Pierina Gilli (August 3, 1911 – January 12, 1991), was a Roman Catholic Italian visionary born in the municipality of Montichiari which is located in the Brescia province of the Lombardy region in northern Italy). She died there when she was 79 years old. She is mainly known as the mystic seer to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed herself as Rosa Mystica, especially in regard to Our Lady's maternal role pertaining to her deeply beloved consecrated souls of priests and of male and female members of religious institutes within the Roman Catholic Church.
Pierina Gilli was born on August 3, 1911, in the San Giorgio section of the northern Italian municipality of Montichiari. Her parents, Pancrazio Gilli and Rosa Bartoli, had three children, of which Pierina was the eldest. Her family was poor, as her father worked as a daily hired farm-worker. Due to its limited household income, the family often moved to various residences in Montichiari.
When Pierina was seven years old her father, died, leaving her mother to support the three children. Between 1918 and 1922, Pierina was placed in a Montichiari orphanage, conducted by the sisters of the Handmaids of Charity. This experience had a lasting impact on Pierina. Pierina received her First Holy Communion in the orphanage when she was eight.
Pierina returned to her family to assist her mother with the care of her two younger siblings, at the age of 11. At age 12, her mother (who was now remarried), and eight siblings moved to live in a cottage with her step-family. Pierina claimed she had received inappropriate attention from her step-father. Although not wishing to introduce any discord into these two families that were now living together, Pierina eventually confided everything to her mother.
Partly due to that trauma, Pierina decided to consider a vocation in the religious life at age seventeen. Her confessor advised her to wait, in order to further discern any genuine religious calling to the consecrated life.
Despite all of Pierina's troubles, a soothing glimpse of her caring and devout family upbringing can be observed by this early childhood reminiscence from Pierina's diary: "I was the first of nine children, I the first to be delighted in the joy, the bliss, and the caresses of my parents. The day of 3 August 1911 was the dawn of my earthly coming, and I was baptized on August 5, the feast of the Madonna of the Snow; on that given day, my Mamma consecrated me to the true Mamma in Heaven, so that her maternal protection would preserve me as white and pure as snow. How many times my dear Mamma repeated to me, by spurring me to be good and not to be capricious, because I was consecrated to the Madonna and therefore I must love her very much.".
At eighteen, Pierina worked as a children's assistant at a communal nursery school in Montichiari. When she was twenty years old, a marriage proposal was made to her by an honest and well-intentioned young man. For two months Pierina intimately suffered so much, because she did not feel herself to be called to the married life, but rather, she felt that the Lord wanted her totally for Himself. Her confessor finally spoke concerning her most genuine thoughts, thus confirming her vocation. Pierina was initially accepted as a postulant by the religious sisters' community of the Handmaids of Charity, but this soon had to be renounced for the first time by Pierina due to her health problems, including pleurisy, that persisted for several months. Pierina was in no condition to take her place among the postulants). Instead, forced by such circumstances, Pierina sought employment, and she worked for about seven years (from age 20 to 26: from 1931 to 1937) as a domestic servant of Father Giuseppe Brochini, and as caretaker of his elderly (frail and blind) mother, in the nearby small town of Carpenedolo.
Pierina then focused on obtaining her nursing license at the "White Villa" Care Home (managed by the Sisters of Charity of St. Antida Thouret) in the large city of Brescia. Subsequently, starting at age 29, and throughout the four years of World War II (1941–1945), she worked as a licensed nurse's aide in the Civil Hospital (managed by the Handmaids of Charity) in the smaller city of Desenzano del Garda, located on the southern shore of Lake Garda, within sight of the north Italian Alps.
Although accustomed to many trials from an early age, and perhaps even because of those tribulations, Pierina was selected as the chosen visionary of Our Lady by becoming the faithful messenger of Mary the Mystical Rose (in Italian, "Maria Rosa Mistica"). It was believed that Our Lady the Mystical Rose expressed her Christian love by embracing the souls of all her human children, and by closely caressing, through the Immaculate Heart, those predilected souls in consecrated religious life.
Earliest Apparitions of Sister Mary Crucified of the RoseEdit
The Handmaids of Charity is the Roman Catholic order of religious sisters' Montichiari orphanage was where the young adolescent Pierina stayed, and at whose Brescia postulancy house the adult Pierina (at age 32 years) entered the consecrated life in 1944.
She never attained the profession of final religious vows at this religious institute. Even so, this holy order of women deeply influenced and crucially impacted her spiritual growth and mystical development during her formative years, continuing well into her later life.
Pierina maintained detailed diaries of her many mystical experiences, in particular her spiritual visions and of the heavenly messages that were conveyed to her. From these documentary pages one can read of her encounters with Mary the Mystical Rose, and that they were anticipated and prepared for by Pierina's preliminary visions of Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose. Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose was the foundress of the congregation of the Handmaids of Charity, who was beatified on May 26, 1940 by Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli: 1876-1958) and then canonized a saint on June 12, 1954 by him.
On April 14, 1944, Pierina, then 32 years old, was accepted as a postulant by the Handmaids of Charity where she was subsequently assigned as a nurse at the Children's Hospital in the city of Brescia. On December 1, 1944, Pierina contracted meningitis, and was taken to her religious order's infirmary in Ronco for infectious isolation and medical treatment. The infirmary was located in a tiny section of the small Alpine village of Corteno Golgi, in the Brescia province. After twelve days in a comatose state Pierina was administered the Last Rite sacrament of Extreme Unction).
Beginning December 17, 1944, the Blessed Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose started to appear to her, as recorded in the visionary's diary. She announced to Pierina that she would be cured, and that she would undergo future trials. This holy foundress of the Handmaids of Charity, had in her hands a vial of ointment that was given to her by Our Lady, and she anointed Pierina, saying comfortingly to her: "You will be cured, but you will have a heavy cross to bear." Because of this, December 17, 1944 became the Blessed's feast day, which was moved to December 15 after her canonization as a saint in 1954.
