Fascinating accounts of the miraculous in the lives of the Saints!

Mysteries Marvels Miracles
in the Lives of the Saints

“I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath.”—Acts 2:19
“He that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.” —John 14:12

AUTHOR’S NOTE
Since the very beginning of my work I seem to have had a great interest in the wonders related in the lives of the Saints. This interest is revealed in the many marvels mentioned in my first non-fiction book, The Incorruptibles. The subject of phenomena also found its way, in a large part, into my other works: Relics, Eucharistic Miracles, Miraculous Images of Our Lady and Miraculous Images of Our Lord. This present volume, therefore, is a culmination of my interest in this subject of phenomena. From the outset it should be noted that this is not a textbook study or a detailed analysis of phenomena. An introduction is given for each chapter, followed by interesting examples of the phenomenon. Once again I serve as a reporter—telling of many wonders, but leaving all to the judgment and opinion of the reader. Because of the interesting cases mentioned here, my work has been a pleasure and a most interesting occupation. I pray it will prove to be as interesting to the reader. It is also my prayer that the reader will derive a greater appreciation of the wonders of God, who has proved by so many miracles His love for His children, His concern for their welfare and His ever-abiding willingness to provide aid in times of distress. A line from Scripture reads: “I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath.” (Acts 2:19). Through His sainted children, God indeed has worked a great variety of signs and wonders which can be characterized as mysteries, marvels and miracles.
—Joan Carroll Cruz

BILOCATION

Bilocation is the phenomenon in which a Servant of God is in one place at a given time, and at the same moment, by a mysterious presence, is in another place a distance away, where impartial witnesses hear him speak and see him move in a normal fashion. One writer explains: “That bilocation is physically impossible, that is, contrary to all the conditions of matter at present known to us, is the practically unanimous teaching of Catholic philosophers in accordance with universal experience and natural science.” It is also noted that some of these great thinkers believe that “the instances of bilocation narrated in the lives of the Saints can be explained by phantasmal replications or by aerial materializations.” No matter how it is explained, or whether or not it is believed, the subject of bilocation has been mentioned in the lives of numerous Saints—their instances of bilocation have been witnessed by trustworthy persons at both the places where they appeared, even at times being acknowledged by the Saint who performed such a wonder through the grace of God. Additionally, numerous instances of bilocation have been so well-documented, witnessed and investigated that they are accepted facts in the history of the Church and in hagiography. It is understood that the mystical gift is not given for the convenience of the recipient, but to aid him in helping his fellow man or in performing a function some distance away that had been forgotten. Often the recipient of this gift employs it to attend the dying, to comfort, to instruct and for many other reasons which we will now explore.

Credible witnesses on a number of occasions attested to the fact that ST. ALPHONSUS MARY DE LIGUORI (d. 1787) was seen at two different locations at the same time, once being seen in the pulpit preaching a sermon and at the same time being in the confessional. Another time he was known to be in Naples preaching to university students when a poor woman called at Pagani to receive the alms usually given to her by the Saint. A lay brother, on answering the door, told her of the Saint’s presence in another city and sent the poor woman away. Suddenly St. Alphonsus appeared and gave her the usual amount of money.

The most extraordinary incident of this Saint’s ability to bilocate took place when Pope Clement XIV was dying. The Rev. Tannoia, a companion of the Saint, relates: During the morning of September 21, 1774, Alphonsus, after saying Mass, threw himself in his armchair, as he was not wont to do. He appeared prostrate and absorbed in thought, making no movement, speaking no word and asking no one for anything. He remained in that state for all that day and the night that followed, and all the while took no food and made no sign that he would undress. The servants who saw him in this position, wondering what was to happen, stood by the door of his room, unwilling to go in. On the morning of the 22nd he had not changed his attitude and the household did not know what to think. The fact is that he was in a prolonged ecstasy. Later on in the morning, however, he rang the bell to announce that he wished to say Mass. At that signal, it was not only Brother Romito who came as usual, but everybody in the house ran to the bishop’s room. On seeing so many people, the Saint asked in surprised tones what was the matter. “What is the matter?” they answered, “this is the second day that you have not spoken, eaten, nor given any sign of life.” “You are right,” said Alphonsus, “but you do not know that I have been assisting the Pope, who has just died.” Shortly afterwards it became known that Clement XIV had died on September 22 at seven o’clock in the morning, at the very time that the ecstasy of St. Alphonsus came to an end.

