The Great Miracle
Reading Lentini's Miracle from God's point of view
Lauria (Italy), 5 January 1997
To the Most Reverent Archbishops of Naples and of Salerno
Cardinal Michael Giordano and Gerard Pierro
and by copy to:
The Lord Bishops of Campagnia***,
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and
His Holiness John Paul 11
The Promulgation on 17/12/96, by the Pope, of the Decree for the Miracle attributed to Ven. Dominic Lentini, has made you exult with us on account of your connections with the diocese of Tursi and devotion to the Priest Dominic Lentini.
I myself, without willing it, have been involved in the whole history of the Miracle, wherein nevertheless I have read God's complete message:
1) the Mediation of the Blessed Virgin which in this case passed under the title of the Queen of the Castle of Oliveto Citra, and
2) the intercession of Ven. Dominic Lentini.
I rejoice on account of Lentini's intercession, but as a Priest and a witness of the facts and circumstances I feel the duty and even more the joy of crying out my: "Thank you, Mother!" Thank you because you have willed to choose Lentini to intercede for Mrs. Anna Maria Voria, and thanks because the Heavenly Mother is among us as God's Pilgrim in order to visit us and guide us with her light along the Way of the Cross.
To that extent I give witness to the Church and in particular to you, the Chosen & Venerated Shepherds of Naples and Salerno. I know well that the Promulgation of the Miracle in question does not automatically bring recognition of the Marian apparitions at Oliveto Citra: but it does say something!
I wish and pray that the Holy Spirit may make you (both) understand that something, and look at Oliveto Citra with the eyes of Shepherds who are wise in prudence but also illuminated by the Spirit and Divine Wisdom.
Best wishes for a 1997 blessed by Lentini and by the Maternal Heart of Mary, Mother of the Church.
With devotion and esteem
Don Mario Riccio, Priest
Note*** And also the Bishops of Calabria because - as I say later in relation to 12 October 1997, the day of Lentini's Beatification: - Without Sofferetti there would not have been this miracle.
* * *
I, Antoniette Acunzo (Mrs. Raspaolo), was born on 29.03.1940 in Naples, and I live at 72 Sabotino Road - Secondigliano - Naples. For the sole Glory and Honor of God the Almighty Father, I feel the duty and joy of giving witness to the instantaneous healing of my sister Anna Voria - (= my stepsister) - which took place on the evening of 21 September 1988 at the "Cardarelli" Hospital in Naples and was obtained through the intercession of Ven. Dominic Lentini from Lauria, (in southern Italy).
My sister - who was sent home from hospital on 21/11/88 - had suffered from a malignant tumor for more then seven months. During the course of these months she was operated on in February of that year, and in July she was sent home without any hope and was given only six months to live. Before the date of the cure she had returned to hospital in August with strong fever and pains, while I was on holidays.
The history of the healing
It starts off at Oliveto Citra (not far from Naples)
On July 17th - in that place of Our Lady's apparitions to which I came - I saw Jesus and Our Lady Most Holy and a priest with his arms crossed whom I would recognize later as Ven. Lentini, since - after another apparition of Our Lady on 21 July - Don Mario Riccio, (whose acquaintance I had come to know of by telephone), presented me with a little picture of Ven. Lentini. In the apparition (17/7/88) at Oliveto Citra Ven. Lentini said to me: "Ask me for anything that you want and I will grant you it". I was not hoping for other than my sick sister, and I said:"Ask the grace for my sister".
It passes through Agropoli
I was on holiday with the family at Agropoli. One night in a dream a priest appeared to me as Fr. James and said to me: "Speak with Carmelina who is a cathechist who has gone away from the Church, that she must return: " On the beach I was speaking about it just by chance to a woman whom I did not know and this one on hearing my account asked me. "But do you not know who Carmelina is?". I said: "No!" The woman at the beach replied: " I am Carmelina". One day Carmelina, with whom I had become friendly, brought me religious tapes to let me hear them, and while I was listening to them, I heard a voice which told me: " Look, Antoniette, tell Carmelina that she must give you holy oil because it is useful to you for the sick. I was amazed that a Voice from Heaven might manifest itself even during holidays and I said while praying: "Lord Jesus! Do you also manifest yourself here? Can it be? If it comes from you, repeat yourself, otherwise take this vision away from me", and the Lord repeated: "Carmelina has blessed oil, it will serve you for the sick". Where was I to find Carmelina whom I used meet only on the beach? I commended myself again to Jesus, and at that late hour behold Carmelina herself knocks at my door, who, on entering tells me: "Antoniette, I heard a voice which told me that I must come to you. I started to laugh so much that Carmelina gave out to me that I too did not believe in her voices, but I told her immediately: "Yes, I do believe but you must give me something". Carmelina: "If I have it, I will heartily give you everything". I replied: "Through the name of Jesus you must give me Fr. Ralph's oil because you were at Fr. Ralph's meeting. And she gave me the oil straightaway.