On November 2, 1946, Pierina was stricken by an intestinal occlusion and was again taken to the Civil Hospital in the Montichiari. During the night of November 23–24, 1946, the Blessed Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose appeared to her again. Also, for the first time, the Madonna appeared, as described in Pierina's diary: "Then I see the most beautiful Lady, as if transparent, dressed in purple with a white veil that descends from her head to her feet; she held her arms open, and I saw three swords piercing her heart." Our Lady did not speak to, nor converse with, Pierina at that time.
A few months later, on March 12, 1947, after suffering heart failure followed by renal colic, Pierina had to be admitted again to the Civil Hospital of Montichiari, where she lost consciousness, She was assisted by her congregational sisters as well as by her mother and sisters, who feared that she might die. Again, Pierina convalesced slowly, and she would again have apparitions of Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose, even daily visions of her from June 11 to July 12, 1947, as well as a second apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary with three swords piercing her Immaculate Heart. It was at 3:15 am on the night of June 1, 1947 when the Madonna said just three words to her: "Preghiera, Sacrificio, Penitenza", with Pierina becoming cured once more by the direct intervention of Our Lady. Pierina had offered her intense redemptive sufferings for the sake of the sacred sanctification of Roman Catholic consecrated souls (namely, for the priests and for the members of male and female religious institutes, as listed in the Holy See's "Pontifical Yearbook", in Italian, "Annuario Pontificio").
Apparitions of Mary the Mystical RoseEdit
The image featuring the three roses
|Attributes||The Blessed Virgin Mary featuring three swords, or three roses in red, white and yellow.|
|Feast day||13 July|
Early 1947: First Cycle of Marian Apparitions at MontichiariEdit
During 1947, again the alleged apparitions of the Madonna as Mary the Mystical Rose, began speaking with Pierina. The first event occurred on June 1, 1947, in Pierina's room at the Civil Hospital of Montichiari. Pierina was very ill, again near the point of death. In her diary she described the appearance of Mary, in a purple dress and long white veil and with three swords piercing her Immaculate Heart, the same as on the night of November 23–24, 1946; and so, on June 1, 1947, to the extremely sick Pierina, Our Lady spoke only these three words: "Prayer, Sacrifice, Penance." Previously, during the month of May 1947, the mystic Pierina was being subjected to diabolical vexations and would have a vision of Hell. On July 1, 1947, there was another Marian apparition, during the recitation of the Rosary, and the Virgin has again she saw the three swords piercing her heart.
Then, on July 13, 1947, there occurred the first "grand" apparition.
As noted in Pierina's diary, the Blessed Virgin Mary was accompanied by the Blessed Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose; and Our Lady appeared in a splendidly different manner: in a white dress and with a white cape around her head that reached to the floor; the three swords were on the floor, and on the chest of the Virgin were three roses: one white, one red, and one gold. She explained to Pierina, "I am the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of you. Our Lord sends me to bring a new Marian devotion for all male and female institutes, religious orders, and secular priests. I promise those religious institutes, orders and secular priests who venerate me in this special way my special protection, an increase of spiritual vocations, few betrayed vocations, and great sanctity among the servants of God. I wish the 13th day of each month to be celebrated as the day of Mary. On the 12 preceding days, special prayers of preparation should be said."
The apparition continued...
Mary had identified herself as the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all Humanity, explaining to Pierina the meaning of the three swords and the three roses. The first sword means loss of the vocation as a priest or a monk. The second sword means priests, monks, and nuns who live in deadly sin. The third sword means priests and monks who commit the treason of Judas. While giving up their vocation, they often lose also their faith, their eternal beatitude, and become enemies of the Church. The white rose means the spirit of prayer. The red rose means the spirit of expiation and sacrifice. The yellow or golden rose means the spirit of penitence.
Thus, Our Lady as Mary the Mystical Rose has kindly exhorted a new Marian devotion, in favor of all Roman Catholic religious institutes and priests, by specifically requesting to be honored with a special monthly Marian Day, on the 13th of every month, and most especially on July 13, in order to expiate for the many sinful offenses made particularly by consecrated souls. Additionally, on these first thirteen days of every month, Our Lady as Mary the Mystical Rose has precisely asked for the prayerful observance of the following four long-standing Roman Catholic devotional practices: the Holy Mass, the Holy Communion, the Holy Rosary, and the Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration.
Therefore, two eminently different aspects of these Marian apparitions became manifested on June 1 and July 13, 1947 to Pierina Gilli. The first transformation pertains to Our Lady's auditory presence: the initially silent Madonna (first appearing on the night of November 23–24, 1946) then becomes the speaking Madonna (beginning on June 1, 1947). The second transformation pertains to Our Lady's visual presentation: the sorrowful and tearful Madonna (first appearing on the night of November 23–24, 1946: when Our Lady appears in purple dress and long white veil, covering her head and extending to her feet, and with three swords piercing her Immaculate Heart: this first manner represents her appearance as the grieving Madonna) then becomes the hopeful and resplendent Mary as the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all Humanity (beginning on July 13, 1947: when Our Lady appears in white dress and long white cape, likewise covering her head and extending to the floor, and with three roses [white, red, and gold] adorning her Immaculate Heart: this second manner represents her appearance as Mary the Mystical Rose). Also, significantly, the apparitions of the Blessed Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose (that started on December 17, 1944) preceded, and then often accompanied, the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, particularly throughout these two eminent transformations, as though the Blessed Sister Mary guides Pierina Gilli to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Later in that same year, on October 22, 1947, at 7:00 pm, during a prayer meeting (while the Rosary was being recited by Pierina and some of her religious sisters and nurses and doctors and patients) in the chapel of the Montichiari hospital of Pierina's religious order where she was serving as a nurse, Pierina saw a luminous ray of light emanating from the Eucharist tabernacle to a nearby statue of Blessed Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose (holding a crucifix). She saw the statue of the Blessed and the figure on the Crucifix seemed to become animated; Pierina rose up and knelt in front of the statue, and, from the crucifix in its hands, were miraculously emerging drops of blood, which Pierina wiped dry with the purification cloth from the altar, as instructed by her holy foundress.
