MARIA VALTORTA

Noah entered the ark, and the floodgates of heaven opened, and the flood submerged every living thing and every thing.

So it will be for the coming of the Son of Man.

BIOGRAPHY

She was born in Campania to Lombard parents. Her father was a cavalry officer, and the Valtorta family moved several times before settling permanently in Viareggio. The rather affluent family condition allowed young Maria to attend the “Bianconi” College in Monza, where she received a classical education, standing out especially for her excellent command of the Italian language. But even before completing her studies, her life was marked by the first clashes with her mother, who shattered her dream of marriage. After the battle of Caporetto, she decided to join the voluntary corps of Samaritan Nurses; for eighteen months she devoted herself to caring for Italian soldiers wounded in the Military Hospital of Florence. In 1920, she was attacked by a young subversive who, striking her kidneys with an iron bar, injured her spine: this was the beginning of an endless medical ordeal that, in 1934, finally saw her bedridden, paralyzed from the waist down. Despite increasing difficulties, Maria Valtorta dedicated herself entirely to the deepening of the Catholic Christian faith, also as a delegate of the Catholic Action, as long as her strength allowed. Reading the autobiography of Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, matured in her the decision to offer herself as a victim-soul: “a victim of Love first, to console the divine Love that is not loved in return, and then also of Justice, for the salvation of souls and the world.” (Maria Valtorta) With the onset of paralysis, she thought of dedicating herself to writing and sketched out a novel with autobiographical background, which was never published. In the years following her mystical experience, Maria Valtorta herself burned her work. In the course of 1943, her life, which she believed was nearing its end, underwent a radical change.

In June 1942[3], she met a Servite priest, Father Romualdo Maria Migliorini[4], a former missionary destined for the convent of Viareggio; he became her spiritual director and at the beginning of 1943 asked her to write her autobiography. Maria, overcoming her initial reluctance to dredge up a painful past, accepted and filled seven autographed notebooks in a few months. Deeply devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows, she entered the Third Order of Servites on March 25, 1944, the solemnity of the Annunciation, precisely at the Viareggio community.

The second and crucial event of the year occurred on Good Friday: on April 23, 1943, Maria would have heard a “voice,” which she thought was the voice of Jesus, urging her to write, as if under dictation. That first “dictation” marked the beginning of a monumental work: between 1943 and 1947, with “peaks” up to 1951, Maria poured out, without rereading, without corrections, a hundred and twenty-two autographed notebooks (which contain all the works different from the Autobiography), written episodically and simultaneously. Yet, from those health and work conditions – further aggravated by the war events, which also saw her evacuated – voluminous and organic texts were born.

Soon, the presumed “voice” of Jesus – to which, in the “dictations,” were gradually added also the Eternal Father, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the writer’s guardian angel – indicated as the main work the great work on the Gospel, which, once completed, would have described (in a series of “visions”) and commented (in the “dictations” accompanying the individual episodes) the life of Jesus and Mary, from the Immaculate Conception to the Assumption.

Father Migliorini soon began to make typewritten copies of what Maria was writing and also to circulate them, although she and this “voice” were opposed to any dissemination of the writings before Maria’s death. However, this dissemination attracted the attention of the Holy Office, which ordered the withdrawal of all circulating typewritten copies and the transfer to Rome of Father Migliorini, which took place in March 1946 [5].

The entire work of Valtorta was nonetheless submitted, for evaluation and judgment, to the then Pope Pius XII (see L’Osservatore Romano of Friday, February 27, 1948[6]), who, after carefully examining it, told the three Servite fathers he had received in a private audience: “Publish this work as it is; those who read will understand.” The work was also analyzed by many Catholic theologians who unanimously declared that it was absolutely consistent with Catholic orthodoxy[8]. The Mariologist Father Gabriele Maria Roschini, founder of the Marianum Faculty of Theology in Rome and one of the greatest Mariologists of the 20th century, wrote a book in 1973 entitled The Madonna in the Writings of Maria Valtorta), praising the Valtortian work, and received the appreciation and blessing of Pope Paul VI for this work.

INSPIRED WORKS

THE GOSPEL AS IT WAS REVEALED TO ME

The collection includes 10 volumes that narrate the life of Jesus, reporting episodes and daily life events that do not appear in the canonical Gospels or that appear in reduced form. Maria Valtorta always claimed not to have invented the new episodes of Christ’s biography, but to have limited herself to meticulously describing the mystical visions that she claimed to have and that she believed were sent to her by Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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maria valtora EVANGELO
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THE NOTEBOOKS

Maria Valtorta wrote a series of visions and dictations that have been collected in three volumes of the so-called Notebooks (The Notebooks for 1943, The Notebooks for 1944, and The Notebooks for 1945-1950). They contain mystical, spiritual, and theological experiences and reflections. Precisely because of their miscellaneous nature, it is not easy to summarize their contents satisfactorily because they include all the writings that are not relevant to The Gospel as it was revealed to me, to the Book of Azaria, and to the Lessons on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The passages are collected in chronological order and contain teachings, dictations, visions, theological and doctrinal themes, as well as episodes from Maria Valtorta’s personal life during those years, such as the experience of the “spiritual night” during which, between April and May 1944, she experiences the abandonment of God. In the volume The Notebooks for 1945-1950, there is a commentary on the first chapters of the Apocalypse, the last book of the New Testament of the Holy Bible. Among others, there are also visions of the first Christian martyrs in Rome, the vision of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi, the apparitions of Lourdes, and many other visions of saints from Christian history, as well as the vision of Satan, the end of the world, the supernatural realms, and other themes belonging to Christian eschatology.

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