Exaltation of the Holy Cross
From the Writings of
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
One morning – it was the day of the Exaltation of the Cross – my sweet Jesus transported me to the holy sites; and first, He told me many things about the virtue of the cross. I don’t remember all, but just a few things: “My beloved, do you want to be beautiful? The cross will give you the most beautiful features that can possibly be found, both in Heaven and on earth; so much so, as to enamor God, who contains all beauties within Himself.”
Jesus continued: “Do you want to be filled with immense riches – not for a short time, but for all eternity? Well then, the cross will administer to you all kinds of riches – from the tiniest cents, which are the little crosses, up to the greatest amounts, which are the heavier crosses. Yet, men are so greedy to earn a temporal penny, which they soon will have to leave, but do not give a thought to earning one eternal cent. And when I, having compassion for them, in seeing their carelessness for all that regards eternity, kindly offer them the opportunity – instead of cherishing it, they get angry and offend Me. What human madness – it seems that they understand it upside down. My beloved, in the cross are all the triumphs, all the victories, and the greatest gains. You must have no aim other than the cross, and it will be enough for you, in everything. Today I want to make you content; that cross which until now has not been enough to lay you on and crucify you completely, is the cross that you have carried up to now. But since I have to crucify you completely, you need new crosses which I will let descend upon you. So, the cross you have had until now, I will bring to Heaven, to show it to the whole celestial court as pledge of your love, and I will make another one descend from Heaven – a larger one, to be able to satisfy the ardent desires I have upon you.”
While Jesus was saying this, that cross which I had seen the other times made itself present before me. I took it and I laid myself on it. As I was in this way, the Heavens opened and Saint John the Evangelist came down, carrying the cross that Jesus had indicated to me. The Queen Mother and many Angels, when they arrived near me, lifted me from that cross and placed me over the one which they had brought me, which was much larger. Then, an Angel took the cross I had before and took it to Heaven with him. After this, with His own hand, Jesus began to nail me to that cross; Queen Mama assisted me, while the Angels and Saint John were handing the nails. My sweet Jesus showed such contentment, such joy in crucifying me, that just to be able to give that contentment to Jesus, I would have suffered not only the cross, but yet more pains. Ah! it seemed to me that Heaven was making new feast for me, in seeing the contentment of Jesus. Many souls were freed from Purgatory and took flight toward Heaven, and quite a few sinners were converted, because my Divine Spouse let everyone participate in the good of my sufferings. Who can tell, then, the intense pains I felt while being stretched so well over the cross, and pierced through by the nails in my hands and feet? But especially the feet – the atrocity of the pains was such that they cannot be described. When they finished crucifying me and I felt I was swimming in the sea of pains and sufferings, Queen Mama said to Jesus:
“My Son, today is a day of grace – I want You to let her share in all of your pains. There is nothing left but to pierce her heart through with the lance, and to renew for her the crown of thorns.”
So, Jesus Himself took the lance and pierced my heart through; the Angels took a crown of thorns, well thickened, and handed it to the Most Holy Virgin – and She Herself drove it into my head.
What a memorable day that was for me – of sufferings, yes, but of contentments, of unspeakable pains, but also of joy. It is enough to say that the intensity of the pains was such, that for that entire day Jesus did not move from my side, but remained close to me in order to sustain my nature, which was failing at the liveliness of the pains. Those souls from Purgatory who had flown up to Heaven, descended together with the Angels and surrounded my bed, cheering me with their canticles, and thanking me affectionately because through my sufferings I had freed them from those pains.
It happened, then, that after five or six days of those intense pains, to my great regret, they began to diminish, and so I would solicit my beloved Jesus to renew the crucifixion. And He, sometimes quickly, and sometimes with some delay, would be pleased to transport me to the holy sites and to let me share in the pains of His Sorrowful Passion… now the crown of thorns, now the scourging, now the carrying of the cross to Calvary, now the crucifixion – sometimes one mystery per day, and sometimes everything in one day, as He pleased. This would be of highest pain and contentment for my soul. But it would become very bitter for me when the scene would change, and instead of I being the one who suffered, I would be the spectator, watching most loving Jesus suffer the pains of His Sorrowful Passion. Ah! how many times I found myself in the midst of the Jews together with Queen Mama, seeing my beloved Jesus suffer. Ah! yes, it is indeed true that it is easier for one to suffer himself, than to see the beloved suffer.
Other times, I remember that, in renewing these crucifixions, my sweet Jesus would say to me:
“My beloved, the cross allows one to distinguish the reprobates from the predestined. Just as on the day of judgment, the good will rejoice upon seeing the cross, so even now it can be seen whether one will be saved or lost. If, as the cross presents itself to the soul, she embraces it, carries it with resignation and patience, kissing and thanking that hand which is sending it – here is the sign that she is saved. If, on the contrary, as the cross is presented to her, she gets irritated, despises it, and even reaches the point of offending Me – you can say that that’s a sign that the soul is heading on the way to hell. So will the reprobates do on the Day of Judgment: upon seeing the cross, they will grieve and curse. The cross tells everything; the cross is a book that, without deception and in clear notes, tells you and allows you to distinguish the saint from the sinner, the perfect from the imperfect, the fervent from the lukewarm. The cross communicates such light to the soul that, even now, it allows one to distinguish not only the good from the evil, but also those who are to be more or less glorious in Heaven – those who are to occupy a higher or a lower place. All other virtues remain humble and reverent before the virtue of the cross, and grafting themselves to it, they receive greater glory and splendor.”
Who can tell what flames of ardent desires this speaking of Jesus would cast into my heart? I felt devoured by hunger for suffering, and in order to satisfy my yearnings – or rather, to say it better, in order to satisfy that which He Himself infused in me – He would renew the crucifixion.
