Her Life

Our Lord Jesus chose Luisa Piccarreta to share His Gift of Living in the Divine Will with us. As herald of this “sanctity of sanctities” revealed to her by Jesus, Luisa’s life was fully anchored in God’s Divine Will. This “little daughter of the Divine Will” of the 20th century will make known this profound spirituality amidst a succession of various epidemics, and two wars that mark the times of her life.

Luisa’s home life

Luisa Piccarreta was born in the small town of Corato, Italy on April 23, 1865 and was raised along with 5 other sisters in a home rich with Christian values. Both parents are practicing Catholics who ensure their children never say mean things, and are always good and modest. The father is a tenant farmer for a wealthy family despite frequently poor harvests, Luisa sees her parents remaining honest and generous with their own farmworkers. Luisa grows up in poor circumstances, and is poorly educated, yet charity under all circumstances abounds in her home life.

From childhood to adolescence: Luisa encounters Jesus

As a young child, Luisa is constantly tormented by nightmares of demons trying to carry her off. When she learns to pray the rosary, it becomes her weapon for protection. When she first receives Holy Communion at age nine, her passion for the Eucharist is born because she hears the Lord’s voice right after.  She finally overcomes her fears of demons when she becomes a Daughter of Mary at age eleven, and finds strength and courage in an inner voice that tells her the Heavenly Mother, Jesus and her guardian angel are protecting her.

Older now, she asks Jesus why the devil assails her in her dreams and He explains it is because the demon cannot make her succumb to impure thoughts because Jesus Himself is safeguarding her soul.  She is also painfully shy and asks Jesus why she is so embarrassed around others and the Lord replies: it is to take her away from everyone and everything so He can shape within her the Kingdom of the Divine Will.

Luisa’s inner dialogues with Jesus escalate and never stop from age twelve onwards, beginning her formative period – a purification of her heart so she becomes a “perfect image” of Jesus. He teaches her about humility – being aware that nothing can be done without God, and all things are possible because of His love. Therefore, being upright in ones actions means doing all things only in, with and for love of Jesus. She learns about the spirit of mortification in everything, especially in her will – so that Jesus’ Will and hers are one.

Jesus also tells Luisa that to truly imitate His life, she must share in His passion which He suffered for the salvation of humanity. When she is thirteen, He appears to her in a vision she sees from her balcony at home: Jesus is carrying the cross, being beaten by the mob, then He looks up at her, His face dripping with blood, and raises His arm towards her saying “Soul, help Me!”. Heartbroken, she begs Him to let her suffer in His place instead as she is the sinful one. This vision sparks within her a lifelong desire to suffer with Jesus as a victim soul to repair for the sins of mankind.

A different kind of life for Luisa

At age seventeen, Luisa starts to experience various apparitions of the Lord’s physical suffering during His Passion – surrounded by enemies who beat and slap Him, drive thorns into His head, and break His bones. The Blessed Virgin Mary gathers Him in Her arms in tears, and asks Luisa to give Her son respite by suffering with Him, since He has chosen her as a victim soul. Luisa is terrified but offers herself completely to Jesus and the Virgin Mary and agrees to whatever is asked of her. She doesn’t realize this encounter will mark the rest of her life with a mysterious suffering from which only a priestly blessing can release her.

Each time Luisa agreed to share in Jesus’ pains, she would fall unconscious, and her body would become immobile and rigid, appearing as if dead. In these moments, Jesus would take Luisa’s soul to Himself to show her heaven, sinful humanity, hell and teach her salvation through living in the Divine Will. Greatly distressed, her family would bring doctors who could never diagnose nor cure her. Only a priest making a sign of the cross over her body could restore Luisa to full consciousness. This return to normalcy would be accompanied by a few days of  strong revulsion for any kind of food. If forced by family to eat something, she would bring it up again a few minutes later – whole, fresh and fragrant. This eventually led to the mystical phenomenon where Luisa would live on the Eucharist alone as her “daily bread”, surviving mainly on this for 20 years.

