Feast of the Assumption
In the Divine Will
From the Writings of
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will
The Solemnity of the Assumption
Excerpt from Day Thirty-One of The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will
. . . As I gave my last breath of pure love in the endlessness of the Divine Will, my Son received me in His arms and took me to Heaven, in the midst of the angelic choirs which praised me as their Queen. I can say that Heaven emptied Itself to come toward me. All celebrated, and in looking at me, remained enraptured and said in chorus: “Who is She, who comes from the exile, all cleaving to her Lord? All beautiful, all holy, with the scepter of Queen? Her greatness is such that the heavens have lowered themselves to receive Her. No other creature has entered the celestial regions so adorned and so striking—so powerful as to hold supremacy over all.”
Now, my child, do you want to know who She is—for Whom the whole of Heaven sings and remains enraptured? It is I—She who never did her own will. The Divine Will abounded so much with me as to extend more beautiful heaven, more refulgent suns, seas of beauty, of love, of sanctity, with which I could give light to all, love and sanctity to all, and enclose everything and everyone within my heaven. It was the work of the Divine Will operating in me to accomplish such a great prodigy; I was the only creature entering Heaven, to have formed Its Kingdom in my soul. Now, in looking at me, all the celestial Court remained amazed, because as they looked at me, they found me heaven; and looking at me again, they found me sun; and unable to take their gaze away from me, looking at me more deeply, they saw me sea, finding in me also the most clear earth of my humanity, with the most beautiful flowerings. Enraptured, they exclaimed: “How beautiful She is! She has centralized everything within herself. She lacks nothing! Among all the works of her Creator, She is the only complete work of the whole creation!”
Now, blessed child, you must know that this was the first feast made in Heaven for the Divine Will, which had worked so many prodigies in Its creature. Therefore, at my entrance into Heaven, the whole celestial Court celebrated all the beautiful and great things that the Divine Fiat can work in the creature. Since then, these feasts have never been repeated, and this is why your Mama loves, so much, that the Divine Will reign in the souls in an absolute way: to give It the field in order to let It repeat Its great prodigies and Its marvelous feasts.
August 15, 1899
Charity orders all virtues. The Virgin Mary assumed into Heaven. The ‘Hail Mary’ together with Jesus.
This morning my most sweet Jesus came all festive, carrying a bundle of most graceful flowers in His hands; and placing Himself in my heart, now He would surround His head with those flowers, now He would hold them in His hands, amusing and delighting His whole self. While He was celebrating with these flowers, and it seemed He had made a great gain, He turned to me and told me: “My beloved, this morning I have come to place in order all virtues in your heart. The other virtues may remain separate from one another, but Charity binds and orders everything. Here is what I want to do in you – to order Charity.”
I said to Him: ‘My sole and only Good, how can you do this since I am so bad and full of defects and imperfections? If Charity is order, aren’t these defects and sins disorder that keeps my soul all messy and upside-down?’ And Jesus: “I will purify everything, and Charity will put everything in order. Besides, when I let a soul participate in the pains of my Passion, there cannot be grave sins; at most, some venial involuntary defects, but my love, being fire, will consume everything that is imperfect in your soul.” So it seemed that Jesus purified me and ordered all of me; then He poured as though a rivulet of honey from His Heart into mine, and with that honey He watered all of my interior, in such a way that everything that was in me remained orderly, united and with the mark of Charity.
After this, I felt I was going out of myself into the vault of the heavens, together with my loving Jesus. It seemed that everything was in feast – Heaven, earth and Purgatory. All were inundated with a new joy and jubilation. Many souls were going out of Purgatory and, like bolts of lightning, reached Heaven in order to be present at the feast of our Queen Mama. I too pushed myself through that immense crowd of people – Angels, Saints and souls from Purgatory which already occupied that new Heaven. It was so immense, that the heavens that we see, compared to that one, seemed a little hole to me; more so, since I had the obedience of the confessor. But as I went about looking, I could see nothing but a most refulgent Sun spreading Its rays, which penetrated through me, in such a way as to make me become like crystal; so much so, that my little spots appeared very clearly, as well as the infinite distance that exists between Creator and creature. More so, since each one of those rays had its imprint: some delineated the sanctity of God, some the purity, some the power, some the wisdom, and all the other virtues and attributes of God. So, in seeing her nothingness, her miseries and her poverty, the soul would feel annihilated, and instead of looking, she would fall down, her face to the ground, before that Eternal Sun which no one can face.
