Thirty years ago, at the beginning of Vassula’s mission, the Lord had asked and requested thus: “I want My land fertile; … I want this wilderness irrigated, who will water My garden?” (TLIG Messages, September 20, 1987)
Since then, after Vassula gave her fiat to Him, Jesus has been sending her to the four corners of this earth to water this thirsty soil with His Love. The Lord is asking us to embellish His Garden. As it exists now, He sees nothing in It but aridity; aridity is reigning over It and the dry winds are blowing on His Garden, drying out what little is left. (cf. TLIG Messages, November 28, 1987)
Once again, it was Italy’s turn to receive this Heavenly Dew and be irrigated. “And, oh, how much more Italy is in need, Italy that has gone sooo dry!” (TLIG Messages, April 5, 2017) With these words, Jesus intervened, expressing urgency and the grief in His Heart, while Vassula was writing an email (April 5, 2017) to the organizers in Italy for her upcoming tour there. This would be a tour that would last for almost a month, and would encompass all of Italy, from north to south and east to west.
Vassula left warm and sunny Rhodes on Sunday, April 30, and arrived in Rome, where Francis Mifsud, from the Italian TLIG Association in Rome, was there to receive her. Fr. Rolf Schönenberger, a Catholic priest with a huge mission in Russia and the Ukraine, and a devout friend of the TLIG messages and Vassula, was arriving the same evening, scheduled to fly to Venice the following day. Vassula and Fr. Rolf stayed overnight at Villa Maria Pia in Rome, a place run by nuns who knew Vassula, so Vassula was in a familiar place. The Sister that welcomed Vassula knew her personally as well as her mission, and during this visit the sister was given the TLIG Radio webpage address so she could listen to the Messages and the HIR book. She was thrilled!
Monday, May 1: Rome - Pordenone
In the afternoon, the first stop of this mission was Pordenone. At the airport, Eugenio Francescon, Bruno Bartoletti and Franco Trevisiol, the TLIG organizers in the north of Italy whom Vassula had met last year during her previous visit there, received them. After an hour’s drive, they reached Pordenone.
Pordenone is the main commune of Pordenone province of northeast Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. The name comes from the Latin Portus Naonis, meaning ‘port on the Noncello River.’ The weather was reminiscent of winter and a thought crossed my mind: Let there not be winter in the hearts that will hear the message Vassula is bringing, but a blooming spring!
Tuesday, May 2: Pordenone
After breakfast, Eugenio, Bruno and Franco, along with Alessandra Micheluz and Licia Bragnuolo, two other TLIG organizers from the north of Italy, met with Vassula and Fr. Rolf. They had to verbally go through the program of the day and the upcoming first meeting on May 3. Although it is the second time for all of them to organize such an event for Vassula’s mission, they had meticulously taken care to follow every detail to the letter of the guidelines. Only a few alterations were made after Vassula’s input.
At 4 p.m. a TV interview was scheduled with Telepordenone, a local TV channel that transmits to the neighboring regions. The interview would be shown on Sunday, they were told, but this evening, a two-minute spot during the news would be aired about Vassula that would also include the announcement of the upcoming meetings. The director of this channel, Gigi di Meo, who for the first time accepted the airing of the subject matter Vassula would be presenting, welcomed Vassula, Fr. Rolf, Eugenio and Alessandra. Once in the studio, Alberto Comisso, who would be interviewing Vassula, welcomed the group and showed them their places. There were certain questions given to him on paper, so that he wouldn’t find it difficult to interview Vassula, as it would be his first time as well to discuss such a topic as prophecy with a guest.
The interview lasted 40 minutes, and it was obvious from the very beginning that Alberto was left in awe. Their interview seemed to reach a crescendo, while Alberto was slowly realizing that this guest is no ‘ordinary’ lady. In her hands, she carries a message directly from God the Creator for all humanity. It was interesting to watch how Alberto was slowly getting the ‘message’ that he was dealing with something extraordinary. Eventually, he began asking questions that were not included on the interview guide paper. As he admitted later, he couldn’t understand where these questions he voiced were coming from! Among others, he asked about the handwriting in the Messages, about the situation in the world and God’s help to rectify it, and about Our Lady. After the interview, Alberto continued his interest and asked her where he could get a book with the Messages. Since he was holding the only TLIG book in the studio, those present all told him to keep that one. And, using all his courage, he asked Vassula to sign it. Praised be His Holy Name!
Part one of interview can be viewed here and part two here.
That night, the group arranged to watch the news on Telepordenone at Daniela and Bruno’s house, so as to see the two-minute spot about Vassula. Meanwhile, Fr. Peter Simara from the Czech Republic and Teresa Perri from the TLIG Association in Greece had arrived from Athens to support the group here with the hall set-up for the meetings in the north of Italy. Giancarlo Turchetto, a member of the TLIG group in Pordenone had arrived as well. As everyone was gathered in front of the television waiting to see the interview, to our surprise, the entire 40-minute interview was aired and not just parts of it! The witness meeting schedule was also announced! That meant that everyone watching the News of Telepordenone channel that evening would see Vassula’s interview and would know about the upcoming meetings! The night ended with everyone rejoicing and with the hope that many people would be able to go to the witness meeting.