ST. GERARD MAJELLA (d. 1755), a member of the Redemptorist Order, which was founded by St. Alphonsus, also experienced the phenomenon of bilocation on a number of occasions. One day when he had received no answer from Muro about a pressing affair, he said to his companion, “I must go there.” The next day he was seen at Muro while, on the other hand, his companions declared that he had not left the monastery. Another time, Fr. Margotta revealed to Dr. Santorelli that St. Gerard, although in his room, had nevertheless spent the night in ecstasy before the Most Blessed Sacrament in the choir of the Franciscans. The Rev. Nicholo Fiore of Teora, impressed by the Saint’s reputation, spoke to Dr. Santorelli about his desire to meet him. Dr. Santorelli replied that he would arrange a meeting. A few days later the Rev. Nicholo arrived at the monastery to conduct business and informed Dr. Santorelli that an introduction was unnecessary since Gerard had visited with him at his home some days earlier. Dr. Santorelli, who knew that the Saint had not left the monastery, took the Rev. Nicholo to a place where Gerard and the community had gathered and asked the Rev. Nicholo to identify him. Rev. Nicholo
pointed him out without hesitation.

After conducting a mission at Piombino, ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS (d. 1775) was accompanied to his ship by a great number of people. Among them was Dr. Gherardini, who remained on the pier until the ship was out of sight. On returning to the city and going into a friend’s house, Dr. Gherardini saw St. Paul of the Cross coming out of a room. Not believing his own eyes, he went to the Saint and said, “How now, Fr. Paul, are you here? I have been with you down to the pier, I have watched you to a distance out at sea, and now I find you here?” The Saint replied, “Be still. I came here for an act of charity.” He then disappeared.

There lived at Cupertino an elderly gentleman, Octavius Piccinno, who was affectionately called “Father.” He had asked ST. JOSEPH OF CUPERTINO (d. 1663) if he would kindly assist him at the hour of death. The Saint promised to do so and added, “I shall assist you, even though I should be in Rome.” This proved to be a prophecy, since the Saint was in Rome when the old gentleman became sick. When the last hour of the man’s life approached, those who were tending him saw St. Joseph of Cupertino speaking with him. Among the many witnesses was Sr. Teresa Fatali of the Third Order, who spoke to the Saint and in amazement asked, “Fr. Joseph, how did you come?” He replied, “I came to assist the soul of ‘Father,’ ” and then suddenly disappeared.

During the time that the Saint lived at Assisi, he was seen at Cupertino assisting his mother during her last hour of life. Realizing that she would be denied her son’s presence, she cried out, “Alas, my dear Joseph, I shall not see you again.” To the amazement of all who were in the room, a bright light filled the place. Presently St. Joseph was standing beside the dying woman, who exclaimed, “O Father Joseph! O my son!” At that same moment Fr. Custos at Assisi met the Saint, who was crying as he entered the church. When Fr. Custos inquired about his sadness, Joseph replied, “My poor mother has just died.” A letter, arriving a few days later, verified the Saint’s statement, as did several persons who lived with the Saint’s mother. They solemnly testified that the Saint had assisted his mother on her deathbed.

ST. LYDWINE OF SCHIEDAM (d. 1433), a victim soul who endured numerous afflictions that kept her perpetually bedridden, was once visited by the prior of the monastery of St. Elizabeth, which is situated near Brielle on the Island of Doorne. The Saint gave him a description so detailed of the cells, the chapel, the chapter house, the refectory and the porters’ lodge that the prior was astounded. “But how can you know all this?” he asked in amazement, knowing that she could not leave her bed. “My Father,” she replied with a smile, “I have been there frequently when I was in ecstasy . . .”

