Our Lady of Family Values, Ghiaie di Bonate, Italy, 1944

“Our Lady of Family Values”

World War II was tearing Italy apart when Our Lady chose to appear to send messages of hope and peace.  On May 13, 1944, (anniversary of first Fatima apparition) Our Lady appeared to seven-year old Adelaide Roncalli over 13 days – May 13 through May 21, and from May 28 through May 31, 1944.  Our Lady foretold her:

“You will suffer a lot, but do not cry, because then you will come with me into Paradise. In this valley of deep sorrows you will be a little martyr.”

First Apparition:  On that late afternoon of 13th May, 1944, seven year-old Adelaide Roncalli went picking elder flowers and daisies along the path which slopes down by the pine wood to offer them to an image of Our Lady that hangs halfway down the staircase in her home.  Her six-year-old sister, Palmina, and some little girl friends were with her.

The seven-year old visionary: Adelaide Roncalli
The seven-year old visionary: Adelaide Roncalli

From Adelaide’s diary:

“I was picking flowers for the image of the Virgin Mary which hangs halfway down the stairs in my home.  I had also picked some daisies, and I had arranged them into a wheelbarrow that my Dad had made.  I saw a beautiful elder flower, but it was far above my reach for me to pick.  I stood there, admiring it, when I saw a golden spot coming down from above and drawing near the earth little by little; while it was approaching it got bigger and bigger, and I could make out the presence of a beautiful Lady with Baby Jesus in her arms and Saint Joseph on her left.  The three persons were enveloped into three oval circles of light and remained suspended in space not far from the wires.

The Lady, beautiful and majestic, was wearing a white dress and a blue mantle; on her right arm she carried a Rosary made of white beads; on her bare feet two white roses stood.  Her dress was set off by a string of pearls, all equal, tied in gold in the shape of a necklace.  The circles enveloping the three persons were bright with shades of golden light.  At first I was scared and was on the point of running away, but the Lady called me in a sweet voice and said,

“Do not run away, as I am the Virgin Mary!”

So I stopped, gazing at her, but I was a little afraid.  The Virgin Mary looked at me, then added,

“You must be good, obedient, respectful of your neighbors and sincere.  Pray well and come back to this place for nine evenings, always at this time.”

Our Lady looked at me for a few seconds and then slowly went off, without turning her back on me.  I kept staring at them intently until a whitish cloud hid them from my view. Baby Jesus and Saint Joseph did not speak; they only looked at me with an amiable expression.”

Seeing Adelaide enraptured in ecstasy, her little friends called her and shook her, but without success, so much so that her sister Palmina, deeply impressed, ran to her mother to tell her that Adelaide was “dead but on her feet.”  Slowly recovering from her ecstasy, Adelaide confided in her friends her vision of Our Lady, but she did not talk about that once back home so that the evening meal would take place peacefully.  Her little friends were not as discrete though, and so the rumors started spreading in the village.

Second Apparition:  Sunday, May 14, 1944, at 6:00 p.m.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“I was at the parish recreation center with my playmates, but towards six hours I felt a great wish to run to the place where Our Lady had invited me to.  I was off like a shot with some of my mates; once on the place, I instinctively looked up and saw two white doves, then further up I saw the bright spot approach and turn into the clear and majestic form of the Holy Family.  At first they smiled at me, then Our Lady repeated what she had told me yesterday,

“You must be good, obedient and sincere, and you must pray well and be respectful of your neighbor.  Between your fourteenth and fifteenth year, you will become a Sacramentina nun.  You will suffer a lot, but do not weep, as you will come with me to Paradise!”

On May 13 she begins having visions of the Holy Family
On May 13 she begins having visions of the Holy Family

Then she went away slowly and disappeared like the evening before.  I felt a tremendous joy in my heart on account of the plain words of Our Lady, and the impression of her sweet presence was deeply engraved in my mind.  I went back to the recreation center with my mates; halfway down the road I met a good boy who questioned me.  When I confirmed I had seen Our Lady, he anxiously asked me, “Go back and see if she appears again, then try and ask her if I may become a priest and devote my life to Her.”

