THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS
From the Writings of
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will
Hours of the Passion
“O my Jesus, I kiss your most holy Face, pale, bruised and bleeding, and I ask your forgiveness
for the many scorns, offenses and insults You receive from us, most miserable creatures, with our
sins. I promise You that every time I have the temptation of not giving You all the glory, the love
and the adoration which is due to You, immediately I will cry out:
“Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to You.”
The Holy Face of Jesus
Fourth Hour of the Passion
Jesus, my Life, I kiss your most holy Face; I see it bleeding, bruised and swollen. The creatures,
O Jesus, come before the Holy Host, and with their indecent postures and evil discourses, instead of giving You honor, seem to send You slaps and spittle. And You, just like in the Passion, receive them in all peace and patience, and You bear everything! O Jesus, I want to place my face close to yours, not only to kiss You and to receive the insults which come to You from your creatures, but to share with You all your pains. With my hands, I intend to caress You, wipe off the spit, and press You tightly to my heart; and of my being, to make many tiny little pieces, placing them before You, like many souls who adore You; and to turn my movements into
continuous prostrations, to repair for the dishonors You receive from all creatures.
Sixth Hour of the Passion
Jesus, my Life, I want to impress a more fervent kiss on your face, whose beauty has no equal.
Ah, this is the face on which the Angels, like cupids, desire to fix, for the great beauty that
enraptures them. Yet, the creatures dirty it with spit, beat it with slaps, and trample it under foot.
My Love, what daring! I would like to shout so loudly as to put them to flight! I compassionate
You, and in order to repair for these insults, I go to the Most Holy Trinity, to ask for the kiss of
the Father and of the Holy Spirit, and the divine caresses of Their creative hands. I also go to the
Celestial Mama, that She may give me Her kisses, the caresses of Her maternal hands, and Her
profound adorations; and I offer You everything, to repair for the offenses given to your most
Eighth Hour of the Passion
My most patient Jesus, it seems that these ropes and chains give something more beautiful to your Divine Person: your forehead becomes more majestic, so much so, as to draw the attention of your enemies themselves; your eyes blaze with more light; your Divine Face assumes a supreme peace and sweetness, such as to enamor your very executioners. With your sweet and
penetrating accents, though few, You make them tremble; so much so, that if they dare to offend
You, it is because You Yourself allow them to do so.
Tenth Hour of the Passion
You are now at the moment in which Annas questions You about your doctrine and your
disciples. And You, O Jesus, in order to defend the glory of the Father, open your most sacred
mouth, and with sonorous and dignified voice, answer: “I have spoken in public, and all those
here present have heard Me.”
At your dignified accents, all feel trembling, but their perfidy is such that a servant, wanting to
honor Annas, comes close to You and with a fierce hand gives You a slap, but so violent as to
make You stagger, and to bruise your most holy Face.
Twelfth Hour of the Passion
My most sweet Life, Jesus, while sleeping, clinging to your Heart, I often felt the pricks of the
thorns which prick your Most Holy Heart. Wanting to wake up together with You, that You may
have at least one who notices all of your pains and feels compassion for You, I cling more tightly
to your Heart; and feeling your prickings more vividly, I wake up. But, what do I see? What do I
hear? I would like to hide You in my heart to expose myself in your place, and receive upon
myself pains so intense, insults and humiliations so incredible. But only your love could bear so
many outrages. My most patient Jesus, what could You expect from people so inhuman?
I now see that they are making fun of You. They cover your Face with thick spit; the light of your
beautiful eyes is covered by the spit; and You, pouring rivers of tears for our salvation, push that
spit away from your eyes, and your enemies, with hearts incapable of seeing the light of your
eyes, cover them with spit again. Others, becoming more brave in evil, open your most sweet
mouth and fill it with disgusting spit, to the point that they themselves feel nausea. And since some of that spit flows away, revealing, in part, the majesty of your Face and your superhuman
sweetness, they shudder and feel ashamed of themselves. In order to feel more free, they
blindfold You with a miserable rag, to be able to hurl themselves, unrestrained, at your adorable
Person. And so they beat You up without pity; they drag You; they trample You under their feet;
they repeat blows and slaps to your Face and over your head, scratching You, tearing your hair,
and pushing You from one point to another.