I remember that sometimes, after renewing these crucifixions, He would say to me:
“Beloved of my Heart, I ardently desire not only to crucify your soul and to communicate the pains of the cross to your body, but also to mark your body with the mark of my wounds; and I want to teach you the prayer in order to obtain this grace. This is the prayer: ‘I present myself before the supreme throne of God, bathed in the Blood of Jesus Christ, praying Him, by the merit of His most luminous virtues and of His Divinity, to concede to me the grace of being crucified’.”
Volume 3 – December 2, 1899
Eloquent praise of the Cross.
… Jesus: Let Me hear your voice that cheers my hearing. Let us converse together a little; I have spoken to you many times about the Cross; today, let Me hear you speak of the Cross.
I felt all confused; I did not know what to say. But as He sent mea ray of intellectual light, to make Him content I began to say:
My Beloved, who can say to You what the Cross is? Your mouth alone can speak worthily of the sublimity of the Cross; but since You want me to speak, I will do it.
The Cross, suffered by You, freed me from the slavery of the devil, and espoused me to the Divinity with an indissoluble bond.
The Cross is fecund and gives birth to Grace in me.
The Cross is Light, It disillusions me of what is temporal, and reveals to me what is eternal.
The Cross is fire, and reduces to ashes all that is not of God, to the point of emptying my heart of the tiniest blade of grass that might be in it.
The Cross is coin of inestimable value, and if I have, O Holy Spouse, the fortune of possessing it, I will be enriched with eternal coins, to the point of becoming the richest in Paradise, because the currency that circulates in Heaven is the Cross suffered on earth.
The Cross, then, makes me know myself; not only this, but It gives me the knowledge of God.
The Cross grafts all virtues into me.
The Cross is the noble pulpit of the uncreated Wisdom, that teaches me the highest, the finest and most sublime doctrines. So, only the Cross will reveal to me the most hidden mysteries, the most secret things, the most perfect perfection, hidden to the most erudite and learned of the world.
The Cross is like beneficent water that purifies me; not only this, but It administers to me the nourishment for the virtues, It makes them grow, and only then does It leave me, when It brings me back to Eternal Life.
The Cross is like celestial dew, which preserves and embellishes for me the beautiful lily of purity.
The Cross is the nourishment of Hope.
The Cross is the beacon of operating Faith.
The Cross is like hard wood, which preserves the fire of Charity, keeping it always lit.
The Cross is like dry wood, which dispels and puts to flight all the smokes of pride and of vainglory, producing the humble violet of humility in the soul.
The Cross is the most powerful weapon that offends the demons, and defends me from all of their claws. Therefore, the soul who possesses the Cross is the envy and admiration of the very Angels and Saints, and the rage and indignation of the demons.
The Cross is my Paradise on earth, in such a way that if the Paradise of the Blessed up there, is of delights, the Paradise down here is of sufferings.
The Cross is the chain of most pure gold that connects me to You, my Highest Good, and forms the most intimate union that can possibly be given, to the point of making my being disappear. And It transforms me in You, my Beloved, to the point that I feel lost within You, and I live from your very Life.
After I said this (I don’t know whether it is nonsense), my lovable Jesus was all delighted in listening to me, and taken by enthusiasm of love, kissed me all over, and said to me:
Brava, brava, my beloved – you spoke well! My Love is fire, but not like the terrestrial fire which, wherever it penetrates, renders things sterile and reduces everything to ashes. My fire is fecund, and it renders sterile only that which is not virtue. To all the rest it gives life, it makes beautiful flowers bloom, it makes the most delicious fruits mature, and forms the most delightful celestial garden. The Cross is so powerful, and I communicated so much grace to It, as to render It more effective than the very Sacraments; and this, because in receiving the Sacrament of my Body, the dispositions and free concourse of the soul are needed in order to receive my graces, and many times these may be lacking; while the Cross has the virtue of disposing the soul to grace.
Volume 3 – April 20, 1900
The Cross gives us the features and the likeness of Jesus.
My adorable Jesus continues to come, for just a little and like a shadow, and even when He comes He does not say anything. This morning, after He renewed in me the pains of the cross as many as two times, looking at me with tenderness while I was suffering the spasm of the piercings of the nails, He told me:
The cross is a mirror in which the soul admires the Divinity, and by reflecting herself in it, she acquires the features and the likeness that most resembles God. The cross must not only be loved and desired, but one must consider it an honor and a glory. This is to operate as God and to become like God by participation, because I alone gloried in the cross and considered suffering an honor, and I loved it so much that in my whole life I did not want to be one moment without the cross.
Who can say what I understood about the cross from this speaking of blessed Jesus? But I feel mute in expressing it with words. Ah, Lord, I pray You to keep me always nailed to the cross, so that, having this divine mirror ever before me, I may clean all my stains and embellish myself ever more in your likeness.
Volume 3 – April 21, 1900
More than Sacrament, the Cross seals God in the soul.
As I was in my usual state, or rather, with a little bit of concern about something that it is not necessary to say here, my sweet Jesus, on coming, told me:
And they are sacred vessels, and every once in a while it is necessary to dust them off. Your bodies are as many sacred vessels, in which I make my dwelling, therefore it is necessary that I do some little dusting every now and then, that is, that I visit them with some tribulation, so that I may remain in them with more decorum. Therefore, be calm.
Later, after I received Communion, having renewed in me the pains of the crucifixion, He added:
My daughter, how precious is the cross! See now: in giving Itself to the soul, the Sacrament of my Body unites her with Me, It transforms her, to the point that she becomes one with Me. But as the species are consumed, the union, truly established, ceases. Not with the cross. The cross takes God and unites Him with the soul forever, and It places Itself more surely as a seal. Therefore, the cross seals God in the soul, in such a way that there is never separation between God and the crucified soul.
Volume 3 – May 1, 1900
The Eucharist and the Cross; Suffering is not to be feared.
