Pierina Gilli, Italy
Pierina Gilli was a young nurse in Montichiari, Italy, when she suddenly saw a lady in a violet dress above the altar in the hospital chapel in the spring of 1947. The lady was crying and from her breast protruded three swords. She spoke only three words, “Prayer, Penitence, Expiation” and then disappeared.
The second time the lady appeared she was holding three roses over her breast—white, red, and gold—in place of the swords. She identified herself as the “Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all” and said, “Our Lord sends me to bring a new Marian devotion for all male and female institutes, religious orders and secular priests. I promise those religious institutes, orders and secular priests who venerate me in this special way my special protection, an increase of spiritual vocations, fewer betrayed vocations, and great sanctity among the servants of God.”
The Lady continued by saying, “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. On this day I shall send to these religious institutes, members of orders, and secular priests who have honored me in this way, a superabundance of graces and great sanctity. I wish the 13th of July of each year to be celebrated in honor of the ‘Rosa Mystica,’ the mystical rose.”
The lady explained that the “miracle” would be that those godly souls who became lukewarm during the war would cease to offend our Lord. Their great offenses had brought punishment and persecution upon the Church. The first sword meant the loss of the vocation of a priest or a monk. The second sword meant those priests, monks, and nuns who live in deadly sin. The third sword meant those priests and monks who lose their vocation and faith and become enemies of the Church. The roses signified prayer, expiation and penitence.
The strange lady appeared again on October 22, November 16, and November 22 in the parish church. On the first day the lady said, “My divine Son, tired of the continuing offences, wanted to act according to his justice. So I placed myself as a mediatrix between him and the human race, especially the specially consecrated souls.” The following month the lady revealed that her son had wanted to send another flood of punishment, but she interceded so that he might be merciful once more. Six days later she demanded that Pierina make four crosses with her tongue on the floor in the middle of the church, exactly under the dome. As she descended on the spot, she stated that great conversions would take place there and told Pierina that the Christians of Italy most offend her son.
The lady soon revealed that she wished the Rosa Mystica devotion, together with the veneration of her immaculate heart that she spread at Fatima, to be increased in the religious institutes and the monastic communities, so that those dedicated to God may receive more graces from her motherly heart. She appeared with two children, explaining that they were Jacinta and Francisco of Fatima.
The next day, December 8, 1947, the Lady appeared on a big white staircase in the parish church and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Her wish was that people would celebrate each year on December 8th at noon the “hour of grace for the whole world,” promising numerous spiritual and bodily graces. She asked that Pope Pius XII be informed so that this hour of grace could spread throughout the whole world. She told Pierina that she wished to be called the “Mystic Rose” and promised that whoever prayed on those bricks and shed tears of repentance would find a sure ladder to Heaven and receive protection and mercy from her motherly heart, but she did not appear again for 19 years.
The second phase of the apparitions began in 1966. In the neighboring village of Fontanelle there is an old stone staircase that leads down to a well. On the Sunday after Easter, as Pierina was praying the rosary on the path above the well, the lady suddenly appeared to her at noon, announcing that her son had sent her to bestow healing power upon the well. She instructed Pierina to kiss the steps three times, from top to bottom, and then ordered that a crucifix be erected beside the bottom step. Pierina was then told to take mud in her hands and wash with the water, which was to be called the “Spring of Mercy.” All the sick, before taking water from the spring, should kiss the crucifix.
On June 9 the lady appeared in the sky above a wheat field. Her wish that day was that the wheat be baked into holy wafers and brought to Rome, and then reach Fatima for the 13th of October. She also wanted a statue erected there facing the well, which was to be brought there on October 13 in procession. She insisted that all the inhabitants of Montichiari consecrate themselves to her immaculate heart before bringing the statue.
The Lady appeared with a new request on August 6, 1966. This time she asked for a world union of communions of expiation, which must happen on the 13th of October and be spread over the entire world and repeated every year after 1966. Part of the wheat was to be sent to Pope Paul VI, along with a note that it had been blessed by her presence, and the other part to Fatima. Whatever remained was to be baked into small loaves and distributed at the well. Her wishes with regard to the wheat were fulfilled. Part of it was sent to the Holy Father, who blessed it personally, part was taken to Fatima, and the rest was made into hosts and consecrated for holy communions of expiation.
By order of the bishop, Pierina was not allowed to go to Fontanelle after 1966, but the Lady was not bound by human interdictions. On one occasion, the Lady appeared at the top of a staircase, over which was written in large letters of orange-red light the words, “Fiat of the creation, Fiat of the redemption, and Mary Co-Redemptrix.” The proclamation of Mary as Co-Redemptrix has also been requested by the ‘Lady of All Nations” through Ida Peerdeman. The Lady promised Pierina that the apparitions would be followed by the reunion in faith of the different churches and peace for the whole world, a promise of the New Age movement.
Bishop Luigi Morstabilini declared on June 30, 1968, that the events were “founded on an interpretation of events which has not been objectively checked nor responsibly evaluated, therefore they are not approved.” He exhorted the faithful not to support either with publications or with pilgrimages the spreading of these devotions.
The devotional booklet, María, Rosa Mystica, Montichiari-Fontanelle, written by A.M. Weigl in 1974, made the following statement: “We must wait patiently for the Church’s recognition of the credibility of these appearances. We should pray and make sacrifices for it. But we should begin straight away, priests, religious communities and those whose lives are dedicated to God, to carry out the wishes and requests of our Blessed Lady, the “Rosa Mystica.” This publication was published six years after Bishop Morstabilini declared that the faithful should not spread these devotions, in disobedience to his wishes.
On February 19, 1997, the Archbishop of Brescia, Most Reverend Bruno Foresti, issued the following statement:
Having seen the declaration of 30th June 1968, with which my predecessor of beloved memory, Bishop Luigi Morstabilini, strongly deplored that in the locality of Fontanelle di Montichiari, a devotion had been fostered, and he went so far as to exhort all the faithful not to support either with publications or with pilgrimages the spreading of these devotions. They are founded on an interpretation of events which has not been objectively checked nor responsibly evaluated, therefore they are not approved.
Having taken note of all that I stated in the declaration of the 15th October 1984 in which I made public that the so called apparitions of the Madonna "Mystical Rose" at Montichiari "do not present reasons for credibility," therefore the associated devotion "is not approved and may not be practised nor fostered" and that "whoever fosters it, by spreading publications or organising pilgrimages .... upsets the believers' faith causing them to act against the guidelines of the Church."
On account of the many requests which continuously come from both Italy and abroad, I reiterate what has been affirmed by me and by my predecessor.
+ Bruno Foresti
Archbishop of Brescia
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