Wednesday, May 3: Pordenone - Cordenons
At the lobby - Fr. Peter, Fr. Rolf, Magda, Vassula with the families from Check Republic
After driving for nine hours and having spent the night at the homes of our friends Licia and Eugenio’s sister, the four families from the Czech Republic together with Fr. Peter Simara and Magda Skalova came to the hotel to see Vassula. Magda was invited by Vassula to be part of this mission to film all the meetings in Italy. Later, together with Eugenio, all four of the families with their children went to one of the busiest streets of Pordenone and for three hours handed out flyers. The children approached everyone with a smile, while their parents sang praises and hymns. Filled with anticipation, all looked forward to Vassula’s first meeting, opening the marathon tour of 13 meetings all over Italy.
The children handing out flyers
In the evening, the meeting was held at Sala Consiliare de Benedet, Centro Culturale Aldo Moro, Via Traversagna 4, in Cordenons, a commune in the Province of Pordenone in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located about 90 km. northwest of Trieste and about 4 km. northeast of Pordenone.
The children from the Czech Republic opened the meeting by singing the “Our Father” in Aramaic, leaving everyone in awe. These little angels evangelize in their own way, Vassula said later on. After presenting a video of Vassula’s breathtaking mission around the world, Fr. Rolf introduced Vassula.
The children signing in the meeting in Cordenons
Vassula witnessing at Cordenons
With Daniela interpreting in Italian, Vassula started to narrate the story of the beginning of her mission, 32 years ago. The people in the audience listened attentively all through Vassula’s witnessing. At the end, and after a brief Beth Myriam video, Bruno spoke about this blessed work for the poor around the world: 26 houses of Mary in 16 countries. He also presented the canvas Vassula has painted: the agony of Jesus in Gethsemane. The audience, on their way out, bought the One Book of the TLIG messages in Italian and gave their contact details so as to be in touch with the group in Pordenone. Some spoke with Vassula and others gave their testimonies on camera to Magda.
Bruno, Daniela and their son Andrea with Vassula
Thursday, May 4: Udine
Right after breakfast, Alessandra, Eugenio and Magda came to the hotel. Today’s mission: use the media for localized promotion of tonight’s meeting in Udine--a medieval city and commune in northeastern Italy, in the middle of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps, 50 km. northwest of Pordenone. Magda’s precious help together with Teresa and Alessandra made it possible to have the meeting advertised in a 40 km. range around Udine through Facebook. Magda also opened a new Facebook page in Italian, ‘La Vera Vita in Dio,’ so people from Italy may follow the TLIG events and activities in their own language, especially Vassula’s present tour in Italy.
In the meantime, Pavlos Theodorou, who is responsible for TLIG Radio, called to inform us that the TLIG Radio Facebook page of the Italian channel, written and spoken in the Italian language, was uploaded two days ago. Enthusiastically received, it was already bombarded with visits and likes. This channel gave us an opening to announce Vassula’s meeting in Udine on the Radio page and let it spread like fire worldwide among all friends on Facebook.
Vassula pointing at the Renaissance paintings next to the entrance of Loggia del Lionello
In the evening, after an hour’s drive, Vassula and Fr. Rolf reached Udine. Although it is a big town, there were no people to be seen on the streets. The four Czech families with their children who had arrived earlier to help prepare the hall were out on the street, in front of the town hall, Loggia del Lionello, where the meeting was to take place, giving out flyers to the very few passers-by.
Udine - Fr. Rolf introducing Vassula
After Fr. Rolf’s introduction, Vassula began her witnessing. Vassula concluded her talk with a few personal stories that were all lessons and made the people in the audience feel the intimate love of the Lord and His continuous presence to us. At the end, Magda recorded some people who wanted to share with joy how the Words of Christ had touched them.
Vassula and Daniela in Udine
Friday, May 5: Schio
In the morning, Bruno came to pick up Vassula and Fr. Rolf for a radio interview in Schio--a town and commune in the province of Vicenza, situated north of Vicenza and east of the Lake of Garda. It is surrounded by the Little Dolomites and Mount Pasubio. After a two hours’ drive, they arrived at the famous town of Schio. It was here that Our Lady appeared to Renato Baron from 1985 until 2004. Vassula had visited Schio back at the beginning of her mission, and met Renato. She had been there more than 20 years ago, and as soon as people heard that she was returning, they wanted to see her again.
