VICAR GENERAL, ARCHDIOCESE of TRANI
The Work of the Tribunal
and of the Historical Commission
of the Cause of the
Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
3rd INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS
October 27, 2005
It is with enthusiastic and moving emotion that I received the invitation to share with you, authorities and gentlemen here present, who I greet with affection and fraternity (Archbishop, Postulator, and members of the Tribunal and of the Historical Commission of the Cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Very Reverend Priests and Deacons, Religious Fathers, Pious Association Luisa Piccarreta Little Children of the Divine Will with headquarters in Corato, and Gentlemen and Ladies who have come here from various countries and nations).
This event of the 3rd International Congress is being conducted at the conclusion of the Diocesan phase of the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.
I give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity, (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) who have guided us to contemplate Luisa and through her have let us discover living in an experiential way the great warnings of Jesus: “Convert yourselves and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15); “I am the Way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6); “The Kingdom of God is near, rather, it is in your midst.” (Matthew 3:2).
Luisa shows us something significant: to live the life of the Kingdom following Jesus, taking up the Cross; to live in total and perfect obedience; to always realize, in each instant of life, in a humble and docile way, the Divine Volition, rather, to be of the Eucharist, at the same time sacrificial victim and Communion.
We can truly affirm: Luisa is witness of the celebration of Holy Mass, listening to the Word and actively participating with the sacrifice and with the Communion with Jesus Christ who gives Himself to us in time and in space representing His Passover.
This experience is known by us through the humble maidservant of the Lord, Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother even from the moment in which She knowingly gave herself to the Divine Will, pronouncing Her AMEN, the “FIAT mihi secundum verbum tuum—secundum Voluntatem Dei” (Luke 1:38).
During these days, then, on top of the example of Mary, we are guided to rediscover the experience of Living of the Divine Volition in the person and life of Luisa.
In a contemplative way, permit me to retrace in outline and in brief the itinerary or journey made by us in order to reach this Congressional meeting.
I seek to cover three ways:
o the way of the physical and historical presence, in space and time, of Luisa in Corato;
o the way of the Diocesan Church, through the vigilant and responsible action of the Archbishops;
o the way of the Holy Spirit, even from outside of the institutions: the Holy Spirit guides men where and how It wants.
1. The first way
brings us to meet Luisa as a person and her dialogues with Jesus given to us through her writings (letters, prayers, works, diaries …). I will not linger to outline what is known. The Archbishop and various Priest speakers will talk about them at length. Besides, even if briefly, much information is known through the magazine of the Pius Association Luisa Piccarreta Little Children of the Divine Will of Corato, of which Sister Assunta is the present president, and the various biographies of Father Berardino Bucci.
I ask myself the question: Why is there so much interest in Luisa?
The answer is to search again considering: the words of Holy Scripture and of the Magisterium:
a.) “This is the Will of God, our sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
b.) “All the faithful of whatever state or rank, are called to perfection and to the fullness of Christian life and charity.” (L.G., n. 40)
c.) “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)
“The ways of holiness are multiple and adapted to the calling of each one.” Therefore the journeys of holiness are personal and demands a true and proper pedagogy of holiness.
Luisa is completely singular.
In the City of Corato on April 23, 1865, the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta was born.
She manifests some singular characteristics of life that arouse in fellow country men, and in people of other places, through the course of years, the fundamental questions of Christian consciousness.
She is a person from our country, we know her family, she has a religious preparation common to others.
But … she loves Eucharistic Jesus in a way completely extraordinary. Through the course of years she is bedridden, but her illness is not known. She wants to receive Communion every day. She eats very little and remits the food that she consumes. She has exceptional priests as spiritual guides.
She was visited by important people, even by Cardinals. She recited the Holy Rosary and she loves Mary. She has a correspondence with other people in a frequent way, as if she were their spiritual director.
She is ignorant, but she writes of “things” sublime and profoundly rooted in the mystical conversation with Eucharistic Jesus. She manifests a particular pedagogy of holiness: The Fiat and total and radical obedience to Jesus Christ and to the Church, availability to Live in the Divine Volition, “to be, (I add) “instrument” and Epiphany of the Divine Will, that is to say, of the Most Holy Trinity, in the world.
2. The second way
is that journey of the Archbishops, and it makes us understand with how much attentive promptness and surveillance Luisa, favorite Daughter of God, has been followed by the local Church. She lives a pedagogy of holiness that is called “Living in the Divine Volition”, and “she has attracted” the attention of the same Ecclesiastical Authorities.
