Saint James the Greater by Ermes Dovico

Mary, Mystical Rose apparitions described by Pierina Gilli

In Pierina Gilli Diaries, ample space is dedicated to the apparitions (of Mary and not only) the visionary of Montichiari is said to have had from 1944 onwards. Although still unrecognised, it is to those that the messages and fruits judged positively by the Church today are linked. Let us review the main ones.

Ecclesia 11_07_2024 Italiano Español
The Madonna of Rosa Mistica and Pierina Gilli

After the Rome-Brescia exchange and the substantial approval given by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to the messages spread by Pierina Gilli (1911-1991), devotion to Mystical Rose has officially entered a new phase. It is not yet a question of the recognition of the supernatural nature of the apparitions that occurred to the visionary of Montichiari (see here and here), but there is recognition - with the Pope's countersignature - of the many fruits linked to the spiritual experience of Pierina herself and, indeed, the various positive aspects of the messages that she said she had received from Our Lady and in part also from Jesus.

It is therefore worthwhile to examine at least the core of these apparitions, which also cost Pierina multiple misunderstandings and humiliations within the Church. Nonetheless,  she remained an obedient daughter to the Bride of Christ throughout her life. While, on the other hand, there was no lack of pastors and ordinary faithful who believed her and helped her in her mission.

In her Diaries, Pierina Gilli gives an account of the many apparitions she had from 1944 onwards. There were two fundamental Marian cycles, destined for the Church and the whole world: the first between 1946-47, when Our Lady transmitted to her a new devotion to be practised primarily in religious institutes and among priests, but which everyone (each according to their state of life) is called upon to cultivate in some way; the second in 1966, addressed to the sick in particular and to all her children in general.

Preparatory to the first Marian cycle were the apparitions of St. Mary Di Rosa (1813-1855), foundress of the Handmaids of Charity. Pierina had entered this institute as a postulant at the age of 33, but never managed to fulfil her desire - which had arisen in her adolescence - to become a nun, due to recurring serious health problems that more than once brought her to the brink of death. Just when her death seemed imminent, on the morning of 17 December 1944, after 12 days of unconsciousness and 40 hours in a complete comatose state due to meningitis, Pierina was visited by a nun dressed in black, who cured her. That nun was the then Blessed Mary Di Rosa, as the Ancelles, amazed at Pierina's sudden improvement, realised after speaking with the postulant herself. From then on, St Mary Di Rosa would appear many more times to Pierina, either alone or in the company of Our Lady.

The first encounter with the heavenly Mother took place on 24 November 1946, when Pierina saw the Virgin with three swords piercing her breast demanding the offering, as we read in the Diaries, of "prayers, sacrifices and sufferings to make reparation for the sins of three categories of souls consecrated to God. First: for religious souls who betray their vocation; Second: to repair the mortal sin of these souls; Third: to repair the betrayal of priests who make themselves unworthy of their sacred ministry'.

On the night of a second apparition of Mary with the three swords piercing her breast (1 June 1947), Pierina also had a vision of Hell where she saw consecrated souls dead in a state of mortal sin. Pierina, then a nurse at the hospital in Montichiari, had come to that vision after a month of penance and demonic persecution. And those sufferings, lived in union with the cross of Christ, "were worthy to snatch some of our nuns from the power of the devil", as Di Rosa revealed to her on the same occasion.

The crucial apparition took place on 13 July 1947: for the first time the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the guise of the Mystical Rose. On her breast were no longer the three swords, but three beautiful roses: a white one (symbol of prayer), a red one (sacrifice) and a golden yellow one (penance). "Our Lord," Our Lady said, "sends me to bring a new Marian devotion to all religious institutes and congregations, male and female, and also to secular priests". Our Lady then asked that the 13th of each month be celebrated in every institute as a "Marian day", to which 12 days of preparation should be added: "Let this day be sanctified with special prayers, such as Holy Mass, Holy Communion, the Rosary, the hour of adoration". In Pierina's messages, Mary insists that all this serves to make reparation for the offences against the Lord by consecrated souls. Mystical Rose promises that institutes that honour her more "will have a greater flowering of vocations and fewer betrayed vocations (...) and great holiness in God's ministers". And she asks that 13 July be a special feast day.


Also in 1947, there was the cycle of the four apparitions in the duomo of Montichiari. In the first, on November 16, Our Lady placed her feet on four joined tiles, after having asked Pierina to make a cross on them with her tongue, as a sign of penance and purification. And she recommended that those tiles be fenced off, so as not to tread on them, as a reminder of her visit. On the same day Mary made reference for the first time to her apparitions at Ghiaie di Bonate, which occurred in May 1944 to little Adelaide Roncalli (and are still unacknowledged), lamenting that there "the reality of my presence is denied". She also recommended not to commit any more sins against purity.

In the third apparition at the duomo (7 December 1947) Mary appeared with the little shepherd saints Francisco and Jacinta and revealed to Pierina the link between Fatima, Bonate and Montichiari: "At Fatima I made the devotion of consecration to my Heart spread. At Bonate I tried to make it penetrate the Christian family. Instead here in Montichiari I desire that the devotion already mentioned "Mystical Rose", united to the devotion to my Heart, be deepened in religious institutes, so that religious souls may attract abundant graces from my maternal Heart".

For the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1947, in the fourth and last apparition of the cycle at the duomo, almost beyond belief, Mary asked to practise on 8 December each year, at midday, what she called the "hour of universal grace". By practising it,' said the heavenly Mother, asking that her wish be reported to the Pope, 'numerous spiritual and corporal graces will be obtained'.


The second cycle concerning four apparitions Pierina said she had had at Fontanelle, a country hamlet in Montichiari, so called because of its springs. On 17 April 1966, Sunday in Albis, Our Lady walked barefoot on the steps of a very rustic staircase, now incorporated in the shrine dedicated to Her. She pointed to the spot where she placed a crucifix: 'The sick and all my children, before taking or drinking the water, ask forgiveness of my divine Son with a loving kiss,' said Mary, who then touched the nearby spring in two places, making it miraculous. In the next apparition (13 May) she asked that that one be called "the Fountain of Grace" and that "good works be done for the sick".

On 9 June '66, the day of Corpus Christi and the third apparition at the Fontanelle, the heavenly Mother expressed the desire that the wheat from the surrounding fields be used to make hosts to be sent to Rome and then, by 13 October, to Fatima. That grain actually arrived "to the beloved son Pope Paul", as Mary - during the fourth apparition of the cycle (6 August, the Feast of the Transfiguration) - called Paul VI, who blessed it personally and reserved a portion for Fatima. If this and other requests of the Blessed Virgin were fulfilled, others were not, especially due to resistance from the local curia.

The link with the Marian apparition to Portugal also emerges in the request that Our Lady made again in the last apparition at the Fontanelle: "My divine Son Jesus has sent me once more to ask for the worldwide union of reparatory Communion, and this to be on October 13".