Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
In the Kingdom of the Divine Will
From the Writings of
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will
Feast of the Seven Dolors (Sorrows) of
the Blessed Virgin Mary
The seven dolors of the Blessed Virgin are the chief sorrowful events in the life of Our Blessed Lady. They are:
1. The circumcision of our Lord — when she saw his blood shed for the first time;
2. Her flight into Egypt — to save the life of the Infant Jesus, when Herod sought to kill Him;
3. The three days she lost her Son in Jerusalem;
4. When she saw him carrying the cross;
5. When she saw him die;
6. When His dead body was taken down from the cross;
7. When it was laid in the sepulchre or tomb.
Volume 19 – July 11, 1926
“My little daughter, you yourself are saying how necessary knowledge is. If it is necessary for you, much more so for others. Now, you must know that in order to form the Kingdom of Redemption, those who distinguished themselves the most in suffering were my Mama and I. And even though apparently She suffered none of the pains that the other creatures knew, except for my death which was known by all, and which was the fatal and harrowing blow for Her maternal Heart, more than any most sorrowful death, however, since She possessed the unity of the light of my Will, this light brought to Her pierced Heart, not only the seven swords told by the Church, but all swords, spears and pricks of all sins and pains of creatures, which martyred Her maternal Heart in a harrowing way. But this is nothing. This light brought Her all my pains, my humiliations, my torments, my thorns, my nails, the most intimate pains of my Heart. The Heart of my Mama was the true Sun: though one can see nothing but light, this light contains all the goods and effects that the earth receives and possesses; so, one can say that the earth is enclosed in the Sun. The same for the Sovereign Queen: one could only see Her person, but the light of my Supreme Will enclosed in Her all possible imaginable pains; and the more intimate and unknown these pains were, the more valuable and powerful they were over the Divine Heart, to impetrate the longed for Redeemer; and more than solar light, they descended into the hearts of creatures, to conquer them and bind them in the Kingdom of Redemption.
So, the Church knows so very little of the pains of the Celestial Sovereign Queen, that one can say that She knows only the visible pains, and this is why She gives the number of the seven swords. But if She knew that Her maternal Heart was the refuge, the deposit of all pains, and that the light of my Will brought everything to Her, sparing Her nothing, the Church would not speak of seven swords, but of millions of swords. More so, since they were intimate pains, and therefore God alone knows the intensity of the sorrow. This is why, by right, She was constituted Queen of martyrs and of all sorrows. Creatures can give a weight, a value to exterior pains, but they do not know enough of the interior ones to be able to attribute to them the right price. Now, in order to form in my Mama, first the Kingdom of my Will, and then that of Redemption, so many pains were not necessary because, since She had no sin, the inheritance of pains was not for Her – Her inheritance was the Kingdom of my Will. But in order to give the Kingdom of Redemption to creatures, She had to submit Herself to so many pains. So, the fruits of Redemption were matured in the Kingdom of my Will possessed by Me and by my Mama. There is nothing beautiful, good or useful, which does not come from my Will.
First Sorrow – The circumcision of our Lord
Meditation 2 – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will
Now, you must know that only eight days had passed from the birth of the Divine Infant. Everything was feast and happiness; the very Creation, taking a festive attitude, celebrated Its Baby Creator. But duty interrupted our joys, because in those times there was a law that all firstborn sons were to undergo the cruel cut of circumcision. My Heart of Mother bled with sorrow in having to submit my dear Son, my Life, my own Creator, to such a bitter pain. Oh, how I would have wanted to take His place! But the Supreme Volition imposed Itself on my love, and giving Me heroism, commanded Me to circumcise the Baby God. My child, you cannot comprehend how much it cost Me; but the Divine Fiat won, and I obeyed, united with Saint Joseph. In mutual agreement, we had my dear Son circumcised. At the painful cut, I felt my Heart being torn, and I cried. Saint Joseph cried too, and my dear Baby sobbed, and His pain was such that He shivered, and looking at me, He sought help. What an hour of pain and spasm for the three of us! It was such that, more than a sea, it engulfed all creatures, to bring them the first pledge and the very Life of my Son, to place them in safety. Now, blessed child, you must know that this cut enclosed profound mysteries: first, it was the seal that impressed in the little Humanity of the Celestial Baby His brotherhood with the whole human family; and the blood He shed was the first disbursement before Divine Justice in order to ransom all human generations. The dear Baby was innocent – He was not obliged by the law; but He wanted to submit Himself, first, to give the example; and then, to infuse trust and courage, saying to all: “Do not fear; I am your little brother, similar to you. Let us love one another, and I will place you all in safety. I will bring you all to my Celestial Father, as my dear brothers.” My child, what an example the Celestial Baby gives! He, Who is the Author of the law, obeys the law. He is born only eight days ago, yet He makes it a duty for Himself, submitting Himself to the cruel cut of circumcision; an indelible cut – as indelible as the union He came to form with degraded humanity. This says that sanctity is in doing one’s own duty, in the observance of the laws, and in fulfilling the Divine Will. Sanctity without duty does not exist. It is duty that places order, harmony, and the seal on sanctity.