It is a certainty that ST. MARTIN DE PORRES (d. 1639) spent all his religious life at the Monastery of the Holy Rosary in Lima, Peru; yet, according to reliable witnesses, he was seen at different times in Mexico, China, Japan, Africa, the Philippine Islands and perhaps even in France. The accounts of these bilocations are well authenticated, especially that which took place in Mexico City. A merchant who had resided in Lima and was a good friend of the Saint went on business to Mexico City, but before leaving he visited his friend to implore his prayers for a safe journey and success in his business undertakings. Upon his arrival in Mexico he became desperately ill. At the height of his sufferings he asked, “O my God! Why isn’t my good friend Brother Martin here to take care of me when I am so desperately ill?” Immediately the Saint was beside him. The sick man, full of questions about the Saint’s providential arrival, was told, “I just arrived.” After ministering to the merchant, setting the room in order and prescribing a medicinal draught, the Saint reassured the merchant that he would soon recover. The saintly Dominican then disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived. The merchant promptly returned to health, and hoping to thank his benefactor, whom he thought was visiting Mexico City, he tried to locate him. He first visited the Dominican friars at their monastery, but learned that they had not been visited by anyone from Lima. He went to the residence of the Archbishop of Mexico, but without success. After inquiring at hostels and inns he learned that no one could give him information about his friend. It was not until the merchant returned to Lima that he understood what had taken place. After telling his story to the priests of the Saint’s monastery, he learned that Br. Martin had never left Peru. The merchant then understood that Martin had not only prayed for the success of his Mexican trip, but had also extended his promise by
supernaturally ministering to his needs.

A native of Peru returned to Peru after spending many years in China and listened with astonishment as St. Martin conversed with him on the customs of the Chinese Empire. The Saint also gave him a minute and accurate description of a holy Dominican lay brother of extraordinary virtue who resided in Manila, whom St. Martin had met in the Philippines in some mysterious way. The Saint himself alluded to his gift of bilocation when he was tending to a patient who was suffering agonies from erysipelas. The Saint advised that the blood of a fowl be applied, but the patient objected, expressing a repugnance to the treatment. The Saint persisted, saying, “I do assure you it is an efficacious means of relieving your sufferings—for I saw it used successfully in the hospital at Bayonne, in France.” What is regarded as the most substantiated case of St. Martin de Porres’ bilocations was vouched for under oath by a man named Francisco de Vega Montoya and concerns the Saint’s miraculous visits to northern Africa. A man whom Francisco knew well had been held captive in Barbary. Many times he saw the Saint carrying out his mission of mercy among the captives: caring for the sick, comforting the afflicted, clothing the naked and encouraging the prisoners to remain steadfast in their faith. After regaining his liberty the man travelled to Spain, and after a time journeyed to the city of Lima. One day, while visiting the monastery of the Dominican friars, he spied Brother Martin. Rushing up to him, he thanked the Saint for all his acts of kindness in Africa, but the Saint merely motioned for him to be quiet. When they were alone, the Saint begged the man not to mention his presence in Africa to anyone. The man later learned from one of the Saint’s companions the supernatural nature of the Saint’s visits. With enthusiasm he went about telling everyone of the supernatural grace afforded the humble lay brother.

ST. CATHERINE DEI RICCI (d. 1590) was born of a distinguished Florentine family. She became prioress of St. Vincent’s convent at Prato and was outstanding among mystics for the intensity of her gifts and ecstasies. A stigmatic who suffered the agony of the Passion twenty-eight hours every week beginning at midday on Thursday and ending at four o’clock on Friday, Catherine also had the gift of bilocation. She is known to have had frequent conversations with St. Philip Neri while he was in Rome and she in her convent at Prato. Although they had exchanged a number of letters, they never met, except through their mystical visits, which St. Philip Neri readily admitted had occurred and which five reputable persons swore they had witnessed.