But what is more, in order to see the feast of our Queen Mama, one had to look from within that Sun, so much did the Most Holy Virgin appear to be immersed in God; in fact, in looking from other points, one could see nothing. Now, while I was in this state of annihilation before that Divine Sun, Baby Jesus, being held in the arms of the Queen Mama, told me: “Our Mama is in Heaven; to you I give the office of acting as my mama on earth. And since my life is continuously subject to scorns, to poverty, to pains, to the abandonment of men, and my Mama, while being on earth, was my faithful companion in all of these pains – not only this, but She tried to relieve Me in everything, as much as Her strengths were capable of – you too, acting as my mother, will keep Me faithful company in all of my pains, suffering in my place as much as you can; and where you cannot reach, you will try to give Me at least a refreshment. Know, however, that I want you all intent on Me. I will be jealous even of your breath, if you do not do it for Me; and when I see that you are not all intent on contenting Me, I will give you no peace and no rest.”
After this, I began to act as his mama, but – oh, how much attention was needed to make Him content! To see Him content, one could not even take a glance at any other place. Now He wanted to sleep, now He wanted to drink, now He wanted to be cheered with caresses; and I had to be ready for anything He wanted. Now he would say: ‘My Mama, my head is hurting – o please, relieve Me!’; and immediately I would check His head and, finding some thorns, I would remove them, and placing my arms beneath His head I would make Him rest. While I would make Him rest, all of a sudden He would get up and say: “I feel a weight and a suffering at my Heart, to the point that I feel I am dying. Take a look at what is in there.” And observing the interior of His Heart, I found all the instruments of the Passion; I removed them one by one, and I placed them in my heart. Then, seeing Him relieved, I began to caress Him and kiss Him, and I said to Him: ‘My sole and only treasure, You didn’t even let me watch the feast of our Queen Mama, or listen to the first canticles that the Angels and the Saints sang as She entered Paradise.’
And Jesus: “The first canticle that they sang to my Mama was the ‘Hail Mary’, because in the ‘Hail Mary’ there are the most beautiful praises, the greatest honors; and the joy which She felt in being made Mother of God is renewed. Therefore, let us recite it together to honor Her, and when you come to Paradise I will let you find it as if you had recited it together with the Angels and the Saints for the first time in Heaven.”
So, we recited the first part of the ‘Hail Mary’ together. Oh, how tender and moving it was to hail our Most Holy Mama together with Her beloved Son! Each word He said carried an immense light, through which one could comprehend many things about the Most Holy Virgin. But who can say them all – especially because of my inability? Therefore I let them pass in silence.
August 15, 1925
All created things walk toward man. The Feast of the Assumption should be called Feast of the Divine Will.
I continued to fuse myself in the Holy Divine Will in order to give to my Jesus the return of my little love for all that He has done for mankind in Creation; and my beloved Jesus, moving in my interior, in order to give more value to my little love, did what I was doing together with me. Then He told me: “My daughter, all created things were made for man, and all of them run toward man. They have no feet, but they all walk; they all have motion, in order to find him and to be found.
The light of the Sun starts from the height of the heavens in order to find the creature, illumine her and warm her. The water walks, to reach even into the human bowels, to quench her thirst and to refresh her. The plant, the seed, walks – opens the earth and forms its fruit to give itself to man… There is not one created thing that does not have a step, a motion, toward the one to whom the Eternal Maker had directed it in its creation.
My Will, that walks continuously toward the creature in created things, never stops. It is all motion toward the one whom It loves so much.
Yet, who says a “Thank you” to my Will, that brings her the light of the Sun to illumine her, the water that can be drunk to quench her thirst, the bread to satisfy her hunger, the flower and the fruit to cheer her, and many other things to make her happy? Would it not be fair that, since my Will does everything for man, man would do everything to do my Will?
Oh, if you knew the feast that my Will makes in created things, when It walks toward one who does my Will! My Will, operating and fulfilled in the creature, and my Will operating in created things, kiss as they meet, harmonize, love each other, and form the hymn of adoration to their Creator and the greatest portent of all Creation. Created things feel honored when they serve a creature who is animated by that same Will which forms their own lives.