Thirteenth Hour of the Passion
I see You with your hands tied behind You to a column, and with your feet bound and gripped. I
see your most holy Face bruised, swollen and bleeding from the horrible slaps received. Your
most pure eyes are blackened; your pupils are tired and sad from the vigil; your hair is all
disarranged; your Most Holy Person is all beaten up, and You cannot even help Yourself and
clean Yourself, because You are bound.
And I, O my Jesus, with a sob of crying, clinging to your feet, say: ‘Alas, how You have been
reduced, O Jesus!’
And Jesus, looking at me, answers: “Come, oh my child, and be attentive to everything you
see Me doing, in order to do it together with Me, that I may continue my Life in you.”
To my amazement, I now see that instead of occupying Yourself with your pains, with an
indescribable love, You think about glorifying the Father, to compensate Him for all that we owe;
and You call all souls around You, to take all of their evils upon Yourself and give to them all
goods. And since the day is dawning, I hear your most sweet voice say: “Holy Father, I give
You thanks for all I have suffered and for all that is left for Me to suffer. And just as this
dawn calls the day and the day makes the sun rise, so may the dawn of Grace arise in all
hearts; and as daylight rises, may I, Divine Sun, rise in all hearts and reign over all. Do
you see these souls, O Father? I want to answer You for all of them, for their thoughts,
words, works and steps – at the cost of blood and death.”
My Jesus, Love with no boundaries, I unite myself to You, and I too thank You for all that You
have made me suffer, and for all that is left for me to suffer. And I pray You to make the dawn of
Grace arise within all hearts, so that You, Divine Sun, may rise again in all hearts and reign over
them….Enamored Jesus, I adore and kiss your most holy Face, all bruised by the slapping. I ask for forgiveness and I repair for all the times You have called us to offer reparation, and we, uniting to your enemies, have given You slaps and spit. My Jesus, I want to fuse my face in Yours, to
restore your natural beauty, giving You full reparation for all the contempt given to your adorable
Sixteenth Hour of the Passion
My most pure Jesus, You are now near the pillar. Enraged, the soldiers untie You in order to bind
You to it. But this is not enough – they strip You of your garments to make a cruel massacre of
your Most Holy Body. My Love, my Life, I feel faint for the sorrow of seeing You naked. You
tremble from head to foot, and your most holy Face blushes with virginal modesty. Your
confusion, your exhaustion, are such that, unable to keep standing, You are about to fall at the
foot of the pillar; but the soldiers sustain You – not to help You, but to bind You; and they do not
let You fall.
Seventeenth Hour of the Passion
Your Blood pours down upon your Face, in such a way that one can see nothing but blood. But
under those thorns and that Blood, your most holy Face appears, radiant with sweetness, with
peace, and with love. And the executioners, wanting to complete the tragedy, blindfold You,
place a reed in your hand as scepter, and begin their mockeries. They hail You King of the Jews,
they beat You on the crown, they slap You, and say to You: “Guess who hit You!”
And You remain silent – You answer by repairing for the ambition of those who aspire to
kingdoms, to dignities, to honors, and for those who, finding themselves in positions of authority
and behaving incorrectly, cause the ruin of the peoples and of their souls, which had been
entrusted to them; and their evil examples push others toward evil and cause the loss of souls.
…My Jesus, You are naked, but still, You clothe Yourself – I see You are clothed with blood, your
flesh torn, your bones uncovered, your most holy Face unrecognizable. The thorns stuck in your
most holy head reach into your eyes – into your Face, and I see nothing but blood which, pouring
down to the ground, forms a bloody torrent behind your feet.