Perhaps the most extraordinary case of bilocation is that recorded in the life of VEN. MARY OF AGREDA (d. 1665), a humble nun who spent forty-six years in the Convent of the Conception in Agreda, Spain. Not only did the Venerable travel mystically across Spain and Portugal, but she also crossed an ocean to visit another continent that was known as America. Her final destination was New Mexico and the Indians of an isolated tribe. The event took place in the following manner. One day in the year 1620, while rapt in ecstasy, Maria was transported to New Mexico, where she was commanded by Jesus to teach the Indians. She spoke in her native Spanish, but was nevertheless understood; she, in turn, understood the language of the Indians. Because they did not know her name, the Indians called her the “Lady in Blue” because of the blue mantle she wore over her habit. When she awoke from her ecstasy she found herself in the convent in Agreda. Two reports of a nun teaching the Indians reached Don Francisco Manzo y Zuniga, Archbishop of Mexico. One report was from Mary of Agreda’s own confessor, Fray Sebastian Marcilla, who contacted the Archbishop to learn if Mary of Agreda’s report to him that she had bilocated to the Indian territory was correct. The other report came from missionaries who related how the Indians sought them out under the direction of a Lady in Blue. To determine the truth of these reports the Archbishop assigned Fray Alonzo de Benavides of the Franciscan Order to investigate. Fray Benavides was then the director of the missionaries who labored from Texas to the Pacific. One day in the year 1629 Fray Benavides was sitting outside the Isleta Mission when a group of fifty Indians from an unknown tribe approached him and asked that he send missionaries to their territory. In his letters to both Pope Urban VIII and King Philip IV of Spain, Fray Benavides revealed that the Indians had travelled a great distance from a place called Titlas, or Texas, and that they knew where to find the friars from the directions given them by a Lady in Blue who had taught them the religion of Jesus Christ. Two missionaries were sent back with the Indians. These holy men found the Indians well instructed in the Faith and baptized the entire tribe. After searching for eleven years, Fray Benavides finally found the mysterious nun, not in America, but in Spain. On his return to Spain in 1630, he visited the Superior General of his order, Fr. Bernardine of Siena. It was he who told Fray Benavides that the Lady in Blue was Sr. Maria of the convent in Agreda. Realizing that the nun, out of humility, would not reveal her secret to him, the holy nun was placed under obedience to tell all she knew about the visits to America. In the presence of her confessor, Fray Benavides questioned her in regard to the various peculiarities of the province in New Mexico. She described the customs of the different tribes of Indians, the nature of the climate and other details. Fray Benavides later wrote that “she convinced me absolutely by describing to me all the things in New Mexico as I have seen them myself, as well as by other details which I shall keep within my soul.” Fray Benavides was later installed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Goa, India. He was ordered by His Holiness Pope Urban VIII in 1634 to write an account of his personal investigations. Of Sr. Mary of Agreda, Fray Benavides once wrote, “I call God to witness that my esteem for her holiness has been increased more by the noble qualities which I discern in her than by all the miracles which she has wrought in America.”

The Provincial of Burgos, Fr. Anthony da Villacre, submitted Mary of Agreda to a rigorous ecclesiastical examination. In the end he declared her mystical favors to be authentic. Abbe J. A. Boullan, a Doctor in Theology, wrote of Sr. Mary, “In the highest rank among the mystics of past ages, who have been endowed with signal graces and singular privileges . . . must be placed, without hesitation, the Venerable Mary of Jesus, called of Agreda . . .” Ven. Mary of Agreda bilocated to America during an eleven-year period from 1620 to 1631. She experienced more than five hundred “flights,” sometimes making as many as four visits in one day. Mary of Agreda is also the author, with the help of the Blessed Virgin, of The Mystical City of God, which is regarded as the autobiography of the Mother of Jesus.

ST. FRANCIS OF PAOLA (d. 1507), known as “God’s Miracle Worker Supreme,” was also given this mystical gift of bilocation. It is recorded that once, while serving at the altar in the chapel, he was also seen by some of his monks working simultaneously at his chores in the kitchen. Another time, while the Saint was in Paterno, his biographers report that:

. . . people who wanted to see him approached the chapel and found him so deep in prayer that they decided not to disturb him. When they returned to the street, they were surprised to see him talking to some people. They hurried back into the chapel and saw him still lost in prayer.