On the other hand, my Will takes the attitude of sorrow in those same created things, when It has to serve one who does not do my Will. This is why many times, created things place themselves against man, strike him, chastise him… They then feel superior to man, because they preserve intact within themselves that Divine Will by which they were animated from the beginning of their creation, while man descended to the bottom, not keeping the Will of his Creator within himself.”
After this, I began to think of the feast of my Celestial Mama Assumed into Heaven, and my sweet Jesus, with a tender and moving tone, added: “My daughter, the true name of this Feast should be Feast of the Divine Will. It was the human will that closed Heaven, broke the bonds with its Creator, made miseries and suffering enter the field, and put an and to the feast that the creature was to enjoy in Heaven. Now, this Creature, Queen of all, by doing the Will of the Eternal One, always and in everything – even more, it can be said that Her life was Divine Will alone – opened the Heavens, bound Herself to the Eternal One, and restored in Heaven the feasts with the creature. Every act She did in the Supreme Will, was a feast that She started in Heaven; it was Suns that She formed to adorn this feast; it was melodies that She sent to delight the Celestial Jerusalem.
Therefore, the true cause of this feast is the Eternal Will operating and fulfilled in my Celestial Mama. It operated such prodigies in Her as to astonish Heaven and earth, chain the Eternal One with indissoluble bonds of love, and enrapture the Word, even from Her womb. The very Angels, enraptured, repeated among themselves: “From where comes so much glory, so much honor, such greatness and prodigies never seen before – in this excelling Creature? Yet, she is coming from the exile!” Astonished, they recognized the Will of their Creator as life operating in Her; and, trembling, they said: “Holy, Holy, Holy! Honor and glory to the Will of Our Sovereign Lord! And glory to Mary, trice Holy, She who let this Supreme Will operate!”
So, it is my Will that was and is celebrated more than everything on the day of Her Assumption into Heaven. It was my Will alone that made my Most Holy Mother ascend so high as to distinguish Her among all. Everything else would have been as nothing, had She not possessed the prodigy of my Will. It was my Will that gave Her Divine Fecundity and made of Her the Mother of the Word. It was my Will that made Her see and embrace all creatures together, making of Her the Mother of all, and loving all with a love of Divine Maternity. Constituting Her Queen of all, It made Her rule and dominate. On that day, my Will received the first honors, the glory and the abundant fruit of Its work in Creation; and the unending feast began, for the glorification of Its work in my beloved Mama. And even though Heaven was opened by Me, and many Saints already possessed the Celestial Fatherland when the Celestial Queen was assumed into Heaven – we waited for Her who had honored It so much and contained the true prodigy of the Most Holy Will, to make the first feast for the Supreme Volition, because She Herself was the primary cause of it, having fulfilled the Supreme Will in everything.
Oh, how the whole of Heaven magnified, blessed and praised the Eternal Will, upon seeing this sublime Queen, all surrounded by the Eternal Sun of the Supreme Will, enter the Heavens, into the midst of the Celestial Court! They saw Her all studded with the power of the Supreme FIAT, and saw that not one breath had been in Her which did not have this FIAT impressed in it. Astonished, all the celestial spirits looked at Her and said: ‘Ascend, ascend higher! It is justice that She, Who so much honored the Supreme FIAT, and through Whom we find ourselves in the Celestial Fatherland, have the highest throne, and be our Queen!’
The greatest honor that my Mother received, was to see the Divine Will glorified in Her.”
August 15, 1928
Living in the Divine Fiat is communism between Creator and creature. The Virgin: Her insuperable glory. The Sanctity of the Divine Will known in Heaven.