I went back hurriedly, and looked up, hoping Our Lady would come back.  After few minutes, Her beautiful presence manifested itself again.  I expressed Candido’s wish again (the boy was present this time).  She answered in a sweet and motherly voice:

“Yes, he will become a Missionary Father according to my Sacred Heart, when the war is over.”

After saying so, she slowly disappeared.  When the vision was over, I felt my apron pulled by the boy who apprehensively asked me what Our Lady had said.  I reported Our Lady’s words to him and he ran home happily to tell his mother about this.  I went back home with my friends, and I felt a big joy in my heart.  Our Lady, before going away, had told me to come back again for seven evenings.”

Adelaide soon experienced the truth of the second prophecy.  That evening, over the family supper, she was harshly rebuked.  Father A. Tentori writes that in this apparition Our Lady confirmed Candido’s vocation “to whom She smiled,” but then Adelaide let out a brief cry and hid her face in her hands without explaining why.  She had probably learned about the suffering that that vocation would cost her friend.  Meanwhile, the news of the apparitions had crossed the frontier of Ghiaie di Bonate.

Third Apparition:  Monday, May 15, 1944, at 6:00 p.m.  Adelaide saw a “brighter than usual”   vision of the Holy Family with 2 little girlfriends and 100 other people.

Adelaide in "ecstasy" -- oblivious to those around her.
Adelaide in “ecstasy” — oblivious to those around her.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“Little before six o’clock, I reached the place of the apparitions with my girlfriends, Itala Corna and Giulia Marcolini.  It took me quite a long time to get there as the road was crowded.  The bright spot — preceded by the two white doves — appeared soon and slowly came nearer and nearer, showing the Holy Family in a brighter way than usual.  Baby Jesus’ bright blue eyes of this apparition attracted my attention especially.  His frock — which covered Him from tip to toe — was threadbare in the shape of a pink-colored, gold-starred shirt.  Our Lady was wearing a blue dress with a white long veil coming down from her head.  Small stars formed a glory around her face; on her feet she had two roses, and in her joined hands, the Rosary.

Many people had urged me to ask Our Lady to heal their children and to ask when peace would come.  I reported everything to the Lady — who answered me,

“Tell them that if they want their children to be healed, they must repent, pray a lot, and avoid certain sins.  If people repent soon, the war will finish in two months; otherwise, it will go on for two more years.”

She showed her beads with me, then they slowly drew away and disappeared.”

From the stream of people who arrived afterwards, it was believed that all the prayers and repentance that Our Lady had asked for had been accomplished, and everybody thought that the war would finish within two months’ time.  Instead, two months after that 15th of May, on Thursday the 20th of July, there was the attempt on Hitler’s life, which caused the beginning of Germany’s decline and its successive defeat. The war lasted until the end of Easter, 1945, with the gradual cessation of hostilities.  Our Lady had foretold that event exactly: “little less than two years”.

Fourth Apparition:  Tuesday, May 16, 1944.  In the afternoon Adelaide went to the parish recreation center where she was questioned by Sister Concetta about the apparitions.  Adelaide revealed, among other things, that Our Lady’s manifestations were always preceded by the flight of two white birds, and that the Virgin Mary spoke in the Bergamasque dialect.  The child went back home quickly but had to press her parents to be allowed to go to her appointment with Our Lady at 6:00 p.m.  With about 150 people in attendance, Adelaide saw the vision of the Holy Family again.

