Treasures of the Church- Marian Shrines and Apparitions
the virgin mary of
rome, Italy; abbey of tre fontane, 1947
Virgin Mary touched the heart of Bruno who then became a faithful
servant of hers and a valuable instrument for evangelization.
One of the promises of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the following:
“With this land of sin I will work great miracles for the conversion
of the non-believers.”
Like the pools of Lourdes, the land of the grotto of “Tre Fontane”
made holy by the presence of the Virgin Mary, will work miracles.
Bruno Cornacchiola was born on May 9, 1913 in Porta Metronia, Rome.
The environment in which he lived with his parents and four brothers
proved to be a bad example and a miserable poverty. His father was
an alcoholic and would spend time in jail. His mother washed clothes
for a living, but she would sometimes follow her husband’s behavior.
Bruno only received an elementary education. When he was 14, he
received his First Communion, but he then went down the wrong path.
Years later, on May 7, 1936, he received the sacrament of Matrimony
with Yolanda Lo Gatto from the Catholic Church. Shortly after his
wedding, already a member of the leftist party, his friends
convinced him to go fight in the Civil War of Spain (1936-1939)
alongside the communists. He left his wife behind who was pregnant.
Bruno ended up in Zaragoza, España. The communists were enraged
against the Church and they persecuted her brutally. There he met a
German protestant who began to instruct him. He put Bruno against
the Virgin Mary, the Eucharist, and created in him a ferocious
hatred against the Catholic Church and the Holy Father. He would
tell him that the Pope was the beast of the Book of Revelation and
he also placed in his head hatred against priests and religious
sisters and brothers. He came to have such a hatred against
everything that was of the Catholic Church that when the war of
Spain finished he headed to Rome and with the intention of killing
the Holy Father, he bought a dagger and engraved on it, “Death to
After returning home, he did not have any desire to see his wife and
little girl whom he did not know. Blinded by his hatred against the
Church the only thing he desired was to tell his wife that she
should repudiate the Catholic Church. His wife did not allow herself
to be convinced by him and this provoked Bruno to beat her. There
came a time of so much abuse that Yolanda finally ceded and changed
religion; but before she did so she made him promise to receive Holy
Communion with him the nine first Fridays of the month. He accepted.
After the nine first Fridays, they became Adventists.
Beginning of Apparitions
In April of 1947, Bruno was 34 years old. The superiors of the
association of the youth mission of Lacio made known that all
leaders should prepare for the public audience they were going to
have. Bruno, one of the leaders, needed to make his presentation on
April 13th. On Saturday, April 12th, he decided to take his family
to a field where he would be allowed to study the Bible and the kids
would be able to play. His wife remained at home because she was
pregnant. On his way he decided to stay on a field near the abbey of
Tre Fontane, the church where Saint Paul was decapitated and where
legend says three miraculous fountains sprang up from where the head
Exiting the bus, he looked for a place where the kids could play
meanwhile he could sit under the shade of a eucalyptus tree to
prepare the talk for the next day.
Meanwhile his three children, 4-year-old Juan Franco, 7-year-old
Carlos, and 10-year-old Isla, played with a ball, Bruno looked in
the Protestant Bible proofs for the part of his talk dedicated to
refuting the dogmas that referred to the Mother of Jesus. It was
3:30pm. The children had lost the ball and could not find it, so
they sought their father’s aid. Bruno stopped taking notes, left his
notebook on the ground below the eucalyptus tree, and went to help
his children. The notebook remained on the ground.
Once he found the ball he began to play with them and in one of the
times he kicked the ball, strangely enough, it rose up high and
disappeared. Before going to look for it, he asked Carlos to gather
all their belongings, the little girl to gather flowers for her
mother, and Juan Franco, the smallest, to remain seated. Every so
often he would cry out to see if Juan Franco still remained where he
had left him. The fourth time he cried out, the little boy did not
answer. So he went out to look for him and found him on his knees
with his hands together at the foot of the grotto and with his eyes
fixed on the grotto, smiling and conversing. So Bruno approached him
and heard him say, “Beautiful Lady, Beautiful Lady.” He spoke to
him, but the little boy did not react. He went to get Isla and as
she arrived at the grotto she also fell to her knees with her hands
together and exclaimed, “Beautiful Lady, Beautiful Lady.” He became
angry, thinking that they were playing a trick on him. He called
Carlos and as he arrived to the grotto, he also fell to his knees
and cried out the same words.