Luisa’s mystical marriage with Jesus

At age twenty-two, Luisa’s profound love and desire to be one with Jesus in all things leads naturally to a love for all creatures for whom Jesus offered Himself to His Father.  Sharing in Jesus’ mortal pains also means sharing in the goal of His suffering – the salvation of all of humanity.  Luisa offers her life in sacrifice to Jesus, standing between Divine Justice and wicked humanity to take on the punishment they deserve.  She accepts the sacrifice Jesus asks her to make, in reparation for the sins of mankind – to be bedridden, for the rest of her life, with her bed as her wooden cross.

This suffering is her purification that prepares  her for her mystical union with Christ – where Jesus demands: perfect conformity to His Will, to be the perfect image of His Humanity, so her soul can be transformed by His Divinity and given the true virtues His Divinity possesses.  Jesus desires that she never leaves His Will, does everything in His Will and for love of Him – and this is His nourishment and contentment. This communion of love through three separate mystical marriages will make Luisa  “another humanity” of Christ as He transforms Himself to Luisa and she remains “crucified in Christ”. Luisa hears Jesus call her the “first apostle of the Divine Fiat (Will) and its herald”.

Luisa, the Little Secretary of the Divine Will

Luisa will remain bedridden for 60 years, never developing bedsores or falling ill throughout this time. This is her loving response to Jesus’ call to “live in the Divine Will”.  All throughout this time, her health is preserved as she embraces her mission to be bearer of the Divine Will truths Jesus revealed to her.

At age 34, she starts obediently writing of Jesus’ visits and all He reveals to her about living in the Divine Will, because He desires that it be made known to all. From February 28, 1899 until December 28, 1938 she writes, sitting up in bed, to chronicle her dialogues with Jesus, where she is allowed to penetrate deep mysteries of His most Holy Humanity that He would reveal to her.

Since there were many miraculous things about her life, and Jesus’ private revelations to her as she recorded in her diary were too eloquent to come from someone as poorly educated as herself, the church sent her many priests who were called confessors to guide her and ensure that she wasn’t delusional, or it wasn’t the devil speaking to her.  These priest confessors sent by the bishop of the archdiocese accompany her as she writes her daily conversations with Jesus. Despite finishing only first grade, Luisa captures in 10,000 pages of her diary all that Jesus lovingly teaches her about “living in the Divine Will”, using vivid imagery, parables, examples, and reflections. These writings are captured in 36 volumes called the Book of Heaven.

Luisa’s “miraculous death” and her Cause for Beatification-Sanctification

Luisa Piccarreta died on March 4, 1947 at nearly 82 years old, known and loved in Corato as “the saint” by the holy life she lived.  Hers appeared to all to be a  “miraculous death”- unique and extraordinary by documented accounts. Her body could not be stretched out flat from the upright position in which she sat bedridden for years, and would remain leaning back in mid-air, even without the support of her bed pillows.

Doctors convened to declare hers a true death yet Luisa showed no signs of rigor mortis – her head, her arms, hands and fingers moved in every direction with no effort, and there was no cadaveric odor in the four days she lay dead in her room.  As she was exposed for public veneration to the crowds that had flocked from nearby towns to see her, our Lord showed that this soul was not just a simple creature but a holy victim.

“The Eucharist was her only food, the bed her Cross, the “Fiat” her motto.” Fr Sergio Pellegrini, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta – Bisceglie commenting on the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta

Throughout her life, Luisa’s burning desire was to draw everyone to God and have His kingdom triumph in their hearts. Many people will recall seeking her out for advice and encouragement, finding peace in her persuasive similes that taught about the Divine Will. As her fame of holiness spreads, many accounts of physical healings, conversions and spiritual healings obtained during her life emerge; along with various graces obtained through her intercession after her death.

The Church starts to show interest in Luisa’s life and on  November 27, 1948 Archbishop Reginaldo Giuseppe Maria Addazi of Trani granted permission to giving Luisa Piccarreta the title “Servant of God”.  On February 25, 1994, Archbishop Carmelo Cassati of Trani receives from the Vatican’s Congregation of Saint’s Causes approval to open the Cause of Beatification via a Diocesan investigation into the life, virtues and fame of holiness of Luisa Piccarreta. In March 2007, the Cause for Luisa’s Beatification-Canonization was officially opened at the Vatican. Then in  2015, on the occasion of her 150th birthday, Vatican Publishing releases Luisa’s biography – The Sun of My Will.