The little girl's public apparitions drew large crowds in Italy.
The little girl’s public apparitions drew large crowds in Italy.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“On occasion of this apparition I had to ask insistently for the time to the crowd surrounding my house, as everybody made me believe it was only five, but in my heart, I knew it was six — the time schedule given to me by Our Lady.  At my urging of letting me go, a man took me up in his arms and walked as far as the place of the apparitions. Similarly to the other evenings the bright spot appeared in the sky preceded by the two doves, and Our Lady with Baby Jesus and Saint Joseph manifested themselves again. Their clothes were the same as the previous day.  The Virgin Mary smiled at me, then with a sorrowful expression she said,

“Many mothers have impaired children on account of their great sins (drugs, alcohol); let’s get them to sin no more, and their children will be healed.”

I asked for a visible sign in order to satisfy the wishes of the people. She answered,

“That will come in due time.  Pray for the poor sinners who need the children’s prayers.”

After saying that, Mary went off and disappeared.”

Fifth Apparition:  Wednesday, May 17, 1944. That same day was the last time that Adelaide attended the primary school of Ghiaie di Bonate.  She was questioned by her teacher about the apparitions, and her story sounded convincing.  When back home, Adelaide was taken to her room by her mother who asked her, weeping, about the truth of the apparitions.  Adelaide confirmed them once again.  At 6:00 p.m., Adelaide saw the Blessed Virgin along with eight angels while 3,000 people observed.

Adelaide is engulfed by larger and larger crowds.
Adelaide is engulfed by larger and larger crowds.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“When the usual time came, I went to the place of the apparitions.  The two doves preceded the bright spot, and Our Lady showed herself dressed in red; she also wore a green mantle with a long trail.  Around the three light circles there were eight angels alternatively dressed in blue and pink, all below Our Lady’s elbows, arranged in a semicircle.  As soon as I saw Our Lady, she spoke to me right away and confided a secret reserved for the Bishop and the Pope — using these words:

“Tell the Bishop and the Pope the secret I am confiding to you … I advise you to do what you are told, but do not tell this to anyone else.”

Then She slowly disappeared.”

Three days later, on the 20th May, Adelaide was taken to the Bishop’s for revealing the secret. What was so important in the secret for the Bishop to go to Gandino on purpose, towards the middle of June, 1944, where the young girl was at the time, to have it repeated to him? Adelaide was also taken to Rome in 1949 and was granted a private audience by Pope Pius XII to whom she confided the secret Our Lady had revealed on the 17th of May, 1944.

Sixth Apparition: Thursday, May 18, 1944, at 6:00 p.m.  (Assumption Day) The crowd grew larger very quickly at Ghiaie di Bonate.  Everybody wanted to see the child, and many were really worried about her safety.  A Roman sergeant helped the small group reach the place of the apparitions.  With 7,000 people in attendance, Adelaide again sees the Blessed Virgin with eight angels.

"Our Lady of Family Values" statue as seen by Adelaide.
“Our Lady of Family Values” statue as seen by Adelaide.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“During the recreation hours, I kept thinking of the Lady and towards five I went for a snack in order to be punctual at the place of the apparitions. Our Lady’s visit was preceded by the two doves.  The Virgin was dressed in red with her green mantle, surrounded by little angels, like yesterday.  Our Lady smiled at me, then for three times She repeated these words:

“Prayers and repentance.  Pray for the poor stubborn sinners who are dying in this moment and who pierce my Heart”.

Many people had urged me to ask Our Lady which prayer She appreciated better.

I expressed this wish, and She answered,

“The prayer I like best is the Hail Mary.”

After saying this, Our Lady slowly disappeared.”

Seventh Apparition:  Friday, May 19, 1944, at 6:00 p.m.  On that day the bills of the faithful were carried to the place of apparition with their supplications.  There was a large crowd and Adelaide reached the place with great difficulty.  From that evening on, Doctor Eliana Maggi would always attend the event alongside the girl.  Adelaide saw the Holy Family vision while 10,000 people looked on.