Eighteenth Hour of the Passion
You can hardly walk; but I see that You stop and try to look. My Heart, what is it? What are
You looking for? Ah, it is Veronica, who, fearless and courageous, with a cloth dries your Face
all covered with blood, and You leave your Face impressed on it, in sign of gratitude. My
generous Jesus, I too want to dry You, but not with a cloth; I want to expose all of myself to
relieve You, I want to enter into your interior and give You, O Jesus, heartbeat for heartbeat,
breath for breath, affection for affection, desire for desire. I intend to dive into your Most Holy
Intelligence, and making all these heartbeats, breaths, affections and desires flow in the immensity of your Will, I intend to multiply them to infinity. I want, O my Jesus, to form waves of heartbeats, so that not one evil heartbeat may resound in your Heart, and so soothe all your interior bitternesses. I intend to form waves of affections and desires to cast away all evil affections and desires which might, even slightly, sadden your Heart. Still more, O my Jesus, I intend to form waves of breaths and thoughts, to cast away any breath or thought that could slightly displease You. I will be on guard, O Jesus, so that nothing else may afflict You, adding more bitterness to your interior pains. O my Jesus, please, let all of my interior swim in the immensity of yours; in this way I will be able to find enough love and will, so that no evil love may enter your interior, nor a will which may displease You.
Nineteenth Hour of the Passion
Tell me my Love, who do You want, to sustain You in so much pain? Oh,
please, let me come to You – I, who more than anyone else, feel the need to be near You in these moments. Dear Mama and the others give me their place, and here I am, O Jesus, I come to You. I hug You, and I pray You to lean your head upon my shoulder, to let me feel the piercings of your thorns, in order to repair for all the offenses of thought that creatures commit. My Love, please, hold me to Yourself; I want to kiss, one by one, the drops of Blood which flow down your most holy Face, and I pray You that each one of these drops may be light for every mind of creature, so that no one may offend You with evil thoughts.
Twentieth Hour of the Passion
O my Jesus, I adore and I kiss your most holy Face, and I thank You for all that You suffered
from the spit, the slaps and the mockeries received, and for all the times You allowed Yourself to
be trampled by your enemies. I ask your forgiveness in the name of all, for all the times we have
dared to offend You, asking You, for the sake of these slaps and this spit, to let your Divinity be
recognized, praised and glorified by all. Even more, O my Jesus, I myself intend to go throughout
the whole world, from the east to the west, from the south to the north, to unite all the voices of
the creatures and change them into as many acts of praise, of love and of adoration. Also, O my
Jesus, I intend to bring You all the hearts of the creatures, so that You may cast light, truth, love
and compassion for your Divine Person into all. And as You forgive all, I ask You not to allow
anyone to offend You, ever again; if possible, even at the cost of my blood. Finally, I intend to
offer You everything You suffered in your most holy Face, to give You all the glory that the
creatures would have given You, if no one had dared to offend You.
Twenty-second Hour of the Passion
O my Jesus, I kiss your most holy Face, pale, bruised and bleeding, and I ask your forgiveness
for the many scorns, offenses and insults You receive from us, most miserable creatures, with our
sins. I promise You that every time I have the temptation of not giving You all the glory, the love
and the adoration which is due to You, immediately I will cry out: “Jesus and Mary, I commend
my soul to You.”
Twenty-fourth Hour of the Passion
But the Divine Will imposes Itself and gives You motion; and You look at His most holy Face,
You kiss it, and exclaim: “Adored Son, how disfigured You are! Ah, if love did not tell Me
that You are my Son, my Life, my All, I would no longer recognize You, so unrecognizable
You are! Your beauty was transformed into deformity; your cheeks into bruises, and the
light, the grace of your Face – which was such that seeing You and remaining beatified
was the same thing – has turned into paleness of death, O beloved Son. Son, how You are
reduced! What an awful crafting sin has made upon your most holy limbs! Ah, how much
would your inseparable Mama want to give You back your original beauty! I want to fuse
my face in Yours, and take for Myself your Face, and the slaps, the spit, the scorns, and
everything You have suffered in your most holy Face. Ah, Son, if You want Me alive, give
Me your pains; otherwise I will die!”
