Luisa was born in Corato, province of Bari, Italy, on the morning of April 23, 1865. Her parents, Vito Nicola Piccarreta and Rosa Tarantino had five daughters: Maria, Rachele, Filomena, Luisa and Angela. Luisa was born on Sunday morning, the first Sunday after Easter. Both her parents were practicing Catholics and she was baptised in the local parish Church that same evening.
With her heart filled with the love for her God, she received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time at age nine, and she often remained in prayer and adoration for hours before the Most Blessed Sacrament in her parish church of Santa Maria Greca. At age eleven, she consecrated herself to the Blessed Virgin and thus became a “daughter of Mary”, and with great fervor she spread devotion to the heavenly Mother among the girls of her neighborhood. In fact, devotion to Mary became one of the fundamental characteristics of her spirituality, and later in life she wrote a book of meditation on Our Lady entitled “The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will”.
While at home at age thirteen, Luisa heard a uproar coming from the street, and she went out to the balcony to see what was happening. There a terrible vision appeared before her eyes: the street was crowded with shouting people and with armed soldiers who were leading three prisoners. Among these, Luisa recognized Jesus carrying the cross on His shoulders. With deep sorrow and terror, Luisa contemplated this sad procession, but when the Divine Convict was under her balcony, He raised His head and said to her: “Anima, aiutami!” (“Soul, help me!”). At this scene, Luisa cried out and immediately lost her senses.
This extraordinary event marked for Luisa a decisive turning point in her life, because on that day she accepted the call to become a victim of expiation for the sins of humanity. The sufferings which she accepted upon herself lessened the pains of others, including souls in purgatory, and helped bring about conversions. In addition, Luisa’s state of victimhood provided an outlet for the Justice of the Lord, thus reducing the chastisements that should have rained down upon humanity. St. Annibale Di Francia wrote that the prayers, sufferings and tears of Luisa had mitigated a good many of the divine chastisements described or foretold in her diary.
As she grew older, the communications with Jesus became full-blown supernatural phenomena, which included her Mystical Marriage with the Lord, the Invisible Stigmata, and the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity.
After she accepted her state of victim, Luisa was often drawn into a state of complete unconsciousness: her body would stiffen, becoming hard like stone, to the point that no one, even when joined together, was able to move her. Each morning Luisa would be found stiff and in an unmovable position. This phenomena was completely strange and misunderstood by her family and those who knew her, which often caused them to rail against her and humiliate her. However her family was immensely worried, especially her parents, who subjected her to visits by doctors who were dumbfounded before such an extraordinary clinical case, unable to make any diagnosis. All of this was for Luisa a trial of unheard-of suffering, which the Lord would make her go through to increase her humility and trust in Him.
Receiving no help from the doctors, her family turned in desperation to the local priests. Father Lojodice, a devout Passionist Priest, was called to her home. Father Lojodice drew near the bed of Luisa and blessed her, and to the surprise of all, she immediately regained her normal faculties and lucid state. (...)
After the departure of Father Lojodice, another priest was called who blessed her, and to the stupefaction of the priest himself and of all who were present, Luisa once again regained consciousness. This fact produced in Luisa the conviction that all priests were saints. However, one day the Lord said to her:
“Not because all of them are saints – if only they were so! They all have this power because they are priests, and all the faithful are submitted to their priestly authority, created and wanted by Me. You must always be submitted to their priestly authority, you must obey always, and never go against their will, because they are the continuation of my priesthood in the world. The unworthiness of some does not annul their priesthood.”
During this time, Luisa expressed to her parents her desire to become a cloistered nun. Her parents were absolutely opposed to the idea. Luisa kept insisting, so one day her mother took her for a visit to the cloistered nuns at Trani, where they met with the Mother Superior. But her mother, not wanting her little Luisa to cloister herself in a monastery, revealed to the Mother Superior in detail all the defects and the strange phenomena surrounding her daughter, adding that she was a sickly girl of weak constitution. Obviously, these details provoked a definitive refusal on the part of the Superior, who immediately dismissed her, saying that life in the monastery was very hard, and that her frail health would not allow her to enter the religious life.
Luisa returned to Corato with her heart full of sadness, and she immediately poured out her sorrow to Jesus: “Had You not promised me that I would become a nun ?”
And the Lord answered: “You will be a nun, but the true little nun of my Heart. You will remain cloistered in a room, without ever moving, in which you will pray, suffer, and be always with Me.”
And so it happened as Jesus promised. Luisa remained in her room nailed to her bed of suffering for almost seventy years.
Beginning at age sixteen, she one day awoke from an ecstasy and felt a great repugnance for any food; so she began to refuse to eat. She was soon forced to eat by her parents, and she did so out of obedience, but as soon as she ate she would bring it up immediately. Her family attributed this to a new act of capriciousness or desire for attention on her part, and therefore she had to suffer new and bitter reproaches. However, this was the Will of God, Who was preparing Luisa to live only from the Eucharist and His Divine Will. In fact, this extraordinary phenomenon lasted until her death.
Luisa ate only once a day and then very little, out obedience to her confessor; but immediately after eating she would bring up the food, whole, fresh and to the surprise of all—sweetly fragrant. In his prudence, her confessor was opposed to this new prodigy, and ordered her to eat, even if she brought up everything after a little while. Her confessor is reported to have said that “...she must eat every day and every one must know that she eats, or they will set the police at her door as they did with Teresa Newman, and with all the publicity of the newspapers.”