Larger crowds seek to witness miraculous signs during the apparitions.
Larger crowds seek to witness miraculous signs during the apparitions.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“Like all the other evenings I went to the usual place where a granite slab had been laid down for me to get on to during the apparitions.  I saw the bright spot and the presence of the Holy Family in it.  Our Lady was wearing a veil and her light-blue dress.  A white sash was tied round her waist; she had roses on her feet and the beads in her hands.  Baby Jesus was still wearing a golden-starred, pink frock, and kept His small hands clasped. His face was serene and nearly smiling.  Saint Joseph was serene but did not smile; he was dressed in brown, from his shoulders a length of brown material hung down like a cloak, and he held a stick with a lily in blossom on its top. There were also some angels.

Our Lady looked at me smiling, but I began to speak first and expressed the wish of many with these words, “Dear Lady, the people told me to ask you whether their sick children must be carried here for being healed.”  In a heavenly voice, She answered,

“No, it is not necessary for everybody to come here; those who can afford it may come and they will be healed or remain sick according to their sacrifices, but they must not commit great sins anymore.”

I begged Her to work a miracle so that the people might believe her words.  She answered:

“The time for it will come, many will be converted, and I will be recognized by the Church.”  Then She added gravely, “Meditate upon these words all the days of your life, summon up your courage in all your sorrows.  You will see me again in the hour of your death; I will keep you under my cloak and will take you to Heaven.”

Eighth Apparition: Saturday, May 20, 1944, at 6:00 p.m.  Adelaide, escorted by the parish priest Don Cesare Vitali and her cousin, Maria, went to Bergamo to the Bishop’s in order to reveal to him the secret disclosed by the Virgin Mary.  Her cousin spoke to the Bishop about the announcement given by Adelaide of a miracle that would happen at the end of the first cycle of apparitions.  That evening at Ghiaie, there was a huge crowd waiting for Adelaide.  Adelaide sees the Holy Family again in the sky while 30,000 people watch.

Miracles with the Sun drew over 250,000 people at one time.
Miracles with the Sun drew over 250,000 people at one time.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“Like all the other evenings I got on to the granite slab and waited for Our dear Lady to show herself.  The Holy Family appeared again, and Our Lady told me,

“Tomorrow will be the last time I speak to you, then for seven days I will let you reflect on what I have told you.  Try and get my words straight, as they will be very useful for you when you grow up, if you want to become all mine.  After these seven days, I will come back four times more.”

Her voice sounded so harmonious and sweet that, so far as I tried to reproduce it, I was never able to.”

Doctor Eliana Maggi testified under oath on January 16, 1946, before the Episcopal Committee,

“That Saturday was a rainy day.  At the outset of the apparition a sun ray shone on the child’s head. I raised my eyes to the sky and saw a cross-shaped rift in the sky and a shower of golden and silvery spots for a minute or two, and everybody hailed it as a miracle.”

Don Luigi Cortesi wrote,

“Somebody noticed a strange beam of light shining upon the child and reverberating over the surrounding faces.  Others noticed the sun had a cross shape.  Others saw the solar disc whirl dizzily, forming a ring not larger than half a meter.  In the lower layers of the atmosphere some people saw a rain of golden stars, small yellow clouds in the shape of hoops – so thick and near that somebody tried to catch them in full flight.  On the onlooker’s hands and faces the most various colors shaded off with the yellow color prevailing over the others.  Phosphorescent hands were seen; light globes in the shape of Hosts… “

Ninth Apparition:  Sunday, May 21, 1944, at 6:00 p.m.  Adelaide is accompanied by 200,000 people and sees the Holy Family again.  The apparition of that Sunday was the last of the first cycle.  Since the early morning, a “human stream” flowed into Ghiaie di Bonate.  A sturdy fence was raised all around the place of the apparitions and in the late afternoon some keen men got several sick people to lie down inside it.  During the apparition, Adelaide was submitted to several tests by the physicians present.

Doctors and professionals evaluate the young visionary.
Doctors and professionals evaluate the young visionary.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“This apparition was also preceded by the doves, and the Holy Family revealed itself in the bright spot. They were dressed like yesterday.”