My Sorrowful Mama, crying, I pray You not to allow, for now, that Jesus be taken away from
our gaze. Wait for me to first enclose myself in Jesus, in order to take His Life within me. If You,
who are the Spotless, the All Holy, the Full of Grace, cannot live without Jesus, much less can I
do it, who am weakness, misery, and full of sins. How can I live without Jesus? Sorrowful Mama,
do not leave me alone, take me with You; but first place all of myself in Jesus. Empty me of
everything, in order to place all of Jesus within me, just as You placed Him within Yourself. Begin
with me the maternal office which Jesus has given You on the Cross; let my extreme poverty
break through your maternal Heart, and with your own hands, enclose me completely in Jesus.
Enclose the thoughts of Jesus in my mind, so that no other thought may enter into me. Enclose the eyes of Jesus within mine, that He may never escape from my gaze; and His hearing in mine, that I may always listen to Him and do His Most Holy Will in everything. Place His Face within mine, so that, by looking at Him so disfigured for love of me, I may love Him, compassionate Him, and repair; His tongue in mine, that I may speak, pray and teach with the tongue of Jesus; His hands in mine, so that each movement I make and each work I perform may have life from the works and actions of Jesus. Place His feet in mine, so that each one of my steps may be a life of salvation, of strength and of zeal for the other creatures.
Who can tell, then, the beauty of His adorable face? His white complexion looks like snow
colored with a shade of roses, the most beautiful ones. In His rosy cheeks, one discovers the
greatness of His person, with a most majestic look, fully divine, which strikes fear and reverence,
and at the same time infuses such confidence that, as for myself, I have never found anyone who
would give me the least shadow of confidence that my dear Jesus gives – neither my parents, nor
the confessors, nor my sisters. Ah! yes, that Holy Face, while being so majestic, is also so
lovable, and that loveliness attracts one so much, that the soul does not have the slightest doubt of being welcomed by Jesus, as ugly and sinful as she may see herself. Beautiful also is His nose, which descends to a very fine point, proportioned to His most sacred face. Gracious is His mouth – small, but extremely beautiful, and His finest lips of a scarlet color; while He speaks, He
contains so much graciousness that it is impossible to describe it. Sweet is the voice of my Jesus,
it is gentle, it is harmonious; while He speaks, there is such fragrance coming out of His mouth,
that it seems that there is nothing like it on earth. It is so penetrating as to penetrate everywhere;
one feels it descend from the hearing to the heart, and – oh! how many affections it produces. But
who can say everything? Then, it is so pleasant, that I believe that no other pleasures can be
found, as many as are the ones which one can find in one single word of Jesus. The voice of my
Jesus is immensely powerful, it is operative, and at the very moment He speaks, He already
operates that which He says. Ah! yes, beautiful is His mouth, but it displays more its beautiful
grace in the act of His speaking, while one can see those teeth so clear and so well arranged, and His breath of love comes out, igniting, darting through, consuming the heart. Beautiful are His
hands, soft, white, most delicate, with those fingers so perfectly crafted – and He moves them
with such mastery as to be an enchantment.
Oh! how beautiful You are – all beautiful, oh my sweet Jesus! What I have said of your beauty is
nothing; rather, it seems to me that I have said a lot of nonsense – but what can I do? Forgive me, it is obedience that wants it so. By myself, I would not have dared to say one word, knowing my insufficiency.
This morning, as my adorable Jesus came, He carried me outside of myself, but to my greatest
sorrow I saw Him from behind, and as much as I prayed Him to let me see His most holy face, it
was impossible. In my interior I kept saying:
Who knows whether it is because of my oppositions against the obedience to write that He does not deign to show His adorable face.’ And while saying this, I cried. After He let me cry, He turned around and told me:
“I take your oppositions into no account, because your will is so identified with Mine, that you cannot want but what I Myself want. So, though it is repugnant for you, at the same time you feel drawn to do it as by a magnet; therefore, your repugnances serve for nothing else but to render the virtue of obedience more embellished and bright. This is why I ignore them.”