Rosa Winter, an old friend from Switzerland who was actually the first person to open halls and churches for Vassula to witness in Switzerland, called Ornella Taziani asking her to interview Vassula when she heard that Vassula would be witnessing in the north of Italy. Ornella was the owner of Radio Kolbe and had heard of Vassula, so arranging an interview was nothing new to her. Radio Kolbe is a beautiful studio situated in a complex that houses a place for elderly people, people with moving disabilities and retired priests. In fact, it was Our Lady that asked from Renato for such a place to be established.
Part of the garden of the complex with the statue of Our Lady
Before the interview, Fr. Rolf was asked to celebrate Holy Mass in the complex’s small chapel. There were just a few people waiting to participate; some who already knew Vassula and others who had heard about her and the Messages and were eager to meet her. After Mass, they had a chat with Vassula and were given the One Book of the TLIG messages in Italian. One of them, Ivan, had heard about Vassula back in the 80’s, and had travelled all the way to Switzerland in 1989, to meet with her personally. Now, to his utter surprise, he was told that Vassula’s mission had expanded to over 86 countries, that she has witnessed more than 1105 times and that the messages have been translated into 45 languages! And, when Vassula mentioned the ecumenical TLIG pilgrimages where Muslim imams and Buddhist monks join Christian clergy and laity from many denominations in inter-faith dialogues, he was dumbfounded and asked if he could write an article in his local magazine about Vassula’s worldwide mission!
Later, Vassula, Fr. Rolf and Bruno, along with Ornella, went to the studio. Fr. Rolf sat next to Vassula, so as to interpret for her--with headphones and all. For the next 40 minutes, Ornella asked Vassula pointed questions so that her listeners would be interested to learn more about the TLIG messages.
Vassula, Ornella and Fr. Rolf at the studio. Behind is the picture of Renato Baron
Fr. Rolf, Vassula, Ornella and Bruno after the interview
This interview was due to be aired more than once through Radio Kolbe, which transmits from Schio up to Padova and Verona, and all over the world through modern telephone technology, click here. It is also on the TLIG Radio webpage, click here.
Before leaving Schio for Pordenone, Vassula, Fr. Rolf and Bruno stopped by the apparition site of the ‘Queen of Love’ as Our Lady wished to be called when she appeared to Renato Baron. Before leaving, the families from the Czech Republic asked for a group photo with Vassula and Fr. Peter as a reminder of this tour.
Saturday, May 6: Trieste
Tonight, Vassula is speaking in Trieste, the capital city of the Friuli Venezia, in the Giulia region in northeast Italy. It is a port city, which occupies a thin strip of land between the Adriatic coast and Slovenia’s border on the limestone-dominated Karst Plateau.
Michela and Andrea presenting the children signing
Vassula signing a book before her witnessing
After one and a half hour’s drive from Pordenone, the group arrived in cloudy Trieste, at Sala Rovis, where Vassula was to witness. The meeting had been announced in the local newspaper Il Piccolo. Alessandra, from the organizing group, brought a couple of copies. It was a nice surprise to all to see the 32 TLIG friends from Slovenia together with Fr. Janes Krisnik, who had come to Trieste for this meeting.
Back (standing) Eugenio, Teresa, Franco and Magda checking her camera. Front Part of the friends from Slovenia with Fr. Janes (far right)
The TLIG families from the Czech Republic along with Fr. Peter Simara also accompanied Vassula to Trieste. Their children opened the meeting by singing the “Our Father” in Aramaic. After Vassula’s witnessing, Fr. Rolf read the Prayer of Repentance, and together with Fr. Peter and Fr. Janes blessed all the people present.
Fr. Peter, Fr. Rolf and Fr. Janes during the prayer of repentance
Vassula and the families from Czech Republic with Fr. Peter Simara
Sunday, May 7: Treviso
After an hour’s drive in the afternoon, Vassula with Fr. Rolf and Bruno with Daniela arrived in Treviso for Vassula’s witnessing meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. Treviso is a city and commune in Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Treviso.
The Czech group, along with Fr. Peter Simara was there already. People of all ages began arriving before the meeting. Some who had been at the meeting in Udine brought their families to Treviso to listen to the message of our Lord and our Blessed Mother.
Vassula talking with some ladies before the meeting
Vassula said: “I’m inviting you today to learn and follow the traces of the prophets of old, and to open a wide path in our minds and hearts to see how they maintained their perfect faithfulness, which they had towards God when He called them to reveal His designs to them. Let us learn from them and meditate on how they were crossing these arid lands, these spiritual deserts. On their path they learned self-renunciation and self-denial, by putting God’s interests and God Himself first in their life. They learned to strip themselves from their ego and their will.
Let us today become aware of their untamable courage, their zeal and the love they had for God. They were also human and possessed no more than what we have, with the exception of a will directed towards the good to glorify God. They were weak, but God gave them His strength. They did not have it easy, but they struggled, putting their trust in God. They persevered so as to accomplish their mission and glorify God. They allowed God to strip them from all that was worldly so as to imprint in them His Own Holy Image. As hard as their oppressors harried them, they were not broken or overpowered, but instead their enemies cringed at their presence. In their poverty of spirit, God invaded them with His Light, enlightening them with Wisdom; in their wretchedness and incapacity, God gave them nobility of spirit to carry His Word fearlessly.