Many testimonies from the site of the apparition and from surrounding villages described an impressive solar phenomenon.  The sun came out of the clouds, whirled dizzily on itself, and projected beams of yellow, green, red, blue, and violet light in all directions.  The beams of light colored the clouds, fields, trees, and the stream of people.  After a few minutes the sun stopped its whirling, and those phenomena began soon again.  Many noticed that the disc had turned white like a Host.  The clouds seemed to be lowering down on the people.  Some noticed a Rosary in the sky.  Others saw a majestic Our Lady with a trailing cloak. Some people, who were at a greater distance, saw Our Lady’s face looming in the Sun.  From nearby Bergamo many witnesses observed the sun become pale and radiate all of the rainbow’s colors in all directions.  They also noticed a large yellow light beam falling over Ghiaie, perpendicularly.

Tenth Apparition:  Sunday, May 28, 1944.  Adelaide spent the week fruitfully in a spiritual retreat in Bergamo, at the Orsoline Sisters’, in order to prepare herself for her First Communion.  Several pilgrims arrived at Ghiaie di Bonate, urged by their great faith.  The rumor of miraculous healings had spread.  On Whit Sunday, Adelaide received her First Communion and was soon taken back to Bergamo into the Sisters’ convent.  She would go back to the place of the apparitions in the late afternoon.  At 6:00 p.m., Adelaide sees the Virgin Mary along with two saints on either side of her.  There were 300,000 people in attendance!  (about the size of four Super Bowl crowds!)

While in ecstasy, Adelaide is poked, prodded, and tested.
While in ecstasy, Adelaide is poked, prodded, and tested.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“On this day I received my First Communion.  Like all the other evenings, I was taken to the place of the apparitions, and the bright spot appeared again, revealing Our Lady with the angels and two Saints at her side.  The Lady told me,

“Pray for the stubborn sinners who make my Heart suffer because they do not think of death.  Pray also for the Holy Father who is living difficult moments.  He is ill-treated by many, and many attempt his life.  I will protect him and he will not leave the Vatican.  Peace is coming soon, but I am anxious for that world peace in which everybody loves one another like brothers.  Only in this way the Pope will suffer less.”

Our Lady held two black doves in her hands.  They stand for the harmony that married couples must have in order to create blessed families in the presence of Our Lady.  She teaches also that there cannot exist a blessed family without living trustfully in Our Lady’s motherly hands.  Our Lady did not reveal the name of those two Saints she had at her sides. The two Saints were dressed in violet and wore a brown cloak.  Our Lady was dressed in red and wore her green mantle.  She also wore a crown-shaped diadem studded with small, bright, variously-colored pearls.  She turned her eyes to the two Saints, then slowly disappeared.”

The solar phenomena repeated itself – seen not only in Ghiaie, but from very distant locations.  The parish journal of Tavernola, dated June, 1944, described,

“At 18 hours sharp (6:00 p.m.), people noticed a fading of the solar light together with a flash – similar to sudden lightning.  The            sun looked green, then bright red, then gold yellow.  Furthermore, it whirled dizzily.  On seeing that spectacle, people poured into the streets.”

Eleventh Apparition:  Monday, May 29, 1944.  On that Monday a stream of people flowed to the place of the apparitions.  The influx of sick and invalid people was so impressive at Ghiaie di Bonate that a special service of volunteers, Red Cross nurses, doctors, and ambulances had to be on hand.  There were many miraculous recoveries in the field — so much so that Bergamo’s Curia established a special office for the customary investigations.  At 6:32 p.m., Adelaide saw the Virgin Mary with angels.  Again, 300,000 people were in attendance!

Crowds peaked at 350,000 to witness miraculous signs.
Crowds peaked at 350,000 to witness miraculous signs.

