In the spring of 1947, the Virgin Mary appeared to Pierina Gilli, a thirty-five-year-old nurse, in the room of a hospital in Montichiari, Italy (again in northern Italy 40 miles from where the Holy Family appeared to Adelaide Roncalli three years earlier) to begin a series of apparitions with a sweeping theme for prayer and atonement for priests and religious. The Virgin was clothed in a violet dress with a white veil. The Virgin’s appearance was striking because she had tears in her eyes and her heart was pierced with three swords. The only words she spoke at this apparition were “Prayer! Sacrifice! Atonement!” In the next apparition Our Lady stated that the swords in Her heart represents three immense pains She suffers from 1. the loss of priestly vocations, 2. Priests, monks and nuns who live in mortal sin, and 3. Priests, monks and nuns who give up their faith and then become enemies of the Church.
The Virgin Mary appeared again July 13, 1947 and spoke at length to Pierina. Mary was clothed in white and instead of swords piercing her, three roses of different colors took their place. A white rose represented prayer, a red rose meant sacrifice and a gold rose symbolized the treasure of penance. The Virgin asked Pierina to tell all, that she wanted this day, July 13th, to be celebrated in honor of Rosa Mystica, a devotion to be especially dear to all religious, monks and nuns and to priests of the world. She said, “On this day I shall pour out vocational holiness and abundant graces on those religious orders and priests who honor me as the Rosa Mystica.” It seems more than coincidence that this revelation was thirty years to the day of the famous Fatima apparition when the children were told the secret including the vision of hell, ‘where the souls of poor sinners go.’ The December 8, 1947 apparition that Pierina received furthered the mission of Rosa Mystica. Here the Virgin asked that the hour of noon on every December 8th be celebrated as an hour of grace. She said, “I am the Immaculate Conception. I am ‘Mary full of grace,’ Mother of my divine Son, Jesus Christ. I wish to celebrate on this day at Noon, every year, the Hour of Grace for the whole world. With this exercise one will receive numerous spiritual and bodily graces.” We are to pray during this hour without interruption in a church, if possible or at home for hardened sinners. An appropriate prayer during the hour of grace is to pray Psalm 51, The Miserere three times for mercy for sinners.
The successive Bishops of the Monichiari diocese have privately shown interest in the devotion of Rosa Mystica but have not lent their public approval to the apparitions. The Rosa Mystica devotion and pilgrim statues showing the white, red, and gold rose on the cloak of the Virgin have spread throughout the world. Now there are tens of thousands of the statues worldwide. There are reports that as many as one hundred of the Rosa Mystica statues have supernaturally shed natural tears and some have shed tears of blood.