The Healing at Cardarelli (= hospital)
By that time I had returned from holidays. My sister got worse on 21 September; she disimproved and they called me at the hospital. To be precise it was my niece, Adriana, who telephoned me: "Auntie, hurry because Mammy is bad". Along the streets and the hospital corridors I was praying in Neapolitan dialect: "Gesù o' tà pigli o a' guarisci! mò mi ferma! Gesù o'tà pigli o' a' guarisci! perché i' nun m'a' firu' ra' vede' che stà in d'a nu' liettu'abbandonata!" With these thoughts I set off for my sister and as I drew near her bed, I immediately asked her: "Listen, but do you believe in Jesus Christ?" And she answered: "Yes". I, at that time, did not think anymore about Lentini & I told her with faith: "Now, you are not to be worried. I will put blessed oil on you". I repeated once again: "Jesus, either take her or heal her". Her fever was 39.5 degrees, I made her turn over, I anointed her with the oil and imposed hands on her. My sister noticed a strong heat and the smell of roses and she fell asleep, but after ten minutes she woke up. She blinked her big eyes, she looked at me; she was sweating profusely like on fire and she shouted at me:"Look, I am healed!". I at that moment said inwardly to myself:"listen to this, it is a healing of death". But she was insisting: "I am healed, I am healed, I am healed. And I, in order to calm her down, said: "Look here, do not worry yourself, if the Lord wants to heal you let his will be done, but do not agitate yourself." In the meantime I went off to another room where there was a woman whose name was Iole & for something like five months they were not able to say what she had and she shouted (to me in dialect). "Io non c'iàfacc' cchiù! Stù Crist' quand s' move!". I came near her with a picture of Jesus crowned with thorns and said to her: "Look at the suffering of Jesus!". But that sick woman said: "Eh! l'hann mis' 'ncroc' 'e s' sta scaglian'ncontr' a' nui'. Si' song cinq' mesi e nun sann' cosa teng'. Tu c'i' pienz'? - she said close up to me - Ma quale Cristo m' vuo' purtà?". And I replied: "The Risen Christ". Then I came home and was in bed. But during the night I was not able to get any sleep and I heard a voice: "Listen, daughter, it was Ven. Dominic Lentini who was the intercessor for your sister and of the other daughter Iole, whose sickness is curable. She only has brucellosis, she has to change hospital. She must go to Cotugno and in 25 days she will be healed".
However on account of incredulity or some other reason this woman was not brought to Cotugno's hospital; twentyfive days past and she died. Here was a healing announced by Lentini, but unfortunately it was refused. I, on the other hand, thank Lentini, to whom along with all the family I will be devoted and an apostle of his for my whole life, since he has willed to listen to my humble prayer of the month of July at Oliveto Citra and has healed my sister perfectly. Nothing came out of the Tac/analysis which they did the day after they had performed some sort of therapy on her. The nurse and the doctors were immediately calling it a Miracle since she, who had not moved for months, was jumping about and they gave her permission to go twice to Oliveto Citra. I had begged the doctors not to operate on her anymore because I said to myself that she was healed from Heaven and there - they do not do miracles by half measures. Lentini comforted me and appeared to me often and to relatives, just like he appeared to my sister during the night of the healing. In fact the following day when I went to visit her I presented her with the little picture of Lentini and I said to her: "Behold the one who has healed you!" and my sister shouted out saying: "Oh God! I have seen him near the locker of my room, like a shadow and then he disappeared - saluting me with his right hand". Lentini comforted us all. We saw him seated on a throne with the Missal of the Mass, just like he was seated the other day near my sister at the hospital. And even seeing that I was not able to convince the doctors not to open her up again, Lentini said: "Let them be, they will open her but they will not find anything. And that is the way it was, and this is the way I think about the documents which I attach to the present one. Thank you, Ven. Lentini!
On the 29th of September of that year I told it all orally to the Cardinal of Naples, His Emminence Michael Giordano, who listened with joy and satisfaction, and at the end he even asked for the documentation exclaiming: "It was time that he (= Lentini) should manifest himself because I was waiting for this day with joy!".
Naples, 19 November 1988 IN FAITH, signed by: Antoniette Acunzo (= Mrs Raspaolo)
Cronology of Lentini's Miracle
On Sunday 17 July 1988: Vision of the Priest with Jesus and Mary, at Oliveto Citra.
On 21 July 1988, (at her home in Naples): little messages from Our Lady for Don Mario Riccio, among which there is the compliment for a Prayer of his.
On 23 July 1988: Antoniette recognizes the Priest in the vision from the picture of Lentini (presented to her by Don Mario Riccio).
On the beach at Agropoli: Antoniette makes friends with a woman bather from Agropoli, but who does not introduce herself (she finds out later that she is Carmelina).
On a night that is not specified Antoniette dreams of a priest ("who must be from there", namely from Agropoli) who appears as Fr. James (viz. Fr. James Selvi) and he tells her solely: Speak with Carmelina.
On the seashore Antoniette speaks to a woman on the beach and tells her about the dream. That woman says that she is the Carmelina of the dream (it is Carmelina from Migliora). From Carmelina Antoniette receives tapes.