From Adelaide’s diary:

“Also in this apparition the Virgin Mary appeared with some angels, dressed in red and with her green mantle; her manifestation was preceded by the two doves and the bright spot.  She held the two black doves in her hands and carried a Rosary on her arm. The Blessed Virgin smiled at me and said:

“The sick who want to be healed must trust me more and sanctify their suffering if they want to earn Paradise.  If they do not do this, they will not be awarded and will be severely punished instead.  I hope that all those who get to know my words will make every kind of effort to earn Paradise.  Those who suffer without complaining will obtain anything they ask from my Son and me.  Pray a lot for those who have a sick soul; my Son Jesus died on the cross to save them.  Many people do not understand these words of mine — that is why I suffer so much.”

While Our Lady was touching her mouth to send me a kiss by joining her forefinger and thumb, the two doves fluttered around her and escorted the Blessed Virgin while she went off very slowly”.

Twelfth Apparition:  Tuesday, May 30, 1944, at 6:50 p.m.  That day the sultriness was oppressive.  Besides heat and weariness, people pushed frightfully on the enclosure, which was really tough to withstand.  With 250,000 people eagerly waiting and watching, Adelaide sees the Virgin Mary with angels.

Witnesses precariously climb a tower full of others to get a better view.
Witnesses precariously climb a tower full of others to get a better view.

From Adelaide’s diary:
“In this apparition the Blessed Virgin appeared dressed in pink with a white veil.  She had the dark doves with her no more; around Her there were only angels.  With a more than motherly smile She told me,

“Dear child, you are all mine, but even if you are dearest to my heart, tomorrow, I’ll leave you in this valley of sorrow and weep.  You will see me again in your hour (of death); I will take you to Paradise enwrapped in my mantle.  I will also take with me those who understand you and suffer.” 

She blessed me and went off more quickly than the other evenings.

Thirteenth Apparition: Wednesday, May 31, 1944, at 8:00 p.m.  The flow of pilgrims from everywhere carried on incessantly from the night before.  The authorities were worried for the public order.  It is believed that more than 90,000 people arrived from Piedmont, many of whom were on foot.  That afternoon, the sun rays were scorching on the huge crowd.  Towards 6:30 p.m., Adelaide was carried by a commissioner to the place of the apparitions in his arms.  Adelaide complained of sharp pains in her inside. The doctors consulted together.  In spite of the pain, nobody could persuade her to go home.  Then, suddenly, she got up on her feet and started praying.  After some time, she said firmly, “She is coming any moment now!”  She let out a deep sigh, and then her look became clear and radiant.  The Holy Family was there.  About 350,000 people were in attendance for the last apparition.  A solar phenomenon was again seen at Ghiaie and from other locations.  Many healings occurred on this day and soon afterwards – about 300 documented complete recoveries.

Adelaide has a picture drawn to illustrate how Blessed Mary appears.
Adelaide has a picture drawn to illustrate how Blessed Mary appears.

From Adelaide’s diary:
Our Lady appeared at eight that day. She was dressed like in the first apparition. She smiled but not so cheerfully like on the other occasions, but her voice was sweet.

“Dear daughter, I am sorry I must leave you, but my time has passed.  Do not lose heart if you do not see me for a while. Think of what I have told you; I will come back in your hour (of death). You will be a little martyr in this valley of real sorrows. Do not get discouraged, I wish my triumph to happen soon.  Pray for the Pope and tell him to act quickly, because I want to be solicitous to everyone in this place.  If anything is required from me, I will intercede with my Son for it.  I will be your award if your martyrdom is cheerful.  These words of mine will be of great comfort to you in your trials.  Endure everything patiently and then you will reach me in Paradise.  Those who make you suffer intentionally will not come to Heaven if they do not make amends for their wrongs and do not repent deeply.  Cheer up, because we will meet again, my dea little martyr.” 

I felt a sweet and gentle kiss on my forehead.  Then she disappeared like she had done the other evenings.  The two white doves preceded each visit of Our Lady.  The Blessed Virgin always had white roses on her feet.”

The solar phenomenon was observed also on the 31st of May, both at Ghiaie and in other places.  Many recoveries took place on that day.

June 13 and July 13, 1944:  The solar phenomena repeated its “performance” – on the 13th of each month for two more months.

