. So, I thought to myself: ‘One knowledge more or one less – there will be great difference between one soul and another.’ So, I felt sorrow in remembering my late confessors, who had had so much interest in making me write what blessed Jesus would tell me on the Divine Will. I felt sorrow for venerable father Di Francia, who had made so many sacrifices in coming from far away, meeting expenses for the publication; and just when things were moving forward, Jesus brought him to Heaven with Himself. So, since these did not possess all that regards the Fiat, they will not possess all the lives and rarities of beauty and happiness which these knowledges contain.
But while my mind was wandering amidst many thoughts, such that if I wanted to tell them all I would be too long, my sweet Jesus stretched out His arms within my interior, and spreading light, He told me: “My daughter, just as I have the hierarchy of Angels, with nine distinct choirs, so will I have the hierarchy of the children of the Kingdom of my Divine Fiat. It will have Its nine choirs, and they will distinguish themselves from one another according to the varieties of beauties which they have acquired by knowing, some more, some less, the knowledges that pertain to my Fiat. …
Therefore, your confessors who have passed into the next life will be like the prelude of the children of my Will. In fact, the first one sacrificed himself very much and worked to help the tiny little field of your soul; and even though, at that time, I spoke to you little about my Fiat, because first I had to dispose you, he will be like the first herald, like the dawn that announces the day of the Kingdom of my Will. The second and the third confessors of yours, who so much participated, and knew in great part the knowledges of my Will, and made so much sacrifice – especially the third one, who so much loved that they become known, and sacrificed himself so much in writing – will be like the rising sun which, placing itself on its course, forms the day full of light. Those who follow will be like the full midday of the great day of my Will; according to the interest they have had, and will have, they will be placed, some at the first hour of the day of my Volition, some at the second, some at the third, and some at the full midday.
And do you think that the memory of father Di Francia, his many sacrifices and desires to make my Will known, to the point of initiating the publication, will be extinguished in this great work of my Divine Fiat, only because I brought him with Me to Heaven? No, no; on the contrary, he will have the first place, because by coming from far away, he went as though in search of the most precious thing that can exist in Heaven and on earth, of the act that glorifies Me the most, or rather, will give Me complete glory on the part of creatures, and they will receive complete goods. He prepared the ground so that my Divine Will might be known; so much so, that he spared nothing, neither expenses, nor sacrifices; and even though the publication did not have its completion, by even just initiating it he prepared the ways so that one day the work of my Will in the midst of creatures can be known and have life. Who will ever be able to destroy the fact that father Di Francia has been the first initiator in making known the Kingdom of my Will? – and only because his life was extinguished, the publication did not have its completion? So, when this great work becomes known, his name, his memory, will be full of glory and of splendor, and he will have his prime act in a work so great, both in Heaven and on earth. In fact, why is there a battle going on, and almost everyone yearns for victory – to win in withholding the writings on my Divine Fiat? Because he had brought the writings with himself in order to publish them. Had it not been so, who would have talked about it? No one. And if he had not made others comprehend the importance, the great good of these writings, no one would have interested himself. Therefore, my daughter, my goodness is so great that I reward justly and superabundantly the good that the creature does, especially in this work of my Will, which I so much care for. What will I not give to those who occupy and sacrifice themselves in order to place in safety the rights of my eternal Fiat? I will exceed so much in giving, as to make Heaven and earth astonished.”
On hearing this, I thought to myself: ‘If these knowledges contain so much good, if blessed Jesus continues after my death with more knowledges on His Fiat to other souls, will a work so great not be attributed to that work?’ And Jesus, moving as though hurriedly in my interior, added: “No, no, my daughter. Just as of Father Di Francia it will be said that he has been the first propagator, and your confessors have been cooperators, so it will be said that the little daughter of my Will has been the first and the depository of a good so great, to whom it was entrusted and who was chosen with a special mission. Suppose that someone has made an important invention; it might be that others propagate it, diffuse it more, imitate it, expand it; but no one will be able to say: ‘I am the inventor of this work.’ It will always be said: ‘The inventor was such-and-such.’ The same will be with you. It will be said that the origin of the Kingdom of my Fiat, the depository, was the little daughter of my Will.”
Father Annibale expressed his desire to have Luisa always in his Orphanages or Convents, as Teacher of virtue and of Divine Will to the nuns and the little orphans. Luisa, obliged by her Confessor, left her home on the evening of October 7, 1928, to enter the new Orphanage in Corato with the Sisters of the Divine Zeal and the orphans. She lived her solitary life in the Convent for 10 years, and then on October 7, 1938, she went back to live in a private home until her death.”
Volume 24- May 20, 1928
I was concerned because of a circular I received from the house of the Divine Will, so much wanted by venerable Father Di Francia, and so longed for by him, who did not have the consolation of seeing it completed and opened for the purpose wanted by him. And now, finally, according to what the circular said, the day of its completion, probably near, was arising. So I thought to myself: ‘Is it really true that it is Will of God for me to go there? And will the members of this house be the true little daughters of the Divine Will? Will they be the beginning of the rising of the divine era of the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat upon earth?’ But while I was thinking of these and other things, my sweet Jesus moved in my interior and told me: “My daughter, each saying, work and sacrifice done in my Will is to obtain Its divine Kingdom. They are many messengers sent to the celestial fatherland, which carry the divine circular and make it circulate through all the Saints, the Angels, the Sovereign Queen and the Creator Himself, giving to each one the task to prepare the different things that are needed for a Kingdom so holy, so that everything may be done with decorum, with decency and with divine nobility. So, all the inhabitants of the divine fatherland, with this celestial circular in their hands, all get down to work to fulfill their task, and prepare each thing entrusted to them.
Volume 25- October 7, 1928
In Voluntate Dei. Deo Gratias.
The opening of the House of the Divine Will in Corato. Simile of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. My entrance into it. The eucharistic lamp and the living lamp of one who does the Divine Will. The prisoner near the Prisoner. Jesus’ delight at this company.
