Blessed Elena Aiello; Mystic, Victim Soul, and Founder of a Religious Order; She bore the Stigmata every Good Friday for 38 years.

Blessed Elena Aiello

By Larry Peterson

Elena Aiello was born in Cosenza, Italy, on April 10, 1895. She was the  third of eight children born to Pasquale Aiello, a tailor by trade, and Tereseina Pagilla. Sadly and unexpectedly, Tereseina died at an early age, leaving her husband with eight children in his care.

Pasquale was a man of great faith, and he imparted this to his children. In fact, he must have been one special man because his one-year-old child died after his wife’s passing and while carrying the extra grief, Pasquale diligently plied his trade and did his best to care for the kids.

Even as a young child, Elena was devout. She practiced doing penance on a daily basis and offered prayers for the souls in Purgatory. She received her First Holy Communion when she was only nine (at the time the age to receive was 12 to 14) and received her Confirmation when she was eleven years old.

She already was feeling a call to religious life, but her father asked to put her plans on hold because of the war (World War I began in 1915). During these war years, Elena helped refugees, assisted prisoners, nursed invalids and tended to the dying.

She never worried about the possible dangers to herself or of catching some contagious illness (this was before the age of antibiotics). She, in effect, had begun her earthly ministry on her own, before entering the convent.

After the war, Elena’s father gave her permission to enter the convent but insisted she join the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood; he gave no reason. Soon after joining the sisters, Elena was forced to leave because of a diseased shoulder that had been operated on improperly and had turned necrotic. Also, she now had stomach cancer and could not even hold down liquids.

When her doctor said she was incurable, Elena decided to turn to St. Rita for help. She told the doctor, “My dear doctor, it is you, who is going to die: I will not die from this disease, because St. Rita is going to make me well”.

Elena and her cousin went to a church and prayed to St. Rita begging her for a cure. Elena wrote in her notebook of how she saw flames all around St. Rita’s statue, while her cousin saw nothing. That night she dreamt of St. Rita who told her she wanted devotions held in Montalto in her honor to help rekindle the lost faith of the people.

Elena started a Triduum to St. Rita. St. Rita appeared to her and asked her to do a second triduum, telling her she would be cured. However, she also told her the pain in her shoulder would not go away because she had to suffer for the sins in the world. (Her spiritual director documented all these facts). One night Elena went to bed as usual. When she awoke in the morning, she was (except for the painful shoulder) completely cured. The year was 1921.

Elena Aiello was lying in bed on Good Friday in 1923. The time was 3 p.m. Her left shoulder was screaming in pain as she prayed her devotions. Suddenly, Our Lord appeared to her dressed in a white garment and wearing a crown of thorns. Jesus asked for her consent and then removed the crown from His head and placed it on hers. Blood began to flow, and Jesus told her He wanted her to be a victim soul, asking her to suffer for the many sins committed in the world. He wanted her to be a victim to appease Divine Justice.

Elena Aiello experienced the Stigmata each Good Friday until right before her death in 1961, a period of 38 years. Doctors tried to stop the bleeding; tried to understand the bleeding; tried to diagnose the bleeding; there just was no explanation known to modern medicine.

During this time Elena began having visions. Not only Jesus, but the Blessed Mother, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Francesco Paola, also appeared to her.  In 1928 she founded a new religious order and named it Minim Sisters of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Pope Pius XII, who knew of Elena, gave pontifical approval for the order in 1949.

Lastly, the many prophecies of Elena Aiello have been documented. (Please utilize the preceding link to find these prophecies).

Pope Benedict XVI decreed the second miracle attributable to Elena Aiello on April 2, 2011. Her beatification was presided over by Cardinal Angelo Amato  (representing Pope Benedict) in September 2011.

Blessed Elena Aiello, please pray for us.




The Martyrs of La Rioja; They died “In Odium Fidei” Two died on July 18; one was born on July 18.


The Martyrs of La Rioja; They died "In Odium Fidei" Two died on July 18; one was born on July 18.


By Larry Peterson

It is estimated that in Argentina during the years 1976 thru 1983, between 10,000 and 30,000 people died by torture and execution. They called it The Dirty War, and it was one of the darkest periods in the nation’s history.

Enrique Angelelli was born in Cordoba, Argentina on July 18, 1923. His parents were Italian immigrants and devout Catholics. Their influence certainly contributed to Enrique’s entrance into the Seminary of Our Lady of Loreto when he was only 15 years of age. He studied hard, was sent to Rome to finish his studies and was ordained to the priesthood in 1949.

Father Enrique Angelelli was a “man of the people.”  He was very devoted to the poor and needy and would visit the slums frequently, mixing with his “poor friends.”  He even founded youth movements among the street kids. On December 12, 1960, Pope St. John XXIII, appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Cordoba. He and his close friend, Father Jorge Bergoglio, (who would one day become Pope Francis), were very much alike. The future Pope also loved the poor and marginalized and tried to help the workers.

Carlos de Dios Murias was born in Cordoba in 1945. His father was a wealthy real-estate man and also a well known radical politician in Cordoba. He wanted his son to be a military man, but Carlos had different desires. He had met Bishop Angelelli and the man’s spirituality and love of the poor inspired Carlos. He felt a religious calling and, in 1965, he became part of the Orders of Friars Minor. He made his “simple profession.” in 1966. On December 17, 1972, he was ordained to the priesthood. The Bishop who ordained him was Enrique Angelelli. Carlos de Dios Murias had specifically asked if he might ordain him.