Second Sorrow – Her flight into Egypt
Day Twenty-four – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
My dearest child, today the Heart of your Mama is swollen with love and with sorrow, so much so, that I cannot refrain from crying. You know of the coming of the Magi Kings, who caused rumor in Jerusalem, asking about the new King. And cruel Herod, for fear of being removed from his throne, has already given the mandate to kill my sweet Jesus, my dear life, together with all the other children. My child, what pain! The One who has come to give life to all, and to bring into the world the new era of peace, of happiness, of grace…they want to kill Him! What ingratitude! What perfidy! Ah, my child, to what extent the blindness of the human will reaches! To the extent of becoming ferocious, of tying the hands of the Creator Himself, and of making itself the owner of the One who created it. Give Me your compassion, my child, and try to calm the crying of the sweet Baby. He cries because of human ingratitude, because, only a newborn, they want Him dead; and in order to save Him, we are forced to flee. Dear Saint Joseph has already been advised by the Angel to leave for a foreign land. Accompany us, dear child; do not leave us alone, and I will continue to give you my lessons on the great evils of the human will. Now, you must know that as man withdrew from the Divine Will, he broke off with his Creator. Everything on earth had been made by God for him – everything was his; but man, by not wanting to do the Divine Will, lost all rights, and one could say that he did not know where to place his foot. So He became a poor exiled one, a pilgrim who could not have a permanent residence; and this, not only for the soul, but also for the body. All things became mutable for poor man; and if he did possess any fleeting thing, it was by virtue of the foreseen merits of this Celestial Baby. This, because the whole magnificence of Creation was destined by God for all those who would do His Will and live in Its Kingdom. All others, if they manage to take anything, are the true petty thieves of their Creator; and with reason: they do not want to do the Divine Will, but they want the goods which belong to It? Now, dear child, listen to how much this dear Baby and I love you: at the first dawn of His life, He goes into exile, and into a foreign land, in order to free you from the exile in which your human will placed you; to call you to live, not in a foreign land, but in your fatherland – the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat – which was given to you when you were created. Child of my Heart, have pity on the tears of your Mother, and on the tears of this sweet dear Baby – crying, We ask you never to do your will. But We beg you, We implore you: come back into the bosom of the Divine Will, which so much longs for you! Now, dear child, in the midst of the sorrow for human ingratitude, and in the midst of the immense joys and happinesses that the Divine Fiat gave us and the feast that all Creation made for the sweet Baby, the earth became green and flowery again under our steps, to give homage to its Creator. The sun fixed on Him, and praising Him with its light, it felt honored to give Him its light and heat. The wind caressed Him; the birds, almost like clouds, alighted around us, and with their trills and songs, made the most beautiful lullabies for the dear Baby, to calm His crying and favor His sleep. My child, since the Divine Will was in us, we had power over everything. So we arrived in Egypt, and after a long period of time, the Angel of the Lord told Saint Joseph that we should return to the house of Nazareth, because the cruel tyrant had died. So we repatriated to our homeland.
Now, Egypt symbolizes the human will – a land full of idols; and wherever Baby Jesus passed, He would knock down these idols and cast them into hell. How many idols does the human will possess! Idols of vainglory, of self-esteem and of passion, which tyrannize the poor creature! Therefore, be attentive; listen to your Mama. I would make any sacrifice never to let you do your will; and I would also lay down my life, to give you the great good of living always in the bosom of the Divine Will.