Before ST. DROGO (d. 1186) was born, his father died and at his birth his mother also died, leaving him an orphan. When he was old enough to understand, he learned that his mother’s life had been sacrificed for his own, a revelation that distressed him greatly. Around the age of eighteen he decided to follow Our Lord in strict poverty and embarked on a penitential life as a pilgrim, visiting churches and shrines in several lands. After a time he settled at Sebourg, near Valenciennes, where he was hired as a shepherd by Elizabeth de la Haire. In this humble position he grew even deeper in prayer and virtue and was regarded as a Saint by the people of the district. It is known that he tended the sheep every day, yet he was often seen assisting at the offering of the Holy Sacrifice in distant churches. So many of these bilocations were noted that a local saying became widely known: “Not being St. Drogo, I cannot be in two places at the same time.” After six years the holy man resumed his pilgrimages. St. Drogo died at the age of eighty-four after suffering for many years from a repulsive and painful hernia, which could not be hidden. He is the patron of shepherds.

ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA (d. 1231) has been given a number of impressive titles, some of which are “The Wonder-Worker of Padua,” “Evangelical Doctor” and “The Hammer of Heretics.” He is regarded as the first theologian of the Franciscan Order and has been numbered among the Doctors of the Church since 1946. Renowned as a worker of miracles, he was also acclaimed as a preacher. It is said that St. Anthony “. . . possessed in an eminent degree all the good qualities that characterized an eloquent preacher: a loud and clear voice, a winning countenance, wonderful memory, and profound learning, to which were added from on high the spirit of prophecy and an extraordinary gift of miracles.” About the many miracles performed by the Saint before and after his death, one authority states that most of the miracles “. . . come to us on such high authority that it is impossible either to eliminate them or explain them away without doing violence to the facts of history.” Among his many mystical gifts was that of bilocation. One account tells us that he was preaching one Easter Sunday in the Cathedral of Montpellier in the presence of the clergy and a vast multitude. Suddenly he remembered that he was expected to sing at the same time at the Solemn High Mass in the choir of a neighboring convent monastery. Distressed that he had forgotten this appointment, he drew the cowl of his habit over his face, sank back in the pulpit and remained silent for a long time. His biographer continues: At the moment when he ceased speaking in the cathedral, though all the while visible to the congregation, he appeared in the monastery choir among his brethren and sang his office. At the close of the service he recovered himself in the pulpit of the cathedral and, as his chronicler says, finished his sermon with incomparable eloquence.

The Spanish Franciscan ST. PETER REGALADO (d. 1456) entered the Order at the age of thirteen and practiced all the austerities and virtues of a perfect religious. After his ordination he was made superior, and then, soon afterwards, was appointed head of all the monasteries of the reformed movement in Spain. He is known to have kept an almost continuous silence and to have spent the greater part of the night in prayer. God rewarded his faithful service with extraordinary graces: he was often seen raised above the ground with flames radiating from his body and he possessed an agility and ease which our glorified bodies will one day experience. Strangest of all, it was also established that he was often found at the same hour at monasteries far distant from one another, transacting business for the Order.

ST. FRANCIS XAVIER (d. 1552) is regarded as one of the Church’s most illustrious missionaries. He was born of noble parents and was by nature refined, aristocratic and ambitious. He was for a time professor of philosophy at the University of Paris, where he met St. Ignatius Loyola and became one of that Saint’s original seven followers. His missionary career began in 1540, when he journeyed to the East Indies. Within ten years he had made successful visits to Ceylon, India, Malaya and Japan. He performed many miracles and exercised many mystical gifts, including that of bilocation. He is reported to have been at several places at the same time preaching to the natives. So carefully witnessed were these bilocations and so numerous were they that one biographer admits that the “bilocations which are related in the story of St. Francis Xavier would seem to be of quite ordinary occurrence.”