My Jesus, Life of my poor heart, You who know in what bitternesses I find myself, come to my help! Overwhelm the little newborn of your Divine Volition into your flames, that You may give me, again, the strength to be able to begin another volume, and your Divine Fiat may eclipse my miserable will, that it may have life no more, and your Divine Will may take over, and It Itself may write, with the characters of Its light, that which You, my Love, want me to write. And so that I may make no mistake, act as my prompter; and only if You commit Yourself to accepting to be my word, thought and heartbeat, and to lead my hand with yours, can I make the sacrifice of returning to write what You want. My Jesus, I am here, near the Tabernacle of love. From that adored little door which I have the honor to gaze at, I feel your divine fibers, your Heart palpitating, emitting flames and rays of endless light at each heartbeat; and in those flames I hear your moans, your sighs, your incessant supplications and your repeated sobs, for You want to make your Will known, to give Its life to all; and I feel myself being consumed with You and repeating what You do. Therefore I pray You, while You gaze at me from within the Tabernacle, and I gaze at You from within my bed, to strengthen my weakness, that I may make the sacrifice of continuing to write.
Now, in order to be able to say what Jesus told me, I have to make a brief mention – that here in Corato a House has been founded, which was wanted and started by the venerable memory of father canonical Annibale Maria di Francia, and which his children, faithful to the will of their founder, have executed and given the name of House of the Divine Will, as the venerable father wanted. And he wanted me to enter this House; and on the first day of its opening, by their goodness, his sons and daughter, the reverend mothers, came to take me and brought me into a room which is such that, as the door of this room is opened, I can see the Tabernacle, I can listen to Holy Mass, I am just under the gazes of my Jesus in the Sacrament. Oh! how happy I feel, that from now on, if Jesus wants me to continue to write, I will write always keeping one eye on the Tabernacle and the other on the paper I write on. Therefore, I pray You, my Love, to assist me and to give me the strength to make the sacrifice that You Yourself want.
So, as this House was about to be opened, one could see people, nuns, little girls – people coming and going, all in motion. I felt all impressed, and my sweet Jesus, moving in my interior, told me: “My daughter, this group of people whom you see all in motion for the opening of the House of my Divine Will is symbolic of that group of people when I wanted to be born in Bethlehem, and the shepherds were coming and going, to visit Me, a little Baby. This pointed out to all the certainty of my birth. In the same way, this group of people, all in motion, points out the rebirth of the Kingdom of my Divine Will. Look at how all of Heaven echoes my birth, when the Angels, celebrating it, announced Me to the shepherds, and putting them in motion, made them keep coming to Me, and I recognized in them the first fruits of the Kingdom of my Redemption. So now, in this group of people, of little girls and nuns, I recognize the beginning of the Kingdom of my Divine Will. Oh! how my Heart exults and rejoices, and all of Heaven makes feast. Just as the Angels celebrated my birth, so do they celebrate the beginning of the rebirth of my Fiat in the midst of creatures. But, look at how my birth was more neglected, more poor – I had not even one priest near Me, but only poor shepherds. On the other hand, at the beginning of my Volition, there is not only a group of nuns and little girls from out of town, and a people rushing up to celebrate the opening, but there is an archbishop and priests representing my Church. This is symbol and announcement to all, that the Kingdom of my Divine Volition will be formed with more magnificence, with greater pomp and splendor than the very Kingdom of my Redemption; and everyone, kings and princes, bishops and priests and peoples, will know the Kingdom of my Fiat and will possess It. Therefore, you too, celebrate this day in which my sighs and sacrifices, and yours, to make my Divine Will known see the first dawn and hope for the Sun of my Divine Fiat to soon rise.”
Then, the evening came of this day consecrated to the Queen of the Rosary, Queen of victories and of triumphs. And this is another beautiful sign that, just as the Sovereign Lady conquered Her Creator, and bejewelling Him with Her chains of love, She drew Him from Heaven to earth, to make Him form the Kingdom of Redemption, so will the sweet and powerful beads of Her Rosary make Her victorious and triumphant again before the Divinity, conquering the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat, to make It come into the midst of creatures.
I had not at all thought that, on that very evening, I would move to the House of Divine Will, near my Prisoner Jesus; only, I prayed Him not to let me know when this would be, so as not to profane such an act with my human will, so that I might put nothing of my own, but do the Divine Will in everything. It was eight o’clock in the evening when, out of the ordinary, the confessor came, who, prayed by the reverend mothers superior, imposed out of obedience that I should surrender and make the superior content. I resisted quite a bit, because I thought that if the Lord wanted so, it would be in the month of April, a warmer season, and so we would think about it then. But the confessor insisted so much that I had to surrender. So, around nine thirty in the evening, I was brought to this House, near my Prisoner Jesus. And this is the little story of why I find myself in the House of the Divine Will.
Now I resume my speaking. At night, I remained alone with my Jesus in the Sacrament; my eyes were fixed on the little door of the Tabernacle. It seemed to me that the lamp, with its continuous flickering, was about to go out, but then it would revive again; and my heart gave a jump, fearing that Jesus might remain in the dark. And my always lovable Jesus, moving in my interior, clasped me in His arms and told me:
“My daughter, do not fear, for the lamp will not go out; and if it did go out, I have you, living lamp – a lamp which, with your flickering, more than with the flickering of the eucharistic lamp, tells Me: ‘I love You, I love You, I love You….’ Oh! how beautiful is the flickering of your ‘I love You’; your flickering says love to Me, and uniting with my Will, from two wills we form one alone. Oh! how beautiful is your lamp and the flickering of your ‘I love You’. It cannot be compared to the lamp that burns before my Tabernacle of love. More so since, my Divine Will being in you, you form the flickering of your ‘I love You’ in the center of the Sun of my Fiat, and I see and hear, not a lamp, but a sun burning before Me. My prisoner be welcomed. You have come to keep company with your Prisoner; we are both in prison – you, in bed, and I, in the Tabernacle. It is right that we be close to each other; more so, since one is the purpose that keeps us in prison – the Divine Will, love, souls. How pleasing will the company of my prisoner be to Me; we will feel it together, to prepare the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat. But, know, my daughter, that my love has anticipated you; I was first in putting Myself, prisoner, in this cell, to wait for my prisoner and your sweet company. See, then, how my love was first in running toward you; how I have loved you, and I love you, for in so many centuries of imprisonment in this Tabernacle I never had a prisoner who would keep Me company, who would remain so very close to Me; I have always been alone, or, at the most, in the company of souls who were not prisoners, in whom I did not see my same chains. Now, finally, the time has come for Me to have a prisoner, to keep her constantly near Me, under my sacramental gazes – one whom the chains of my Divine Will alone keep imprisoned. A sweeter and more pleasing company could not come to Me. And so, while we are together in prison, we will occupy ourselves with the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat, and will work together, and will sacrifice ourselves together, to make It known to creatures.”