Third Sorrow – The three days she lost her Son in Jerusalem
Meditation 5 – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
We continued to spend our lives in the quiet little house of Nazareth, and my dear Son grew in grace and in wisdom. He was charming because of the sweetness and the gentleness of His voice, the sweet enchantment of His eyes, and the loveliness of His whole person. Yes, my Son was truly beautiful, unsurpassingly beautiful! He had recently reached the age of twelve, when we went to Jerusalem according to custom, in order to solemnize the Passover. We set out on the journey – He, Saint Joseph and I. Very often, as we proceeded, with devotion and recollected, my Jesus would break the silence and speak to us now of His celestial Father, now of the immense love for souls which He felt in His Heart. Once in Jerusalem, we went directly to the temple, and as we arrived, we prostrated ourselves with our faces to the ground, adoring God profoundly, and praying for a long time. Our prayer was so fervent and recollected as to open the heavens, draw and bind the Celestial Father, and therefore hasten the reconciliation between Him and men. … After we had fulfilled our duty in the temple and celebrated the Passover, we prepared to return to Nazareth. In the confusion of the crowd, we were separated; I remained with the women, and Joseph joined the men. I looked around to see whether my Jesus had come with Me, but, not seeing Him, I thought He had remained with his father Joseph. But what was not the surprise and the concern I felt when, as we arrived at the place at which we were to reunite, I did not see Him at his side! Unaware of what had happened, we felt such fright and such pain that we both remained mute. Overcome with sorrow, we went back hurriedly, anxiously asking those whom we met: “O tell us if you have seen Jesus, our Son, for we can not live without Him!” Crying, we would describe His features: “He is all lovable; His beautiful azure eyes sparkle with light and speak to the heart; His gaze strikes, enraptures and binds; His forehead is majestic; His face is beautiful, of an enchanting beauty; His most sweet voice descends deep into the heart and sweetens all bitternesses; His hair, curly and like finest gold, renders Him striking and charming. All is majesty, dignity and sanctity in Him. He is the most beautiful among the sons of men!” But in spite of our searching, nobody was able to tell us anything. The sorrow I felt was so cruel as to make Me weep bitterly, opening, every instant, deep gashes in my soul, which caused Me true spasms of death. Dear child, if Jesus was my Son, He was also my God; therefore my sorrow was wholly within the divine order – that is, so powerful and immense as to surpass all other possible torments together. If the Fiat which I possessed had not sustained Me continuously with Its divine strength, I would have died of shock. Seeing that no one was able to give us information, I anxiously questioned the Angels who surrounded Me: “But, tell Me, where is my beloved Jesus? Where should I direct my steps in order to find Him? O, tell Him I can bear no more; bring Him into my arms on your wings! My Angels, have pity on my tears, help Me – bring Me Jesus!” In the meantime, as every search had turned out in vain, we returned to Jerusalem. After three days of most bitter sighs, tears, anxieties and fears, we entered the temple. I was all eyes and looked everywhere, when, finally, overcome with jubilation, I saw my Son in the midst of the doctors of the law! He was speaking with such wisdom and majesty as to make those who were listening remain enraptured and amazed. Just in seeing Him, I felt life come back to Me, and immediately I understood the secret reason of His being lost. And now, a little word to you, dearest child. In this mystery, my Son wanted to give to Me and to you, a sublime teaching. Could you perhaps assume that He was ignoring what I was suffering? On the contrary, my tears, my searching, and my cruel and intense sorrow, resounded in His heart. Yet, during those hours, so painful, He sacrificed to the Divine Will, His own Mama, the one whom He loves so much, in order to show Me how I too, one day, was to sacrifice His very Life to the Supreme Will.
Fourth Sorrow – When she saw him carrying the cross
Hours of the Passion – The Eighteenth Hour
My Life, Jesus, making You suffer unheard-of spasms, your enemies have managed to put You on your feet, and as You walk, staggering, I hear your panting breath. Your Heart beats more strongly and new pains pierce It intensely. You shake your head in order to clear your eyes from the blood that fills them, and You gaze anxiously. Ah, my Jesus, I understood everything – your Mama, who is searching for You like a moaning dove, wants to tell You one last word, and receive your last gaze; and You feel Her pains, Her heart lacerated in Yours, moved and wounded by Her love and by Yours. You see Her pushing Her way through the crowd, wanting at any cost to see You, to hug You, to give You the last good-bye. But You are more transfixed in seeing Her mortal paleness, and all of your pains reproduced in Her by force of Love. If She lives, it is only by a miracle of your Omnipotence. You move your steps toward hers, but you can hardly exchange a glance! Oh, pang of your two Hearts! The soldiers notice it, and with blows and shoving prevent Mama and Son from exchanging the last good-bye. The torment of both is such that your Mama remains petrified by the pain, and is about to die. Faithful John and the pious women sustain Her, while You fall again under the Cross. Then, your sorrowful Mama does with Her soul that which She cannot do with Her Body, because She is prevented: She enters into You, makes the Will of the Eternal One Her own, and associating Herself in all your pains, performs the office of your Mother, kisses You, repairs You, soothes You, and pours the balm of Her sorrowful love into all your wounds! My suffering Jesus, I too unite with the pierced Mama. I make all your pains, and every drop of your Blood my own; in each wound I want to act as a mama for You, and together with Her, and with You, I repair for all the dangerous encounters, and for those who expose themselves to occasions of sin, or, forced by necessity to be exposed, remain entangled in sin.
