Luisa, A Brief Biography

Painting by Mona Nelson. Used with permission.

Jesus to Luisa: “Listen, I went around the earth over and over again, and beheld all souls one by one to find the lowliest of all. Among the many I found you, the humblest of all. I was charmed by your lowliness and I chose you.”

L. Piccarreta, Book of Heaven, Volume 12, March 23, 1921

It is not God’s way to leave things unfinished. Nor is it God’s way to concede to the enemy. God’s way is victory and triumph, love and fulfillment, joy and glory. Six thousand years after the fall of Adam, God means to restore humanity to the Order, the Place, and the Purpose for which we were created. He is doing this through the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, a pearl of inestimable value given to us through an extraordinary mystic and victim soul, Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta.

Luisa Piccarreta was born in Corato, Italy on April 23, 1865. It was the Sunday after Easter, the day that would eventually come to be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. As Luisa was not expected to live, she was baptized on the same day, and because there was no one there present except her father, the priest was named as godparent. This was a true foreshadowing of the important role that priests would play in Luisa’s life and mission—by God’s design.

Luisa began to hear the voice of Jesus speaking to her at age nine, right after receiving her First Communion and Confirmation, which she received on the same day. At age 13 she had a vision in which she saw Jesus carrying his cross and surrounded by an angry mob. He looked at her and cried, “Soul, help me!” She was deeply moved, and from then on experienced a deep longing to suffer for Jesus and for souls. There followed a three-year period of intense testing—including demonic attacks—during which time Jesus regularly appeared to her, taught her, and took her on out-of-body excursions. At age 16, Luisa accepted the permanent mission of victim soul, which eventually led, with the permission of her confessor, to her being continuously confined to her bed for 64 years!

Luisa’s life was lived more in heaven than on earth, her mystical experiences almost continuous. While in these ecstasies, her body would remain rigid as stone and became so heavy that no one could move her. In fact, she appeared to be dead. In her writings, Luisa refers to this as her “usual state”. The only way she could be released was if a priest came to her home to bless her. For Luisa this was a great humiliation, but in this way, God ensured that the Church took notice of the saintly little mystic from Corato.

In the early days the priests were reluctant to do this as they thought she was just seeking attention and in one instance it was 18 days before a priest came to release her! During this time she did not eat or drink. In fact, for most of her life she could not eat at all, but lived only on the Eucharist. Her confessor ordered her to eat food once a day, which she did out of obedience, but she would immediately bring up the food, and extraordinarily, it came up looking as if it had never been chewed.

Eventually the priests came to realize something exceptional was happening with Luisa, and at age 33 her confessor ordered her under strict obedience to record her experiences from the beginning. This obedience was one of the greatest crosses in her life, the worst of it recording her intimate mystical experiences with her Beloved.

Luisa had barely a first grade education, yet for some 40 years she recorded 36 volumes of the most sublime and deeply theological teachings. This only ended in 1938 when the obedience to write was lifted. Our Lord titled this body of work, “The Book of Heaven: The Call of the Creature to the Order, the Place and the Purpose for which He was Created by God”. Her other works include, “The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ”, and “The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will”, “The Three Appeals”, as well as letters of counsel to others, which she continued to pen until her death.

Arguably the most important priest in her life was her extraordinary confessor, St. Hannibal (or Annibale) Maria di Francia, who was also the censor liborum of her early writings until his death in 1927. He wrote about Luisa: “Our Lord, who always makes the marvels of His love grow and grow, century after century, seems with this virgin, whom He calls the littlest one He found on earth, barren of every kind of education, to have wanted to form her into a perfect instrument for a mission so sublime, to which no other can compare. In other words, the mission of the Triumph of the Divine Will all over the earth in conformity to what is said in the Our Father: ‘Your Will be done on earth as It is done in Heaven.’”

St. Hannibal gave his own nihil obstat to the first 18 volumes of her writings, as well as “The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ”, and “The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will”. (Archbishop G.M. Leo gave the imprimatur.) St. Hannibal zealously promoted and published them at great personal and financial cost. He was adamant that the writings be made known to the whole world. St. Hannibal was canonized in 2004 by Pope Saint John Paul II, and in 2010 Pope Benedict XVI had a large statue of St. Hannibal placed prominently outside the Vatican Basilica.

The efforts of St. Hannibal and many others to make these writing known were given a great boost when an official biography of Luisa was published by the Vatican Publishing House in 2015. Titled, Sun of My Will, it quickly sold out, a testament to the myriads of souls drawn to the writings of “Luisa la santa”, as those who met her came to call her. The biography was re-published in 2020.

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