The Blessed Sister Mary then spoke grievingly to Pierina:
"See how much blood is lost uselessly"; and next the holy foundress pleadingly asked Pierina to recite the following prayer: "My Jesus, mercy, pardon our sins." Then, Mary the Mystical Rose appeared, announcing her final visitation to the premises of the Handmaids of Charity, by saying to Pierina: "For the last time I come to request the devotion already recommended at other times. My divine Son wanted to leave proof by his most precious Blood in order to witness how great is his love for all humanity, from which is returned such great offenses. Get the purification cloth, and show it to all here present. Behold, the drops of blood of the Lord. Let it be covered by a white cloth, and then let it be exposed for three days in this chapel, together alongside with the statute of Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose that will become miraculous for the sake of the devotion of the faithful. Have the coming factual test be referred to the Bishop, and say to him that conversions and revival of faith will verify it. I interpose myself as Mediatrix between all human beings and particularly for religious souls and my divine Son who, tired of the continuously received offenses, wanted to exercise His justice. I vitally desire that this Institute of the Handmaids of Charity may be the first to honor me with the title of Mystical Rose. By such am I, as the protectress of all religious institutes, assuring my protection for a lively re-awakening in the Faith so that these elect souls may return to the primal spirit of their Founders." After a silent pause, Mary the Mystical Rose stretched open her arms and white mantle as a gesture and a sign of her protection, revealing again the three roses upon her chest, and saying sweetly to Pierina: "Live for the sake of love!", as Our Lady slowly disappeared from sight.
Latter 1947: Second Cycle of Marian Apparitions at Montichiari's Minor BasilicaEdit
Successive apparitions of Mary the Mystical Rose would then occur to Pierina, her chosen soul, while at the Dome of Montichiari il Duomo di Montichiari was a minor basilica, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title as Saint Mary of the Assumption on September 15, 1729. It was constructed on the site of an earlier church called Saint Mary Major, which was built in the 15th century.
Perhaps prophetically, the city's name of Montichiari means the Clear Mountains in English. Thus, this Marian apparitional site (Santa Maria Assunta di Montichiari, in Italian) can be rendered into English as Saint Mary of the Assumption at the Clear Mountains It was there where she would further reveal herself as Mary the Mystical Rose – thereafter consistently wearing a long white dress, with only her bare feet and her hands uncovered, wearing a full-length white cowled cape around her face with wisps of her hair showing, clasped at the bottom of her neck, descending around her shoulders and down to the floor, opened in front (thus showing on her upper chest the characteristic three roses of white and red and gold, and sometimes even showing her glowing and radiant Immaculate Heart).
At the first such event in Montichiari's minor basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption, on November 16, 1947, while Pierina was praying in thanksgiving after having attended the 7:00 a.m. Sunday Mass, it was near the altar in a wonderful light the Madonna as the Mystical Rose appeared in the midst of a garden of white and red and golden roses.
She asked Pierina to make, as an act of reparational humility, the sign of the Cross with her tongue on four tiles in the center of the basilica's floor. She requested prayer and sacrifice and penitence in reparation for the numerous offenses of humanity to the Lord. Pierina asked the Madonna if she would take her to heaven; Our Lady smiled and said to Pierina: "If you can be generous, then many graces can be obtained for the whole world." Then, the Mystical Rose delicately joined together her hands in prayer, slowly turning away and distancing herself into a waning light.
Next, during an interior locution to Pierina while praying in her hospital's chapel at mid-day on November 22, 1947, the Blessed Virgin Mary summoned her to meet at the Montichiari minor basilica at 4:00 p.m.; after conferring with her sister superior, Pierina, accompanied by five of her religious community's sisters, went to the basilica, where a few priests were already present.
While they were reciting the Rosary, in a descending and increasingly luminous light Mary the Mystical Rose, surrounded by a tapestry of roses, appeared to Pierina, saying:
"I have come down to this place because here will be great conversions." Then, Our Lady specifically pre-announced (the only time that she would ever do so) that her upcoming visitation to this basilica would occur on December 8 the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, at 12:00 noon, in order to solemnly request the Hour of Grace.
On Sunday, December 7, 1947, the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, while Pierina was being visited by and conversing with some relatives at her hospital, she received an inner locution to come quickly to the Montichiari basilica. Taking leave of her relatives and going to her superior Mother Luigia Romanin, they proceeded to the basilica, along with Pierina's priest confessor Father Luigi Bonomini: they prayed the Miserere and were just beginning to recite the Rosary, when in a flash of light the Madonna appeared, beautiful and smiling, with two small angelic children (a boy clasping her right hand and a girl clasping her left hand, both dressed in shining white robes and headbands: they were identified as the Fatima children, by Mary the Mystical Rose). Our Lady spoke to Pierina Gilli, addressing her and her mother superior Luigia Romanin and her priest confessor Father Luigi Bonomini:
"I have come to bring graces and blessings to the three of you, for the work and sacrifices that you have done for my intentions." She confided some secrets to Pierina, and then with a penetrating glance said to her: "Tomorrow at noon I shall come and show you a smallest part of Paradise. ... Tomorrow I will show you my Immaculate Heart, so little known by humanity. At Fatima I made known the devotion of consecration to my Heart. At Bonate I sought to make this penetrate into Christian families. Instead here at Montichiari I desire to deeply enkindle the Mystical Rose devotion; united with the devotion to my Heart, it comes profoundly into religious institutes, so that religious souls may draw abundant graces from my maternal Heart. With this apparition for the sanctification of religious souls, I close the cycle of such apparitions." Our Lady promised that she would continue to provide special graces for the Handmaids of Charity, and she also specifically requested prayers (as at Fatima) for the conversion of Russia, whose soldiers were affecting the tranquility and peace of Russia itself and of many nations, and particularly of Italy at that time.