Afterwards, I looked at His most beautiful face, and in my interior I felt an indescribable
contentment; and turning to Him, I said: ‘My most sweet Love, if I take so much delight in looking
at You, what must it have been for our Queen Mama, when You enclosed Yourself in Her most
pure womb? What contentments, how many graces did You not give Her?’ And He: “My
daughter, the delights and the graces that I poured into Her were such and so many, that it is
enough to tell you that what I am by nature, our Mother became by grace; more so, since She
had no sin, and therefore my grace was able to lord freely within Her. There is nothing of my
Being which I did not give to Her.”
January 12, 1900
Difference between knowledge of self and humility. Jesus alone can glory in possessing true humility.
Finding myself in my usual state, my adorable Jesus came in a pitiful state. He had His hands bound tightly, His face covered with spit, and many people were slapping Him horribly. And He remained quiet, placid, without making one movement or emitting one lament; not even a batting of eyelashes, in order to show that He Himself wanted to suffer these outrages; and this, not only externally, but also internally. What a moving scene, such as to break the hardest hearts! How many things that Face said, with that spit hanging, dirtied with mud! I felt horrified, I trembled, I saw myself all pride before Jesus.
While He was in that appearance, He said to me: “My daughter, only the little ones let themselves be handled as one wants; not those who are little of human reason, but those who are little yet filled with divine reason. I alone can say that I am humble, because in man, that which is said to be humility should rather be called knowledge of self; and one who does not know himself already walks in falsehood.”
Jesus remained silent for a few minutes, and I stayed there, contemplating Him. While I was doing this, I saw a hand carrying a light, which, searching in my interior, in the most intimate hiding places, wanted to see whether the knowledge of myself and love of humiliations, confusions and opprobriums, were present in me. That light found a void in my interior – and I too saw it – which had to be filled with humiliations and confusions, in the example of blessed Jesus. Oh, how many things that light and that holy Face which was before me, made me understand! I said to myself: ‘A God, humiliated and confused for love of me, and I, a sinner, without these insignia! A God, stable, firm in bearing so many insults, to the point that He does not move, not one bit, to shake that disgusting spit off of Himself. Ah, His interior before God, and His exterior before men are made manifest to me; and yet, if He wanted to free Himself, He could, because it is not the chains that bind Him, but His firm Will, which wants to save mankind at any cost. And I? And I? Where are my humiliations? Where, the firmness, the constancy in doing good for love of my Jesus and for love of my neighbor? Ah, how different we are as victims – myself and Jesus! Ah, we are not similar at all!
While my little brain was wandering in this, my adorable Jesus told me: “Only my Humanity was filled with opprobriums and humiliations, to the point that they overflowed outside. This is why Heaven and earth tremble before my virtues, and the souls who love Me use my Humanity as a staircase in order to ascend and lap up a few little drops of my virtues. Tell me now: before my humility, where is yours? I alone can glory in possessing true humility. My Divinity, united to my Humanity, could operate prodigies at each step, word and work; yet, I voluntarily constrained Myself within the circle of my Humanity, I showed Myself as the poorest, and I reached the point of mingling with sinners themselves. I could have done the Work of Redemption in very little time, and even with one single word; yet, during the course of many years, with many hardships and sufferings, I wanted to make the miseries of man my own; I wanted to exercise Myself in many different actions, so that man might be completely renewed and divinized, even in the lowest works. In fact, once they had been exercised by Me, who was God and Man, they received new splendor, and remained with the mark of divine works. My Divinity, hidden within my Humanity, wanted to lower Itself to such baseness, subjecting Itself to the course of human actions – while with one single act of my Will I could have created infinite worlds – feeling the miseries and the weaknesses of others as if they were Its own, seeing Itself covered with all the sins of men before Divine Justice, having to pay their penalty at the price of unheard-of pains and with the shedding of all Its Blood…. Thus It exercised continuous acts of profound and heroic humility.