Thinking that they were playing a game, he tried to lift them up,
but he was not able to because they were too heavy. With fear he
raised his eyes toward the sky and cried, “My God, save us.” As soon
as he said those words, everything around him became dark and he
felt a sharp pain in his eyes. Then two white hands touched his eyes
as if removing a veil. He fell to his knees and a great light
illuminated the grotto and later it became the figure of a woman,
dressed with a white tunic tied at the waist with a pink ribbon. Her
hair was black and lightly picked up by a green ribbon that fell
down, like the tunic, to her bare feet. On her right hand she held
an ash colored book (the Book of Revelation-the Bible).
The Virgin Mary extended her left arm and showed him a black cassock
and a broken crucifix, the same ones he had broken one day. With a
very sweet voice she said, “I am the one found in the divine
Trinity. I am the Virgin of the Revelation. You have persecuted me.
Enough! Enter into the sheepfold, the judgment of God is holy, the
nine Fridays you made before entering into the sheepfold of lies are
the ones that have saved you. Obey the authority of the Holy
The Virgin Mary spoke much that afternoon in April. Amongst other
things, she spoke to him about her Assumption into heaven (at that
time the dogma had not yet been declared). She told him, “My body
could not wither and did not wither.” She then pointed out to the
visionary how he could later recognize the two priests who would
help him reconcile with God and the Pope whom he had serious
intentions of murdering. In this first apparition, the Virgin Mary
revealed to him all of Catholic doctrine, asked him to go to
confession, and to reconcile himself back to the Church. In an
infused way he received all the knowledge of our Catholic faith. She
asked him to pray much for the conversion of sinners, specifically
to pray the Holy Rosary since each Hail Mary is a golden arrow that
penetrates the Heart of Jesus. She promised him to do great miracles
for the conversion of the unbelievers.
She entrusted to him specific messages for priests, inviting them to
a life of greater obedience to the Magisterium, an intense faith in
the revealed truths, greater prayer, welcoming a more proper way of
dressing, and a pure lifestyle worthy of who they are. As he
returned home, he recounted everything to his wife, and the two of
them, after seeking the help indicated by the Virgin Mary, returned
to the Catholic Church. On May 7, 1947, they renounced their errors.
There were three other apparitions: May 6, May 23, and May 30.
In the apparition of May 23, Bruno went with a priest and a
communist young man to the grotto. Unaware of the apparitions, the
young man fell to his knees as soon as he entered the grotto,
confessed his sins, asked forgiveness, and was converted.
On May 30th, the Virgin Mary asked Bruno to go to the convent of the
Philippine Pious Teachers sisters and tell them to pray for
unbelievers and for the skepticism of the neighborhood.
After the Apparitions
The apparitions are not yet formally approved by the Church, but
they received the blessing of Pope Pius XII given by the Secretary
of the State. Pope Pius XII blessed the statue that was taken to the
grotto on a procession done on October 5 with the attendance of more
than 500,000 people.
On December 9, 1949, Bruno visited the Pope and personally handed
him the protestant Bible with which he had killed many souls,
instilling in them his erroneous interpretation, and the dagger
which he intended on using to kill him. He asked forgiveness to the
Holy Father and told him everything. The Pope replied by saying that
repentance is the greatest forgiveness and gave him the blessing,
thereby approving that he go out and preach the mercy of God
transmitted through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Many happenings and healings have taken place since people began to
visit the grotto- the surprising aroma of roses and lilies, the land
where the Virgin Mary appeared, healing of people with illnesses.