Thus, on December 7, 1947, accompanied by Jacinta and Francisco Marto, the two youngest of the three famous Marian visionary shepherd children of Fatima, Portugal, Mary the Mystical Rose had reappeared, explaining to the visionary Pierina as she wrote in her diary about these two heavenly children who were entrusted to her:
"They will be your companions in every tribulation. They also have suffered, although much younger than you." Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919) and Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920), brother and sister to each other, died as victim souls in their very early teenage years.
On May 13, 2000, they were beatified as Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto by Pope John Paul II (Karol Jozef Wojtyla: 1920-2005), at the Marian basilica renowned throughout the world as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, in Portugal.
In the profound mystical sense of deep spiritual developments pertaining to these three inter-connected Marian apparitions that occurred within the 20th century, the story of Our Lady of Fátima (in Fátima, Portugal; during 1917) is thereby continued by the story of Our Lady of Ghiaie (in Bonate, Italy; during 1944) as well as by the story of Mary the Mystical Rose (in Montichiari, Italy; during 1946 to 1983).
Various aspects concerning these three Marian apparitions are explored and explained in La Madre della Chiesa, Rosa Mistica: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: Le Anime, La Famiglia, La Chiese (Mother of the Church, the Mystical Rose: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: The Souls, The Family, The Church), a book of testimonials, compiled over the course of four years and published in the Holy Year 1975, by Father Eligio Garbo; which informs mostly about the Montichiari apparitions but also presents the similarities and complementarities pertaining to the Fatima and Bonate and Montichiari supernatural events, as concisely noted on page 7:
"Thousands were the persons that assisted with the facts and at the apparitions of Montichiari: some have done notations and writings; many others even today can testify. Therefore we have collected and transcribed these manifestations of love, these recollections made about the Madonna. These remembrances moreover are reconnected, by the Madonna herself, about Fatima and about Bonate: at Fatima, the devotion and the consecration (of individual Souls) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; at Bonate, the consecration and the sanctification of the Family; at Montichiari, the sanctification and the devotion lived by (religious) Vocations and by the Mystical Body, the Church, of which She is the Mother." 
Although Pierina was greatly discouraged and even pressured by numerous persons, including Monsignor Agostino Gazzoli, representing the Bishop of the Brescia diocese, from going to the Montichiari minor basilica at the time appointed (the noon hour of December 8, 1947) by the Blessed Virgin Mary, so as not to make a bad impression about herself. As the mid-day hour approached, Pierina, even though reproved and given injunctions by some authoritative ecclesiastical figures who tried mightily to dissuade her, with an inner strength that she herself could not explain, decisively said, at 11:30 a.m. on December 8, 1947: "Now it is necessary that I go." Pierina would have preferred to have been accompanied by her supportive mother and the sister superior of her hospital, but she hastily reached the destination on her own, arriving at Montichiari's minor basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption, just at the noon hour.
Significantly, on December 8, 1947, at 12:00 noon, Mary the Mystical Rose resplendently appears to Pierina in the Montichiari basilica, where about a thousand persons are attending the Mass for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. As had been pre-announced (the only instance when any of Our Lady's apparitions was specifically noted before-hand to Pierina), the visionary sees Mary the Mystical Rose majestically descending a wide staircase, beautifully lined with numerous white and red and gold roses, to the center of the basilica's floor; and Our Lady says to Pierina:
"I am the Immaculate Conception. I am Mary of Grace, the Mother of my Divine Son Jesus Christ. By my coming to the Clear Mountains (Montichiari), I desire to be called the Mystical Rose. Furthermore my desire is to see instituted the Hour of Grace for the whole world, by celebrating it on December 8th of every year, in order to obtain graces and conversions; and to request the construction of railings for the custody of these cited four floor tiles, together with a statue that replicates the Mystical Rose."
And then, as soon as Pierina was seeing on the Madonna's breast, in a blazing light, her Immaculate Heart, there simultaneously was happening in the basilica the two attributed miraculous cures, regarding a paralyzed child and a mute woman.
These two instantaneous healings involved: a young boy Ugo Senici about six years old, having suffered from polio and not being able to stand or to walk (who suddenly ran around and jumped up and down excitedly; later in life he would marry); and a 26-year-old woman Teresina Magli, having suffered for nine years from severe tuberculosis and not being able to speak even a word (who suddenly sang out a spontaneous song of praise in a loud voice; she would soon thereafter become a pious nun, living sacrificially only to expiate for the sins of priests and of members of religious orders). A third miraculous cure also happened during the same time as the other two, involving a mentally disturbed 36-year-old woman, Lauriana Zamboni, who was healed at home while her supportive family members were praying for her inside Montichiari's minor basilica, precisely when Mary the Mystical Rose was appearing during the Hour of Grace.
Therefore, Our Lady further revealed herself as Mary the Mystical Rose on December 8, 1947; and moreover, she requested that the Hour of Grace be celebrated annually on December 8 at 12:00 noon.
After these episodes at Montichiari's minor basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption, Pierina was soon investigated and closely interrogated by the diocesan ecclesiastical authorities. Subsequently, she secluded herself, at age 38 years, on May 20, 1949, at the convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Child (whose superior was Sister Agnese Lanfaloni) in Brescia, Italy. She would not become a member of that religious order.
Pierina stayed at this convent for 19 years, rendering her nursing services to this community of religious sisters, even though Pierina herself sometimes needed to be cared for. Pierina had placed herself under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Giustino Carpin, O.F.M.Conv.(superior of the Conventual Franciscan Fathers in Brescia, Italy that would span 20 years.