After I received Communion, my sweet Jesus made Himself seen all affability; and as it seemed that the confessor was placing the intention of the crucifixion, my nature felt almost a repugnance to submit itself. My sweet Jesus, to cheer me, told me:
My daughter, if the Eucharist is the deposit of the future glory, the cross is the disbursement with which to purchase it. If the Eucharist is the seed which prevents corruption, like those aromatic herbs that prevent decomposition when applied to cadavers, and gives immortality to soul and body, the cross embellishes and is so powerful that if debts have been contracted, it becomes their guarantor, and it more surely obtains the restitution of the debt’s deed. And after it has satisfied every debt, it forms for the soul the most refulgent throne in the future glory. Ah, yes, the cross and the Eucharist alternate, and one operates more powerfully than the other.
Then He added:
The cross is my flowery bed, not because I did not suffer harrowing spasms, but because by means of the cross I delivered many souls to grace, and I could see many beautiful flowers bloom, which would produce many celestial fruits. So, in seeing so much good, I held that bed of suffering as my delight, and I delighted in the cross and in suffering. You too, my daughter – take pains as delights, and delight in being crucified on my cross. No, no, I do not want you to fear suffering, almost wanting to act as a sluggard. Up, courage! Be brave and, on your own, expose yourself to suffering.
Volume 3 – May 3, 1900
The Feast of the Cross in Heaven.
This morning I found myself outside of myself, and I saw all of Heaven studded with crosses, some small, some large, some medium; some which were larger, emanated more splendor. It was a most sweet enchantment to see so many crosses adorning the firmament, more refulgent than suns. Then, it seemed that Heaven opened, and one could see and hear the feast that the Blessed were making for the cross. Those who had suffered more were celebrated more on this day. One could distinguish in a special way the martyrs and those who had suffered in a hidden way. Oh, how esteemed were the cross and those who had suffered more, in that blessed dwelling!
As I was seeing this, a voice resounded throughout the whole of Heaven, saying:
If the Lord did not send the crosses upon the earth, He would be like a father who has no love for his own children – who wants to see them poor and dishonored, instead of honored and rich.
The rest that I saw during this feast I have no words to describe. I can feel it within me, but I am unable to express it; so I remain silent.
Volume 6 – March 16, 1904
The cross is festive, jubilant, joyful and desiring.
… On hearing Him tell me that, I did not know what else to say – I remained in silence, content with being with Him; and He added:
“You have forgotten to tell the confessor another thing about the cross.
And I: ‘My adorable Lord, I don’t remember, repeat it to me and I will tell him.’
And He: “My daughter, among the many titles that the cross has, it has the title of ‘feast day’, because when one receives a gift, what happens? One makes feast, rejoices and is more content. Now, since the cross is the most precious, the noblest gift, and is given by the greatest and most unique Person that exists, it is more pleasing and brings more feast, more gladness than all other gifts. So, you yourself can say what other titles can be given to the cross.”
And I: ‘As You say, it can be said that the cross is festive, jubilant, joyful, desiring.’
And He: “Good – you spoke well. However, the soul comes to experience these effects of the cross when she is perfectly resigned to my Will and has given all of herself to Me, without keeping anything for herself. And I, so as not to be surpassed in love by the creature, give her all of Myself, and in giving Myself I also give my cross; and the soul recognizing it as my gift, makes feast and enjoys.”
Volume 6 – June 3, 1904
The cross destroys three evil kingdoms and constitutes three good Kingdoms in the soul.
This morning, since blessed Jesus was not coming, I felt all oppressed and tired. Then, when He came, He told me:
“My daughter, do not want to become tired in suffering, but rather, act as if at each hour you were just beginning to suffer. In fact, if the soul lets herself be dominated by the cross, the cross destroys three evil kingdoms in her, which are the world, the devil and the flesh, and it constitutes in her three more good Kingdoms: the Spiritual, the Divine and the Eternal Kingdom.”
And He disappeared.
Volume 7 – February 23, 1906
How Jesus was nailed to the Cross in the Will of the Father.
This morning I was thinking of Our Lord in the act in which they were nailing Him to the cross; I was compassionating all of Him, and blessed Jesus told me:
“My daughter, not only my hands and feet were nailed to the cross, but all the particles of my Humanity, soul and Divinity were all nailed in the Will of the Father. In fact, the crucifixion was the Will of the Father, therefore I was nailed and transmuted completely in His Will. This was necessary because, what is sin but withdrawing from the Will of God, from everything that is good and holy which God has given us, believing to be something of one’s own, and offending the Creator? And I, in order to repair for this audacity and for this self idol which the creature makes of herself, wanted to dissolve my will completely and live from the Will of the Father at the cost of great sacrifice.”
Volume 7 – July 27, 1906
In the Cross, Jesus dowered souls and espoused them to Himself.
This morning, as my adorable Jesus made Himself seen embracing the Cross, I thought in my interior: ‘What were His thoughts in receiving the Cross?’
And He said to me: “My daughter, when I received the Cross, I embraced It as my dearest treasure, because in the Cross I dowered souls and espoused them to Myself. Now, upon looking at the Cross – at Its length and breadth – I rejoiced, because I saw in It sufficient dowries for all my spouses, and none of them could fear not being able to marry Me, because I held in my own hands – in the Cross – the price of their dowry. But with this condition alone: that if the soul accepts the little gifts I send to her – which are the crosses – as the pledge of her acceptance of Me as her Spouse, the marriage is formed and I give her the gift of the dowry. If then she does not accept the gifts – that is, if she is not resigned to my Will – everything is undone, and even if I want to dower her, I cannot, because in order to form a marriage, it always takes the will of both sides; and since the soul does not accept my gifts, it means that she does not want to accept the marriage.”
Volume 7 – August 11, 1906
The cross is a treasure.