The local Church, through her Pastors, has wanted to make perceived and known the designs of God on Luisa, considering at the same time and in brief the heroic characteristics and reports of her virtues, of her letters, and of her writings.
The Archbishops who have been watchmen during her life even “to death” have been:
Mons. Bianchi Dottula Giuseppe (1848-1892). He came to know about what was happening in Corato after having listened to and consulted with some priests. In 1889 he wanted to take this case under his authority and responsibility, and after mature reflection he considered it opportune to delegate a particular Confessor of proven holiness in the person of Father Miche de Benedictis.
Mons. Tommaso De Stefano (1898-1906). He delegated the new Confessor Father Gennaro De Gennaro who, in 1922, ordered Luisa to put in writing what happened to her in the mystical conversation with Jesus.
Mons. Carrano Francesco Paolo (1906-1915). He followed Luisa through the action and the guidance of the Confessor.
Mons. Giovanni Regine (1915-1918) and Mons. Carrano followed Luisa in her daily life, always through the spiritual guides nominated by them.
Mons. Leo Giuseppe (1920-1939). He assumed the responsibility of entrusting Luisa to a new Confessor, Father Benedetto Calvi, from 1929 to 1947, who collected in an orderly and complete way what Luisa had written.
He was the witness for when the Congregation of the Saints Office (1938) withdrew (the writings). He assumed the task of publishing by himself a correct version in the Italian language of the book: “The Hours of the Passion”, or “Clock”. He was witness of the death of Luisa occurring March 4, 1947.
His Excellency Mons. Reginaldo M. Addazi (1947-1971), also without taking into consideration the original texts and diaries of Luisa, wanted to diffuse the renown of Luisa, calling her the humble Servant of God and spreading a prayer composed by him (November 27, 1948) in order to implore from God the Beatification of Luisa.
Mons. Addazi calls her: “herald of the Kingdom of the Divine Will”
“angel of reparation”
“victim of Your Love”
“Your little Daughter of the Divine Will”
Mons. Carata Giuseppe from 1971-1990.
The renown of Luisa spread into many parts of the world and in Italy in an exceptional way through the initiative of Mr. Albrech Federico and Miss Adriana Pallotti of San Giovanni Rotondo, both of whom were guided by Father Pio.
In 1972 the Association of the Divine Volition was born at Sixth San Giovanni, through the work of Sig. Andrea Magnifico, who got ownership of the inheritance of what belonged to Luisa, and above all the rights of ownership of the writings of Luisa.
In the U.S.A. a group of priests arose who were guided by Father Gustavo Morelos, and they formed numerous prayer groups.
Mons. Carata, coming to know of what was happening in the world, gave beginning, with Canonical approval in 1986, to the Pious Association Luisa Piccarreta Little Children of the Divine Will of Corato, and urged by Cardinal Palazzini, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, he undertook collecting testimonies about the Servant of God.
Mons. Cassati Carmelo, 1990-2000. Today Archbishop emeritus, he opened the process of Beatification of Luisa Piccarreta in the first vespers of the Feast of Christ the King in 1994.
He established the Ecclesiastical Tribunal for the collection of the testimonies about the heroic virtues of the Servant of God. In 1996 he received from the Congregation of the Holy See photocopies of the writings that had been “set aside” or withdrawn by the Congregation of the “Holy Office” in 1938.
He established a “Diocesan Commission” of surveillance regarding the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God.
In the meantime, the 1st International Congress went on at (Costa Rica 1995) Rome in Georgia USA from September 12th to 16th 1995, that had a marvelous and enthusiastic resonance in the whole world. It was presided by His Excellency Very Reverend Mons. Carmelo Cassati, our Archbishop, with the participation of the then Archbishop of Atlanta, His Excellency Very Reverend Mons. John F. Donogue.
The various speakers spoke on some testimonies and reflections about the veracity of the mystical experience of Luisa, the nature of her virtues, the authenticity of some writings, and the conformity, from what is reported in the original texts or writings, with the doctrine and teaching of the Church. The writings were spread with the Imprimatur of Father (Saint) Annibale M. Di Francia.
And from that moment Mons. Cassati wanted to involve in a more effective way the whole local Church regarding the Cause of Beatification of Luisa.
He was visited by very many pilgrims who sought to know more about Luisa, and they reported about spiritual benefits that they had received, praying and living according to the Will of God; even if they did not yet understand well what “Living in the Divine Volition” meant:
In other words, many texts were spread in an uncontrollable way in different languages as manuscripts, without any permission.
