by Michael Brown
It is, one must admit, a somewhat astonishing turn of events.
On Saturday, December 7, 2019, on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Bishop of Brescia, Italy, Monsignor Pierantonio Tremolada, will have presided at a Mass during the canonical institution of the Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose) Mother of the Church Diocesan Shrine in Fontanelle, Italy.
It is extraordinary because this is an apparition site — one with prophetic messages — that is the basis for thousands of Rosa Mystica statues which allegedly have spawned miracles around the world (and have been blessed by at least one Pope).
It is especially mind-boggling because many years ago, when I visited the main Basilica in nearby Montichiari, where many of the apparitions occurred (as well as in Fontanelle), I was surprised to learn that the apparitions which started there in 1947 had been condemned by the local bishop of the time, Bruno Foresti, who in a formal declaration said that the phenomena failed to “give good reasons for credibility” and that whoever promoted it “disturbs the faith of believers, inducing them to act contrary to the teachings of the Church”.
Though the decree, and a more recent one in 2013, still stand, in some ways they have been reversed or at least profoundly lightened — something we have seen at other places. As at Medjugorje, which now accepts official Church pilgrimages, the actual apparitions and messages remain under study.
I had been surprised during that visit, in 1991, because the Rosa Mystica apparition seemed beautiful and statues fashioned after it were inexplicably exuding tears. Pierina Gilli, a nurse, was the visionary; her messages connected in a very direct way to Fatima, beginning with the fact that the second apparition was on the same day of the year, June 13th, as the second Fatima appearance.
Pierina claimed that apparitions occurred both in the hospital where she worked and at the Montichiari Basilica. At her first manifestation, Mary arrived in a dress in a mournful shade of purple and a white veil. She was inexplicably exuding tears and appeared visibly melancholic, her tears falling to the floor and her breast pierced by several swords. She said only three words, “prayer, penitence, expiation”.
Many do not realize that after Confession, sacrifice or suffering is needed to purge or expiate the residue of sin (here on earth, rather than in purgatory).
On her second visit, the Virgin was dressed more cheerfully, in a white dress and instead of swords were red, white, and gold roses. “Please tell me who you are,” pleaded Pierina.
“I am the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of you, the Rosa Mystica.”
She said the swords that had pierced her heart represented a crisis in faith, including the deadly sins committed by religious and the loss of candidates for the priesthood.
Two points can be made. First, the prescience: this was exactly when sex abuse germinated in the seminaries and rectories — a deadly sin for certain! And the world and the Church were on the cusp of modernism (including the sexual revolution) that would deaden its appeal to young men. I might add that negative prophecies about the Church tend, at least at first, to be rejected.
The roses she now wore represented prayer, sacrifice, and penitence. As at Lourdes, Mary identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, and as at Fatima, she requested new devotions in reparation.
“My Divine Son Jesus has sent me here to bring a new Marian devotion for all male and female institutes, religious orders, and secular priests,”
she said during apparitions that continued for the remainder of 1947.
“I promise those religious institutes, orders, and secular priests who venerate me in this special way my special protection, an increase of spiritual vocations, and great sanctity among the servants of God. I wish the 13th of each month to be celebrated as the Day of Mary. On the twelve preceding days, special prayers of preparation should be said.”
Henceforth, the 13th of each month was to be celebrated as the day of Mary, while the other devotion was to include attendance at noon time Mass (or failing that, prayer at home) every year on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. She pledged that whatever was asked during the hour would be granted if it was in accordance with God’s will. As long as people prayed for sinners, said Mary, Christ would continue to be merciful. She was struggling to prolong the period of Mercy. “My Divine Son, tired of continued offenses, wanted to act according to His Justice, so I placed myself as mediatrix between Him and the human race, especially the consecrated souls.”
The Lord, she said, had delayed a great judgment. But for the Mercy to continue she required a flock who knew how to pray and do penance.
“Penance means acceptance of the little daily crosses and also doing one’s work in the spirit of penance. In Fatima I spread the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. In Bonate (a town near Bergamo where Mary appeared during World War II), I tried to introduce this devotion into Christian families. Here in Montichiari I wish to be venerated as the Mystical Rose, as already indicated so often, together with the devotion to my heart which must be especially practiced in religious institutes so that they may obtain more graces through my motherly heart.”
On December 7th, Mary appeared with two children whom she identified to Pierina as Francisco and Jacinta, the deceased Fatima seers!
“They will help you in your trials and suffering,”
said the Blessed Virgin.
“They, too, suffered. I wish from you the simplicity and goodness of these two children.”
It was the godly souls who had turned lukewarm who most offended Christ, said Mary — especially those who betrayed their vocation.
“By their great offenses, they brought punishment upon the Church but then the original spirit of their holy founders will blossom again.”
There was no question that the essence of her message was apocalyptical:
“Our Lord cannot any longer watch the many grievous sins against purity. He wants to send a flood of punishments. I have interceded that He may be merciful once more. Therefore, I ask for prayer and penance to atone for these sins.”
Diocesan authorities are set to open a renewed phase of development for this devotion, as well as “the study of the whole spiritual and Marian phenomenon that originated in these places over the years, remaining in obedience to the action of the Holy Spirit Who continues to help and console the Church,” says Monsignor Marco Alba, an episcopal delegate. The shrine is one of a number allowed by Pope Francis, following on the heels on Medjugorje, where, despite papal messages that had seemed ominous, official pilgrimages are now allowed by Rome.
Adapted from: The Final Hour, by Michael Brown/www.spiritdaily.com