Near the end of 1888, at the age of twenty-three, Luisa asked her confessor, Father Michele De Benedictis, permission to suffer in bed for a certain time, about forty days. “If this is the Will of God, stay,” Don Michele said; but the bed was never again abandoned by Luisa, who was then, in 1888, twenty-three years old, and remained always sitting, nailed to the bed, for the fifty-nine years until her death, which occurred on March 4, 1947. From then on Luisa becomes completely bedridden in a state of suffering.
Ten years later, in 1898, Father Gennaro Di Gennaro became her new confessor delegated by the bishop, and thus he remained for 24 years. Father Gennaro, an enlightened and prudent priest, realizing the wonders that the Lord was working in this soul, ordered her to put into writing all that the Grace of God operated in her. Luisa did not expect or welcome this order, to which she had to submit with docility, even though it strongly clashed with her humility.
Luisa was to write everything going back to the very beginning, without neglecting anything; and she was to give everything to him, day by day. The excuse of being an illiterate woman, for she had attended school only up to the second elementary grade, had no success: her new confessor was immovable. Though weeping from what was to her a great humiliation, Luisa humbly submitted herself to the request, and thus she began to write her volumes (36 in all) in the form of a diary. It was February 28, 1899. She wrote the last chapter of Volume 36 on December 28, 1938. On the day that she was ordered to stop, she immediately stopped and no longer wrote.
On November 22, 1900, the Lord makes known to Luisa that He wants to give her an extraordinary gift: THE GIFT OF THE DIVINE WILL. This particular grace which God gives to the creature from Himself constitutes a special and free gift. Except for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Luisa is to be the first to receive this grace, but God desires that it must be extended to all of humanity who desire to accept this new event of grace. But it was to begin in the most complete silence and in the greatest hiddenness of this soul. Beginning with Luisa, God desired to send the message of the Divine Will, this grace in which the Holy Spirit wants to renew the face of the earth: the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. So beginning with Luisa, a new event of grace is to begin in souls, through which God wants to enrich humanity.
As the years progressed, the Lord revealed to Luisa profound and ever-deeper insights into the Divine Will. His purpose was to seek perfect fulfillment in Luisa of the Fiat petition of the Our Father, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Fiat Voluntas Tua sicut in Coelo et in terra.) He taught her that the three great phases or Fiats of God’s Work are the Creation, Redemption, and Sanctification. The Sanctification will be completed when the Divine Will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Luisa is to live the life of the Divine Will within her own soul, and her writings will inspire and teach others how to do so. This will help fulfill the Sanctification, which will bring about a new era of love, the era of the Third Fiat.
Luisa lived in the strictest poverty, on a small income derived from lace making, which she carried out while sitting up in her bed during the day. Although she wished to live in obscurity, people of all ranks, from the humblest peasants to high-ranking prelates of the Church visited her, seeking spiritual advice or consolation.
Luisa never left her bed of suffering and remained sitting in the same position for 64 consecutive years, not counting the first six years when she was often bedridden. Remarkably, she never contracted any bedsores which are normally inevitable for those bedridden.
As a victim soul for the salvation of sinners, Luisa was struck by deep trials and sufferings, which would certainly have crushed most other persons, but which through the grace of God were surpassed through her prayer and by her profound humility, obedience and faith. Her confessor and the persons who were close to her, especially her faithful friend Rosaria, suffered tremendously along with her, and while some of weaker spirit abandoned her, they remained at her side with humility and faith, until the triumph of the Work of God.
Luisa died in Corato at 6:00 am on March 4, 1947. She had been ill for two weeks with pneumonia. She was 81 years, ten months and nine days old. She died of pneumonia after fifteen days, which was the only clinical illness that she was ever diagnosed with.
As she appears in the pictures taken at that time, the dead body of Luisa is sitting on the little bed, just as when she was alive; nor was it possible to stretch it out through the strength of various people. She remained in that position; so a special casket had to be built. Her body was not subject to the “rigor mortis” typical of all human bodies after death. This was noticed each day she was exposed to the eyes of the people of Corato, and to those of many foreigners who came to Corato for the purpose of seeing and touching with their own hands this unique and marvelous case: all were able, with no effort, to move the head to all sides, raise her arms and bend them, bend her hands and all the fingers. Even the eyelids could be lifted, and her bright eyes, which were not veiled, could be observed. Luisa seemed to be alive, as though sleeping, while a group of doctors, convened for the purpose, after a careful examination of her body, declared that Luisa was actually dead, and therefore it was to be considered a true death and not an apparent death, as many had imagined.
Because of the unending crowd that thronged around “the saint” as she was then often called, the civil authority was forced to keep her on her little deathbed for 4 full days. To the surprise of physicians and also the city health officer there was no sign of corruption even to the end of the fourth day.
Notably, in death Luisa remained seated, as she had always lived, and sitting she was to go to the cemetery in a casket which was built for the purpose, with the sides and the front made of glass, so that all might see her, just as a queen on her throne, clothed in white, with the “FIAT” on her breast – the little daughter of the Divine Will, whom the Lord wanted to remove from her silence and humility only at her death.
More than forty priests, the Capitolo [the Ecclesiastical authorities] and the local clergy, were present; many religious sisters, who brought her on their shoulders in turns, and an immense crowd of citizens. The streets, along which the procession was to pass, were packed... The funeral was celebrated in the Matrice Church by the many religious present. Father Benedetto described the funeral as a “veritable triumph”.
A few years later, the body of Luisa was transferred to her parish church of Santa Maria Greca, and placed in a special niche to the right of the central nave, where she lies today, humbly waiting for the glorification of the Church. Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, pray for us!
Source: www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/08/servant-of-god-luisa-piccarreta-little.html. Reproduced with permission.