Gualberto shows us the way to bring
about the Triumph of Our Lady of Fatima
by Coralie Graham, Editor
St. John Gualberto was born in Florence, Italy of rich and noble parents and carefully instructed in the Christian doctrine. His youthful heart, for a time, was attracted to the vanities of the world but God, by means of a remarkable incident, opened his eyes.
Hugo, his only brother, was murdered by a relative and John was determined to revenge the crime by the death of the murderer who seemed to be out of the reach of the law.
On a Good Friday, while riding to Florence, he met his long-sought-after enemy in a narrow passageway, unarmed and with no friends to help. It was impossible for him to escape. John drew his sword, ready to kill him but the murderer fell upon his knees, put his arms up in the form of a cross and pleaded for mercy by the passion of Jesus Christ, Who suffered on that day, to spare his life.
The remembrance of Christ, Who prayed for His own murderers on the cross, exceedingly affected the young nobleman.
Meekly assisting the murderer from his knees, John said, “I can refuse nothing that is asked of me for the sake of Jesus Christ. I not only give you your life, but also my friendship for ever. Pray for me that God may pardon me my sins.”
That same day, in the monastery of St. Minias, he offered up his prayers before a great crucifix, begging with many tears and extraordinary fervor that God would mercifully grant him the pardon of his sins. While he continued his prayer, the crucifix miraculously bowed its head to him, as it were, to give him a token of how acceptable the sacrifice of his planned revenge and his sincere repentance were.
This Divine grace made such a deep impression on his heart that, rising from his devotions, he cast himself at the feet of the abbot, earnestly begging to be admitted to the religious order.
By fidelity and perseverance, St. John obtained victory over himself, and became most eminent in meekness, humility, silence, obedience, modesty and patience.
What a wonderful grace it would be for all of us if we could strive to be that forgiving. How many of us exercise this grace, or even think about the words we pray daily in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
When the abbot died, St. John was asked to be the next abbot but he rather chose a more spiritual life still. He paid a visit to the hermitage of Camaldoli and looking for greater solitude and following the example of those fervent hermits, he settled down in Vallombrosa (Shady Valley) and here he formed a community serving God according to his adaption of the rule of St. Benedict. Pope Alexander II, in 1070, approved this new Order and St. John was chosen to be the first abbot.
Alexander II testifies that the whole country where St. John lived owed to his zeal the entire extinction of simony. Simony is the buying or selling of sacred or spiritual things including sacred positions and including the position of bishop.
St. John learned that the Bishop of Florence had paid money for his appointment to this holy office. He gathered proof and went to the Vatican with it. At that time in history, the Pope lived at St. John Lateran church in Rome.
Being the founder of a Benedictine monastery and being an abbot, St. John’s status in the Church was equal to a bishop. This was a very high rank even in those days; yet, when he spoke to the Pope and Vatican bureaucrats and officials, advising them that the Archbishop of Florence was unworthy of his position, they would not listen.
Even St. Peter Damian, one of the officials at that time who respected John and had little use for the bureaucrats, was not convinced he had sufficient proof.
Disappointed but undaunted, St. John returned to Vallombrosa and prayed. It was during this prayer that he received a special inspiration from God as to what he was to do.
He gathered all the townspeople together and told them what he knew about the Bishop of Florence and how his visit to the Vatican to have him removed was unsuccessful.
“I went to the Holy Father’s officials in Rome and they would not listen nor accept the proof I gave them. I have done everything I can by the normal channels that God’s providence gave me. Now, I will call God to witness the truth of what I say so that finally the bishop will be removed. God has called you to testify to what you are about to see.”
St. John then had the people build a huge bonfire with a small passage through the center. He said, “In a moment I will light this fire and order Brother Peter to walk through that passageway under holy obedience. He shall not succeed to come out the other end if I am wrong. He will die. But if what I say about the Bishop of Florence is true, God will take charge and see to it that he comes out the other end unharmed.”
He lit the fire and when it was fully burning he ordered Brother Peter, “You have the means to prove I am right. I command you under holy obedience to walk through the fire.”
Brother Peter obeyed and came out the other end unharmed. Today he is Blessed Peter, surnamed “Igneus” because he passed through fire unharmed. He became the Cardinal Bishop of Albano and his Feast day is February 8 in the Roman Martyrology.
The next part of this story is not to do with St. John Gualberto so much as the laypeople; people like you.
It is our duty to preserve our true Catholic Faith for our children.
The Laypeople are the Key
St. John went through the appropriate Vatican channels and no one would listen. And so, by Divine inspiration he called God Himself to witness to the faithful.
It was the faithful, the laypeople themselves, who, armed with this proof, drove the bishop out of Florence that very day. He literally fled for his life.
The laypeople understood that when God worked a miracle to demonstrate something important for their salvation, they did not need someone else to explain the matter to them.
It was the laypeople, working together, who had the power to overthrow the corrupt official holding a bishop’s office.
Now you have the parallel between corruption in the episcopacy in the 11th Century and the 21st Century. Today, it is you that have the power to change history, to bring about the fulfillment of Our Lady of Fatima’s urgent message of warning and hope to the world.
In St. John Gualberto’s day, God created a miracle of one man surviving fire, in front of a few townspeople so they could know the truth.
At Fatima, in 1917, God created the stupendous Miracle of the Sun, accompanied by many miracles and witnessed by over 70,000 people ... so that His Holy Mother’s message would be believed and obeyed.
Sister Lucy herself said: "we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father, to do penance. Nor should we wait for the call to penance to come from our bishops in our dioceses, nor from the religious congregations. No! Our Lord has already very often used these means and the world has not paid attention. That is why now, it is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also all the souls that God has placed on our path.
“The devil does all in his power to distract us and take away from us the love for prayer; we shall be saved together or we shall be damned together.”
It seems that God, repeating history, is sending you a message. You have a choice.
You can choose to follow those bishops, who are unworthy, into war, enslavement, and possibly hell or you can choose as the laypeople of Florence did, to support the religious leaders who tell the truth and do your part to participate in the ultimate triumph of Our Lady of Fatima.
The Message of Fatima is authenticated by the Vatican (See “The Pope Proclaims May 13 Feast of Our Lady of Fatima” on page 5), endorsed by God Himself, and accompanied by many miracles. Let God inspire you as He did the people of Florence to do all you can to defend the true Fatima Message and to advance it. There are many ways you can help. Petition for the release of the full Third Secret. Petition to lift the veil of silence imposed on Sister Lucy. Petition the bishops and the Holy Father to consecrate Russia and, ultimately, do your part for the salvation of many souls and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.