Finding myself in my usual state, I saw my adorable Jesus with a cross in His hand, all full of white pearls. Giving it to me as gift, He placed it on my breast, and it sank into my heart as inside a room. Then He told me:
“My daughter, the cross is a treasure, and the safest place in which to keep this valuable treasure is one’s own soul. Or rather, it is a safe place when the soul is disposed to receive this treasure with patience, with resignation and with the other virtues, because the virtues are as many keys that secure it, so as not to spoil it or expose it to thieves. But if it does not find especially the gold key of patience, this treasure will find many thieves, who will steal it and spoil it.”
Volume 8 – October 4, 1907
The exaltation of the cross; The cross grafts Divinity to humanity.
Continuing in my usual state of privation, and therefore with little suffering, I was saying to myself:
Not only of Jesus am I deprived, but also the good of suffering is taken away from me. Oh, God! You want to put me to fire and the sword, and touch the things which are most dear to me, and which form my very life: Jesus and the cross. If I am abominable to Jesus because of my ingratitude, He is right in not coming; but you, O cross ? what have I done to you, that you left me so barbarously? Ah, did I perhaps not welcome you when you came? Did I not treat you as my faithful companion? Ah, I remember that I loved you so much that I could not be without you, and sometimes I even preferred you to Jesus. I didn’t know what you had done to me, that I could not be without you. Yet, you left me! It is true that you have done much good to me; you were the way, the door, the room, the secret, the light in which I could find Jesus. This is why I loved you so much. And now, everything is over for me.
While I was thinking of this, blessed Jesus came for just a little and told me:
Daughter, the cross is part of one’s life, and only one who does not love his own life, does not love the cross, because it was with the Cross alone that I grafted the Divinity to lost humanity. Only the cross continues Redemption in the world, grafting anyone who receives it into the Divinity; and if one does not love it, it means he knows nothing of virtues, of perfection, of love of God, and of true life. It happens as to a rich man who has lost his riches, and is presented with the means to reacquire them again – and maybe even more. How much does he not love this means? Does he perhaps not put his own life into this means in order to find life again in his riches? Such is the cross. Man had become so very poor, and the cross is the means not only to save him from misery, but to enrich him with all goods. Therefore, the cross is the richness of the soul.
And He disappeared, while I remained more embittered, thinking of what I had lost.
Volume 8 – February 16, 1908
How the cross is the surest sign to know whether we love the Lord.
As I was in my usual state, I was thinking about why it is the cross alone that makes us know whether we really love the Lord, while there are many other things, like the virtues, prayer, the Sacraments, which could make us know whether we love the Lord. While I was thinking of this, blessed Jesus came and told me:
My daughter, it is really so, the cross alone is that which makes one know whether he really loves the Lord – but a cross carried with patience and resignation, because where there is patience and resignation in crosses, there is divine life. Since nature is so reluctant to suffering, if there is patience, it cannot be something natural, but divine, and the soul no longer loves the Lord with her love alone, but united with the love of the divine life. So, what doubt can she have whether she loves or not, if she arrives at loving Him with His own love?
On the other hand, in the other things, and even in the very Sacraments, there also may be someone who loves, who contains this divine life within himself, but these things cannot give the certainty of the cross. It may be there, or it may not, because of lack of dispositions. One can very well go to Confession, but if he lacks the dispositions, it certainly cannot be said that he loves and that he has received this divine life within himself. Another may receive Communion; indeed he receives the divine life, but he can only say that this divine life remains within him if he had the true dispositions. In fact, it can be seen how some receive Communion or go to Confession, but as occasions arise, the patience of divine life cannot be seen in them; and if patience is missing, love is missing because love is recognized only through sacrifice. And so here are the doubts; while the cross, patience, resignation, are fruits produced only by Grace and by love.
Volume 9 – July 4, 1910
The agony in the Garden was, in a special way, for the help of the dying; the agony on the Cross was for help at the last moment, at the very last breath.
Continuing in my usual state full of privations and of bitterness, I was thinking about the agony of Our Lord, and the Lord told me:
My daughter, in a special way I wanted to suffer the agony in the Garden, in order to help all of the dying to die well. Look well at how my agony is combined with the agony of Christians: tediums, sadnesses, anguishes, the sweat of blood, I felt the death of all and of each one, as if I were really dying for each one in particular; so I felt the tediums, the sadnesses, the anguishes of each one within Me, and with my own I offered help, comfort and hope to all, so that, as I felt their deaths in Me, they all might receive the grace to die in Me, as though in one single breath – with my breath, and to be beatified immediately by my Divinity.
If the agony in the Garden was in a special way for the dying, the agony on the Cross was for help at the last moment, at the very last breath. They are both agonies, but one is different from the other: the agony in the Garden, full of sadnesses, of fears, of anxieties, of frights; the agony on the Cross, full of peace, of imperturbable calm. And if I cried out “I thirst!”, it was the insatiable thirst that all might breathe their last in my last breath; and in seeing that many would go out of my last breath, out of grief I cried out “Sitio!” [“I thirst!”], and this “sitio” still continues to cry out to all and to each one like a bell at the door of each heart:
“I thirst for you, oh soul! O please, never go out of Me, but enter into Me and breathe your last in Me!”
So, six are the hours of my Passion that I gave to men in order to die well: the three in the Garden were for help in the agony; the three on the Cross for help at the very last sigh before death. After this, who could not look at death with a smile? More so for one who loves Me, for one who tries to sacrifice himself on my very cross. Do you see how beautiful death is, and how things are changed? In life I was despised; the very miracles did not produce the effects of my death; even up to the Cross there were insults. But as soon as I breathed my last, death had the power to change things: all beat their breasts, confessing Me the true Son of God; my very disciples plucked up courage, and even those who were hidden became brave and asked for my body, giving Me honorable burial. Heaven and earth, in full voice, confessed Me the Son of God. Death is something great, something sublime; and this happens also for my own children: in life they are despised, oppressed; those very virtues which, like light, should make those who are around them start, remain half-veiled; their heroisms in suffering, their abnegations, their zeal for souls, cast lights and doubts in those who surround them; and I Myself permit these veils, so as to preserve with more safety the virtue of my dear children. But as soon as they die, I withdraw these veils since they are no longer necessary, and the doubts become certainties, the light becomes clear, and this light makes others appreciate their heroism – they pay esteem to everything, even to the smallest things. Therefore, what cannot be done in life, is made up for by death. This, as for what happens down here. That which happens up there, then, is truly surprising and enviable to all mortals.