Oh daughter, here is the immense difference between my humility and the humility of creatures, even that of all of my Saints, which is only a shadow in the face of mine; because the creature is always a creature and does not know, as I know, how great is the weight of sin. Even though heroic souls, following my example, have offered themselves to suffer the pains of others, their pains are not different from those of the other creatures; they are not new things for them, because they are made of the same clay. Moreover, the mere thought that those pains are the cause of new gains, and that they glorify God, is a great honor for them. Furthermore, the creature is restricted within the circle in which God placed her, and she cannot go out of those limits within which she has been circumscribed by God. Oh, if it were in their power to do or undo things, how many other things they would do – everyone would reach the stars! But my divinized Humanity had no limits, yet It voluntarily constrained Itself within Itself; and this was the braiding of all my works with heroic humility.
This had been the cause of all evils which inundate the earth – lack of humility; and by exercising this virtue, I was to draw all goods from Divine Justice. Ah, yes, no concessions of graces come from my throne, if not by means of humility, nor can any ticket be received by Me, if it does not carry the signature of humility. No prayer is listened to by my ears, and moves my Heart to compassion, if it is not perfumed by the fragrance of humility. If the creature does not arrive at destroying that seed of honor, of esteem – and this can be destroyed by arriving at loving to be despised, humiliated, confused – she will feel a braiding of thorns around her heart; she will feel a void in her heart which will always bother her, and will render her very dissimilar from my Most Holy Humanity. If she does not arrive at loving humiliations, at the most she will be able to know herself a little bit, but will not shine before Me, clothed with the garment of humility, beautiful and worthy of sympathy.”
Who can say how many things I understood about this virtue, and the difference between knowledge of self and humility? I seemed to touch with my own hand the distinction between these two virtues, but I have no words to explain myself.
In order to say something, I will use an image. For example, a poor man says he is poor, and he frankly manifests his poverty, also to people who do not know him and who may believe that he possesses something. One can say that he knows himself and tells the truth; and because of this, he is loved more, he moves others to compassion for his miserable state, and everyone helps him. So it is to know oneself. If then, feeling ashamed of manifesting his poverty, that poor man boasted of being rich, while everyone knows that he does not even have clothes to cover himself and that he is dying of starvation – what happens? Everyone despises him, nobody helps him, and he becomes an object of mockery and ridicule to anyone who knows him; and the miserable one, going from bad to worse, ends up dying. So is pride before God and also before other men. And here is how one who does not know himself already leaves the truth and slumps into the path of falsehood.
Now, here is the difference with humility, though it seems to me that knowledge of self and humility are sisters born of the same womb, and one can never be humble if he does not know himself. For example, there is a rich man who, out of love for humiliations, stripping himself of his noble garments, covers himself with miserable rags. He lives unknown, manifesting to no one who he is; he mingles with the poorest, he lives with the poor as if he were one of them, and makes scorns and confusions his delights. Here is the beautiful sister of the knowledge of self, which is humility.
Ah, yes, humility draws grace; humility breaks the strongest chains, which are sin. Humility surmounts any wall of division between the soul and God, and brings her back to Him. Humility is a little plant, but always green and flowery, not subject to being gnawed by worms; nor will winds, hail or heat be able to do harm to it, or make it wither, even slightly. Though being the littlest plant, humility produces very high branches, which penetrate even into Heaven, braiding around the Heart of Our Lord; and only the branches which come from this plant have free access into that adorable Heart. Humility is the anchor of peace during the storms of the sea waves of this life. Humility is the salt which spices all virtues and preserves the soul from the corruption of sin. Humility is the little grass which sprouts along the way treaded by wayfarers; while being treaded, it disappears, but soon one can see it sprout again, more beautiful than before. Humility is like a gentle graft, which renders the wild plant gentle. Humility is the sunset of guilt. Humility is the newborn of grace. Humility is like the moon, which guides us in the darkness of the night of this life. Humility is like that shrewd merchant who knows well how to trade his riches, and wastes not even one cent of the grace that is given to him. Humility is the key of the door of Heaven, such that no one can enter into It if he does not keep this key in good custody. Finally – otherwise I would never end and I would be too long – humility is the smile of God and of all Heaven, and it is the crying of all hell.
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
1994 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!