ST. VINCENT PALLOTTI (d. 1850) was born in Rome, spent all his life there, and even died in his native city. He is the founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, which is also known as the Pallottines. Founded in 1835, there are now several houses of the Order in the United States that are active in educational, parochial and mission work. An order of women known as Pallottine Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate was founded by St. Vincent Pallotti in 1843. Many of the Saint’s mystical experiences are mentioned elsewhere in this book, but we will consider here the time he was in the confessional and suddenly fell into a deep trance. He could not be awakened, but later it became known that at the same time he was present at a deathbed in a distant part of the city. Many other times he was known to have bilocated to deathbeds where his presence resulted in conversions and the saving of a sinner’s soul.

JOHN EDWARD LAMY (d. 1931), known simply and lovingly as Père Lamy, was the founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus and Mary. He had frequent visions of Our Lady, Our Lord and the Angels—yet, while experiencing many mystical favors, he was a parish priest who devoted himself at Troyes to the downtrodden rag-pickers and poor delinquent boys. One of his gifts was that of bilocation. On one occasion in February of 1930, while travelling with a friend, he reached the village of Chambourg, where there was a small property for sale which he wanted to purchase for his order. Because he was scheduled to return home by train, and there were only a few minutes to spare, he hurriedly looked at the property. There was only time to glance at the courtyard and the ground floor of the house. Due to the press of time he could not visit the rest of the house or the garden. Four days after arriving home the friend who had accompanied Père Lamy paid him a visit. The holy priest surprised his guest by relating that he was praying in the garden of the infirmary after the journey, when he somehow visited the house in Chambourg, which he had hurriedly viewed days before. He then related how he had inspected the drawing room, the bathroom and garden.

I had gone in by the kitchen door which faces the street . . . I went up the first staircase and came down the other . . . there are apple trees. I saw a big row of apple trees. I saw the old clock tower and the press house with its big screw press. I devoted myself to the garden and went across country, cutting across the walk which runs diagonally . . .

After a few minutes he turned to his guest and solemnly warned, “Say nothing of this to anyone.”

Among the many mystical gifts lavished on FR. PAUL OF MOLL (d. 1896), a Flemish Benedictine who is regarded as “The Wonder-Worker of the Nineteenth Century,” was the ability to bilocate. Many such instances have been recorded in his biographies. One of these took place on February 4, 1896, when he was confined to his cell suffering from dropsy, from which he died twenty days later. The wife of an innkeeper in Oostacker who was acquainted with Fr. Paul reports that at eleven o’clock in the morning Fr. Paul suddenly appeared at the inn. He seemed healthy and refused a glass of wine, saying that he had to make other visits—especially to a beguinage, which is a community of lay women. He added solemnly, “You will never see me again; carefully note the day and hour of my visit. I came because you still require this.” He gave the woman a scapular of rough wool, seven inches by five, to which a medal was attached. Taking her old scapular from her, he threw it into the fire. He also gave her a handful of medals to distribute “among those who would make good use of them.” After forbidding her to assist at his funeral, saying that she would not be able to overcome her emotions, he told her, “Go now to the kitchen and put your potatoes on the fire.” As the woman relates, “The potatoes were, as a matter of fact, peeled and ready for boiling. I went to the kitchen and came back to the room after a few minutes, but to my great astonishment Fr. Paul had disappeared.” The innkeeper and his wife soon afterwards went to the beguinage to inquire about the good Father’s visit. The members of the community remembered the visit, saying that they had offered him a glass of wine, but he would not accept it, saying, “I shall not return here anymore.” After a few minutes he walked off hurriedly. The innkeeper and his wife then wrote to the priest’s doctor, who replied that he had visited his holy patient on January 31, 1896. I found Fr. Paul in such a state of health as absolutely to preclude the possibility of his leaving the monastery on that day, or on the 4th of February following. February 13th I found the patient considerably weaker than on my previous visit, that is January 31st, and this weakness constantly increased until the day of his death which took place February 24, 1896. Such are the details as I find in my notebook and of which my memory, which is good for dates, has kept until now a faithful remembrance. [The letter was signed] Dr. Cyr. Planquaert. The following few lines were extracted from a letter written by the holy priest at Termonde, August 30, 1894, which again indicates Fr. Paul’s gift of bilocation: “I arrived home safe, without seeing or hearing anything on the way. While you were still looking at me, I
was already at home.”