Saint Annibale Maria di Francia and Luisa Piccarreta
by Father Bernardino Giuseppe Bucci
Aunt Rosaria would often and willingly speak of Saint Annibale Maria di Francia, founder of the Rogationist Fathers and the Sisters of Divine Zeal.
She spoke of the blessed as though he were intimately familiar to her, using the name “Fr. Francia”. I personally took great interest in this figure and often asked the Rogationist Fathers if by chance there might be anything in their archives about the relations between Luisa and Blessed Annibale. I even went to the Sant’Antonio Institute in Corato, a house which the blessed had wanted personally, in order to move Luisa there to be with the sisters.
My aunt told me that Fr. Annibale had conceived of the project of taking Luisa to the Institute of sisters opened in Trani, but that Luisa had made him see that the Lord wanted her to stay in Corato. Fr. Annibale’s project was implemented in 1928, after his holy death.
Annibale di Francia was the extraordinary confessor of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, and it was he who published her works. Blessed Annibale belonged to that array of priests who built up the Church of God with their holiness and their institutions for orphans and abandoned children. The work of these men was of great benefit to Italy and the Church, in a period when anti-clericalism was triumphant.
According to Aunt Rosaria, the blessed enjoyed the great esteem of St. Pius X who willingly granted him private audiences. It seems that St. Pius X paid great attention to Luisa Piccarreta: our blessed submitted her writings to him before having them printed.
Aunt Rosaria affirmed that after reading some of Luisa’s writings, especially her famous work on the Passion of Our Lord, published under the title L’orologio della Passione, St. Pius X said to him: “Dear father, you must read these writings on your knees, because it is Our Lord Jesus Christ who is speaking in them”. And it was the holy Pontiff who urged Fr. Annibale to publish them.1
Saint Annibale called on Luisa regularly, at her house in Via Nazario Sauro, staying with her for several hours, conversing with her on spiritual matters.
He often took some Italian or foreign bishop to visit Luisa, and my aunt remembers the visit of a prelate from Hungary. To dispel certain doubts, the blessed father took several theologians to Luisa; having spoken to the Servant of God at length, they would gather in another room for long discussions of what they had heard.
My aunt recalls that one Hungarian bishop, after talking to Luisa, emerged from her room in deep distress and said the following words in his imperfect Italian: “Pray for my people”, for Luisa had informed him of the far from rosy future that awaited his homeland. Aunt Rosaria could not tell me precisely who the bishop was, nor exactly where he came from, she only told me: “a Magyar bishop”.
I realized that he must have been a Hungarian bishop.
Fr. Annibale did not only visit Luisa to talk to her; he gave lectures to all those who frequented Luisa’s house, especially the young people. These lectures bore abundant fruits. Indeed, many of the girls became sisters, many of the young men were initiated to the priesthood and quite a few were admitted to his new congregation.
Many people went to Luisa’s house to confess to Fr. Annibale. This was confirmed to me by Canon Andrea Bevilacqua who, as a young seminarian, would also go to Luisa’s house to confess to Fr. Annibale, who was also the extraordinary and deeply loved confessor of Archbishop Leo of Trani.
In my earlier publication I did not mention Saint Annibale di Francia, because I was advised to say nothing, to avoid creating obstacles to his cause of beatification under way.
It would be most interesting to consult the archives of the Rogationists and of the Sisters of Divine Zeal, where there must certainly be traces of the long correspondence between the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta and Blessed Fr. Annibale. My aunt told me that Luisa’s spirituality was impressed upon the institute’s Rule. It would be most interesting to read the institute’s old Rule and Constitutions. I hope, now that Fr. Annibale has been beatified by the Church, that the Rogationists and the Sisters of Divine Zeal will be able to re-evaluate the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta who contributed so much to their development with her prayers, her advice and her writings.
Much still remains to be said about the relations between Saint Annibale, the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta and St. Pius X, for whom Luisa had great veneration. At that time she already revered him as a saint, and on various occasions said these words: “The Lord has given the Church two great Pontiffs in these times; the first, a beloved son of Our Lady”, with reference to Pius IX, “the second, a great defender of the faith and of the Eucharist”.
Saint Annibale di Francia had to overcome enormous obstacles in order to put into practice his plan to have Luisa taken to one of the houses of his congregation to be with the sisters. He often used to say these words: “The acceptance of Luisa in a house of my Institute will be a blessing of God for the whole Congregation”.
Indeed, although there were already two houses of the Congregation of Divine Zeal in Trani, with holy persistence he opened a female house in Corato, close to Luisa’s birthplace. His project was not easy to implement: the holy founder died before the house had been completed.
Two years after his death, Luisa entered the house of the Sisters of Divine Zeal in Via delle Murge.
Rosaria Bucci’s memories by Father Bernardino Giuseppe Bucci
Saint Annibale Maria di Francia paid frequent visits to the Servant of God, with whom he had long conversations, staying for hours in Luisa’s little room, where he also often celebrated Holy Mass.