Fifth Sorrow – When she saw him die
Hours of the Passion – Twenty-second Hour
My dying Crucified, Jesus, You are now about to give the last breaths of your mortal life; your Most Holy Humanity is already stiffened; your Heart seems to beat no longer. With Magdalene I cling to your feet and, if it were possible, I would like to give my life to revive Yours. Meanwhile, O Jesus, I see that You open your dying eyes again, and You look around from the Cross, as though wanting to give the last good-bye to all. You look at your dying Mama, who no longer has motion or voice, so many are the pains She feels; and You say: “Good-bye Mama, I am leaving, but I will keep You in my Heart. You, take care of my children and yours.” You look at crying Magdalene, faithful John and your very enemies, and with your gazes You say to them: “I forgive you; I give you the kiss of peace.” Nothing escapes your gaze; You take leave of everyone and forgive everyone. Then, You gather all your strengths, and with a loud and thundering voice, You cry out: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”. And bowing your head, You breathe your last. My Jesus, at this cry all nature is shaken and cries over your death – the death of its Creator! The earth trembles strongly; and with its trembling, it seems to be crying and wanting to shake up souls to recognize You as true God. The veil of the Temple is torn, the dead are risen; the sun, which until now had cried over your pains, has withdrawn its light with horror. At this cry, your enemies fall on their knees, and beating their breasts, they say: “Truly He is the Son of God.” And your Mother, petrified and dying, suffers pains harder than death. My dead Jesus, with this cry You also place all of us into the hands of the Father, because You do not reject us. Therefore You cry out loudly, not only with your voice, but with all your pains and with the voices of your Blood: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit and all souls.” My Jesus, I too abandon myself in You; give me the grace to die completely in your love – in your Will, and I pray that You never permit me, either in life or in death, to go out of your Most Holy Will. Meanwhile I intend to repair for all those who do not abandon themselves perfectly to your Most Holy Will, therefore losing or maiming the precious gift of your Redemption. What is not the sorrow of your Heart, O my Jesus, in seeing so many creatures escaping from your arms and abandoning themselves to themselves? Have pity on all, O my Jesus – have pity on me.
Sixth Sorrow – When His dead body was taken down from the cross
Hours of the Passion – Twenty-third Hour
My dead Jesus, I see that your disciples hasten to depose You from the Cross. Joseph and Nicodemus, who have remained hidden until now, with courage and without fearing anything, now want to give You an honorable burial. So they take hammers and pincers, to perform the sacred and sad unnailing from the Cross, while your pierced Mama stretches out Her maternal arms to receive You on Her lap. My Jesus, while they unnail You, I too want to help your disciples to sustain your Most Holy Body; and with the nails they remove from You, nail me completely to Yourself. With your Holy Mother, I want to adore You and kiss You, and then enclose myself in your Heart, never to leave again.
Seventh Sorrow – When it was laid in the sepulchre or tomb.
Hours of the Passion – Twenty-fourth Hour
Tormented Mama, I see You hasten, because those who surround You want to close the sepulcher. Almost flying, You take the Hands of Jesus between yours, You kiss them, You press them to your Heart; and placing your hands in His, You take for Yourself the pains and the piercings of those Most Holy Hands. Then You fly over the Feet of Jesus, looking at the cruel torture which the nails have made in them; and as You place your feet in them, You take for Yourself those wounds, and You offer Yourself to run toward sinners in the place of Jesus, in order to snatch them from hell. Anguishing Mama, I see You give the last good-bye to the pierced Heart of Jesus. Here You pause. It is the last assault to your Maternal Heart; You feel It being torn from your breast because of the vehemence of love and pain and, alone, It runs to place Itself in the Most Holy Heart of Jesus. And You, in seeing Yourself without a heart, hasten to take His Most Holy Heart into yours – His Love rejected by many creatures, His many ardent desires not fulfilled because of their ingratitudes, and the pains and piercings of that Most Holy Heart, which will keep You crucified for the rest of your life. In looking at the wide wound, You kiss it, You lap up the Blood; and feeling the Life of Jesus in Yourself, You have the strength to fulfill the bitter separation. Then You embrace Him, and You allow the sepulchral stone to close on Him.