Probably that same evening the Loud Voice - it is Jesus, who - tells Antoniette to have Carmelina give her blessed oil because it will be useful to her for the sick. But where does Carmelina live? Antoniette does not know and prays to Jesus to help her. And immediately, impelled by the Spirit, Carmelina knocks at the door. It seems that she has not even time to enter when Antoniette asks her in Jesus' name for the blessed oil. Effectively she has the blessed oil at home: it is the one that she got at the charismatic meeting held at Laureana Cilento and blessed by Fr. Ralph Di Iorio.
Antoniette returns from holidays and straightaway is called to the Cardarelli where her sister Anna is about to die.
But Anna Voria does not die: this is what Jesus has willed by listening to that long procession of prayers which started off in Lentini's name since that famous 17th July. The final prayer was the rite performed by Antoniette: great faith in Jesus, the request of faith made to her sister, a little blessed oil ( on that occasion it was the one from the south-american Fr. Ralph) and the stamp of Lentini's (little picture) put firstly on her chest and later exposed on the locker beside the picture of the Queen of the Castle of Oliveto Citra ... in order to send the finished letter, with its destination as: THE FATHER! And His reply is known!
The miracle was approved by 6 votes to 7 in the Theologians' Commission on 13 October 1995. On 6/2/1996 it was due to be approved by the Plenary meeting of the Cardinals. The meeting was suspended. The Motive: the testimony of Antoniette Raspaolo was not tenable until I (viz. Don Mario) had been heard. In all the phases of the process, both at the regional Tribunal or at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints I was kept on the outside. On 9/2/96 Mons. Sandro Corradini, who is the Congregation's Theologian telephoned me, and invited me to the Vatican. I go there with Fr. Franco Alagia on 12/2/96. He hears my testimony. It has to be me above all who guarantees that it was prayer made to Lentini and outside of ecstasy. On 19/2/96, before Mons. Rocco Talucci, the Bishop of Tursi, who is the Cardinal's delegate, we are interrogated officially in the Vatican - both Antoniette Raspaola and I.
The Plenary session of the Cardinals approves the miracle on June 4th 1996. In those days of February, at a seven year distance from the miracle which had taken place, I was not able to remember the tiniest details. I found them in my computerized pages about "The Little tracks of visionary phenomenon", but I also telephoned various visionaries whom I had asked to pray for Antoinette's sister. As soon as I got back from Rome I immediately asked Julia on that same evening of the 12th about it. She remembered having prayed. I nonetheless also wanted a message of confirmation: both for me and for her. And on the following day, 13/2/96, at 7.30 a.m. , Our Lady gave this message:
"My son, holy son, Mario, you not only have prayed to Son Dominic Lentini, but you have made Little Julia of the Cross pray for a good three times: she has prayed because you with a sincere heart have confided to her saying: pray because a sister needs it: Pray to Dominic Lentini. She asked you the first time who was this Dominic Lentini and you answered her: HE IS A PRIEST ENAMOURED WITH THE CROSS. And for a good three times you have asked for the help of prayer from the Little Cross (= Julia) praying (= with the objective that she might pray) always to Son Dominic. And you have always prayed on your own and in company in the Little House of Love (= Lentini's Little House). Do not be afraid, my son! I bless you with Motherly Love".
From Antoniette and me the fireworks, whereas from Julia the humble coup.
The miracle gets the approval of the Pope, John Paul II, on 17/12/96. Our Bishop, Mons. Rocco Talucci, assists at this event in Rome, along with priests from Lauria, viz. don Francis Alagia, don Vincent Orofino and don Joseph Cozzi. We wait for the news in the church of St. Nicholas: Confessions (from 10 to 11), Holy Mass (from 11.15 to 12.10), presided over by the parish priest don Francis Sirufo, don Anthony Spagnolo and me. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament follows. Don Francis goes off to the parochial house to wait for the telephone call from Rome and asks me to lead the adoration. I recall for the people gathered and fearful the last image of Lentini in this church, in his beautiful St. Nicholas': for more than 3 hours he was kneeling before Jesus exposed for the Fourty Hours as if to tell us that this is the way that we must wait for his Glorification because he would remain here too to pray for us before Jesus alive in the Eucharist. And in fact Frank Sola, who was present, tells me afterwards (that Lentini): "was in adoration kneeling on the floor beneath the balustrade between the ambo and his pulpit". At 12.50 don Francis reads out the joyful news: the bells are rung, the Te Deum is intoned and, at 13.00, while I am blessing with the Blessed Sacrament the people who are rejoicing and numerous, Julia goes into ecstacy, in her home at Thurio(which is 100Km away), and thus she tastes and describes what is happening contemporaneously in Heaven:
"On 17 December, Tuesday, at 13, I was in my altar room to recite an Our Father. Jesus appears radiant with light. I ask Jesus to glorify and He says: - Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit -. Then (extending his right hand, he explains to me apart) he tells me: - Daughter, take a look! - I SAW THE POPE AND VENERABLE LENTINI who passes through a great door: the door was dripping blood, as they were passing a great light enveloped them and a choir of angels was glorifying the Father. Jesus blessed me and went away".