Volume 14 – February 24, 1922
The cross of one who lives in the Divine Will becomes similar to the Cross of Jesus.
As I was in my usual state, my always adorable Jesus made Himself seen in the act of taking up His Cross and placing It on His most holy shoulders; and He told me:
My daughter, when I received the Cross, I looked at It from top to bottom, to see the place that each soul would take in my Cross. Among so many of them, I looked with more love and I paid a more special attention to those who would be resigned, and would live life in my Will. I looked at them, and I saw their cross, long and large just as Mine, because my Will made up for all that their cross lacked, making it longer and larger like Mine. Oh! how your long cross stood out; so very long because of many years of bed – and suffered only to fulfill my Will. My Cross existed only to fulfill the Will of my Celestial Father; and yours, to fulfill my Will. One gave honor to the other, and since both of them had the same measure, they blended together.
Now, my Will has the virtue of softening hardness, of sweetening bitterness, of extending and enlarging short things. So, when I felt the Cross upon my shoulders, I felt the softness and the sweetness of the cross of the souls who would suffer in my Will. Ah! My Heart heaved a sigh of relief, and the softness of the crosses of these souls made my Cross adapt to my shoulders, sinking so much into it as to cause Me a deep wound; and although it gave Me a sharp pain, I also felt the softness and the sweetness of the souls who would suffer in my Will. And since my Will is eternal, their suffering, their reparations, their acts, ran within each drop of my Blood, in each wound, in each offense. My Will made them be as though present at the offenses of the past, from the moment the first man sinned, at the present and at the future offenses. They were the ones who returned the rights of my Will to Me; and for love of them, I decreed Redemption. And if others enter into It, it is because of these souls that they partake in It. There is no good I concede, either in Heaven or on earth, which is not because of them.
Volume 14 – June 6, 1922
By living in the Divine Will, cross and sanctity become similar to those of Jesus.
I was thinking to myself:
How is it that my good Jesus has changed with me? Before, He would be all delighted in letting me suffer; everything was participation in nails and cross. Now, everything has vanished. He no longer delights in letting me suffer; and if sometimes I suffer, He looks at me with such indifference; He no longer shows that taste of the past. Now, while I was thinking of this, my sweet Jesus, moving in my interior, sighing, told me:
My daughter, when there are superior tastes, minor tastes lose their delight, their attractiveness, and therefore one looks at them with indifference. The cross binds grace; but who nourishes it? Who makes it grow to the proper stature? My Will. My Will alone completes everything and allows my highest designs to be accomplished in the soul. If it wasn’t for my Will, even the cross, as much power and greatness as it contains, can cause souls to remain half of the way. Oh, how many suffer, but since the continuous nourishment of my Will is missing, they do not reach the destination – the undoing of the human will. And the Divine Will cannot give the last blow, the final brush stroke of Divine Sanctity.
See, you say that nails and cross have vanished. False, my daughter – false. Before, your cross was small and incomplete; now my Will, raising you into my Will, makes your cross become large, and each act you do in my Volition is a nail that your will receives. And as you live in my Will, yours extends so much as to diffuse you in each creature, and for each one of them it gives Me that life which I gave them, so as to render Me the honor, the glory and the purpose for which I created her. See, your cross extends not only for you, but for each creature; therefore I see your cross everywhere. Before, I saw it only in you, now I see it everywhere. Your fusing yourself in my Will, with no personal interest, but only to give Me that which all should give Me, and to give all the good that my Will contains to everyone, is only of the Divine Life, not of the human. So, my Will alone is that which forms this Divine Sanctity in the soul. On the other hand, your previous crosses were human sanctity, and that which is human, as holy as it may be, cannot do great things, but small ones; and even less can it elevate the soul to the sanctity and to the fusion with the working of her Creator; she remains always within the limitedness of creature. But my Will, destroying all human barriers, flings the creature into the divine immensity, and everything becomes immense in her: cross, nails, sanctity, love, reparation – everything. My goal in you was not human sanctity, although it was necessary to first do the small things in you, and this is why I delighted so much.
Now, as I made you go beyond, and having to make you live in my Volition, in seeing your littleness, your atom, embrace immensity in order to give Me love and glory for all and for each one, to render Me all the rights of the whole Creation, I am so delighted that all other things give Me no taste any more. Therefore, your cross, your nails, will be my Will which, keeping yours crucified, will complete the true crucifixion in you – not at intervals, but perpetually, fully similar to Mine, as I was conceived crucified and died crucified. My Cross was nourished by the Eternal Will alone, and therefore I was crucified for all and for each one. My Cross marked everyone with Its emblem.
Volume 16 – November 28, 1923
The newborn of the Divine Will; The cross of the Divine Will was the largest and longest for Jesus; How each act of the human will opposed to the Divine was a distinct cross for Jesus.
