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"A sign of delicacy by Luisa towards me"

The testimony of Mr. Umberto Lotito at the funeral of Luisa (on March 7, 1947)

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On November 6, 2017 Mr. Umberto Lotito passed away. He was born in Corato, on January 19, 1927. He was cabinetmaker and an eyewitness of the days of preparation of Luisa’s funeral.

His living testimony was that of a boy, just twenty years old, who had a great esteem for Luisa since his childhood

The first meetings with Luisa Piccarreta, date back to the period when Mr. Umberto and his brothers were altar boys, at the Parish of San Giuseppe in Corato. Together with the parish priest Don Pasquale De Palma, they often brought Christ in the Eucharist to Luisa Piccarreta at her home in Via Maddalena, 20, where the Servant of God died. For Umberto to get into that house was like entering a shrine.  In Corato, so many extraordinary news about Luisa was circulating, so the little altar boys were curious to see the woman of whom people spoke so well. Umberto's parents had great respect for Luisa; when his father passed near Luisa's home, Umberto remembered that, as a sign of reverence, he raised his hat, and, if he was talking more animatedly, lowered his tone of voice. Luisa inspired a lot of sacredness around her.

But the memory and the most significant testimony that Umberto kept on Luisa (which was collected in the testimonies of the diocesan beatification process) is linked to the day of her death, on March 4, 1947. The news spread rapidly throughout the city as a flash.

On that same dayUmberto was called together with his father by Luisa's relatives for the construction of the coffin. With his father, he went to the house in via Maddalena, to take measures for the coffin and on a cardboard they made the form, since Luisa remained in her deathbed rigidly seated.

Afterwards they went to their studio, to start the construction of the coffin; that work engaged them for about four days and four nights. The casket designed by his father, had a large "S" shape with two side hearts and a glass lid. It was internally filled with white satin, with a uniform cord and golden buttons, that conferred a seal of elegance to it. The glasses were put in such a way that people could observe her body from everywhere.

After watching Luisa's body, on March 7th at about 9:30am, they brought the coffin to Luisa’ house jammed with people and waiting for her funeral at 10 am. When they arrived, there were a lot of relatives and devotees, so the Commissioner of Police, ordered to clear out the room so that they could lay the coffin and then to proceed with the arrangement of Luisa’s body. The room was cleared out and only a few relatives remained.

Umberto and his father drew near Luisa’s bed to take her and place her in the coffin. Umberto took her by placing his hand behind her shoulder, and put his other hand under her pelvis; his father took her feet. In the act of placing her it in the coffin, while Umberto was withdrawing his right arm which was under her pelvis, he got cold feet.  Blood poured out of Luisa's mouth, with the smell of putrefaction. The blood soiled the sleeve of Umberto’s jacket, his right hand, and the white scapular including the little cross that had been placed on Luisa's body.

This regrettable episode left him, for a moment, flabbergasted. Immediately his father ordered him to take off his jacket. But when he completely removed his arm, with great surprise, he realized that the blood from the sleeve of his jacket had disappeared, as well as from Luisa’s scapular and her dress.

Umberto had always considered that event as a sign of delicacy by Luisa towards him. Everything is possible for the saints. And so, Umberto and his father placed Luisa in the coffin and proceeded to the funeral procession.

Moreover, Umberto often told the story of the funeral, especially the procession that, from Luisa’s house in Via Maddalena, ran through the streets of Corato thence to the Mother Church for the celebration of Holy Mass.

The funeral, due to the large influx of clergymen, nuns and people, was a real triumph. All along the way, Umberto and his brothers, were always close to the four sides of Luisa’s coffin (see photo). They held the forks that are usually used during the procession of the Holy Mysteries on Good Friday when they stop. Those forks in the past were also used to give change to those who carried the coffin on their shoulders, through the city centre, up to the Mother Church, and after the funeral Mass, even up to Via Andria, where all the funeral stopped to say the last farewells to the deceased.

Another witness of Luisa's life and death entered Heaven. The Little Daughter of the Divine Will surely is waiting for all those who, having known her, have discovered how the Lord really uses humble and simple souls to manifest the boundless seas of His love.


Rest in peace!


don Marco
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