This is what I remember of what Aunt Rosaria told me.
In 1910, a priest arrived at Luisa’s house and asked to speak to her. This was the first of the many encounters between the two “saints”. That day, it was Aunt Rosaria who opened the door to him, then a young girl who had become familiar with Luisa’s milieu, who had been visiting her for four years and so collaborated with Angelina in the household affairs. Moreover, since Aunt Rosaria had mastered lace-making, she was acting as teacher for the other girls, who were apprentices; she was also called by Luisa to set right her own work that was often defective, for the Servant of God was unable to pull the knots tight enough because of the stigmata, hidden beneath her skin and a source of pain.2
Aunt Rosaria, on many occasions, prepared a little bed in a room in Luisa’s house on which Saint Annibale would sometimes rest, especially when he was a guest of the Piccarreta family for more than a day.
The blessed’s stays in Luisa’s house were dictated by the fact that before giving her writings to Annibale, she had to read through them all and provide explanations on doubtful or incomprehensible points.
It was my aunt herself who gave Saint Annibale the manuscript of the famous book on meditation of the Passion. Saint Annibale had it printed with the name L’orologio dell Passione, a title about which Luisa was not at first enthusiastic. The publication, with a long preface by the Blessed, went into several editions, four to be precise.
Aunt Rosaria remembered that Saint Annibale once urged all the girls and Luisa’s regular visitors to read and meditate upon the work. In giving it to them, the blessed said: “Before having the manuscript printed, I was received in audience by His Holiness Pius X, to whom I gave a copy. Several days later, having returned to see the Holy Father for matters concerning my new Congregation, he said these words: ‘Have Luisa Piccarreta’s L’orologio della Passione printed immediately. Read it on your knees, because it is Our Lord who is speaking in it”.
Since we have no other documents available, we cannot but trust the testimony of Rosaria Bucci.
Saint Annibale and the Capuchin Friars of the Monastic Province of Puglia by Father Bernardino Giuseppe Bucci
It seems that the Franciscan fathers, and particularly the Capuchins, suggested to Saint Annibale that he place his works under the protection of St. Anthony of Padua. It is certain that there was a deep reciprocal esteem between Saint Annibale and the Capuchins.
I personally heard a lot about Saint Annibale Maria di Francia from our older fathers.
Fr. Annibale published Luisa’s writings, many of which were given to our friars, whom he warmly commended not to disclose the author’s name to anyone since the devout writer wished to remain anonymous.
The Capuchin friar who had the most to say about this was Fr. Isaia from Triggiano, who was simple and humble, the figure of an authentic priest. This father had a deep veneration for Luisa Piccarreta and jealously preserved her writings and a few objects that had belonged to the Servant of God. Among these was a holy card with a picture on which a prayer had been written by Luisa in her own hand.
Fr. Isaia often used to say: “Luisa is a great saint and Fr. Annibale another great saint, because he enabled us to know her. Saints understand one another. It is God who brings them together”.
In far off 1917, Fr. Isaia from Triggiano was a Capuchin student at our friary in Francavilla Fontana, where on several occasions the friars gave hospitality to Fr. Annibale Maria di Francia, who was establishing one of his works in nearby Oria.
These are Fr. Isaia’s impressions of Fr. Annibale: “He was a priest who truly belonged to God, and at the sight of him, we students would gather round him with great sympathy. We all went to him for confession. He had an unusual appearance, as well as an unusual manner of speech and gestures, always moderate and with a reserve that did not command fear but filial trust. He constantly spoke to us of God’s Will and exhorted us to bear with hardships and contradictions. He told us that a soul who was consecrated entirely to God was suffering and praying for us all”.
“This soul”, Saint Annibale said to Fr. Isaia, “is a daughter of your region, and this is a sign that the Lord is blessing the people of Bari”. To comfort him in his doubts and sufferings, he gave him L’orologio della Passione, which he himself had had printed. Fra Isaia, a Capuchin student at the time, asked him where this holy soul lived and who she was, but Fr. Annibale answered: “just think about preparing yourself properly for the priesthood and always doing God’s Will, and in due course you will discover who this soul is”.
Fr. Isaia, become a priest, went to see Luisa Piccarreta, from whom he sought advice and – not infrequently – comfort in his apostolate, threatened by malicious gossip.
At that time the Monastic Province of Puglia was passing through a difficult period because of various disagreements between the two Provinces of Bari and Lecce, united in a single Monastic Province. Certain fathers headed a reform that was blocked by St. Pius X.
The majority submitted, but others resisted and ended by being expelled from the Order and excommunicated. One of these was Fr. Gerardo, superior and director of the studentate of Francavilla.
This father had extraordinary ideas about running the students’ community with a draconian discipline; he frequently left the students fasting, because they had to mortify themselves and resemble the crucified Christ. The worst thing was that he did not even allow them to study. Their studying was to consist of the crucifix and penance; he consequently placed in the students’ rooms a large crucifix and a scourge. It is easy to grasp the state of mind of all the students, many of whom fell ill. Fr. Annibale di Francia, on one of his visits, called Fr. Gerardo and made him understand that young men who were still growing could not be treated with such a regime. And he himself set the example, by taking a great many provisions to the friary and begging them to eat their fill, at least sometimes. Fr. Annibale was very sensitive to the young students’ health, and would often say to them:
“This is not God’s Will”.
It seems that Fr. Gerardo was not totally unmoved by the exhortations of Fr. Annibale, who could speak with such conviction and love that he had an impact on even the hardest of hearts. In fact, the results were immediately noticed: books were bought for the priestly formation of the young men, and slightly larger portions of bread and soup began to appear.
Shortly afterwards Fr. Gerardo left the Order and was excommunicated for his bizarre ideas and his rebellion against the Church. The Venerable Annibale’s words came true. Indeed, when the despairing students knelt at his feet for confession, he would often say: “Continue to live God’s Will intensely, because in a little while everything will change. Courage!”.