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta was born in Corato in the Province of Bari, on April 23,1865 and died there in the odor of sanctity on March 4, 1947.
Luisa had the good fortune to be born into one of those patriarchal families that still survive in our realm of Puglia and like to live deep in the country, peopling our farmhouses. Her parents, Vito Nicola and Rosa Tarantino, had five children: Maria, Rachele, Filomena, Luisa and Angela. Maria, Rachele and Filomena married. Angela, commonly called Angelina, remained single and looked after her sister until she died.
Luisa was born on the Sunday after Easter and was baptized that same day. Her father – a few hours after her birth – wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to the parish church where holy Baptism was administered to her.
Nicola Piccarreta was a worker on a farm belonging to the Mastrorilli family, located at the middle of Via delle Murge in a neighborhood called Torre Disperata, 27 kilometers from Corato. Those who know these places, set among the sunny, bare and stony hills, can appreciate the solemnity of the silence that envelops them. Luisa spent many years of her childhood and adolescence on this farm. In front of the old house, the impressive, centuries-old mulberry tree still stands, with the great hollow in its trunk where Luisa used to hide when she was little in order to pray, far from prying eyes. It was in this lonely, sunny spot place that Luisa’s divine adventure began which was to lead her down the paths of suffering and holiness. Indeed, it was in this very place that she came to suffer unspeakably from the attacks of the devil who at times even tormented her physically. Luisa, to be rid of this suffering, turned ceaselessly to prayer, addressing in particular the Virgin Most Holy, who comforted her by her presence.
Divine Providence led the little girl down paths so mysterious that she knew no joys other than God and his grace. One day, in fact, the Lord said to her: “I have gone round and round the world again and again, and I looked one by one at all my creatures to find the smallest one of all. Among so many I found you. Your littleness pleased me and I chose you; I entrusted you to my angels so that they would care for you, not to make you great, but to preserve your littleness, and now I want to begin the great work of fulfilling my will. Nor will you feel any greater through this, indeed it is my will to make you even smaller, and you will continue to be the little daughter of the Divine Will” (cf. Volume XII, March 23, 1921).
When she was nine, Luisa received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time and Holy Confirmation, and from that moment learned to remain for hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament. When she was eleven she wanted to enroll in the Association of the Daughters of Mary – flourishing at the time – in the Church of San Giuseppe. At the age of eighteen, Luisa became a Dominican Tertiary taking the name of Sr. Maddalena. She was one of the first to enroll in the Third Order, which her parish priest was promoting. Luisa’s devotion to the Mother of God was to develop into a profound Marian spirituality, a prelude to what she would one day write about Our Lady.
Jesus’ voice led Luisa to detachment from herself and from everyone. At about eighteen, from the balcony of her house in Via Nazario Sauro, she had a vision of Jesus suffering under the weight of the Cross, who raised his eyes to her saying: “O soul, help me!“. From that moment an insatiable longing to suffer for Jesus and for the salvation of souls was enkindled in Luisa. So began those physical sufferings which, in addition to her spiritual and moral sufferings, reached the point of heroism.
The family mistook these phenomena for sickness and sought medical help. But all the doctors consulted were perplexed at such an unusual clinical case. Luisa was subject to a state of corpse-like rigidity – although she showed signs of life – and no treatment could relieve her of this unspeakable torment. When all the resources of science had been exhausted, her family turned to their last hope: priests. An Augustinian priest, Fr. Cosma Loiodice, at home because of the Siccardian* laws, was summoned to her bedside: to the wonder of all present, the sign of the Cross which this priest made over the poor body, sufficed to restore her normal faculties instantly to the sick girl. After Fr. Loiodice had left for his friary, certain secular priests were called in who restored Luisa to normality with the sign of the Cross. She was convinced that all priests were holy, but one day the Lord told her: “Not because they are all holy – indeed, if they only were! – but simply because they are the continuation of my priesthood in the world you must always submit to their priestly authority; never oppose them, whether they are good or bad” (cf. Volume I). Throughout her life, Luisa was to be submissive to priestly authority. This was to be one of the greatest sources of her suffering. Her daily need for the priestly authority in order to return to her usual tasks was her deepest mortification. In the beginning, she suffered the most humiliating misunderstandings on the part of the priests themselves who considered her a lunatic filled with exalted ideas, who simply wanted to attract attention. Once they left her in that state for more than twenty days. Luisa, having accepted the role of victim, came to experience a most peculiar condition: every morning she found herself rigid, immobile, huddled up in bed, and no one was able to stretch her out, to raise her arms or move her head or legs. As we know, it required the presence of a priest who, by blessing her with the sign of the Cross, dispelled that corpse-like rigidity and enabled her to return to her usual tasks (lace-making). She was a unique case in that her confessors were never spiritual directors, a task that Our Lord wanted to keep for himself. Jesus made her hear his voice directly, training her, correcting her, reprimanding her if necessary and gradually leading her to the loftiest peaks of perfection. Luisa was wisely instructed and prepared during many years to receive the gift of the Divine Will.