My abandonment in the Fiat is continuous. It seems to me that It wants me in all of Its acts, either as actor together with It, or at least as spectator of what It does. In fact, since the eternal Volition possesses the incessant act, Its nature is always to act, never ceasing to operate; and since I am a little child, It is content with keeping me either in one way or in the other, as long as I remain with It. So, continuing my round through the whole Creation, I thought to myself: ‘Is it necessary – does Jesus really want me to go around everywhere?’ And my beloved Jesus, moving in my interior, told me: “My daughter, to live in my Divine Will is to let oneself be found by God in each created thing, so that the Supreme Being may find in all of His works the one whom He loved, whom He called from nothing out of love, and for whom He created so many varieties of beautiful and marvelous works. If He did not find you in each of His works, He would lack the echo of your love, of your gratitude, and would be as though without you in those works in which you would not go around, as if He had not done them for you; while Our purpose in calling you to live in Our Divine Will is precisely this: for Us, to find you in Our works, and for you, to find Us in each created thing – you, giving Us your little love; We, giving you the great love We had in creating so many things – and uniting your love and Ours together to form one single love, so as to be able to say: ‘How much the little daughter of Our Divine Will loves Us!’
Otherwise, Our love and Our works would remain isolated and without the company of the one for whom We created everything, while to live in the Divine Will is communism between Creator and creature; becoming inseparable, wherever one is, the other is as well, and the creature finds her little place in everything that God does. Don’t you want to find your little place in all the works of Creation and Redemption? Therefore, continue your flight, and let yourself be carried in the arms of my Fiat; It will take care of placing the little newborn in each of Its works.”
After this, I was thinking about and accompanying the Sovereign Queen when She was assumed into Heaven; and my sweet Jesus, moving in my interior, as though singing the praises of His Celestial Mother, told me: “My daughter, the glory of the Mama of Heaven is insuperable. No one else in the celestial regions possesses seas of graces, of light, seas of beauty and of sanctity, seas of power, of science and of love; and what is more, She possesses these seas within the endless sea of Her Creator. The other inhabitants of the blessed fatherland possess, at most, some little rivulets, some little drops, some little fountains. She is the only one, because She alone lived life in the Divine Fiat. The human volition never took place in Her – Her life was all of Divine Will; and by virtue of It, She centralized all creatures within Herself, conceiving them in Her maternal Heart, and bilocating Her Son Jesus as many times, to give Him to each creature whom She had conceived within Her virginal Heart. This is why Her Maternity is extended to all, and all can boast and say: ‘The Mother of Jesus is my Mother, and this Mother so sweet, lovable and loving, gives Her beloved Son to each of us as a pledge of Her maternal love.’ Only my Will could give Her this virtue of conceiving all creatures as Her children, and of multiplying Her Jesus for as many children as She had.
Now, in Heaven, the height of the Sovereign Mother, possessing Her seas, does nothing but raise highest waves of light, of sanctity, of love, etc., unloading them over the throne of the Supreme Being who, so as not to be surpassed by Her love, having His own sea, more extensive and deeper, forms His own waves, higher, from beneath the seas of the Virgin Queen, and pours them over Her. And She prepares more waves, and God prepares yet more, in such a way that the whole of Heaven remains flooded by these waves of light, of beauties, of love and the like – so much so, that all take part in them and enjoy. And the Blessed, in seeing that they cannot form these waves because they possess no seas, comprehend that if their Mother and Queen possesses all of this, it is because She formed Her life and sanctity in the Divine Will. So, through the Virgin, the Saints know what sanctity of Divine Will means in the creature, and therefore they long for more creatures to bring these seas into the celestial fatherland, so as to see more waves being formed – enchanting and of greater enjoyment for them. The earth does not yet know the sanctity in my Will, and this is why I so much yearn to make it known; but it is well known to Heaven because the Sovereign Queen is there, whom, by merely seeing Her, becomes the revealer of the sanctity of my Fiat. So, by virtue of It, She was a portent of graces on earth for Herself and for the whole human family, and She is a portent of glory in the celestial fatherland, nor can any other creature be said to be similar to Her.”
August 15, 1938
The feast of Assumption is the most beautiful, the most sublime feast. It is the feast of the Divine Will operating in the Heavenly Queen.
While my mind was swimming in the sea of the Divine Will, I stopped at the act in which my Mother and Queen was assumed into Heaven. How many wonders, how many enrapturing surprises of love. And my sweet Jesus, as if He felt the need to speak about His Celestial Mother, all festive told me: “My blessed daughter, today is the feast of Assumption. This is the most beautiful, the most sublime, the greatest feast, in which we remain glorified, loved and honored the most! Heaven and earth are invested with an unusual joy, never before felt. The Angels and the Saints feel as if invested with new joys and new happiness, and they all praise with new songs the Sovereign Queen who, in her empire, rules over all, giving joy to all!