I feel always sunken in the Holy Will of my Jesus, and I seemed to see my little soul like a newborn baby, whom blessed Jesus was raising in His arms with the breath of His Will, with such jealousy as to want that she look at nothing, hear nothing, touch nothing. And so that nothing might distract her, He kept her enchanted with the sweet enchantment of His teachings on His Most Holy Will. And the little newborn would grow and be nourished with the breath of the Will of her Jesus. And not only this, but He covered me with many little crosses of light, in such a way that, in looking at myself, I could see a cross of light impressed in each part of me. And Jesus amused Himself, now in multiplying these crosses, now in wanting me to keep my gaze fixed on Him in order to count all His words, which served me as food and means of growth. Then, afterwards, my Jesus told me:
“My little daughter, my newborn of the Divine Will, my Volition conceived you, made you be born, and now raises you with all love. Don’t you see with how much love I hold you in my arms, and do not permit that you take any other food but the breath of my Will? It is the most beautiful, the dearest, the most precious thing that has been issued in Creation until now – the newborn of my Will. Therefore, I will keep you with such jealousy as to let no one touch my newborn. My Will will be everything for you: It will be life, food, garment, clothing and cross for you, because, since It is the greatest thing, it would be unbefitting for your Jesus to mix It with other things which are not a birth from Our Will. Therefore, forget everything, so that no other waters may surround you, inside and out, but the immense sea of the Eternal Volition. I want in you the honor, the nobility, the decorum, of the true newborn daughter of my Will.”
On hearing this, instead of rejoicing, I felt myself die of confusion, and I only had the courage to say:
‘Jesus, my Love, I am little, it is true – I myself see it. But I am also a bad little one; and yet, you are saying all this? How can it be? Maybe You want to make fun of me? I know that many make You cry, and to be cheered from your crying, You want to amuse Yourself with me by playing this joke on me. But even though I feel confusion because of your jokes, go ahead and do it, and let it be the joke of your Will.’
And Jesus, pressing me more tightly to Himself, continued:
“No, no, your Jesus does not make fun of you. I amuse Myself, yes, and the sure sign that what I tell you is true is the crosses of light with which my Will has marked you. Know, my daughter, that the largest, the longest cross for my Humanity, which never left Me, was the Divine Will. Even more, each act of the human will opposed to the Divine was a distinct cross that the Supreme Will impressed in my inmost Humanity. In fact, when the human will moves from the earth in order to act, the Divine moves from Heaven in order to encounter the human volition and make it one with Its own, so as to make torrents of grace, of light, of sanctity flow in that act. But by not receiving the encounter with the Divine, the human will puts itself as though at war against its Creator, and rejects into the celestial regions the good, the light, the sanctity which He was about to pour upon it. So, the Supreme Will, offended, wanted to be repaid by Me, and in each act of the human will, It inflicted a cross upon Me; and even though, together with the cross, I received all the good rejected by them, in order to keep it deposited within Me for the time when the creature would dispose herself to receive into her acts the encounter with the Divine Will – in spite of this, I could not exempt Myself from feeling the intense pain of so many crosses.
Look at Me, in my interior: how many billions of crosses my Humanity contained. Therefore, the crosses of my Will were incalculable; Its pain was infinite, and I moaned under the weight of an infinite pain. This infinite pain had such power as to give Me death at each instant, and to give Me a cross for each act of the human will opposed to the Divine. The cross of my Will is not made of wood, which only makes one feel the weight and the pain; rather, it is a cross of light and of fire, which burns and consumes, and impresses itself in such a way as to form one single thing with one’s very nature. If I wanted to tell you of the cross which my Divine Will gave Me, I should braid all the acts of creatures, make them present to you, and let you touch with your own hand how my Will, demanding fair satisfaction, inflicted on Me cross upon cross. Had it perhaps not been a human will that offended the Divine and broke up with It?
So was now a Divine Will to crucify and cause pain to my human nature and will. All the rest of man can be called superficial; the fount, the root, the substance of either evil or good is in the depth of his will. Therefore, only the Divine Will could make Me expiate the evil of so many human wills. This is why I want you all in my Will – to make known what this Divine Will has done, what It made Me suffer, what It wants to do. And this is why you are marked with many crosses of light – because your cross has been my Will, which has changed everything into light in order to dispose you to be the true newborn of my Will, to whom I will entrust the secrets, the joys and the sorrows of It as to a faithful daughter, who, uniting herself to my acts, may open the Heavens to make It descend upon earth, and to make It known, received and loved.”
To my dear Sister M. Giovannina, in memory of her vows, always with Jesus.
The mind toward Heaven, the gaze to the Cross, the heart loving Him, the arms always in the act of hugging Him, the steps calling Him, the words saying always “Fiat”. In each thing never escape from acquiring a degree of sanctity. Make yourself a saint; Jesus wants it, make Him content.
The little daughter of the Divine Will
Corato, May 14, 1932
The Cross from the Hours of the Passion
Jesus takes up the Cross and walks toward Calvary, here He is stripped
The Eighteenth Hour – From 10 to 11 AM
My Jesus, insatiable love, I see that You give Yourself no peace, I feel your fidgets of love, your pains. Your Heart beats strongly; in every heartbeat I feel bursts, tortures, violences of love; and unable to contain the fire that devours You, You pant, moan, sigh, and in each moan I hear You say: “Cross!” Each drop of your blood repeats: “Cross!” All your pains, through which You swim as though in an interminable sea, repeat among themselves: “Cross!” And You exclaim: “O Cross, beloved and longed for, You alone will save my children, and I concentrate in You all my Love!”
Jesus embraces the Cross.
My tortured Good, with You I repair, with You I suffer. But I see that your enemies hurl You down the stairs; the people await You with fury and eagerness; they make You find the Cross ready, which You long for with many sighs. And You – with love You gaze on It, and with firm step You approach It and embrace It. But, before that, You kiss It, and as a shiver of joy runs through your Most Holy Humanity, with highest contentment You gaze on It again, measuring Its length and breadth. In It, already, You establish the portion for each creature. You dower them all, enough to bind them to the Divinity with a bond of marriage, and make them heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then, unable to contain the love with which You love them, You kiss the Cross again, and say:
“Adored Cross, finally I embrace you. You were the longing of my Heart, the martyrdom of my love. But you, O Cross, have delayed until now, while my steps were always toward you. Holy Cross, you were the goal of my desires, the purpose of my existence down here. In you I concentrate my whole being, in you I place all my children, and you will be their life, their light, defense, custody and strength. You will assist them in everything, and will bring them gloriously to Me in Heaven. Oh Cross, Pulpit of Wisdom, you alone will teach true sanctity; you alone will form the heroes, the athletes, the martyrs, the Saints. Beautiful Cross, you are my Throne, and since I have to leave the earth, you will remain in my place. To you I give all souls as dowry – keep them, save them; I entrust them to you!”