Many conversions have also taken place, specifically of those who
are part of Masonry, skepticism, sinners, even Jewish people who
entered the Catholic Church, as well as radical changes in the lives
and faiths of those who lived erroneously their entire lives.
Phenomenon of the Sun
On April 12, 1980 (the week of Easter) at 6pm a Mass
concelebrated by eight priests began in the grotto of the
apparition, next to the Abbey of Tre Fontane. Many people showed
up-- more than 3,000 people who commemorated the apparition of the
Virgin Mary of April 12, 1947, also a Saturday of Easter Week.
The visionary, Bruno Cornacchiola, had already announced, according
to what the Blessed Virgin Mary had told him on November 7, 1979,
that during that Mass something extraordinary was going to happen.
In effect, the moment of the Consecration, all of a sudden, it was
possible to see the sun in front of everyone. Pietro Santiángelo,
chaplain of the Pia Association founded by Bruno, recounts the
prodigious phenomenon that everyone saw:
“The sun rose to its zenit, making turns around its own axis and
radiating rays of all colors all over. Everyone was frightened; some
cried, others screamed, others begged out loud to the Virgin Mary.
Another marvelous aspect was the image of the Virgin Mary that at
the moment of consecration, became an intense red color, radiating
rays that penetrated the roof of the grotto so that they could unite
with the rays from the sun. It was a grandiose spectacle, never
before seen, and unforgettable. It did not last seconds, but rather
half an hour, until the end of the Mass.
All saw the same thing. On the sun’s disc, which did not harm one’s
eyes, well-defined symbols began to be formed: first an M which was
later transformed into a heart and later a large host on which the
abbreviation of the Eucharist, JHS, was formed. After Mass, the
phenomenon of the sun slowly disappeared and the sun went back to
its position on the horizon. The light of the Virgin Mary lasted all
Bruno explained somewhat the reasons for this occurrence, “In the 33
years that have passed since the first apparition and my conversion,
I have traveled all over the world to speak about the Virgin Mary. I
have given more than 7,000 conferences. I am now 67 years old and I
do not know how much time I have left to live. Therefore, last
November, as I thought about my life, I felt the desire to abandon
my intense activity to dedicate myself to a life of contemplation
and prayer. My confessor approved this idea. On November 7 of last
year I went to the grotto to thank the Virgin. As I prayed the
Rosary, she appeared to me in her usual form as I saw her in 1947
and 22 times in previous years. I felt a great joy. The Virgin Mary
spoke to me about the conversion of sinners, of the spiritual
situation of humanity, and about other topics of which I cannot
speak right now. At the end she told me, “Next April 12, the
anniversary of the first encounter, will land on the same day as it
did in 1947: a Saturday before the first Sunday after Easter. On
that day I would like to manifest myself with spiritual and material
graces. Furthermore, I will do something marvelous in the sun so as
to awaken those asleep who have lost their faith and who still do
not believe in what I have done here.”
But the Virgin Mary, unhappy with this calling of one’s attention
which she undoubtedly wants us to meditate on, intervened again two
years later on the same date:
April 12, 1982, Monday of Easter, Monday of the Angel in the Roman
language, the usual annual celebration of the apparition of the
Virgin Mary in Tre Fontane took place. During the Mass, at 6pm, the
communion of the faithful began, more than had previously been
anticipated, and at this same time the phenomenon of the sun began
and lasted more than an hour: all saw how, meanwhile many joyfully
applauded, the center of the sun was emerald green, surrounded by a
pink-orange halo on which a multitude of stars shone, like flames.
The sun spun, changed colors, it seemed be approaching while
increasing in volume. It threw gusts of light that illuminated the
people and the landscape with diverse colors. The reality of the
miracle was obvious and undisputed (impossible to be attributed to
natural laws), it was perceived by all those present, which included
many sick people in wheelchairs.
This apparition shows us the great mercy of God towards man and the
role of co-redemptrix of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that by her
intervention she is able to attain the conversion of one of the most
distant sons from the Heart of Jesus, as well as the role each one
of us should play in making her known so that many can be converted.
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and
Copyright © 2006- SCTJM