Today is the feast of feasts – the unique one, the new one, which was never repeated again. Today, the day of the Assumption, celebrated for the first time the Divine Will operating in the Sovereign Queen and Lady; the marvels are enchanting in each of her smallest acts, even in her breathing, in her motion. Many of our divine lives can be seen flowing in her act as many Kings which, more than bright Suns, inundate – surround and embellish her – making her so beautiful as to form the enchantment of the Celestial Regions. Do you think it’s nothing, that each one of her breaths, motions, works and pains were filled with many of our divine lives? This is exactly the great prodigy of my Will operating in the creature: to form a divine life for each time It could enter the motion and the acts of the creature. Then, since my Fiat possesses the virtue of bilocation and repetition – doing again and again without ceasing everything she does – so the Great Lady feels these divine lives multiplied within herself, which do nothing other than further extend her seas of love, beauty, power and infinite Wisdom! You must know that the divine lives she possesses are so great and so many that, upon entering Heaven, they crowded the whole Celestial Region and, being impossible to contain them, they filled the whole Creation as well. Therefore, there is no place where her seas of love and power do not flow, along with the many of Our Lives of which She is possessor and Queen.
We can say that she dominates Us and that We dominate her. By clothing herself with our immensity, power and love, she populated all our Attributes with her acts and with the many of our divine Lives which she had conquered! Therefore, from every place and everywhere, we feel ourselves being loved and glorified – inside and outside of ourselves, from within all created things, in the most remote hiding places – by this Celestial Creature and by those same divine lives which our Fiat formed in Her. Oh! Power of our Will, only You can do such prodigies to make us loved and glorified as we deserve and want – to the extent of creating many of our lives in the one who lets You dominate. This is why She can give Her God to all, because She possesses Him. Even more, when She sees a creature disposed to receive our Will, without losing one of our Divine Lives, She has the virtue of reproducing, from within these divine Lives which She possesses, yet another of our Divine Lives to give to whomever she wants.
This Virgin Queen is a continuous prodigy. What She did on earth, She continues in Heaven; because, when the Divine Will operates, both in the creature and in ourselves, her acts never end, and, while remaining in It, they can be given to all. Does the Sun, perhaps, cease to give its light to the human generation because it has given too much of it? Not at all. Even if it has given much, it is always rich in its light, and does not lose a single drop of it. Therefore, the glory of this Queen is insuperable because She possesses our operating Will, which has the virtue of forming in the creature eternal and infinite acts. She loves us always and unceasingly with our lives which She possesses. She loves us with our own love. She loves us everywhere. Her love fills Heaven and earth and runs to pour itself inside our Divine womb. And we love her so much that we cannot live without loving her. While, in loving us, She loves all, making everyone love us. How could we resist and not give her anything She wants? It is our own Will that asks for what She wants, tying us with Its eternal bonds so that we can refuse her nothing. This is why the feast of the Assumption is the most beautiful one: it is the feast of my Will operating in this Great Lady, making her so rich and beautiful that the Heavens cannot contain her. Even the Angels remain speechless, and don’t know how to describe what my Will does in the creature.”
After this, while my mind remained stupefied in thinking about the great prodigies that the divine Fiat worked and continues to work in the Celestial Queen, my beloved Jesus added: “My daughter, her beauty is unreachable. It enchants, it charms, it conquers. Her love is such that She offers herself to all, loving all – leaving behind her seas of love. She can be called Queen of love, winner of love, because She loved much, and through love She won her God. You must know that, by doing his will, man broke the bonds with his Creator and with all created things. By the power of our Fiat, which She possessed, this Heavenly Queen tied her Creator to the creatures; tied all beings together – united them – put them back in order and with her love, gave new life to the human generations. Her love was so great as to cover and hide, inside its seas, weaknesses, evils, sins – the creatures themselves. Oh! If this Holy Virgin did not possess so much love, it would be difficult for us to look at the earth. Only her love makes us look at it, but we want to give our Will to reign in the middle of the creatures because She wants it so. She wants to give to her children what She possesses, and by love She will win Us and her children.”
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