Many fathers were in contact with Fr. Annibale and through him became acquainted with Luisa. How is it possible to forget Fr. Daniel from Triggiano, a splendid figure of a Capuchin, a man who was a true little flower of St. Francis. Still today, his simplicity, his words and his acts live on throughout our Monastic Province.
Fr. Daniele spoke of Luisa Piccarreta as though she were a heavenly creature and when, as a young seminarian, I went to his room for confession, he always said this to me:
“Are you Bucci from Corato? Did you know Luisa? You should know that she is a great saint and you should never stop praying to her if you want to be a priest”.
Fr. Daniele was the historian of Triggiano and also published several devotional manuals, drawing heavily from Luisa Piccarreta’s books. The way he spoke of Luisa suggests that he was in direct contact with the Servant of God and with Venerable Annibale.
I also heard the following fathers talk a lot about the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. Fr. Giovanni De Bellis, who was frequently invited to Corato to preach, went to Luisa’s house on these occasions. Fr. Giovanni, my confrere in the community of the Friary of Trinitapoli when I was superior and parish priest, often spoke to me of Luisa Piccarreta and Blessed Annibale Maria di Francia, whom he had known personally. I had the good fortune to be present at Fr. Giovanni’s last moments. This father died while he was completely immersed in prayer, ‘his hands joined, the beads of the rosary between them. His last words were:
“May God’s Will be done”.
It was 1982.
Fr. Terenzio from Campi Salentina also deeply venerated the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta and would talk of her every time he met me. It was he who told me that the beatification cause of Fr. Annibale, Luisa’s confessor, had been initiated. When I was a young novice at the Friary of Alessandro, Fr. Terenzio was superior. One day he offered me this testimony: “There was a period when I was going through a crisis in my faith, and one day I went to Luisa, who listened to me kindly. She clarified all my doubts, and gave me such clear and profound theological explanations that they were a revelation to me. All the doubts that my theological studies had not clarified were dispelled by Luisa. There is no doubt that Luisa had the gift of infused knowledge”.
Fr. Guglielmo from Barletta, one of the most distinguished priests of the Province who had several times been Minster Provincial and was rector of our theology center for students, spoke one day, during a lesson on ascetics, of Venerable Fr. Annibale and his works. He spoke at length of L’orologio della Passione and of the book Maria nel Regno della Divina Voluntà. Referring to Luisa Piccarreta, he said: “She is a great and marvelous soul. We are not even worthy to be her fingernail”. Fr. Giuglielmo did not tell me whether he had known Luisa personally.
Almost all our older fathers had direct or indirect contact with the Venerable Annibale and Luisa Piccarreta. Among them those to be remembered are: Fr. Zaccaria from Triggiano, several times Provincial; Fr. Fedele from Montescaglioso; Fr. Giuseppe from Francavilla Fontana; Fr. Tobia from Trigiano; Fr. Antonio from Stigliano, who left some writings on the Servant of God; Fr. Dionisio from Barletta; Fr. Arcangelo from Barletta, also Provincial; Fr. Pio from Triggiano, Provincial; Fr. Gabriele from Corato; Fr. Timoteo from Aquarica, a great friend of Luisa’s last confessor, Fr. Benedetto Calvi, in whose parish he often preached (he also assisted at the translation of Luisa’s body from the cemetery to the church, and concelebrated at the Mass in the main church for the opening of the beatification cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta); Fr. Salvatore from Corato, of whom I shall speak in a separate chapter. Many lay brothers who went to Corato to beg for alms never failed to visit Luisa: Fra Ignazio, Fra Abele, Fra Rosario, Fra Vito and Fra Crispino, who often spoke to me enthusiastically of Luisa, whom they greatly revered.
A most outstanding episode by Father Bernardino Giuseppe Bucci
I had always heard tell of a young man who had been killed and was restored to life by Luisa. I had heard the story told by the old blind singer in the “upper room” of Via Panseri.
One day a young man was found dead, lying on the ground in a pool of blood. When his mother heard this fatal news, she did not rush to see her son but ran howling and disheveled to Luisa’s house where she knelt on the doorstep, crying: “Luisa, Luisa, they’ve killed my son!”
The holy little one – as the singer called Luisa – was moved and said: “Go and fetch your son, the Lord is giving him back to you”.
The mother was helped to her feet and accompanied by a few devout persons to the place where her son lay dead.
At the sight of him, ignoring the police, the mother flung herself on the body, cradled it in her arms and kissed it desperately like the sorrowful Mary at the foot of the cross.
But suddenly the young man opened his eyes and said: “Mammà, sto ca nan pianger” (Mother, I’m here, don’t cry).
On hearing this story, the whole gathering was in tears, especially the older women whose sons were serving in the war.
Sometimes – though in hushed tones – I even heard this story told in my own home. I remember Aunt Rosaria addressing my father with these words: “Don’t start talking such nonsense, concentrate on eating your food”. My father had in fact been telling the story of the man brought back to life by Luisa the Saint.
In my parish I once heard Miss Redda, Minister of the Franciscan Third Order, speaking of this miracle to a group of women. When she became aware of my presence, she immediately put her hand to her mouth, regretting her imprudence. Indeed, the parish priest, Fr. Cataldo Tota, who was present said: “Certain things should not be said in public while those concerned are still alive”.
I never attached much importance to this episode – always spoken of in hushed tones – because it seemed incredible to me. Aunt Rosaria never wanted to discuss the matter. Whenever I asked about it, she would answer: “Leave that nonsense alone!”. I realized that talking about the event was totally forbidden, both by Luisa and by the clergy.
It seemed to me that the story told by the blind old man was too fantastic, too embellished and sounded more like a Greek tragedy than an event which had actually occurred. I never previously wanted to write anything about it so as not to make a laughing-stock of the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta (and I was also convinced that this episode was merely the fruit of popular imagination).