Pierina then found that the Marian apparitions occurred very rarely for a long time, but they were to return newly intensified in 1966.
1966: Third Cycle of Marian Apparitions at FontanelleEdit
According to the testimony of Francesca (Franca) Dal Ri Cornado (1924–1993: foundress of the [Roman Catholic] Charismatic Movement of Assisi, in Brescia, Italy), the apparitions of Pierina were resumed as a requested sign, by their mutual spiritual director, Fr. Giustino Carpin, O.F.M.Conv., in order to verify the interior locutions that Franca Cornado had been receiving since 1958.
Reportedly, Fr. Giustino had invited Franca, without entering into any details, to ask for an especial grace from the Lord – and the grace was exactly that his other spiritual daughter Pierina would see again the Madonna who had promised to newly manifest herself without specifying when and where. Over time, Fr. Giustino and Pierina became close friends.
As vaguely pre-announced on February 27, 1966, Our Lady as Mary the Mystical Rose would reappear to Pierina, then being almost 55 years old, on April 17, 1966, Whitsunday (White Sunday, "domenica in albis"), near a spring of water located at Fontanelle (in English, the Little Fountains), a small locality about three kilometers from the center of Montichiari, in the direction of Carpenedolo. The Madonna communicated the following message, pertaining to the small stairway leading down to the spring, as recorded in Pierina's diary:
"My Divine Son Jesus is all love. He has invited me to render miraculous this spring. As a sign of penance and of purification, give a kiss to the (top) step, then go down a few steps, stop, then give another kiss and go down further. For a third time, give again a kiss to the (bottom) step, and here can be placed the Crucifix. The sick and all my children, before taking and drinking the water, should ask pardon from my Divine Son. ... Now here is your mission, in the midst of the sick and the needy."
In a second apparition at Fontanelle, on May 13, 1966, the 49th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, Mary the Mystical Rose conveyed to Pierina to call the spring "The Font of Grace", inviting humanity to prayer, to sacrifice, and to penance, in order to save ourselves from ruin.
The third apparition happened on June 9, 1966. The Solemnity of Corpus Christi: the Blessed Virgin would express her desire according to which a part of the grain from the nearby fields would be transformed into "the Eucharistic Bread" and brought to Fatima on October 13. Moreover, she would express also her desire that the people of Montichiari would consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart.
In the fourth and final apparition at Fontanelle, on August 6, 1966, the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, the Madonna would request the institution of "the World Union of Reparative Communion", to be held on October 13; additionally, her function as the mediatrix between her Son and humanity was recorded, by adjoining:
"I have chosen this place of Montichiari because in its children that work the soil, there is still humility as in a poor Bethlehem."
Fontanelle is a small section (fraction, or "frazione") of Montichiari. Thus, even prophetically and spiritually in its meek humbleness and mere littleness, Maria Rosa Mistica a Fontanelle di Montichiari can be rendered from Italian into English as Mary the Mystical Rose at the Little Fountains of the Clear Mountains.
Since then, at Fontanelle (the Little Fountains, the springs of living water), there has been established the Sanctuary of Mary the Mystical Rose (in Italian, il Santuario di Maria Rosa Mistica), which is sometimes also referred to as "the little Lourdes of Italy" (in Italian, "la piccola Lourdes italiana"). Even the Blessed Virgin Mary, appearing as the Mystical Rose to Pierina Gilli, said on May 19, 1970:
"Montichiari can be a second Lourdes."
Pierina began a very reclusive life from the late 1960s onwards, living simply and prayerfully in a donated little, humble house with a small prayer chapel (dedicated to Mary the Mystical Rose), making herself quietly available at her private home (in Montichiari's section or "frazione", called Boschetti, which in English means "the little forests"), in order to receive cordially and to pray fervently with the visitors coming on pilgrimage to Fontanelle (and to the Montichiari minor basilica), while the Marian apparitions and messages were continuing thereafter.
The last recorded Marian apparition occurred on March 24, 1983 to Pierina, being 71 years old, in her Boschetti home, Mary the Mystical Rose would express her desire to see the realization of a special Marian Sanctuary with five cupolas in Montichiari, and Our Lady would specifically request that progress be made in producing a Mystical Rose Sanctuary medal according to her instructions.
After Pierina's death, during the 1990s and 2000s (decade), despite the local Brescia diocese's generally unsupportive historical stance, some 40 reported apparitions of Our Lady, a few times as the sorrowful Madonna, though mostly as Mary the Mystical Rose; as recorded in Pierina Gilli's diaries.
The number of pilgrims coming to Fontanelle and Montichiari has increased – so much that since May 5, 2001, Father Piero Boselli (as named by Bishop Giulio Sanguineti; and as assisted by Father Emilio Treccani) has been serving as director in regard to the spiritual care and needs of the numerous pilgrims, coming not only from Italy and other nearby European countries such as Germany and Austria but also from other nations as well, even as far away as from Brazil; as permitted by Bishop Giulio Sanguineti,
Sociologist Bruno Massaro has researched the apparitions, and has written a book on his findings The Case of Pierina Gilli of Montichiari (2003).
In relation to Montichiari and to Fontanelle, the spiritual conversions and the miraculous cures and the liberation from diabolical possessions are still continuing, accompanied by other supernatural signs, such as (for examples) solar prodigies and luminous crosses in the sky.
Positions of the Roman Catholic ChurchEdit
The following five pronouncements were made over the course of several decades by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brescia as cited by Alfredo Tradigo:
- Communicated by the Episcopal Curia on June 30, 1968: "The Monsignor Bishop vividly exhorts all the faithful that they declare themselves respectful to the directives of the Church not to favor either by publications or by pilgrimages the spreading of devotions that are founded upon a non-approved interpretation of facts neither objectively controlled nor responsibly evaluated."