The Painful Way to Calvary.
My most patient Jesus, I see You take the first steps under the enormous weight of the Cross. I unite my steps to yours, and when You, weak, bled dry and staggering, are about to fall, I will be at your side to sustain You; I will place my shoulders beneath It, so as to share its weight with You. Do not disdain me, but accept me as your faithful companion. Oh Jesus, You look at me, and I see that You repair for those who do not carry their crosses with resignation, but rather, they swear, get irritated, commit suicide, and commit murders. And for all You impetrate love and resignation to their crosses. But your pain is such that You feel crushed under the Cross. You have taken only the first steps, and You already fall under It. As You fall, You knock against the stones; the thorns are driven more into your head, while all your wounds are embittered, and pour out new blood. And since You do not have the strength to get up, your enemies, irritated, try to make You stand with kicks and shoves.
My fallen Love, let me help You to stand, let me kiss You, dry your blood, and repair together with You for those who sin out of ignorance, fragility and weakness. I pray You to give help to these souls.
The Nineteenth Hour from 11 AM to 12 PM
…my Jesus, You look at the Cross that your enemies are preparing for You. You hear the blows of the hammer with which your executioners are forming the holes into which they will drive the nails that will hold You crucified. And your Heart beats, more and more strongly, jumping with divine inebriation, yearning to lay Yourself upon that bed of pain, to seal with your death the salvation of our souls. And I hear You say:
“Please, O Cross, receive Me soon into your arms, I am impatient of waiting! Holy Cross, upon You I shall come to give completion to all. Hurry, O Cross, fulfill the burning desire that consumes Me, to give life to souls. Delay no more; I anxiously yearn to lay Myself upon You in order to open the Heavens to all my children.
Oh Cross, it is true that You are my martyrdom, but in a little while You will also be my victory and my most complete triumph; and through You I will give abundant inheritances, victories, triumphs and crowns to my children.”
As Jesus is saying this, His enemies command Him to lay Himself upon It; and promptly He obeys, to repair for our disobedience.
My Love, before You lay Yourself on the Cross, allow me to hold You more tightly to my heart, and to kiss your loving and bleeding wounds. Hear me, O Jesus, I do not want to leave You; I want to come with You, to lay myself on the Cross and remain nailed to It with You. True love does not tolerate separation, and You will forgive the daring of my love. Concede that I be crucified with You. See, my tender Love, I am not the only one to ask this of You, but also your sorrowful Mama, inseparable Magdalene, faithful John: we all say to You that it would be more bearable to be nailed with You to Your Cross, than to see You crucified alone! Therefore, together with You I offer myself to the Eternal Father – identified with your Will, with your Heart, with your reparations and with all your pains.
Ah, it seems that my adored Jesus says to me:
“My child, you have anticipated my love; this is my Will: that all those who love Me be crucified with Me. Ah, yes, come and lay yourself on the Cross with Me; I will give you life with my Life, I will hold you as the beloved of my Heart.”
“Holy Father, here I am, loaded down with all the sins of the world. There is not one sin which does not pour upon Me; therefore, no longer unload the scourges of your Divine Justice upon man, but upon Me, your Son. O Father, allow Me to bind all souls to this Cross, and to plead forgiveness for them with the voices of my Blood and of my wounds. O Father, do You not see how I have reduced Myself? By this Cross, by virtue of these pains, concede true conversion, peace, forgiveness and sanctity to all.
Oh Jesus, while You are transfixed on the Cross, your soul is no longer on earth, but in Heavens with your Divine Father to defend and plead the cause of our souls.
The Prayer to Disarm the Divine Justice:
…Meanwhile, O Jesus, I see that your Blood flows in torrents from your hands and from your feet.
The Angels, weeping, surrounding You like a crown, admire the portents of your immense love. I see your sweet Mama, pierced by pain, at the foot of the Cross; your dear Magdalene, beloved John – all taken by ecstasy of awe, love and pain! O Jesus, I unite myself to You and I cling to your Cross; I take all the drops of your Blood and I pour them into my heart.
When I see your Justice irritated against sinners, I will show You this Blood in order to appease You. When I want the conversion of souls obstinate in sin, I will show You this Blood, and by virtue of It You will not reject my prayer, because I hold its pledge in my hands. And now, my Crucified Good, in the name of all generations, past, present and future, together with your Mama and with all the Angels, I prostrate myself before You and say:
“We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You, because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.”
The burial of Jesus. Most Holy Desolate Mary
Twenty-fourth Hour – From 4 to 5 PM –
But I see that You are forced to return to Jerusalem along the path from which You came. After only a few steps, You are already before the Cross on which Jesus suffered so much, and died. You run to embrace It, and in seeing It colored with Blood, the pains that Jesus suffered on It are renewed in your Heart, one by one. Unable to contain the pain, You exclaim:
“O Cross, how could You be so cruel with my Son? Ah, You have spared Him nothing! What wrong had He done to You? You have not permitted Me, His sorrowful Mama, to give Him even a sip of water, while He was asking for it; and to His parched mouth You gave gall and vinegar!
I felt my pierced Heart melt, and I wanted to offer It to His lips to quench His thirst, but I had the sorrow of seeing Myself rejected. O Cross, cruel, yes, but holy, because divinized and sanctified by contact with my Son! Turn that cruelty which You used with Him into compassion for miserable mortals; and for the sake of the pains He suffered on You, impetrate grace and strength for the souls who suffer, so that not one of them may be lost because of tribulations and crosses. Souls cost Me too much – they cost Me the life of a Son God; and as Co-Redemptrix and Mother, I bind them to You, O Cross.”