Later, having read a letter by the Sain Annibale Maria di Francia, which speaks of the miracle of the resuscitation of a young man who had been killed, I thought it appropriate to mention here the phenomenon about which I had heard so much.
Saint Annibale confirms, bringing to bear all his authority as a saint, that it was due to Luisa Piccarreta’s prayers that this young man was restored to life. His letter is dated May 5, 1927. A few days later, on June 1, 1927, Saint Annibale died serenely in the town of Messina.
to implore the beatification of the Servant of God
O Most Sacred Heart of my Jesus, who chose your humble Servant LUISA as the herald of the Kingdom of your Divine Will and the angel of reparation for the countless sins that grieve your Divine Heart, I humbly pray you to grant me the grace that through her intercession I implore of your Mercy, so that she may be glorified on earth as you have rewarded her in Heaven. Amen.
Pater, Ave, Gloria.
O Divine Heart of my Jesus who gave to your humble Servant LUISA as a victim of your Love the strength to suffer all her life the spasms of your painful Passion, grant that for your greatest glory the halo of the blesseds may shine around her head. And through her intercession grant me the grace that I humbly implore of you…
Pater, Ave, Gloria.
O Merciful Heart of my Jesus who, for the salvation and sanctification of so many souls, deigned to preserve for long years on earth your humble Servant LUISA, your little Daughter of the Divine Will, hear my prayer: that she may be glorified by your holy Church without delay. And through her intercession, grant me the grace that I humbly beseech of you…
Pater, Ave, Gloria.
Prayer of Consecration to Saint Annibale Maria di Francia
Saint Annibale Maria di Francia, Our Lord and Savior gave you the mission of making the Divine Will known to the world. Jesus said to Luisa, “One who has completed his mission on earth can say,
‘My mission is finished,’ but one who has not completed
it must complete it from Heaven.”
I ask you for all that is needed to help you fulfill your mission,
and I Consecrate myself to you, Saint Annibale Maria di Francia,
this day and always.
I am sure that You, Lord, will grant me all that is needed to make the Divine Will known, for You said,
“How I love and yearn that the Divine Will be known.
And so much is My interest that I will be disposed to give whatever graces to who wants
to occupy himself with making It known.”
Let me be one with Saint Annibale Maria di Francia, and use me as you wish
to fulfill his mission of making the Divine Will known to the world.
Mother Mary, because of my nothingness I am incapable of making the Holy Divine Will known.
Therefore, help me and guide me in everything.
Let me be one with Saint Annibale Maria di Francia, and use me as you wish
to fulfill his mission of making the Divine Will known to the world.
Little Luisa, I ask that I may always take to heart your words:
“It is the absolute Will of God that we interest ourselves in making the Divine Will known,
even at the cost of our own lives.”
Let this be our most sacrosanct duty to Jesus and Mary,
that the Kingdom of God be established on earth as It is in Heaven.
Let me be one with Saint Annibale Maria di Francia, and use me as you wish
to fulfill his mission of making the Divine Will known to the world.
I make this Consecration in the Holy Divine Will
through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Saint Annibale Maria di Francia left this beautiful witnessing about Luisa, part of which is here reported:
“…She wants to live solitary, hidden and unknown. For no reason in the world would she have put in writing the intimate and prolonged communications with adorable Jesus, since her most tender age until today, and which still continue who knows until when, if Our Lord Himself had not repeatedly obliged her, both personally and through holy obedience to her Directors, to which she always surrenders with immense violence on herself and also with great strength and generosity, because the concept of holy obedience that she has would make her refuse even an entrance into Heaven, as it actually occurred…
The substance is that this soul is in a terrible fight between an overwhelming love of hiddenness and the inexorable empire of Obedience, to which she absolutely must surrender. And Obedience always wins. This constitutes one of the most important characters of a true spirit, of a solid and tested virtue, because she has been submitting to the dominion of the great Lady Obedience, with strongest violence against herself, for about forty years!
This solitary soul is a most pure virgin, all of God, who appears as object of singular predilection of Jesus, Divine Redeemer. It seems that Our Lord, Who century after century increases the wonders of His Love more and more, wanted to make of this virgin with no education, whom He calls the littlest one that He found on earth, the instrument for a mission so sublime that no other can be compared to it – that is, the triumph of the Divine Will upon the whole earth, in conformity with what is said in the Our Father: Fiat Voluntas Tua sicut in Coelo et in terra.
This Virgin of the Lord has been placed in bed as victim of Divine Love for more than 40 years, since the time she was still adolescent. This has been a state of a long series of pains, both natural and supernatural, and of raptures from the eternal Charity of the Heart of Jesus. Origin of these pains, which exceed every natural order, has been almost continuously an alternate privation of God…
The sufferings of the body add to those of the soul, and occur at mystical level for the great part. With no sign appearing on her hands, feet, side or forehead, she receives frequent crucifixion from Our Lord. Jesus Himself extends her upon a cross, and pierces her with nails. And then it happens within her what Saint Terese says, when she received the wound from the Seraphim – that is, a sharpest pain such as to make her faint, and at the same time a rapture of love.
But if Jesus did not do so, it would be for this soul an infinitely greater spiritual suffering, because, like the Seraphim of Carmel, she also says: To suffer or to die. This is another sign of the true spirit…
After having mentioned her long and continuous staying in bed as victim, for years and years, with the participation of many spiritual and physical sufferings, it may seem that the sight of this unknown virgin should be afflicting, as though seeing a person laying down with all the sign of past sufferings, present pains and similar things.
Yet, here there is something admirable. In seeing this Spouse of Jesus Crucified who spends the night in painful ecstasies and in sufferings of every kind, during the day sitting on her bed doing her needlework – nothing, nothing appears, absolutely nothing, of one who has suffered so much during the night; nothing, nothing extraordinary or supernatural in her air. Instead, she appears as a healthy person, happy and jovial. She speaks, talks, laughs at the occurrence, but receives few friends.