- Communicated by Monsignor Luigi Morstabilini on November 25, 1975: "The Monsignor Bishop renews the firm invitation to the faithful and to the clergy because by their obsequious acceptance of preceding decisions they might find at other sanctuaries and places recognized by the Church the better form to experience the right and necessary devotion to the Mother of God according to more authentic contents of faith and of Catholic spirituality."
- Declaration of Monsignor Bruno Foresti on October 15, 1984: "The Bishop of Brescia supported by the authoritative opinion of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, communicates that (a) the afore-mentioned apparitions of Our Lady the Mystical Rose in Montichiari do not present motives of credibility; (b) the cult relative to Our Lady the Mystical Rose, therefore, is not approved and can not be practiced nor favored; (c) whosoever favors it, by spreading publications or by organizing pilgrimages, does not help, but disturbs the faith of believers by inducing them to behave contrary to the disposition of the Church."
- Declaration of Monsignor Bruno Foresti on February 19, 1997: "The Bishop of Brescia holding accountable some various sollicitations that come continuously requested in merit, both from Italy and from external nations, reconfirms that which was disposed by him and by his predecessors."
- In the attachment to Decree number 229/08 by Monsignor Luciano Munari on March 19, 2008 at point 2 is read: "In a particular way there is explicitly asked of individuals and of groups, that until now are more or less directly dedicated to promote the Marian cult in the Fontanelle locality, to respect all the indications of the Directory, and not to spread the messages or publications, neither to promote the acts of the cult, nor to send compositions that might even only indirectly induce the faithful to restrain both the judgment and the Church on the afore-mentioned apparitions or other extraordinary phenomena, even as may be modified in a positive sense."
Nearly all of the Brescia diocesan bishops' pronouncements have been generally cautious and not openly approving, yet not entirely negative, judgments; although, in view of the spiritual needs of the faithful multitudes who have continuously and increasingly been coming on pilgrimages to the Montichiari minor basilica and to the springs at Fontanelle. These pilgrimages are based on their devotion to Mary the Mystical Rose.
Bishop Giulio Sanguineti in a supportive manner has appointed since May 5, 2001, and which still remains in effect, Monsignor Piero Boselli, Director of the Liturgical Office of the Diocesan Curia, as the Presider of a constituted Committee, "with the purpose of watching over the devotional manifestations, while avoiding what might rest entrusted to the arbitrariness of occasional (casual) and passing-through priests"; moreover, "Responsible for the activities and for the judgment of Marian devotions is the diocesan Bishop only, in which the singular care directed on the part of the Diocese can avoid the possible multiplications of episodes tending to reinforce some simple convictions around presumed extraordinary phenomena. This responsibility is necessarily retained also to avoid slightly illuminated devotional practices and certain forms of tendentious preachings." 
- Monsignor Enrico Rodolfo Galbiati, Maria Rosa Mistica: Madre della Chiesa; Sottotitolo: Le apparizioni della Madonna a Fontanelle-Montichiari (Mary the Mystical Rose: Mother of the Church; Subtitle: The Apparitions of Our Lady at Fontanelle-Montichiari), Curatori (Editors): Rosanna Brichetti Messori and Riccardo Caniato, Editore Ares, Milan (Italy), 2008. Published in Italian, 248 pages. ISBN 978-88-8155-422-5.
- Father Eligio Garbo, La Madre della Chiesa, Rosa Mistica: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: Le Anime, La Famiglia, La Chiese (Mother of the Church, the Mystical Rose: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: The Souls, The Family, The Church), Propaganda Mariana, Rome (Italy), 1975. Published in Italian, 388 pages.
- Bruno Massaro, Il caso Pierina Gilli di Montichiari (The case of Pierina Gilli of Montichiari), Editore Starrylink, Brescia (Italy), 2003. Published in Italian, 208 pages. ISBN 88-88847-30-8.
- Franz Speckbacher, Novena to the Rosa Mystica, Mediatrix-Verlag, Zishkin & Co. GmbH, A-3423 St. Andra-Worden (Austria), 1986. Published in German, Italian, French, and English. English edition, 48 pages. ISBN 3-85406-082-3.
- Father Alfons Maria Weigl, Maria, “Rosa Mistica”: Montichiari-Fontanelle (Mary, “Mystical Rose”: Montichiari-Fontanelle), Libreria Propaganda Mariana, Roma, 1974 (German and Italian Editions); reprinted in 1982 (English Edition, 200 pages). ASIN: B000ANNR3E. First American Edition (208 pages), distributed by Fr. John Mario Starace, M.T.D. Printing (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 1984.
- Father Alfons Maria Weigl (1974). Mary, "Rosa Mystica": Montichiari-Fontanelle.
- One of the earliest publications (originally published in German [264 pages], and translated into other languages, including Italian and English [200 pages], as well as French and Spanish: about the visionary Pierina Gilli and her apparitions of Mary the Mystical Rose), was printed with ecclesiastical permission granted by the German Bishop Rudolf Graber on February 12, 1974 from the documentary materials accumulated and provided by Father Thaddeus Laux, professor at the Salvator College in Bad Wurzach, Germany).
- This book, based on the Montichiari-Fontanelle Marian apparitions (beginning in 1947, and still on-going in 1974), focused on Mary as Mother of the Church, and especially on her timely intervention by means of her maternal renewal of the priesthood and of male and female religious orders within the Roman Catholic Church. As described in the book's introduction by Father Weigl: "Every renewal of the Church must begin with the head and then be achieved in the members, must start with the shepherds and spread to the flock. Today it is more necessary than ever. If Our Lady really appeared as "Rosa Mystica" in Montichiari – and there is much to support this, as the following exposition will show – it is not only an urgent admonition, but also a great responsibility, and even more, a great grace and help for the most painful, the most dangerous wounds of the Church of our time."