He wanted to guide everything, but he did not yet know how to apply the rules of legality and of Church supervision.
In 1998 Mons. Cassiti established the Diocesan Commission for the Cause of Beatification of Luisa, of which the undersigned was and is the Vice-President.
Mons. Cassati interrogated different theologians in order to carry out the mandate received from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith concerning the conformity, or at least what was written overall in the diaries, to the teaching of the Church.
In truth, the opinions have not always been unanimous. Often even among various theologians there has been a marvelous dialogue of clarification and of comparison. For this reason he is at work in order to have and present the typical edition of the writings.
Finally in 2000, following the resignation of Mons. Cassati according to the canonical provisions (can. 401), Mons. Giovanni Battista Pichierri was elected Archbishop of the Archdioceses of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie and Titular of Nazareth.
With His Excellency Mons. Pichierri, the walk has been faster.
I refer to some stages gone through that make one marvel about how much he has done in full conformity to the Divine Will:
- recomposing of the Tribunal of the Cause. Nomination of the new Postulator in the person of Very Reverend Can. Don Sabino Lattanzio. Nomination of the Historical Commission of the Cause with the Very Reverend Don Sergio Pellegrini as president.
- Forthcoming of the various responsibilities of the prayer groups spread in various parts of the world.
- Sig. Andrea Magnifico, in 2002, gave to the Archdioceses the rights of ownership of whatever “things and writings” he had purchased from the legitimate heirs of Luisa, we direct our solidarity to him for his long suffering. For quite a lot of years he has been offering and living in the Diving Will as victim according to the example of Luisa.
This legal gift has given to the Archdioceses the possibility of beginning to know and to guide what was being read and had become attributed to Luisa.
So Archbishop Pichierri, by my means, had been able to give precise instructions regarding the use of the writings of Luisa
At the same time he wanted the collaboration of his Brother Bishops of various places where there are present groups of prayer and of reflections about the spirituality of Living in the Divine Volition.
In September 2004, by his mandate, I went to various Archdioceses and Dioceses in the USA to meet with the various groups and to study in depth their relations with the local Bishops.
And for this I say thank you to the Divine Will.
His Excellency Mons. Pichierri invites everyone to pray for this cause.
Meanwhile, the new Postulator, here present, Very Reverend Don Sabino Lattanzio, (I can say guided by the Holy Spirit), in conformity, I could say, to the Divine Volition, promptly got down to work in order to collect and order, as indicated by the Canonical “norms” for the Cause, helped by the Historical Commission, who had the duty of indicating the truthfulness and the historical authenticity of the testimonies.
3. The third way
is that journey by various prayer groups, by movements, of those who are in no way institutionalized; they have come to know about the person of Luisa and about some of her writings and are interested in imitating the virtues and following the outlines of the spirituality of Living in the Divine Volition.
It is not possible for me to list how many groups are present in the world. It would be a map of all.
And those here present today, are the eyewitnesses and living witnesses of how much Luisa the Little Daughter of the Divine Volition is known and loved.
I direct, therefore, an affectionate and official thank you to all those who have supported us and are supporting us with the solidarity expressed in the great amount of correspondence and in the very numerous testimonies of the benefits obtained in their spiritual walk.
In October of 2002 (the 10th-11th) in Corato, the 2nd International Congress was celebrated. The acts of the Congress have been spread, pro manuscripto, even if not printed. This Congress has had an enormous echo in the world.
How many thank you’s with great affection to those who have been obedient and observed the operating instructions given by the Archbishop with an official communiqué.
Meanwhile, some thorough studies about the spirituality of “Living in the Divine Volition” are coming.*
I do not know how to express a thank you to the Most Holy Trinity for having been the one, from so many people, called to serve to help to reach this goal and to live together these days: “the marvelous event for Our Archdioceses and for the Divine Will.”
With simplicity I say that the designs and prodigies of the Divine Will are not ours. We hope, as the prophet Isaiah says: “To climb the mountain of the Lord… so that He instruct us in His ways and we can walk in His paths.” (Isaiah 2:3).
Now, let us continue our works without forgetting that Jesus Christ is in our midst. He is the Eucharist that nourished Luisa; He is the source and summit of our life and mission. Let us let ourselves accompany and be nourished by Him.
Greetings and good work.
Mons. Savino Giannotti