Sometimes some troubled heart confides in her, and asks for her prayers. She kindly listens and comforts, but never advances to make prophecies, never a word which might refer to revelations. The great comfort which she presents is always one, always the same: the Divine Will.
Although she possesses no human knowledge, she is abundantly endowed with a Wisdom, all celestial, with the Science of the Saints. Her words illuminate and console. By nature her intellect is not poor. She studied to first grade when she was little; her writing is filled with errors, although she does not lack appropriate terms in conformity with the revelations, terms which seem to be infused by Our Lord.
A note of the great detachment of this soul from any earthly thing is her firmness and constancy in accepting no gifts, of money or anything else. On more than one occasion, people who read the “Hours of the Passion” and in whom a sense of sacred affection for this solitary and unknown soul arose, wrote me that they wanted to send her some money. But she opposed so firmly, as if they had offended her.
Her way of living is very modest. She possesses little, and lives with a loving relative who assists her. Since the little that they have is not enough to pay the rent and for their support in these sad times of expensive living, she peacefully works, as mentioned before, and earns something from her work, which has to serve especially to her loving relative, because she has no expenses for food or shoes. Her food is of a few ounces per day, which are offered to her by her assistant, because she never asks for anything. Furthermore, a few hours after she has taken that scarce food, she brings it up. However, her appearance is not of a dying person, but not even of a perfectly healthy person. Yet, she is not inactive; rather, she consumes her strength, both with the supernatural events of sufferings and strain during the night, and with her work during the day. Her life is therefore almost a perennial miracle.
To her great detachment for any earning which is not procured with her hands, one must add her firmness in never accepting anything from the edition and sale of the Hours of the Passion, which would be due to her by right as literary property. As I pressed her not to refuse it, she answered: “I have no right, because the work is not mine, but of God.”
I will not continue. The life of this virgin, Spouse of Jesus, is more celestial than terrestrial. She wants to be ignored and unknown in the world, looking for nothing else but her Jesus and Her Most Holy Mother, whom she calls Mama, Who has a special predilection for this soul.”
The Chronology of the life of Saint Annibale
July 5, 1851 – Annibale Maria di Francia, third of four siblings, is born in Messina, to the Nobleman Francis and from the Noblewoman Anna Toscano.
October 23, 1852 – He is orphaned of his father when he was only 15 months old.
Toward 1868 – At the age of seventeen he obtains permission from his confessor to receive daily communion. Probably, it was during this period that, while praying before the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed in the Church of St. John of Malta in Messina, he realizes the necessity of praying for vocations. He has that which can be defined “understanding of the Rogate”. Sometime later, he discovers in the Gospel the “command” of Jesus: Rogate ergo Dominum messis, ut mittat operarios in messem suam (Mt 9, 38; Lk 10, 2).
October 1869 – he publishes a 32-page brochure with the title “First Verses of Annibale Di Francia from Messina.”
December 8, 1869 – he has his investiture of the clerical habit in the Church of St. Francis to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, together with his brother Francis Mary Di Francia.
January 16, 1870 – in Messina, in the Church of St. Nicolò of the Cooks, he begins the oratorical activity with the panegyric on Most Holy Mary of the Providence.
May 26, 1877 – The archbishop of Messina, Monsignor Joseph Guarino, confers the Deaconate on him in the Church of Montevergine.
December 1877 / January 1878 – in an alley of Messina, providential meeting with the mendicant Francis Zancone.
February 1878 – while still a deacon, the young Annibale Di Francia makes his first visit to the “Avignone Houses,” a place of misery where the mendicant Francis Zancone lives.
March 16, 1878 – The deacon Annibale Mary Di Francia is ordained priest by Monsignor Joseph Guarino in the Church of the Holy Spirit.
March – April 1878 – the newly ordained priest, Father Annibale, begins his apostolate of human, social and Christian transformation to the more than 200 poor individuals living in Avignone Quarters.
Towards 1880 – he composes the first prayer for vocations, not having found any in various devotional books.
March 19, 1881 – in the small Chapel devoted to the Holy Heart of Jesus, he celebrates the Holy Mass for the first time among the poor of the Avignone Quarters.
September – October 1881 – he establishes the first workrooms for the girls.
December 1881 – he is appointed director of the weekly magazine of Messina La Parola Cattolica (The Catholic Word).
January 22, 1882 – Monsignor Joseph Guarino appoints him Canon of the Cathedral in Messina.
September 8, 1882 – he inaugurates the first female orphanage.
November 4, 1883 – he inaugurates the first male orphanage.
November 1884 – he sets up the first printing press that, together with the tailoring and the shoe shops, serves to train the orphans in the crafts and for jobs.
September 1885 – he prints the first prayer to obtain “good workers for the holy Church.”
July 1, 1886 – after two years of fervent waiting and intense spiritual preparation and with the consent of the archbishop, he makes the first Chapel of the “Avignone Houses” sacramental.
March 19, 1887 – entrance to the Novitiate of the first four girls and beginning of the female religious Congregation.
July 1, 1887 – institution of the Feast of July the First.
October 1887 – Providential institution of the devotion “Bread of St. Anthony” (this is incomplete, I just presumed it should read like this.)
January 9, 1888 – Anna Toscano, the mother of Father Annibale, dies.
May 16, 1897 – religious investiture of the first three Brothers Assistant and beginning of the male religious Congregation.
November 22, 1897 – he founds the Sacred Alliance to promote the prayer for vocations commanded by Jesus among Bishops, Priests and Religious.
May 6, 1900 – religious profession ad annum of Father Annibale together with the religious of the first male community.
December 8, 1900 – he founds the Pious Union of the Evangelical Rogation of the Heart of Jesus to spread the prayer for vocations commanded by Jesus among the faithful
September 14, 1901 – The archbishop of Messina, Monsignor Letterìo D’Arrigo, approves the definitive names of the two religious Congregations of Di Francia: the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus and the Daughters of the Divine Zeal of the Heart of Jesus
January 12, 1902 – he inaugurates the female orphanage of Taormina (Messina), first filial house.