ST. JOHN BOSCO (d. 1888) was the founder of the Salesians, an order named in honor of St. Francis de Sales, whom Don Bosco admired. St. John Bosco also founded an order for women called the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. Both orders were dedicated to helping young people learn trades, and in the case of those who had seemed destined to take the wrong path in life, to convert and become respectable citizens. One of the Saint’s most impressive demonstrations of bilocation took place in 1886 when he was in Turin, Italy and Fr. Branda was at the Salesian College of Sarria in Spain. The college, unfortunately, contained some dangerous and scandalous boys who were hypocritically pretending to be upright students. They were, in reality, plotting a serious crime. The bilocations took place in the following manner:

In the first instance, during the night of January 28-29, Fr. Branda was sound asleep when he heard the voice of Don Bosco calling him by name and instructing him to get up and follow him. Fr. Branda went back to sleep after he decided it must have been a dream, since he knew Don Bosco was in Italy. A week later, during the night of February 5-6, he again heard the voice of Don Bosco and saw him standing at the foot of his bed. Fr. Branda got up quickly, dressed, approached the Saint and kissed his hand as a sign of respect. The Saint then said, “Your house is going on well. I am pleased with you, but there is one dark spot.” Suddenly Fr. Branda saw an apparition of four young men, two of whom he recognized as boarders of the house and two as pupils. With a look of anger and severity, Don Bosco pointed at one of the apparitions and said, “Tell this one to be more prudent. As for the others, they must be expelled. Show them no pity, and do it as soon as possible.”

After this, Don Bosco and Fr. Branda walked through two dormitories. Fr. Branda recorded, “I did not see Don Bosco use any key to unlock the rooms, the doors opened of themselves before him and a luminous halo appeared to surround him on his way, lighting up everything on his path.” When they returned to Fr. Branda’s room, Don Bosco again repeated the order of expulsion and disappeared. It was four o’clock. Fr. Branda, now plunged into darkness by the absence of the apparition, wondered about the vision and the order to expel three boys when there was no proof of their guilt. He decided to wait, but within a few days he received a letter from Turin written by Fr. Rua which stated: “As I was walking with Don Bosco today under the porticoes of the Oratory he bade me ask you whether you had carried out the order he had himself intimated to you a short time ago.” In spite of this, Fr. Branda decided to wait a day or two, but then one morning, when he was about to start Holy Mass, he reported: “While I was reciting the Introibo at the foot of the altar, I felt in my innermost being an imperious voice murmuring: ‘If you fail to carry out the order, this is your last Mass.’ ” After Holy Mass, Fr. Branda called for the boys. “Strange to say during the interrogation, each of them unwittingly assumed the attitude in which he had appeared as an apparition on the night of February 6.” The three were summarily expelled.

PADRE PIO (d. 1968), the only priest to bear the Wounds of Our Lord, experienced many mystical favors, not the least of which was bilocation, which he first experienced while he was still a divinity student at San’Elia a Pianisi. The archives of the friary of Santa Maria delle Grazie at San Giovanni Rotondo preserve the original handwritten pages in which the holy student explains what happened. Several days ago I had an extraordinary experience. Around 11:00 p.m. on January 18, 1905, Fra Anastasio and I were in the choir when suddenly I found myself far away in a wealthy home where the father was dying while a child was being born. Then there appeared to me the Most Blessed Virgin Mary who said to me: “I am entrusting this child to you . . . I want you to work with her because one day I wish to adorn myself with her.” I answered, “How is this possible, since I am still a mere divinity student and do not yet know whether I will one day have the fortune and joy of being a priest? And even if I become a priest, how can I take care of this child, since I am so far away?” The Madonna said, “Do not doubt. She will come to you, but first you will meet her at St. Peter’s in Rome.” After that, I found myself again in the choir.

