On the 23rd of April 1943 it was Good Friday. Maria Valtorta had already been infirm in her house in Viareggio for 9 years. At around Midday, from her bedroom on the ground floor she called Marta, who was busy in the kitchen. Marta arrived promptly. Maria showed her a piece of paper where she had noted something down, and she confided to her that she needed to see Father Migliorini.
Father Romualdo M. Migliorini, Prior of the community of the Servants of Mary, had been Maria Valtorta’s confessor and spiritual director for about a year. The convent where he lived wasn’t very far from the house in via Fratti, but not close enough to be reached in a few minutes. Considering the situation, Marta wondered: “What can I say to her next door?”, aware of the fact that she would have to provide a reason for leaving at that unusual time to Maria’s mother. Therefore, she made up a lie for the suspicious Mrs Iside, she put on her coat on the top of her dressing gown and left the house, quickly heading for Saint Andrew’s convent.
Father Migliorini was just about to return to the convent when Marta approached him, reporting Maria’s request to see him. He had taken holy communion to her on that very morning, so he thought her health had got worse. Marta reassured him, adding that there was no need to hurry and she returned home straight away.
The good Father did not keep the Valtorta house waiting, he explained his return on the same day to Mrs Iside simply as a casual visit, making her believe that he was just passing by, and quickly joined Maria in her room for a reserved, private talk with his spiritual daughter.
We know that Maria opened up to the “revelations”, of which she had just received the first sign, only after consulting the priest who was responsible for the care of her soul.
Fifty years later.
On 23rd April 1993, it was Friday again, the second one after Easter Sunday. My wife Claudia and I were in Viareggio, where we used to go a couple of times per year to spend a few days with Marta in the Valtorta house, where, after Maria’s death, she lived as usufructuary and as guardian of all her memories and possessions. This time we had chosen to stay with her on the 50th anniversary of the first dictation from Jesus to Maria Valtorta.
In an unsuspecting town of Viareggio, with just a few people walking around in the street, the three of us went to the 9 am Mass in the basilica of Saint Andrew, which was served by the Servants of Mary. At the end of Mass, we left the church heading towards the left, walking along the external wall of the church, until we stopped in front of the convent’s entrance, consisting of a simple door with two or three steps before it.
Marta Diciotti (82 years old, small and vivacious) made us relive the event by describing the scene. It was as if we could see the old friar, tall and gentle, walking up the steps as Marta’s voice reached him, and as she appeared out of the blue from the other side of the road. The memory of each detail was so vivid, that Marta repeated in disbelief: “50 years!”
She just couldn’t remember the lie she had invented for Mrs Iside and she couldn’t accept that her mind was going blank.
Later on, we found ourselves in the house again, everyone busy with their own usual activities. Marta was busy in the kitchen. At around Midday, she came out of the kitchen saying: “It happened at this time. Shall we go and recite the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be in Maria’s bedroom?”
On the 23rd of April 2023, this time a Sunday, it will be the 80th anniversary of the day which marks the beginning of the private revelations to Maria Valtorta. It is no longer a time to remember this event privately. The Archbishop of Lucca, Monsignor Paolo Giulietti, kindly fulfilled our request, as he will present the Eucharistic Celebration in Saint Andrew’s Basilica in Viareggio at 6.30 p.m.
(translate by Barbara Lambelet)