Therefore, let us also flee from the complacency and the comfort the world is offering us, and let us break this safe cocoon we’ve weaved ourselves into. Let us break our shackles and free ourselves, so as to earn what they received; and our soul will turn into a fountain of tears with repentance when we realize Who was the One outside the door of our heart knocking all of these years.”
People’s emotions during Vassula’s witnessing
The meeting ended with a prayer for healing, and Vassula along with Fr. Rolf and Fr. Peter prayed for the people.
** (Fr. Peter ...)
After a joyful song of praise from the children, everybody in the hall, enjoying the atmosphere so much, did not want to move from their seats! Fr. Rolf had to take the microphone and say, “Alla prossima volta!” (Until next time!) so that the people could understand that the meeting had finished. They headed towards the TLIG book table, bought the TLIG One Book, and some asked Vassula to sign it.
Vassula signing the book with the TLIG Messages
Many left their contact info so that the Italian TLIG group could get in touch with them. Another blessed witnessing meeting was over.
Monday, May 8: Pordenone to Florence
After breakfast, Teresa and Fr. Rolf had to fly back to their respective countries. Early in the afternoon, Vassula, the organizers from Pordenone, Magda and Jan Vymetal’s family from the Czech Republic headed for Florence, the next city in which Vassula was scheduled to witness. It is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, and home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. After a four-hour drive, they arrived in Florence and spent the night in Instituto Suore S. Giovanni Battista Villa Merlo Bianco, a beautiful medieval but fully renovated complex run by nuns.
Tuesday, May 9: Florence
In the morning, Fr. Vincent Cosatti, a Franciscan priest and a devout friend of the TLIG messages, arrived from Switzerland to accompany Vassula the following week. Around noon, Vassula went to her room to charge her mobile phone, and then shortly returned and said, much to the surprise of the group, that Jesus just gave her a message. She sat down and started to read it out:
“I Am; Truly I say to you, I am with you together with your Holy Mother accompanying you, and with those I called beside you; daughter, understand that prayer is important and when you are speaking in My Name, about the Words I Myself have given you, those Words are Words of Wisdom, and when your hearts get aflame listening to those Words of Wisdom, your flame is a prayer to Me, I, Jesus, love all of you; I, Jesus, am always near you in your missions and everywhere you go; and I bless My people who gather beside you; Love loves you all; ic” (TLIG Messages, May 9, 2017)
The message touched everyone's heart. Such encouragement, such love, and strength to go on, filled everyone’s eyes with tears! All gathered around Vassula as she was explaining in detail this blessing from above. This was the theme of all conversations during the entire day!
Later, Magda gave a short lesson to the group from the north about all the technical details of how to use the Italian TLIG Facebook page as administrators so that one can upload material. She explained how social media can be used to promote the Messages on their own language page. Everyone was busily taking notes as they were all new to this way of evangelizing.
Fr. Vincent introducing Vassula in Florence
In the evening, the meeting was held at The Gate Hotel, north of Florence: a 20 minute drive from the center of the city. Since it was some distance from the center of town, it was more difficult for people to attend. But surprisingly enough, among the audience was a couple who arrived earlier than anyone else and told the organizers that they had driven 300 km., all the way from Liguria (close to San Remo), to listen to Vassula, as they knew of her and the Messages for many years now. Vassula thought and remarked that when people want to hear they will drive for hours on end or take a plane to be present; but when they do not want to hear for whatever reason, even if one is right under their flat in a hall, they will not come. Among the first attendees was a friend of Fr. Vincent with an Egyptian background, but this person was there because he knew Fr. Vincent.
Vassula witnessing with joy and Daniela sharing her enthusiasm in Florence
Wednesday, May 10: Florence - Vimercate
After a five hour drive, Vassula, Fr. Vincent, the TLIG organizers of northern Italy, along with Magda and Jan’s family from the Czech Republic, arrived in Vimercate, a city and commune in the province of Monza and Brianza, Lombardy, 25 km. from Milan and 10 km. from Monza. The city was founded by the Romans on the banks of the river Molgora. The town has maintained its medieval look with an 11th century monastery and the Church of Saint Michael which dates back to the 16th century.
The Church of Saint Michael - Vimercate
Thursday, May 11: Vimercate
This day in particular, was a day to visit and prepare the hall for the following day’s meeting. The complex Cascina “La Lodovica,” once a beautiful farmhouse, has been refurbished for its current use as a venue for conferences, events, ceremonies, etc., and houses a 19th century vintage carriages museum.