April 20, 1904 – he is received in a private audience by the Holy Father Pius X, who paternally blesses his Works and grants him indulgences for the Pious Union of the Evangelical Rogation of the Heart of Jesus.
June 26, 1908 – The disastrous earthquake in Messina causes thirteen victims in the female institute of Di Francia.
April 4, 1909 – he officially inaugurates the female orphanage in Oria (Brindisi), in a former Benedictine monastery.
July 11, 1909 – Father Annibale is received in a private audience by Pope St. Pius X, who grants him permission to be able to insert in the Litanies of the Saints the invocation: Ut dignos ac sanctos operarios in messem tuam copiose mittere digneris, Te rogamus, audi nos.
September 28, 1909 – the male orphanage opens in the former “Saint Paschal” Convent in Oria (Brindisi).
April 2, 1910 – he inaugurates the female orphanage of Trani (Bari) in the Càrcano Building, generously donated by the archbishop Francis Paul Carrano.
July 1, 1910 – a wooden church in Messina, gift of Pope St. Pius X, is inaugurated. On the façade one could read: Rogate Dominum messis. It is the first church dedicated to the prayer for vocations commanded by Jesus.
August 1, 1911 – the Ecclesiastical Authority entrusts to him the religious Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Side and that of the Little Brothers of the Blessed Sacrament, congregations founded by the Servant of God Don Eustacchio Montemurro.
August 15, 1916 – in Altamura (Bari) the Anthonian female orphanage opens for the orphans of soldiers who died in war.
April 26, 1919 – in Messina, on the night between 26 and 27 April, a mysterious fire destroys the wooden church that had been given to Father Annibale by Pope St. Pius X.
April 3, 1921 – The archbishop of Messina, Monsignor Letterìo D’Arrigo, blesses the corner stone of the Temple of the Rogate and Sanctuary of Saint Anthony.
May 4, 1921 – Father Annibale is received in a special audience by Pope Benedict XV, who wanted to enroll as “member” of the Pious Union of the Evangelical Rogation, calling himself “First Rogationist.”
April 22, 1923 – Perpetual Profession of Father Annibale, together with some Religious Rogationists.
May 24, 1925 – Father Annibale inaugurates the Orphanage for Little Boys in Rome entrusted to the Daughters of the Divine Zeal.
August 6, 1926 – Monsignor Angelo Paino, Archbishop of Messina, with two separate Decrees, approves the two Religious Congregations of Di Francia.
June 1, 1927 – At 6:30 in the morning, Father Annibale dies in the odor of sanctity in a farm house in the region Guardia (Messina).
June 4, 1927 – Solemn procession of the funeral of Father Annibale through the streets of the city of Messina. The participation of the people has been spontaneous, immense, touching.
August 2, 1934 – Saint Don Luigi Orione, with an urgent telegram sent to Father Francis Vitale, insists that the process for the Beatification and the Canonization of Father Annibale be started at once.
April 21, 1945 – Monsignor Angelo Paino opens the Ordinary Informative Process relevant to the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Di Francia.
March 8, 1980 – Monsignor Ignazio Cannavò, Archbishop of Messina, opens the Apostolic Process for the cause of Canonization.
December 2, 1981 – in the Vicariate in Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti opens the Apostolic Process for the examination of witnesses residing in Rome and nearby.
October 13, 1987 – Monsignor José Alberto Lopes de Castro Pinto, Bishop of Guaxupé (Brazil), opens the process on the presumed miracle attributed to the intercession of Father Annibale regarding the prodigious recovery of the little girl Gleida Ferreira Danese.
June 11, 1988 – Pope John Paul II, during a pastoral visit in Messina, prays at the grave of Father Annibale.
June 23, 1989 – the Special Congress, gathered in the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, concludes the discussion on the heroic virtues of Father Annibale with the affirmative unanimous “Vote” of the Consultor Theologians.
November 7, 1989 – in the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, after the report of Cardinal Eduardo Francis Pironio, the Cardinals and the Bishops, gathered in Ordinary Congress, express a unanimous affirmative opinion regarding the heroic practice of the virtues of the Servant of God Annibale Maria Di Francia.
December 21, 1989 – in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the Decree relevant to the heroic virtues of Father Annibale is promulgated; from this moment he is called Venerable.
June 1, 1990 – in the Temple of the Evangelical Rogation of the Heart of Jesus and Sanctuary of Saint Anthony in Messina, the exhumation and recognition of the corpse of the Venerable Father Annibale takes place. His body is found to be wonderfully uncorrupted.
June 30, 1990 – in the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, the Medical Council meets, presided by Professor Raffaello Cortesini. After the discussion and with favorable unanimous opinion, it declares the recovery of the Brazilian girl Gleida Danese as scientifically inexplicable.
July 14, 1990 – the Special Congress of the Theological Consultors, reunited in the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints after the result of the Medical Council, expresses its unanimous favorable opinion and defines the recovery of Gleida Danese, attributed to the intercession of Father Annibale, miraculous.
July 27, 1990 – in the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, after the report of Cardinal Eduardo Francis Pironio, the Cardinals and the Bishops, gathered in Ordinary Congress, express unanimous affirmative opinion regarding the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Father Annibale.
September 12, 1990 – promulgation of the Decree relevant to the miracle attributed to the intercession of Father Annibale.
October 7, 1990 – in Rome, in St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Father Annibale Blessed.
October 24, 2002 – In Iloilo (Philippines), conclusion of the Diocesan investigation on the presumed miraculous recovery of the little girl Charisse Nicole Diaz attributed to the intercession of Blessed Father Annibale.
May 16, 2004 – In Rome, in St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Father Annibale Maria di Francia, Saint. the Apostle of prayer for Vocations and Father of orphans and of the poor