The archbishop at that time, Giuseppe Bianchi Dottula (December 22, 1848-September 22,1892), came to know of what was happening in Corato; having heard the opinion of several priests, he wished to exercise his authority and assume responsibility for this case. After mature reflection he thought it right to delegate to Luisa a special confessor, Fr. Michele De Benedictis, a splendid figure of a priest, to whom she opened every nook and cranny of her soul. Fr. Michele, a prudent priest with holy ways, imposed limits on her suffering and instructed her to do nothing without his permission. Indeed, it was Fr. Michele who ordered her to eat at least once a day, even if she immediately threw up everything she had swallowed. Luisa was to live on the Divine Will alone. It was under this priest that she received permission to stay in bed all the time as a victim of expiation. This was in 1888. Luisa remained nailed to her bed of pain, sitting there for another 59 years, until her death. It should be noted that until that time, although she had accepted her state as a victim, she had only occasionally stayed in bed, since obedience had never permitted her to stay in bed all the time. However, from New Year 1889 she was to remain there permanently.
In 1898 the new prelate, Archbishop Tommaso de Stefano (March 24, 1898 – 13 May 1906) delegated as her new confessor Fr. Gennaro Di Gennaro, who carried out this task for twenty-four years. The new confessor, glimpsing the marvels that the Lord was working in this soul, categorically ordered Luisa to put down in writing all that God’s grace was working within her. None of the excuses made by the Servant of God to avoid obeying her confessor in this were to any avail. Not even her scant literary education could excuse her from obedience to her confessor. Fr. Gennaro Di Gennaro remained cold and implacable, although he knew that the poor woman had only been to elementary school. Thus on February 28, 1899, she began to write her diary, of which there are thirty-six large volumes! The last chapter was written on December 28, 1939, the day on which she was ordered to stop writing.
Her confessor, who died on September 10,1922, was succeeded by the canon, Fr. Francesco De Benedictis, who only assisted her for four years, because he died on January 30, 1926. Archbishop Giuseppe Leo (January 17, 1920-January 20,1939) delegated a young priest, Fr. Benedetto Calvi, as her ordinary confessor. He stayed with Luisa until she died, sharing all those sufferings and misunderstandings that beset the Servant of God in the last years of her life.
At the beginning of the century, our people were lucky enough to have Blessed Annibale Maria Di Francia present in Puglia. He wanted to open in Trani male and female branches of his newly founded congregation. When he heard about Luisa Piccarreta, he paid her a visit and from that time these two souls were inseparably linked by their common aims. Other famous priests also visited Luisa, such as, for example, Fr. Gennaro Braccali, the Jesuit, Fr. Eustachio Montemurro, who died in the odor of sanctity, and Fr. Ferdinando Cento, Apostolic Nuncio and Cardinal of Holy Mother Church. Blessed Annibale became her extraordinary confessor and edited her writings, which were little by little properly examined and approved by the ecclesiastical authorities. In about 1926, Blessed Annibale ordered Luisa to write a book of memoirs of her childhood and adolescence. He published various writings of Luisa’s, including the book L’orologio della Passione, which acquired widespread fame and was reprinted four times. On October 7,1928, when the house of the sisters of the Congregation of Divine Zeal in Corato was ready, Luisa was taken to the convent in accordance with the wishes of Blessed Annibale. Blessed Annibale had already died in the odor of sanctity in Messina.
In 1938, a tremendous storm was unleashed upon Luisa Piccarreta: she was publicly disowned by Rome and her books were put on the Index. At the publication of the condemnation by the Holy Office, she immediately submitted to the authority of the Church.
