Queen of the Dead
Rosa Quattrini, San Damiano, Italy
The strange titles held by the entity who appeared at San Damiano, Italy, which include “Queen of the Dead,” “Mama of the Universe,” and “Spouse of the Eternal Father,” are by far not the only danger signals for the faithful. The alleged apparitions at this small village near Piacenza appear to be a diabolical inversion of everything sacred. Jesus’ role in salvation is nothing more than promoting devotion to his mother, who ordered the seer, Mama Rosa, to announce her Coming in 1967 so that she could triumph throughout the whole world.
Rosa Quattrini-Buzzini was born on January 26, 1909. On the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, September 29, 1961, Rosa was a dying widow, with only her Aunt Adele to attend to her needs. One day an unknown woman, wearing poor clothing and a sky blue shawl over her head, knocked on Rosa’s door requesting money for candles for Padre Pio’s sanctuary at San Giovanni Rotondo. Adele replied that they could not make a contribution because of Rosa’s illness, which consisted of severe abdominal pain and intestinal blockage precipitated and worsened by three pregnancies.
In 1968 Rosa testified that this woman instructed her to recite prayers seven times in honor of Jesus’ wounds and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. Each time she recited the prayers, the woman placed her hands on her stomach, and when the prayers were finished, the wounds were healed. The woman also asked for a glass of water and put in it five grains of holy earth, an olive leaf, and a bit of a candle consecrated on the feast of Candlemas, celebrated the previous February 2. She told Rosa to drink from it and place the rest on a ledge outside the window. For the next three mornings she was to arise at five o’clock, the hour at which Padre Pio said Mass, and drink a little of the water.
In September 1964 Rosa went to Padre Pio for confession and was told to return home to await a “great event” that would soon take place. To prepare for it, she was to pray to Saint Michael. Padre Pio assured her that Michael, her “Mama in Heaven,” and he would always be near her. A few months later, the first apparition took place on October 16, 1964, above a pear tree. According to Rosa, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and gave her a message for the world by saying, “Listen, my daughter. I have come from afar. Tell the people that they all must pray as Jesus can no longer carry his Cross. I want everybody to be saved, good and bad alike. I am the Mother of Love, the Mother of you all. You are all my children. That is why I want you all to be saved. And so I invite the entire world to prayer, as the punishments shall occur very soon. Whilst you are alive, I shall appear here every Friday at lunchtime and give you messages which you must pass on to the world.”
In tears, Rosa asked for a sign. At the very moment the apparition disappeared, the pear tree became covered with thick blossoms that lasted about three weeks, but did not bear fruit. Although considered unnatural, it did not convince ecclesiastical authorities. The parish priest of San Damiano, who was uncertain about authenticity, took Rosa to San Giovanni Rotondo the following spring of 1965 to confess to Padre Pio, believing he would be able to discern the origin of the event. Shortly after receiving absolution, Rosa told the priest that Padre Pio had confirmed the heavenly origin of her experiences.
There have been more than two thousand alleged apparitions at San Damiano with accompanying messages. Only a few of them are publicized, generally those that are least controversial. One frequent message is the exhortation that all pilgrims must tell the entire world to recognize the authenticity of San Damiano and come there without delay because the chastisements are imminent. When the apparitions are recognized, the “Heavenly Mama” will be able to triumph on earth.
Underlying the messages is a menacing tone concerning the world catastrophes to come, as well as the fate of those who do not believe in the apparitions. Those who come to San Damiano will be saved for this world and the next, but for those who have not taken faith, strength, and courage from the signs offered at the apparition site, only one question is asked, “What will become of you?” Blessings and pardon will be lavished upon believers and non-believers, virtuous souls and unrepentant sinners, as long as they come to San Damiano, but all others are left without hope.
There are two phenomena unique to San Damiano. The first is a well that was promised to be a source of graces. Only one person at a time would be allowed to draw water and, as they did this, all pilgrims were to pray ten Hail Marys and repeat ten times, “Heavenly Mama, save us and free us body and soul.” It was promised that when the water was splashed on their faces, it would provide strength against all the diabolical powers that would be unleashed against the people. Drinking the water would free a person from obsessions.
Rosa was told that pilgrims should bring lots of white handkerchiefs to San Damiano, and place them in a nylon bag in her Garden so they could be blessed on the first Friday and Saturday of every month and on every feast day. These handkerchiefs would be filled with a great gift, that anyone who dried their eyes with one of them would receive the “Light of Heaven.” During troubled times, believers should cover their faces with them and make the sign of the cross.
From the very beginning Roman Catholic officials were troubled by the events and messages of San Damiano. In September 1965 Umberto Malchiodi, the Bishop of Piacenza, issued a statement stating that the supernatural origin of the events had not been proven and requesting that the faithful abstain from going to San Damiano. A second statement was issued in August 1966 that was ignored.
In February 1968 Bishop Malchiodi issued another declaration with special prohibitions stating that Rosa should cease to hold public displays, that believers cease distributing propaganda concerning Rosa’s life and the messages she was attributing to the Virgin, and that anyone acting contrary to these decisions would be disobeying ecclesiastical authority. The bishop concluded by warning priests and the religious of other dioceses who should learn of this pronouncement that if they disregarded it they would be deprived of all powers in the diocese of Piacenza, including authorization to say Mass.
Enrico Manfredi, the new bishop of Piacenza, issued the following declaration on May 1, 1980:
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