After the apparitions, Adelaide was isolated, intimidated, frightened and psychologically tortured, insomuch as a scholar pushed his way into doing his own investigation.  Don Luigi Cortesi, a young philosopher and brilliant teacher of Bergamo’s Seminary, arrived at Ghiaie on Friday, May 19, 1944.  He soon took action with the typical scholar’s inquiring attitude, with urbanity and amiability – so much so that it was not difficult for him to take the matter in his hands and play the role of inquisitor of the events connected with Ghiaie.  He did not act with a bishop mandate, but of his own free will.  By attending the apparitions, he infringed the Bishop’s prohibition, but he thought that the church authorities would allow somebody to infringe the prohibition in order to investigate and report the events.  On May 22, he gave an abundant account to the bishop, who did not reproach him, but thanked him instead.  He interpreted those thanks like an implied consent and went on studying the little girl, who in the meantime had been taken to Bergamo.  On May 27, the implied consent became an explicit permission, and from that day on, Don Cortesi took the matter into his own hands.

Don Cortesi isolates the young visionary and pushes her hard to lie.
Don Cortesi isolates the young visionary and pushes her hard to lie.

After the apparitions ended, the child was taken away from Ghiaie, and Don Cortesi gave orders that nobody could approach the girl without his permission.  Don Cortesi submitted the young girl to the hardest trials for a long time, relentlessly pressing the child’s psyche and conscience harshly.  Finally, on September 15, 1945, he succeeded in making her retract the truth by deceitfully forcing her to write the following,

“It is not true that I saw Our Lady.  I told a lie, because I saw nothing.  I did not have the courage to speak the truth, but then I told everything to Don Cortesi.  Now I regret having told so many lies.”

But here is how Adelaide reported this situation in her personal diary:

“In a room of the Orsoline’s convent in Bergamo, after closing all doors, Don Cortesi dictated the words to be written on the wretched note.  I remember perfectly that, on account of the state of moral violence I was being submitted to, I stained it, and he split the sheet of paper and made me write it again, with great patience, in order to reach his aim.  That’s how the betrayal was carried out.”

Things became worse for a long time as Don Cortesi carried on with his cruel inquisitional action.  After receiving increasing protests from honest people, Bergamo’s bishop was obliged to prohibit Don Cortesi from approaching the child.  But it was too late – as the phony statement cast great concerns and doubts upon the whole affair. Once Adelaide was back with her family for a few weeks, she reasserted in writing the following on July 12, 1946,

“It is true that I saw Our Lady.  I formerly said that I did not see Our Lady because Don Cortesi had dictated this to me, and I wrote what he wanted, out of obedience.”

This paper was signed by seven witnesses, including a parish priest and four nuns.  Another diary entry by Adelaide demonstrates the fear and negative psychological impact that Don Cortesi had upon her:

“In 1947, I went to the ‘Wisdom Sisters’ – and here I made a big mistake.  I related all that had happened in the apparitions, claiming with precision that I had seen Our Lady and heard her words.  Towards the end of my narration I was seized with fear – Don Cortesi’s words, ‘You do evil when you claim you have seen Our Lady’ overwhelmed me.  At first I kept silent.  Then I made up my mind to repeat what I had learned from Don Cortesi, and so I said that I had not seen the Virgin Mary.”

Adelaide was kept alone away from her family for months.
Adelaide was kept alone away from her family for months.

On July 11, 1944, Father Agostino Gemelli, a world-famous psychiatrist and psychologist, expressly entrusted by the bishop with the in-depth examinations of Adelaide Roncalli, wrote the following in the conclusions of his long report to Monsignor Bernareggi, bishop of Bergamo.

“Lying can be absolutely ruled out … her personality is dominated by spontaneity, simplicity, directness … We are witnessing a precociously positive type, realistic and concise – that is furthermost from the hysterical type… We can declare that the claimed visions of Bonate are true and are not the fruit of a sick mind, neither an effect of imagination, nor an effect of suggestion.”

