Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta was born in the city of Corato, in the province of Bari, Italy, in the morning of April 23, 1865 on Low Sunday (the first Sunday after Easter Sunday and the Feast day of the Divine Mercy), and she was baptized on the same afternoon. She lived her whole life there, and there she died a holy death on March 4, 1947. She was born to Mrs. Rosa Tarantino and Mr. Vito Nicola Piccarreta, who worked for a property of the Mastrorilli family. When she was little, Luisa was bashful and timid; nevertheless, she was lively and joyful. She would run and skip; and as she herself says, she even used to play pranks sometimes.
When she was 9 years old on Low Sunday “in Albis” of 1874, she received her First Holy Communion and on the same day she also received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Since she was little, she showed a strong desire to spend long periods of time in prayer and meditation. At the basis of her interior life was her burning love for the suffering of Jesus in his passion and as prisoner of Love in the Eucharist. She had a mature and solid devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her parents paid little attention to her hobbies until she began to manifest a mysterious illness that forced her to remain bed-ridden. The doctors, unable to find a cause and diagnose her, suggested the visit of a priest. They were amazed when at the sign of the cross Luisa recovered from her “usual state”, which is how she referred to her bed-ridden state later on in her Writings.
Around the age of 18, while working in her room, she was doing the meditation on the Passion of Jesus when her heart felt so oppressed by the pain that she could not breath, and fearing that something was about to happen to her, she went out onto the balcony to distract herself. The street was crowded with people who were leading Jesus carrying the cross. She saw him sad and oppressed, his face dripping blood. His aspect was so pitiable that the very stones were moved. Jesus then raised his eyes toward her as if asking her for her help saying “Soul, help me!"
Luisa went back into her room. Then, her heart broken for the sorrow, she burst into tears and said to him, “Oh, how you are suffering, my good Jesus! If only I could help you and free you from those rabid wolves or at least suffer your pains, your sorrows and your fatigues in your place, and so give you the greatest relief! Yes, my Good Jesus, make me suffer too, because it is not right for you to suffer so much for love of me, and that I, a sinner, do no suffer anything for you.” From then on, as she continued repeating her FIAT (let it be done), the period that she spent in bed became ever more frequent until she arrived to complete immobility, which lasted for 62 years.
In this “small prison” Jesus made known to her the great desire of His heart: that man lives in His Will, so that he returns to the order, the place and the purpose for which he was created by God. That is, the purpose He taught us to ask for in the Lord’s Prayer: “Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Thus, Jesus entrusted Luisa with wonderful truths about living in the Divine Will so that she, as depositary and secretary of the treasures of the Divine Will, would make known the eternal decree of the coming of His Kingdom in the Church and in the whole world.
St. Hannibal di Francia commented on this, as follows:
“This solitary soul is a most pure virgin, wholly of God, who appears to be the object of singular predilection of Jesus, Divine Redeemer. It seems that Our Lord, who century after century increases the wonders of His Love more and more, wanted to make of this virgin with no education, whom He calls the littlest one that He found on earth, the instrument of a mission so sublime that no other can be compared to it - that is, the TRIUMPH OF THE DIVINE WILL upon the whole earth, in conformity with what is said in the ‘Our Father': FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA, SICUT IN COELO ET IN TERRA”
Luisa, as daughter of the Church, was always submissive and obedient. During the period 1884 to her death in 1947, she submitted herself to the care and obedience of several Confessors sent to her by the Bishop of her Archdiocese. Her second confessor, Don Gennaro di Gennaro on February 28, 1899 gave her the obedience to put into writing everything that took place between Jesus and her and the graces that she received continually. It was then that Luisa decided to overcome the repugnance to make public what she experienced interiorly. Thus, with great effort, she wrote more than two thousand (2000) chapters which were compiled into 36 volumes, not counting the hundreds of letters nor the books, "The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ", and "The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will".
One of her confessors and main promoter of the Divine Will (the doctrine that Jesus taught Luisa) was Saint Hannibal Maria Di Francia, who was the Ecclesiastical Censor of her writings (he put the “Nihil Obstat” to 19 of 36 volumes), and first apostle of the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat (as Jesus named him on Volume 20 of the Divine Will Writings, November 6, 1926).
Luisa died before the age of eighty-two years old, 4 March 1947, after a short but fatal pneumonia, the only disease diagnosed in her life. She entered into eternal life to continue immersed in the Divine Will in Heaven as she was on earth. In 1993, her remains were moved to the Sanctuary of “Santa Maria Greca,” thanks to her last Confessor Don Benedetto Calvi. On November 20, 1994- Feast of Christ the King, the Holy See gave the "Nulla Obstat" to the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie, led by Bishop Carmelo Cassati, for the official opening of the Cause of Canonization. On November 29, 2005 Most Rev. Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri-current Archbishop of the Archdiocese-, closed the diocesan phase, collecting many documents and testimonies on the fame of holiness of the Servant of God. Thus, ushering in the Roman phase of the case, where the Holy Father will raise it to the dignity of the altars.