A priest was sent from Rome by the ecclesiastical authorities, who asked her for all her manuscripts, which Luisa handed over promptly and without a fuss. Thus all her writings were hidden away in the secrecy of the Holy Office.
On October 7, 1938, because of orders from above, Luisa was obliged to leave the convent and find a new place to live. She spent the last nine years of her life in a house in Via Maddalena, a place which the elderly of Corato know well and from where, on March 8, 1947, they saw her body carried out.
Luisa’s life was very modest; she possessed little or nothing. She lived in a rented house, cared for lovingly by her sister Angela and a few devout women. The little she had was not even enough to pay the rent. To support herself she worked diligently at making lace, earning from this the pittance she needed to keep her sister, since she herself needed neither clothes nor shoes. Her sustenance consisted of a few grams of food, which were prepared for her by her assistant, Rosaria Bucci. Luisa ordered nothing, desired nothing, and instantly vomited the food she swallowed. She did not look like a person near death’s door, but nor did she appear perfectly healthy. Yet she was never idle, she spent her energy either in her daily suffering or her work, and her life, for those who knew her well, was considered a continuous miracle.
Her detachment from any payments that did not come from her daily work was marvelous! She firmly refused money and the various presents offered to her on any pretext. She never accepted money for the publication of her books. Thus one day she told Blessed Annibale that she wanted to give him the money from her author’s royalties: “I have no right to it, because what is written there is not mine” (cf. Preface of the L’orologio della Passione, Messina, 1926). She scornfully refused and returned the money that pious people sometimes sent her.
Luisa’s house was like a monastery, not to be entered by any curious person. She was always surrounded by a few women who lived according to her own spirituality, and by several girls who came to her house to learn lace-making. Many religious vocations emerged from this “upper room”. However, her work of formation was not limited to girls alone, many young men were also sent by her to various religious institutes and to the priesthood.
Her day began at about 5.00 a.m., when the priest came to the house to bless it and to celebrate Holy Mass. Either her confessor officiated, or some delegate of his: a privileged granted by Leo XIII and confirmed by St. Pius X in 1907. After Holy Mass, Luisa would remain in prayer and thanksgiving for about two hours. At about 8.00 a.m. she would begin her work which she continued until midday; after her frugal lunch she would stay alone in her room in meditation. In the afternoon – after several hours of work – she would recite the holy Rosary. In the evening, towards 8.00 p.m., Luisa would begin to write her diary; at about midnight she would fall asleep. In the morning she would be found immobile, rigid, huddled up on her bed, her head turned to the right, and the intervention of priestly authority would be necessary to recall her to her daily tasks and allow her to sit up in bed.
Luisa died at the age of eighty-one years, ten months and nine days, on March 4, 1947, after a fortnight of illness, the only one diagnosed in her life, a bad attack of pneumonia. She died at the end of the night, at the same hour when every day the priest’s blessing had freed her from her state of rigidity. Archbishop Francesco Petronelli (May 25, 1939-June 16, 1947) archbishop at the time. Luisa remained sitting up in bed. It was impossible to lay her out and – an extraordinary phenomenon – her body never suffered rigor mortis and remained in the position in which it had always been.
Hardly had the news of Luisa’s death spread, like a river in full spate, all the people streamed into her house and police intervention was necessary to control the crowds that flocked there day and night to visit Luisa, a woman very dear to them. A voice rang out: “Luisa the Saint has died“. To contain all the people who were going to see her, with the permission of the civil authorities and health officials, her body was exposed for four days with no sign of corruption. Luisa did not seem dead, she was sitting up in bed, dressed in white; it was as though she were asleep, because as has already been said, her body did not suffer rigor mortis. Indeed, without any effort her head could be moved in all directions, her arms raised, her hands and all her fingers bent. It was even possible to lift her eyelids and see her shining eyes that had not grown dim. Everyone believed that she was still alive, immersed in a deep sleep. A council of doctors, summoned for this purpose, declared, after attentively examining the corpse, that Luisa was truly dead and that her death should be accepted as real and not merely apparent, as everyone had imagined.