Fr. Vincent, Vassula, Giancarlo, Magda and Eugenio (at the far back) preparing the stage for the meeting
A curious cat came to be part of the preparations
Announcement of the meeting in Vimercate
Friday, May 12: Vimercate
In the morning, Vassula, Fr. Vincent and the rest of the group once again visited the meeting hall. The daughter of the owner, Ms. Martha, was very helpful and very interested about this event, Vassula’s witnessing. She offered all her help; she even offered to advertise the meeting on their Facebook page.
Vassula and Eugenio at Cascina La Lodovica
Vassula at one of the old warehouses in Cascina
Vassula with Fr. Vincent and the rest of the group chose to have their lunch at the Italian restaurant Antica Riva, close to the Church of St. Michael. The waiter, Andrea, eyed Vassula and wanted to know who she was. Vassula didn’t miss the opportunity to share, in her own unique way, while plates were moving on and off the table, with lots of humor, her unique charisma and mission. Andrea became more curious, never stopping to buzz around her like a bee, or like a fish attracted to the bait. Strange as it may appear, their odd conversation that was going on back and forth was progressing into an appearance of her charism, putting us all in suspense, as at the theater, not knowing how it will end up. It reminded us of a fisherman who tries to catch the fish tactfully, dangling the bait, knowing that the fish is there and attracted. The fish that was circling the bait finally goes for it. The fisherman though, does not pull it out immediately lest it rip the string and lose it, but plays with it by pulling the string, then stopping, then pulling once more and stopping then again until the fish is drawn out. In the end, the ‘fisherman’ succeeded, to pull the fish out and Andrea ended-up by wanting the book with the messages, which Vassula gladly signed for him.
Andrea and Vassula at Antica Riva
Back at the hotel, the group gathered in one room and Fr. Vincent talked to them about TLIG Radio which broadcasts in 19 languages, and how it has turned out to be a powerful evangelizing tool for promoting the Messages. It has a wide variety library with the Messages, the HIR book, testimonies, Vassula’s talks, and presentations by other clergy, interviews, prayers and weekly bulletins. He spoke also about the live, multilingual Holy Rosary program, hosted every Sunday, which attracts listeners from all over the world.
Franco, Alessandra and Eugenio listening about TLIG Radio
Licia, Giancarlo and Catarina listening to Fr. Vincent sharing about TLIG Radio
In the evening, right before the witness meeting, Fr. Petr Zivny arrived at the meeting hall. Fr. Zivny is a Catholic priest from the Czech Republic, but situated in Milan; he was very happy to see Vassula after a long time. Among those in the audience were also the owner of La Lodovica, Mr. Andrea and his daughter Martha, as well as Simon Wekesa from the live TLIG Radio Rosary program with his wife Antonella and Simon’s friend Giuseppe. Both Simon and Giuseppe were at the retreat last year in Loutraki.
Fr. Petr and Fr. Vincent
Giuseppe, Vassula, Simon and Antonella
Since there were people in attendance who had never before heard about the TLIG messages, Vassula shared the beautiful and inspiring stories of the beginning of God’s calling. Vassula concluded with a prayer: “Lord Jesus, use me to dry Your Tears, Lord Jesus, use me to wipe Your Tears, Sacred Heart, use me to console Your Heart, Sacred Heart, use me to pluck the thorns encircling Your Head and Your Heart, Lord Jesus, use me as Your Head-rest, Sweet and Gentle Jesus, use me in every way to please You and console You; My desire is to bring to Your Lips a smile.” (TLIG Messages, April 13, 1991)
Vassula witnessing at Cascina La Lodovica
After the prayer of repentance, everyone wanted to have a word with Vassula. The owner of the venue brought a book to Vassula which all the exceptional guests sign, and asked her to write something and sign it. He was taken by the importance and urgency of the Messages and was rather disappointed that more people did not come to that meeting.
The owner of La Lodovica, Mr. Andrea, Vassula and His daughter Martha
This was Vassula’s last meeting in northern Italy, so a last photo with the group that organized her meetings in the north was most appropriate!
(sitting) Licia, Daniela, Vassula, Giancarlo, Eugenio (standing) Bruno, Franco, Alessandra, Simon, Fr.Vincent (back) Magda, Fr. Petr
Vassula’s witnessing at La Lodovica can be viewed here.
Saturday, May 13: Vimercate - Rome - Centro Russia Ecumenica
Vassula’s mission in the north was complete. In the morning, Vassula, Fr. Vincent and Magda, accompanied by the TLIG friends from Pordenone, headed for the airport to catch the flight for Rome; their first stop towards the mission in southern Italy. Francis Mifsud, one of the main organizers, and Caterina Delfini, the translator of the TLIG messages in Italian, together with her husband, Riccardo Conti, were there to receive them. Fr. Rolf returned to accompany Vassula for the coming week, as Fr. Vincent had to return to Switzerland.
The announcement for Centro Russia Ecumenica
At 5 p.m. Vassula was to speak at the Centro Russia Ecumenica, a Centre for information on Eastern Christianity and a meeting place for believers from the East and the West, close to the Vatican Entry, at Porta Sant’ Anna.