- Weigl's book coincided with the numerous grave problems concerning the priesthood and religious orders, particularly during the 1970s in the confusing aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, when many thousands of priests and of religious brothers and sisters were leaving their vocations, or worse, staying while being openly defiant or secretly undermining the holiness of the spiritual callings of their souls. This book carefully documents and meaningfully highlights the particular occurrences and messages of Our Lady, as Mary the Mystical Rose; however, it does not delve so much into the inner personal life nor into the outer public persona of the visionary Pierina Gilli, who was still alive at that time.
- Father Eligio Garbo (1975). La Madre della Chiesa, Rosa Mistica: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: Le Anime, La Famiglia, La Chiese (Mother of the Church, the Mystical Rose: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: The Souls, The Family, The Church.
- An historical account (in Italian, 388 pages) of the Montichiari apparitions (based mainly on the four-year-long collection of many testimonials from eye-witnesses), which also includes more discretely detailed and personal descriptions about the visionary Pierina Gilli (then still living), as well as studious explorations and explanations in regard to researching the inter-connections pertaining to the three 20th-century Marian apparitions (at Fatima, Portugal; at Bonate, Italy; and at Montichiari, Italy).
- Unlike the German priests (including Fr. Alfons Maria Weigl and Fr. Thaddeus Laux) who had previously published with the congenial approval of their local bishop, Fr. Garbo was treated rather harshly by his own superior, for his immense efforts on behalf of the Marian apparitions at Montichiari: "It can be said that these "apparitions" (at Montichiari) have already had a negative confirmation from "Rome". I respond with certainty that the Congregation of Cults and the Secretariate of State were never informed of the insoluble interrogatives described above: neither of the content, nor were the direct testimonies and the miraculously (healed persons) ever investigated. As usual, "Rome" remains sufficiently presumptuous when it is signaled by the (Brescia) Diocesan Ordinary and concurs with him. Personally I have irrefutable proof: regarding the punishment that was meted out to me of not being allowed to celebrate (Mass) and of confessing in the local Parishes, while I was able anywhere else to carry on my ministry in all other churches. To the contrary, the German priests, who have published books about these apparitions, translated also into Italian, were never given even a single punishment: neither was ever punished the abbot-priest Monsignor Rossi who cared for the works at Fontanelle: the Chapel, the statue of the Madonna, the Crucifix, the pool, and the Fountain." 
- Franz Speckbacher (1986). Novena to the Rosa Mystica. Mediatrix-Verlag, Zishkin & Co. GmbH, A-3423 St. Andra-Worden, Austria.
- A 48-page (English) booklet, published in 1986, not only in German but also in Italian, French, and English. This booklet contains some biographical information about Pierina Gilli, and provides brief descriptions of Mary the Mystical Rose, specifically pertaining to her apparitions to Pierina Gilli: the six Marian apparitions in the Montichiari minor basilica during 1947, and the four Marian apparitions at the springs of Fontanelle during 1966. However, more than half of this booklet presents a devotional novena to Mary the Mystical Rose, as well as the Litany of Maria Rosa Mystica.
- From the Introduction by the author: "Our dear Mother of God has been appearing in Montichiari-Fontanelle (Italy) since 1947, at a time when Faith is diminishing more and more, and sins are on the increase at a most alarming speed. If you ever visited one of the great places of pilgrimage, you will no doubt have returned from it firmly convinced that you visited a place where Heaven touches Earth. The many obvious favours received in answer to one's prayers are an indirect proof that the apparitions and revelations are genuine. The reason for this nine-day devotion is to rouse blind and materialistically-minded mankind and to open its eyes. The Rosa Mystica said in Montichiari: "Be assured that your sacrifices will be transformed into abundant, indeed triumphant graces, and into rich rewards by the Heart of Our Lord." These words should give us strength and confidence in that our prayers, sacrifices, and penances – and therefore also this novena – will achieve their purpose. May this nine-day prayer help you with your intentions." 
- Monsignor Enrico Rodolfo Galbiati (2008). Rosanna Brichetti Messori and Riccardo Caniato (ed.). Maria Rosa Mistica, Madre della Chiesa.
- This book (in Italian, 264 pages) is published posthumously in 2008, as the author died in 2004. The title translates as Mary the Mystical Rose, Mother of the Church), with the subtitle: Le apparizioni della Madonna a Fontanelle-Montichiari (The Apparitions of Our Lady at Fontanelle-Montichiari). The author, a biblical scholar and theologian, speaking about Pierina's diary, writes: "Its authenticity is beyond doubt; the writing is always the same, the errors of syntax and grammar repeat themselves from start to finish." After having analyzed the personality of the mystic, lingering particularly on her simplicity, reserve and humility, and after having examined also the symbolic aspects of the apparitions, such as the three swords in the chest of Our Lady, symbols of the three categories of religious infidelity, and then in place of the swords the three roses (white, red and golden), which symbolize prayer, sacrifice and penitence, Monsignor Galbiati compares theological passages that "a simple woman would not have been able to write: for example, the fact that Mary presents herself in 1948 as Mother of the Church (a title approved by Pope Paul VI in 1964); or that Jesus communicates to Pierina in that same year in "clear and complete form" the dogma of the Assumption, proclaimed in 1950 by Pope Pius XII." 
- Sutlovich, Paul, "Maria Rosa Mystica:1947-1991"
- "Feast of Rosa Mystica on Friday". Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Santoro, Nicholas J. (2011). Mary in Our Life: Atlas of the Names and Titles of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and Their Place in Marian Devotion. iUniverse. p. 539. ISBN 9781462040216.