And after kissing It over and over again, You leave.
LUISA’S PRAYER TO OBTAIN THE GRACE OF
ALWAYS BEING CRUCIFIED
“Beloved of my Heart, since you ardently desire the fragrance that my pains emit from the Cross, I satisfy your desire by crucifying your soul and communicating to you every suffering; but if you were not so averse to demonstrate to everyone how much you love Me, I also would want to seal your body with my visible, bloody wounds. Toward this end I want to teach you the following prayer to say to obtain this grace:
‘I come before the throne of the Most Holy Trinity and, since I am bathed in the Blood of Jesus Christ, I yearn to prostrate myself in a form of profound adoration and beseech You, through the merits of the most illustrious virtues of Jesus and his Divinity, to concede to me the grace of being always crucified.’
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.
On November 20, 1994, on 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 Cause of Beatification 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.
July 3,1963 – Her mortal remains were definitively laid to rest in Santa Maria Greca.
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 Mons. 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!
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
||Roodmas 1 — more commonly known simply as “Holy Cross Day” — was first begun to commemorate the Dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection, built by St. Helena (Constantine the Great’s mother), in Jerusalem in A.D. 355 — but the true Cross was found shortly thereafter, also by St. Helena, so the two events were joined.
The story of the finding of the True Cross, from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
In the year 326 the mother of Constantine, Helena, then about 80 years old, having journeyed to Jerusalem, undertook to rid the Holy Sepulchre of the mound of earth heaped upon and around it, and to destroy the pagan buildings that profaned its site. Some revelations which she had received gave her confidence that she would discover the Saviour’s Tomb and His Cross. The work was carried on diligently, with the co-operation of St. Macarius, bishop of the city.
The Jews had hidden the Cross in a ditch or well, and covered it over with stones, so that the faithful might not come and venerate it. Only a chosen few among the Jews knew the exact spot where it had been hidden, and one of them, named Judas, touched by Divine inspiration, pointed it out to the excavators, for which act he was highly praised by St. Helena. Judas afterwards became a Christian saint, and is honoured under the name of Cyriacus.
During the excavation three crosses were found, but because the titulus was detached from the Cross of Christ, there was no means of identifying it. Following an inspiration from on high, Macarius caused the three crosses to be carried, one after the other, to the bedside of a worthy woman who was at the point of death. The touch of the other two was of no avail; but on touching that upon which Christ had died the woman got suddenly well again.
From a letter of St. Paulinus to Severus inserted in the Breviary of Paris it would appear that st. Helena herself had sought by means of a miracle to discover which was the True Cross and that she caused a man already dead and buried to be carried to the spot, whereupon, by contact with the third cross, he came to life. From yet another tradition, related by St. Ambrose, it would seem that the titulus, or inscription, had remained fastened to the Cross.
After the happy discovery, St. Helena and Constantine erected a magnificent basilica over the Holy Sepulchre, and that is the reason why the church bore the name of St. Constantinus. The precise spot of the finding was covered by the atrium of the basilica, and there the Cross was set up in an oratory, as appears in the restoration executed by de Vogüé. When this noble basilica had been destroyed by the infidels, Arculfus, in the seventh century, enumerated four buildings upon the Holy Places around Golgotha, and one of them was the “Church of the Invention” or “of the Finding”. This church was attributed by him and by topographers of later times to Constantine. The Frankish monks of Mount Olivet, writing to Leo III, style it St. Constantinus. Perhaps the oratory built by Constantine suffered less at the hands of the Persians than the other buildings, and so could still retain the name and style of Martyrium Constantinianum. (See De Rossi, Bull. d’ arch. crist., 1865, 88.)
A portion of the True Cross remained at Jerusalem enclosed in a silver reliquary; the remainder, with the nails, must have been sent to Constantine, and it must have been this second portion that he caused to be enclosed in the statue of himself which was set on a porphyry column in the Forum at Constantinople; Socrates, the historian, relates that this statue was to make the city impregnable. One of the nails was fastened to the emperor’s helmet, and one to his horse’s bridle, bringing to pass, according to many of the Fathers, what had been written by Zacharias the Prophet: “In that day that which is upon the bridle of the horse shall be holy to the Lord” (Zechariah 14:20). Another of the nails was used later in the Iron Crown of Lombardy preserved in the treasury of the cathedral of Monza.
Scientific study of the relics of the True Cross show it to be made of some species of pine. The titulus crucis — the wood on which the inscription “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” was written in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew (Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38 and John 19:19) — is made of an olive wood. The titulus has been scientifically dated to the 1st c. and the script is still legible (interestingly, the Latin and Greek are in reverse script), though the Hebrew is missing due to the entire thing being halved, the second half having been lost in the 6th century. It is from the Latin inscription — “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeorum” that we get the abbreviation “I.N.R.I.” that is found on many Crucifixes.
The titulus crucis and relics of the True Cross can be seen in Rome’s Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
1 “Rood” is the Middle English word for “Cross.” People would once swear “by the rood,” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet attests with his line to Queen Gertrude, from Scene III Act IV: “No, by the rood, not so: You are the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife; And–would it were not so!–you are my mother.”
From the old Gallican calendar there came another Feast known as “Roodmas.” May 3 was a day that celebrated the finding of the True Cross, and this Feast made its way into the Roman calendar when the two were combined together. It was celebrated liturgically pre-1962, and would, then, be celebrated by priests who use pre-1962 Missals. The May feast focused on the finding of the True Cross, while the September feast focused on the the dedication of the Basilica and on the rescuing of the Cross from Persians in 629. In the 1962 Missal, all of these are combined.