Daniela translating Vassula - Centro Russia Ecumenica
Sunday, May 14: Rome - Sala Bacciarini
Almost opposite of Villa Maria Pia in Via Aurelia, where Vassula, Fr. Rolf and Magda stayed, is the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was built between 1955 and 1958. In the morning, they arrived at the church, which was filled with children and Fr. Rolf con-celebrated Mass with the parish priest.
The fine mosaic surrounding the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe
In the afternoon, we all headed for the hall of the Basilica San Giuseppe. The parish hall was full of people; some who already knew about the Messages, but also others that came to hear about the TLIG messages for the first time.
Fr. Rolf introducing Vassula
Keeping notes during Vassula’s witnessing
Listening attentively to Vassula’s witnessing
In the audience was Padre Vittorio, Don Wladimiro Bogoni: the parish priest, and Padre Giorgio. Some people in the audience were keeping notes; others were receiving what Vassula was saying as a prayer, others with a smile. Some had come from afar; others came to see her again after many years, like Denis Woronzoff; and others wanted to keep in touch with TLIG’s news and events, leaving their contact info. The meeting in Rome came to an end in this festive atmosphere.
Vassula signing books
Vassula signing the book for Padre Vittorio
Daniela, Vassula and Don Wladimiro
Fr. Rolf, Vassula and Denis Woronzoff
Wednesday, May 17: Rome - Naples
After a three-hour drive from Rome, Vassula, Fr. Rolf and Magda arrived in Naples, the capital city of the region of Campania in southern Italy, dating to the second millennium B.C., which sits on the Bay of Naples. Fr. Rolando Palazzeschi, a Jesuit priest and friend of Vassula and the Messages, received Vassula filled with joy and enthusiasm, together with Francis Mifsud, Fiorina, Sevan, Caterina Delfini and Giovanni Di Silvestre who had come by train from Rome. As soon as they entered the hotel, the TG Rai 3 television crew already was there to interview Vassula about her mission. The interview was going to be aired as a two-minute spot during the news broadcast that same day, and the entire interview was going to be aired on Saturday.
Vassula during the interview for TG Rai 3
At 4 p.m., Vassula was scheduled to speak at Centro Domus Ars, in the historic part of the city of Naples. The people started gathering early and Vassula was welcomed joyfully.
Fr. Rolf, Vassula, Fr. Rolando and Francis
Fr. Rolf introducing Vassula
Francis translating Vassula
The meeting was completed with the Prayer of Repentance with Fr. Rolf and Fr. Rolando blessing the people. Many approached Vassula thanking her for being there, asking for her prayers. A tall man even bowed and kissed her hand out of appreciation and joy! Many bought the One Book with the messages and gave their contact info so that they remain in touch with the TLIG friends in Naples.
Fr. Roland and Fr. Rolf blessing the people and Vassula making the sign of the Cross
A man thankful for Vassula’s witnessing
Relaxing after the meeting at the pool side Fr. Rolf, Magda, Vassula, Sevan, Fiorina and Francis
Thursday, May 18: Naples - Benevento
At noon, we took the train for Benevento, a city and commune of Campania, capital of the province of Benevento, 50 km. northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill, 130 meters above sea level. Senator Davide Nava, a friend of Vassula’s and the Messages for many years, received Vassula and the group, filled with endless joy.
The meeting that evening was going to take place at Auditorium San Gennaro, the parish hall of the church. Msgr. Don Pasquale, who had invited Vassula to witness in his church, when she and her husband lived in Rome, received Vassula joyfully but when he saw Fr. Rolf, he just could not believe that he was seeing an old friend again! They knew each other for 20 years, as Don Pasquale had been supporting a mission with children in Russia.
Magda checking the projection, with Fr. Rolf and Sevan
Vassula preparing for the meeting
Before the meeting, there was an Hour of Adoration in the church, and at the end of the Adoration, Don Pasquale personally announced Vassula’s witnessing meeting in the auditorium, asking everybody not to miss it. Fr. Rolf celebrated Holy Mass and at the end, the entire congregation moved to the auditorium. Don Pasquale, who is charismatic, presented Vassula and her mission with a fire from his heart. Vassula once more shared with the audience the messages of our Lord.
Fr. Rolf celebrating Holy Mass
Don Pasquale introducing Vassula
Fr. Rolf talking about the saving work of the Messages and showing the Italian book
Vassula witnessing - Francis translating
When Vassula finished, Don Pasquale read the message Vassula received on May 9, 2017, in Florence, recited the Prayer of Repentance, and along with Fr. Rolf blessed the people.
Many young people were present in the audience, paying attention to every word said. Many bought the Italian One Book, copies of Vassula’s paintings, and gathered for her to sign their books.