- "Historia de Pierina Gilli": http://rosamystica13.com/page5.php
- "Montichiari-Fontanelle: Apparitions of Our Lady, Rosa Mystica", MaryPages (website): http://www.marypages.com/MontichiariEng.htm
- "Pierina Gilli: Prima Parte": http://www.entraevedi.org/Notizie%20sulla%20vita%20di%20P.Gilli.htm
- "Website of the Handmaids of Charity". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- "Biographical stories about Pierina Gilli, from the official website of Mystical Rose Association of Fontanelle-Montichiari". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Nine children, altogether: Pierina and her two full siblings, and six other children by the step-father
- "Biographical information about Pierina Gilli, from the website of Mary the Mystical Rose at Montichiari-Fontanelle" (in Italian). Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- "Pierina Gilli": Lungo periodo di attesa: http://www.entraevedi.org/lungo%20periodo%20delle%20attese.htm
- "Ancelle della Carità", "Handmaids of Charity" article at the Italian Wikipedia: it:Ancelle della Carità[better source needed]
- "Short Biographical Notes on the life of Saint Sister Mary Crucified of the Rose". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- ""Preparazione all'incontro con la Madonna" ("Preparation for the encounter with Our Lady")". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- "Our Story", Rosa Mystica Foundation of America: http://www.rosamysticaofamerica.org/our-story.html
- ""Il Duomo",".
- ""The Beatification",".
- ""La Madonna di Ghiaie di Bonate"".
- "Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima", MaryPages (website): http://www.marypages.com/fatimaEng1.htm
- "Apparitions of Ghiaie di Bonate (Italy)", MaryPages (website): http://www.marypages.com/Bonate.htm
- Father Eligio Garbo, La Madre della Chiesa, Rosa Mistica: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: Le Anime, La Famiglia, La Chiese (Mother of the Church, the Mystical Rose: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: The Souls, The Family, The Church, Propaganda Mariana, Rome, 1975, page 7.
- Gottfried Hierzenberger, Otto Nedomansky, Tutte le apparizioni della Madonna in 2000 anni di storia (All the Apparitions of Our Lady in 2000 Years of History), Piemme, 1996, pp. 312–323
- "From the Catholic Tradition website".
- Father Eligio Garbo, La Madre della Chiesa, Rosa Mistica: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: Le Anime, La Famiglia, La Chiese (Mother of the Church, the Mystical Rose: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: The Souls, The Family, The Church, Propaganda Mariana, Rome, 1975, pages 58-59.
- "Francesca Dal Ri Cornado", brief biographical article: http://www.mcassisi.it/index2.php?lingue_id=1&id0=0&id1=2&id2=45
- ""Le Fontanelle, piccolo Lourdes italiana"". December 29, 1998.
- "Quella Piccola Lourdes Dimenticata?": http://www.sanpaolo.org/club3/0808c3/0808Art_Fontanelle.pdf
- Father Eligio Garbo, La Madre della Chiesa, Rosa Mistica: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: Le Anime, La Famiglia, La Chiese (Mother of the Church, the Mystical Rose: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: The Souls, The Family, The Church, Propaganda Mariana, Rome, 1975, page 115.
- "Maria Rosa Mystica: 1947-1991", Our Lady's Mantle (website): http://www.ourladysmantle.org/index_files/Page2130.htm
- "Direttorio per il Culto Mariano in Locatita' Fontanelle di Montichiari (Brescia, 5 maggio 2001)" ("Directive for the Marian Cult in the Fontanelle Locality of Montichiari [Brescia, 5 May 2001]"): http://www.diocesi.brescia.it/diocesi/uffici_servizi_di_curia/u_cancelleria/documenti/Direttorio_c._il_Culto_Mariano_in_localita_Fontanelle_maggio_2001.pdf
- The Case of Pierina Gilli of Montichiari (2003), by sociologist Bruno Massaro; a book review: http://www.tanogabo.it/religione/fontanelle.htm
- Gottfried Hierzenberger, Otto Nedomansky, opera citata (op. cit.), page 322
- "Maria: Rosa Mistica", lengthy article (in Italian) at the blog named SolamentePerAmore (OnlyForLove): http://blog.libero.it/Solamenteperamor/9888243.html
- "Pierina Gilli", biographical article (in Italian): it:Pierina Gilli[better source needed]
- Fr. Alfons Maria Weigl, Mary, "Rosa Mystica": Montichiari-Fontanelle (1974), page 11
- Father Eligio Garbo, La Madre della Chiesa, Rosa Mistica: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: Le Anime, La Famiglia, La Chiese (Mother of the Church, the Mystical Rose: Fatima, Bonate, Montichiari: The Souls, The Family, The Church, Propaganda Mariana, Rome, 1975, page 386.
- Franz Speckbacher, Novena to the Rosa Mystica, Mediatrix-Verlag, Zishkin & Co. GmbH, A-3423 St. Andra-Worden, Austria, 1986. Published in German, Italian, French, and English. ISBN 3 85406 082 3.
- Alfredo Tradigo, Pubblicato Dalle Edizioni Ares, Un Manoscritto Inedito di Monsignor Galbiati [Maggio 2008] (Published by Ares Editions, An Unedited Manuscript by Monsignor Galbiati [May 2008]): http://www.alfredotradigo.it/articoli08/at-08-1.htm
- "Le Fontanelle, piccolo Lourdes italiana" ("The Little Fountains, the small Italian Lourdes"), written in Italian by Polese Ranieri, at Corriere della Sera newspaper's archive (December 29, 1998): http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/1998/dicembre/29/Fontanelle_piccola_Lourdes_italiana_co_0_98122912183.shtml
- The official website (in Italian) of the Mystical Rose Association of Fontanelle-Montichiari (Associazione Rosa Mistica di Fontanelle-Montichiari): http://www.rosamisticafontanelle.it/ITA/Home.asp
- Website (just one very lengthy web-page, in Italian) of Mary the Mystical Rose at Montichiari-Fontanelle (Maria Rosa Mistica a Montichiari-Fontanelle): http://www.preghiereagesuemaria.it/libri/maria%20rosa%20mistica%20a%20montichiari%20fontanelle%20apparizione.htm
- The official website (in English) of the Rosa Mystica Foundation of America: http://www.rosamysticaofamerica.org/index.html