Luisa had said that she was born “upside down”, and that therefore it was right that her death should be “upside down” in comparison with that of other creatures. She remained in a sitting position as she had always lived, and had to be carried to the cemetery in this position, in a coffin specially made for her with a glass front and sides, so that she could be seen by everyone, like a queen upon her throne, dressed in white with the Fiat on her breast. More than forty priests, the chapter and the local clergy took part in the funeral procession; the sisters took turns to carry her on their shoulders, and an immense crowd of citizens surrounded her: the streets were incredibly full; even the balconies and rooftops of the houses were swarming with people, so that the procession wound slowly onwards with great difficulty. The funeral rite of the little daughter of the Divine Will was celebrated in the main church by the entire chapter. All the people of Corato followed the body to the cemetery. Everyone tried to take home a keepsake or a flower, after having touched her body with it; a few years later, her remains were translated to the parish of Santa Maria Greca.
In 1994, on the day of the Feast of Christ the King, in the main church, Archbishop Carmelo Cassati, in the presence of a large crowd including foreign representatives, officially opened the beatification cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.
1865 – Luisa Piccarreta was born on April 23, the Sunday after Easter, in Corato, Bari, to Nicola Vito and Rosa Tarantino, who had five daughters: Maria, Rachele, Filomena, Luisa and Angela. A few hours after Luisa’s birth, her father wrapped her in a blanket and took her to the main church for baptism. Her mother had not suffered the pangs of labor: her birth was painless.
1872 – She received Jesus in the Eucharist on the Sunday after Easter, and the sacrament of Confirmation was administered to her on that same day by Archbishop Giuseppe Bianchi Dottula of Trani.
1883 – At the age of eighteen, from the balcony of her house, she saw Jesus, bent beneath the weight of the Cross, who said to her: “O soul! Help me!“. From that moment, solitary soul that she was, she lived in continuous union with the ineffable sufferings of her Divine Bridegroom.
1888 – She became a Daughter of Mary and a Dominican Tertiary with the name of Sr. Maddalena
1885-1947 – A chosen soul, a seraphic bride of Christ, humble and devout, whom God had endowed with extraordinary gifts, an innocent victim, a lightening conductor of Divine Justice, bedridden for sixty-two years without interruption, she was a herald of the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
March 4 – Full of merits, in the eternal light of the Divine Will she ended her days as she had lived them, to triumph with the angels and saints in the eternal splendor of the Divine Will.
March 7 – For four days her mortal remains were exposed for the veneration of an immense throng of the faithful who went to her house to have a last look at Luisa the Saint, so dear to their hearts. The funeral was a realm triumph; Luisa passed like a queen, borne aloft on shoulders among the lines of people. All the clergy, secular and religious, accompanied Luisa’s body. The funeral liturgy took place in the main church with the participation of the entire chapter. In the afternoon, Luisa was buried in the family Chapel of the Calvi family.
Jul 3,1963 – Her mortal remains were definitively laid to rest in Santa Maria Greca.
Nov 20, – Feast of Christ the King: Archbishop Cassati officially opened the
November 20, 1994 – Feast of Christ the King: Archbishop Carmelo Cassati officially opened the Beatification Cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta in the principal church of Corato, in the presence of a huge crowd of people, locals and foreigners.
2005 – Archbishop Giovanni Battista Picchierri, current Archbishop of Trani. It is he who requested that the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta be continued.
Trani – Barletta – Bisceglie – Nazareth
70059 TRANI – VIA BELTRANI, 9 – TEL.0883-583498
Trani, June 4, 2005
The “Divine Will” has guided the Archdiocese, in this last decade, for the completion of the works regarding the process of the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. The Diocesan Postulation announces having completed this journey. It communicates that on the days of the 27th, 28th, and 29th of October 2005 it will celebrate the 2nd International Congress with the conclusion of the diocesan process.
The Pious Association Luisa Piccarreta Little Children of the Divine Will*, in Corato, has been charged with performing the job of Secretary for the celebration and welcome of guests. Later the program of the celebration will be published in a definitive way.
May Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist guide us as He has guided His Servant Luisa.
The Vicar General
(His Grace Savino Giannotti)
* Pious Association Luisa Piccarreta Little Children of the Divine Will
Referent: Sister Assunta Marigliano
70033 Corato (BA) – Via Nazario Sauro, 27 – Tel. +39.080.8982221
www.luisalasanta.com – e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Come Holy Spirit, Come Supreme Will,
down to reign in Your Kingdom on earth
and in our hearts!
Come Holy Spirit, Come Supreme Will,
down to reign in Your Kingdom on earth
and in our hearts!
Come Holy Spirit, Come Supreme Will,
down to reign in Your Kingdom on earth
and in our hearts!