Fr. Rolf showing Don Pasquale and Davide Nava what Vassula wrote in his TLIG book
Asking Vassula to sign the TLIG book
Old time friends - Don Pasquale, Vassula, Davide Nava and Fr. Rolf
Friday, May 19: Benevento - Pietrelcina - Circello
During breakfast, while Vassula and Fr. Rolf were discussing the program of the day, a small group of joyful young people from Central Africa and Madagascar approached their table. They recognized Vassula and they knew of the Messages because of her previous visits in Africa. They complained that Vassula never visited Madagascar! Vassula explained: “because I was never invited there.” The happy group said then that they were willing to invite her immediately! They were also happy to have their photo taken with Vassula and Fr. Rolf.
The group from Madagascar with Vassula and Fr. Rolf
A bit later, Don Pasquale and Davide Nava drove us from Benevento to Pietrelcina, a town and commune in the province of Benevento in the Campania region of southern Italy, the birthplace of St. Pio. They visited the church of St. Mary of the Angels where he was ordained deacon in 1909, the house where St. Pio was born, and the church where he was baptized and where he continued to celebrate Holy Mass for six years. The mayor of Pietrelcina came to meet us and gave us all a special publication about Pietrelcina and St. Pio. Later, they drove us to the top of a hill where we visited the elm tree where St. Pio received the invisible stigmata.
Pietrelcina - Don Pasquale sharing about St Pio with Vassula, Fr. Rolf, Davide Nava, Sevan, Francis, Fiorina and Magda (left) filming
Davide always talking care of Vassula - crossing the road to enter the Sacred Family Church with the museum with the relics of St Pio
The hyoid bone - relic of St. Pio
Fingerless gloves and scarf of St. Pio
Davide Nava, Vassula, Don Pasquale, Fr. Rolf at the steps of the Church of St. Mary’s of the Angels
Davide, Vassula, Francis, Fiorina, the Mayor, Don Pasquale, Fr. Rolf
The elm tree under which St Pio received his stigmata
After leaving Pietrelcina, the group headed for the hotel in Colle Sannita, situated on a hill, surrounded by tall trees. It wasn’t far from Pietrelcina - about 23 km., although driving up and down hills made it seem like hours of driving; unfortunately, the previous day a road had closed because of a road subsidence. A light shower and low temperature once again reminded all of winter. Nonetheless, early in the evening, when Vassula’s witnessing meeting was to take place in Circello, the neighboring city and hometown of Senator Davide Nava, the sky was clear again. Circello is a commune in the province of Benevento in the Italian region Campania, located about 70 km. northeast of Naples and approximately 700 meters above sea level.
Upon arriving at the Church of the Annunciation and after participating in Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Rolf, Vassula addressed the congregation that had filled the church to listen to the TLIG messages. There were many young people sitting in the front seats. The next day, Vassula was told they were there because they had prepared to sing 'Emmanuel,' the song Jesus wrote on November 11, 1993, but those responsible forgot to invite the young people to sing it. Vassula, very disappointed, asked them to record it and send it to TLIG Radio to broadcast it so people could then hear it all over the world.
Fr. Rolf during his sermon. Fr. Antonio, the parish priest of the Church of the Annunciation, Circello
Fr. Antonio, the parish priest, thanked Vassula for her testimony and for sharing the Messages with the congregation. People bought the TLIG One Book and asked Vassula to sign it.
Circello - Vassula witnessing and Francis translating
Young people reading the prayer of repentance
Vassula signing the Italian book of the Messages
Sunday, May 21: Rome - Bari
Vassula’s twelfth witnessing meeting was to take place in Bari, a port city on the Adriatic Sea, and the capital of southern Italy’s Puglia region. Its maze-like old town, Barivecchia, occupies a headland between two harbors. Surrounded by narrow streets, the 11th century Basilica di San Nicola holds St. Nicholas’s relics.
After Fr. Rolf celebrated Holy Mass at the chapel of Villa Maria Pia, Vassula with Francis and Fiorina flew from Rome to Bari. Magda had flown there earlier that morning. Fr. Rolf had to return to Geneva and couldn’t join the mission in Bari.
At the airport, Rosa Maria, the organizer in Bari and her husband Michele, joyfully received them and drove them to the hotel. After a very short rest, Vassula arrived at the hall at the Hotel Palace which was almost full. During her witnessing, people were still arriving and more chairs had to be placed to accommodate everyone.
Vassula witnessing in Hotel Palace in Bari
Bari - Vassula witnessing, Francis translating
The audience was very touched by Vassula’s witnessing. They bought copies of her paintings and the One Book and asked her to sign it. Rosa Maria with the assistance of her sister Enza had done a great job announcing the meeting. Now they had an even greater task: to keep the fire burning in Bari, a vivid fire that Jesus had lit through His Words of Wisdom.
Rosa Maria, the organizer in Bari
(Front) Fiorina, Rosa Maria, Vassula, Michele, Enza. (Back) Francis, Magda
The night ended with the group arranging for the next morning’s visit to the Basilica of St. Nicholas.