The Theological Committee, unfortunately, was swayed instead by the persuasive arguments of Don Cortesi, the self-appointed, unethical scholar over the world-famous psychiatrist!  Between May 21 and June 10, 1947, the spiritual court met, and Adelaide was summoned unexpectedly to bear witness.  The infamous note that Cortesi had coerced her to write against her will was presented.  Adelaide felt deceived by Don Cortesi, so she chose to be silent and weep.  She was afraid to expose Don Cortesi as a fraud in front of so many priests.  She explained later that she chose to be silent to avoid the emotional dilemma.

This did not help the truth to come forth, so on April 30, 1948, the bishop of Bergamo issued a decree denouncing the apparitions.  However, in a strange maneuver of wording, he explained that the documented genuine healings during the “phony” apparitions were coincidental divine acts granted by the Virgin Mary because of those in the crowd who had sincere beliefs – not due to Adelaide Roncalli’s presence or words.  So, Mary was present for others and healed them for their devout faith?  But she was not present for Adelaide who was responsible for attracting the crowds?  How twisted is that logic?

One year later in 1949, Pope Pius XII granted the child Adelaide a private audience, certainly professing his faith in the apparitions simply by receiving her.  He listened carefully to the secret intended for him from Our Lady that Adelaide revealed to him from the fifth apparition on May 17, 1944.

On July 8, 1960, Pope John XXIII sent a letter regarding the Ghiaie events:

“We must allow for the circumstances that need to be studied and valued above all things.  What is valid is ‘subjecta materia’ — is the seer’s witness – and the authenticity of what she still maintains at 21 years of age and in conformity with her first statement at 7 years of age – but withdrawn on account of the threats and fears of hell exerted by somebody.  It seems to me that the terror for those threats still persists.”

On occasion of the 30th anniversary of the apparitions, Mr. Cortinovis presented the bishop, Clemente Gaddi, a petition signed by 7,000 worshippers who expressed the wish to pray at the place of the apparitions with the bishop’s permission.  Monsignor Gaddi answered that he could not reopen the trial unless in the presence of new, serious, and substantial elements – and that the provisions of previous bishops would remain in force.  But he added that he could neither prohibit nor prevent people from going there to pray.

Adelaide as an older adult now, still professing the truth of the apparitions.
Adelaide as an older adult now, still professing the truth of the apparitions.

On February 20, 1989, Adelaide Roncalli decided to reassert, solemnly and officially, before a notary public, the truthfulness of the apparitions:

“On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the apparitions I declare hereby again that I am absolutely persuaded of having had the Apparitions of Our Lady of Ghiaie di Bonate from the 13th to the 31st of May, 1944 … with clear conscience and in full possession of my mental faculties, I deem to be the plain truth …”

Despite the sincere interest and support by two popes, the psychiatric “bill of health” by a world-renown psychiatrist, the genuine healings of hundreds of people, and the hundreds of thousands who witnessed the supernatural events, one man managed to coerce and traumatize our 7-year old visionary – creating doubt and confusion — a mess that nobody has been able to untangle or resolve.  And thus, one of the grandest of apparition encounters had remained hidden from our awareness because it had existed only in the “rejected” category of the Marian files, due to one man’s unethical and abusive — yet trusted efforts.  However, beginning in 2002, the apparitions are now becoming accepted and have received the first level of approval.  Now 76 years old, in 2013, Adelaide continues to assert the truthfulness of the apparitions.  Our Blessed Mother was correct when she predicted,

“You will suffer a lot, but do not cry …

In this valley of deep sorrows, you will be a little martyr.”

In a later apparition in another part of Italy, Our Blessed Mary referred to the “work she had tried to accomplish at Bonate.”  In 1996, in a series of apparitions in Brazil, South America, Our Lady referred to Ghiaie di Bonate several times – a place the visionary had never heard of.  Blessed Mary is validating her own appearances!