The dying man was Giovanni Battista Rizzani, a fervent Mason who refused to be baptized. At the same time that his wife, Leonilde Rizzani, was praying at his bedside, Padre Pio was having “the extraordinary experience” at San’ Elia a Pianisi. Leonilde looked up and saw a young man wearing a Capuchin habit. As soon as she saw him, the young monk turned and left the room, but when she went to look for him he was nowhere to be found. She soon went into labor pains, gave birth to a baby girl and later returned to her husband’s bedside. A priest soon arrived, and over the objections of his Masonic friends who did not want a priest to minister to him, the dying man looked at the priest and said, “My God, my God. Forgive me!” and died within a few hours. This took place in 1905. After her husband’s death, Leonilde moved to Rome with her children. Seventeen years later, Giovanna, who was named for her father and was born the night of her father’s death, was in St. Peter’s Basilica with a friend when they encountered a young Capuchin who agreed to hear Giovanna’s confession. After confessing, Giovanna and her friend stood close by to speak again with the Capuchin priest, but a guard insisted they leave since the basilica was closed. He also added that no priest was in the basilica to hear confessions. An examination of the confessional by the guard left the two young women confused, since the Capuchin was not there and they had stood there waiting for him to leave and had not seen him.

Later that year Giovanna was shown a picture of Padre Pio, whom she promptly recognized as the priest who had heard her confession. This prompted her to visit San Giovanni Rotondo to see Padre Pio, and she did so with an aunt and several friends. When the Padre saw Giovanna, he smiled and exclaimed, “Why, Giovanna, I know you. You were born the night your father died.” He then revealed that her father had been saved because of her mother’s prayers and his intercession, that he was the priest who had heard her confession in St. Peter’s Basilica, and then told her about his strange experience when he had visited the room of her dying father. He also told her about the vision of Our Lady, who placed her in his charge. Padre Pio then invited her to come often to see him for spiritual direction. Giovanna told her mother all that had taken place, and by comparing Giovanna’s experience to those of her mother, both were convinced that Padre Pio had bilocated twice on their account, once to the death chamber and another time to the confessional. Padre Pio had told Giovanna that it was not in God’s plan for her to enter religious life. She later married and became the Marchioness Boschi of Cesena. She remained a devoted disciple of the holy Padre and gave a detailed deposition before the Archiepiscopal Curia of Manfredonia for the cause of beatification. The Curia compared her document to that written by Padre Pio in 1905 and noted the similarities. The document of Padre Pio was never read by Giovanna and the priest’s bilocations were known up to that time only by his superiors. But there were many other times when Padre Pio was seen at two places during the same time period, sometimes speaking, sometimes not. There were other times when only his presence was detected, or at other times there was the perfume of his stigmata which indicated his presence. A number of these bilocations are mentioned in the many biographies of this holy priest, which prove to be of great wonder and edification to those who study them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joan Carroll Cruz is a native of New Orleans and was educated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She attended grade school, high school and college under their tutelage. About her teachers Mrs. Cruz says, “I am especially indebted to the sisters who taught me for five years at the boarding school at St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa, Mississippi. I cannot thank them enough for their dedication, their fine example and their religious fervor, which made such an impression on me.” Mrs. Cruz has been a tertiary in the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order (Third Order) for the past 28 years. She is married to Louis Cruz, who owns a swimming pool repair and maintenance business. They are the parents of five children. Other books by Mrs. Cruz include Miraculous Images of Our Lord, Miraculous Images of Our Lady, Prayers and Heavenly Promises, Secular Saints, The Incorruptibles and Eucharistic Miracles, all published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.; The Desires of Thy Heart, a novel with a strong Catholic theme published in hardcover by Tandem Press in 1977 and in paperback by Signet with an initial printing of 600,000 copies; and Relics, published by Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. For her non-fiction books Mrs. Cruz depends heavily on information received from foreign shrines, churches, convents and monasteries. The material she receives requires the services of several translators. Mrs. Cruz is currently working on another book which also involves a great deal of research.

Taken from Mysteries Marvels Miracles by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc.

Other pages discussing Catholic doctrine and history:

Return to Catholic Doctrine Homepage