Monday, May 22: Bari - Lecce
After breakfast we visited the Basilica of St. Nicholas. The huge church was full of Russian Orthodox lay people and many priests and bishops celebrating a Divine Liturgy. After asking the reason for this big celebration, a security officer said that Russians venerate and love St. Nicholas very much and that they celebrate him twice a year – December 6/19th and May 9/22nd (with the old calendar). They were also celebrating a historic moment: the previous day, on May 21, a relic of St. Nicholas arrived in Moscow, Russia, from the Basilica in Bari, where his relics have been kept since 1087. It was the first time the relic, a five-inch bone fragment from the Saint’s rib, left Bari.
Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy in the Basilica of St Nicholas in Bari
When Vassula and the group attempted to visit the small underground church where the relics of St. Nicholas are kept under the altar in the grave crypt, the queue was moving very slowly. So, in order not to miss the train that they had to take for Lecce in two hours, they couldn’t visit the crypt. But they prayed to St. Nicholas to open the doors and hearts in Russia where the next TLIG pilgrimage would take place in September, 2017.
Off to Lecce: supported by a history going back at least 2,500 years, modern-day Lecce is the main town on Puglia's Salento peninsula, down at the heel of Italy's boot. Lecce is a minor Baroque masterpiece: the 17th century buildings adapted the fashionable Baroque style to the soft local stone, with decorations and cherubs extravagantly covering facades and doorways.
Tuesday, May 23: Lecce
Vassula and Sr Martha in Lecce
After breakfast, Sister Martha, an old friend of Vassula’s and the messages, came to the hotel. After spending some time with her to catch-up on things, Vassula informed Sister Martha of all the latest developments with her mission. Sr. Martha shared with Vassula about Lucia Didato, the lady who had organized everything for Vassula’s meeting in Lecce for that evening. Apparently, some years back, Lucia was approached by Saint Giuseppe Moscati who appeared to her to give her prescriptions for the sick people. Learn more here.
Having a refreshment - Vassula, Fiorina, Francis and Sr Martha
At 8 p.m., Vassula was to witness in Teatro Kolbe, the parish hall of the church of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Before the meeting, a lady, Mrs. Caterina Raffaelli, approached Vassula speaking Greek and explained her background: her parents were Greek, and like many other Greek families, they had come to Lecce after WWII. She was born there. She still has her family roots in Corfu, as she said, and hopes to go there next year. She had come to listen to Vassula’s witnessing, bought the One Book and asked her to sign it even before her talk.
Among the people that came were many young people, even teenagers who had passed from the hall earlier out of curiosity to see what the hall was being prepared for. With a few words in Italian that Magda had picked up throughout the tour in Italy and with very expressive hand-gestures, she invited them to come and listen. Right before the meeting started, Padre Antonio, the parish priest rushed to the hall as well.
The stand with the photos of Vassula’s paintings
At the end, Padre Antonio read the Prayer of Repentance and gave a blessing to all present. Rejoicing and filled with enthusiasm, some people from the audience gathered around Vassula for a group photo and asked her to sign their books.
Vassula signing a book for a lady and Padre Antonio
A group photo with Padre Antonio, Vassula and Sr Martha after the meeting in Lecce
Lucia Didato, Sr Martha, Padre Antonio and Vassula after the meeting in Lecce
The next day, May 24, early in the morning, Vassula, Magda, Francis and Fiorina took the train back to Bari to catch the flight for Rome. In Rome, Vassula was going to fly back with me to Athens and from there to Rhodes.
The marathon tour in Italy was completed. Jesus had sent Vassula to water His Garden and as an obedient pupil and apostle, she fulfilled His desire. This mission was not one of the easiest ones, as Jesus emphasized on April 5: “And, oh, how much more Italy is in need, Italy that has gone sooo dry.” (TLIG Messages, April 5, 2017) His intention was to pour out His Spirit, to water that desert and to make rivers out of the dry soil.
And yes! While Vassula was speaking in God’s Name about the words He Himself has given to her, tepid hearts, restless minds and lazy spirits were touched, set aflame, and the happy smile on people’s faces once more confirmed the work of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Our Lord at His meetings! New people came forward, wanting to know more, be involved and work in this blessed field, in True Life in God. “Vassula, I am and will always be in these meetings; your discourses will come from Me, out of My Mouth your words will come, have I not said that I am going to water My orchard and irrigate My garden?” (TLIG Messages, November 21, 1988)
“It is good to give thanks to Yahweh,
to play in honour of your name, Most High,
to proclaim your love at daybreak
and your faithfulness all through the night
to the music of the zither and lyre,
to the rippling of the harp.
I am happy, Yahweh, at what you have done;
at Your achievements I joyfully exclaim,
‘Great are your achievements, Yahweh,
immensely deep your thoughts!’” Ps 92:1-5
In Christ Jesus,