March 4, 1947
“Now I die with greater contentment, because the Divine Will has consoled me more than usual with Its presence in these last few moments of my life.
“Now I see a long, beautiful and spacious road, all illuminated by an infinite number of resplendent suns – Oh, yes, I recognize them! They are all my acts done in the Divine Will!
“This is the road that I must now take; it is the road that the Divine Will has prepared for me. It’s the road of my victory: it’s the way of my glory, which will unite me with the immense happiness of the Divine Will.
“It’s my road; it’s the road that I have prepared for you. It’s the road that I will keep reserved for all the souls who will ever want to live in the Divine Will.”
Excerpt from Volume 11, March 8, 1914:
“The soul who dies united to My Will (Jesus speaking to Luisa), upon entering into My Rest, will find not only the heavenly doors open, but all of Heaven reaching down to greet the new-comer, honoring My Will which has formed Its Life in the soul.
“What can I tell you about the feasting among the Blessed when they see this soul that has lived its life in the Divine Will, with its every word, thought and act, all adorned with as many Suns as its acts, all varying in brightness and beauty? So innumerable are the little divine streams touching all the Blessed that heaven cannot contain all the blessings, and they flow down even upon the earth for the benefit of the pilgrim souls.
“Yes, My daughter, My Will is the greatest thing that exists. It is the secret to finding the light, sanctity and greatest spiritual treasures. It is the secret to knowing every good thing, but because It is not intimately known, It is neither valued nor loved as It merits. It is your job to know, love and make It known to all disposed souls.”
The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta 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.
The 3 1/2 foot wall relief over Luisa’s tomb in the Church of St. Mary the Greek, was created by Professor ‘Vincenzo Petrizzelli of Corato. The relief depicts the Crucifixion of Christ with rays of light descending upon Luisa. Luisa is smiling with her heart exposed and the writings of the 36 Volumes laying about her. In prayer, she holds the Rosary in her left hand. The Fiat is clearly seen in gold above her head superimposed over a map of the world. The Church is represented to the right of her. The word, “Eccomi” (Here I am), in copper tubing, is placed in front of the tomb. The unveiling of the relief took place on 4 March 2004, in honor of the 57th Anniversary of Luisa’s entrance into Heaven. Fr. Sergio Pellegrini, the Pastor of St. Maria the Greek Church in Corota, celebrated a special Mass on the occasion. Sr. Assunta, co-foundress of the Association Luisa Piccarreta, attended.
The Death and Burial
|The reflection on the death of Luisa Piccarreta is by her last spiritual director, Rev. Benedetto Calvi, Pastor of S. M. Greca.|
|“Luisa is no longer with us. She is in Heaven, surrounded by the infinite light of the Divine Will, glorious and triumphant in the glory of the Saints.|
|I assisted her up to her last moment. She expired in my arms, while I was pronouncing my last, unnecessary absolution! She died the way the Saints die, in a final acceptance of the Divine Will! I am still under the spell of that last moment, under the painful but sublime impression that I felt at her last breath, by which I cannot say to anyone who asks me about her, anything more than, “A Saint has died!” We have lost our dear Luisa. We have gained a Patroness in Heaven.|
|Her body remained immobile, in a sitting position, on her bed. Her limbs remained completely free of the rigidity that affects corpses, so that you could move them in any direction, right down to the fingers of her hand. Her eyelids were closed, but on lifting them, you could see the vividness of the pupils preserved as when she was alive. All this gave rise to serious doubt about her death. We had to have her visited by several doctors. She remained in this state, without the minimal sign of decomposition, for fully four entire days.|
The whole population of our town and many from out of town as well paid their respect to her remains, kissing her hand which retained the flexibility of a living person. Many even touched religious objects to her to be kept as relics. Her sitting position forced us to build an entirely different casket from those normally used, because we are unable to make her lie down even by applying force. In this sitting position, she seemed to be alive even in her bier, which by permission of the authorities was closed with a glass door, so that she could be seen even from far away. The funeral? A veritable triumph. That day, no one went to work. Everyone was present in church. Several photographers were on hand to take pictures of this unusual spectacle, reason for which so many photographs have been preserved. It was an extraordinary manifestation of bereavement, but at the same time of joy. And she, from her casket, clearly visible to everyone, though with eyes closed, seemed to want to bless the immense multitude that was accompanying her to her last resting place. Truly a rare spectacle, quite unique. Those who had the occasion to take part in it will never be able to express fully the dimensions of this manifestation.
|I don’t find the energy to go on. I will tell you only by way of conclusion that I had our dear Luisa buried in my family chapel-mausoleum, at the distance of hardly a meter from the altar on which I celebrate my Masses.|
|I hope that thus we are united forever in the Divine Will, united in death in the cemetery, united forever, so I hope by God’s Mercy, in the glory of the Divine Will.Affectionately in the Divine Will,
Pastor Benedetto Calvi“