Gabriel Longueville was born on March 18, 1931, in Ardeche, France. He was ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Viviers, Alfred Couderc, on June 29, 1957. He had asked to be assigned to areas where he could work with the poor.  In 1969 Father Longueville was transferred to Argentina by Bishop Jean Hermil.  He was assigned to La Rioja Diocese along with Carlos de Dios Murias. They were both under the authority of Bishop Enrique Angelelli.

Bishop Angelilli, Father Carlos Murias, and Father Gabriel Longueville could never have imagined how they and one other man, a layperson by the name of Wenceslao Pedernera, would soon be linked together in heavenly perpetuity. The evil politics of the day was rapidly turning into what seemed to be an unstoppable force.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Angelelli bishop of the Diocese of La Rioja. He quickly became involved with labor union disputes, encouraged domestic workers to form unions, and tried to form cooperatives for the people that manufactured bricks, clocks, bread, and knitted products. It did not take long for him to be arrested. He was an activist bishop, but he was doing what he thought best for his church and his people.

By 1969 Bishop Angelelli had been campaigning by both the printed word and radio broadcast about the plight of the farmers and the workers. He denounced the drugs, gambling, and prostitution that was supported by the wealthy.  He condemned human rights abuses by the governors and pushed for unionization of the workers.  Conservative Catholic organizations turned against him, and his radio programs were banned.

In 1973, political unrest saw the expulsion of nuns and priests from the town of Annilaco and the people began calling the Church of La Rioja, “communist.” In 1974 Bishop Angelelli visited Rome and was advised to stay there because of the danger to him back in Argentina. He was being threatened by the “Three A Group” made up of police officers and the Anti-Communist Alliance of Argentina. The bishop did not heed the warnings and returned home.

On July 18, 1976, Father Carlos de Dios Murias, 33,  and Father Gabriel Longueville, 44, were having dinner together when two men with federal police identification entered there home and questioned them for about ten minutes. Then they were told they had to go to La Rioja to identify some prisoners. The next day their bodies were found near some railroad tracks. The two priests had been tortured and shot to death.

One week later, on July 25, two hooded men went to look for the parish priest of Sanogasta, but because he had been warned by Bishop Angelelli, he had already fled the area. The men went to a nearby house to ask where the priest might be. Wenceslao Pedernera, a layperson, was there with his three young daughters. Terrified at the men wearing hoods, the girls cowered next to their father.  When Senor Pedernara told the men the priest was not there, they promptly shot him multiple times. His girls fell to the ground holding their dad’s body. They were physically unharmed. What psychological damage was done to them, we can only imagine.

Bishop Angelelli knew he was targeted and had told a close friend, “It’s my turn next.” On August 4, 1976, he was driving a truck with a priest friend, Father Arturo Pinto. He was on his way back from offering a memorial Mass for Father Gabriel and Father Carlos. Father Pinto said that a car was following them and at the right moments forced them off the road. The truck flipped over and when Father Pinto regained consciousness, he found Bishop Angelilli dead in the road. The back of his head had been smashed in with a blunt instrument. He had been beaten to death.

These four men were murdered “In Odium Fidei”; (In hatred of the faith). On June 8, 2018, Pope Francis approved the decree that Bishop Angelelli, Carlos  de Dios Murias, Gabriel Longueville, and Wenceslao Pedernara, will be beatified sometime in 2018. No date has been set.

We ask these four martyrs to please pray for us all.




Our Lady of Knock—The Silent Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Photo Credit: Flickr/Wampa-One-Legarius – Our Lady of Knock_P1090939


By Larry Peterson

On the northwestern coast of Ireland sits County Mayo, and within that green, lush county lies what was once the Knock Parish Church. Today the name of this place has been elevated; it is now known as The Shrine of Our Lady of Knock for it was here that The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the night of August 21, 1879.

It was pouring down rain that evening when Mary McLoughlin, the parish housekeeper, looked out the window of the kitchen and noticed a mysterious light illuminating the stone wall. Even through the pouring rain, the light was visible and so were three figures standing in front of the wall. Mary thought they were the replacement statues for the ones destroyed by a storm a year or so earlier. Somewhat frightened, Mary ran through the rain to her friend Margaret Byrne’s house.

Mary stayed about a half hour and then decided to leave. Margaret’s sister, also named Mary, agreed to walk with her. As they passed the church, an amazing sight was clearly visible to the two women. They were sure they were seeing the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and St. John. To the left of St. John was an altar and on the altar was a lamb. Behind the altar was a cross and on each side of the altar but above it were adoring angels. Mary Byrne ran home to tell her family.

Word quickly spread and soon fifteen people were kneeling in the pouring rain praying the Rosary. They ranged in ages from six to seventy-five and even though they were soaked to the skin, not a drop of rain fell on the vision they were watching. Witnesses said the Blessed Mother stood erect with her eyes toward heaven and that she wore a large white cloak hanging in folds; on her head was a large gold crown.

Unlike the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes, La Salette, and Fatima where Our Lady spoke to the seers,  at Knock she remained silent. Nothing was said nor was a word spoken. Everyone present at the apparition saw the apparition and they all attested to the same thing about the unspoken word.

The next day a group of villagers went to the local priest and told him the story. He believed them and contacted the Bishop of Tuam. The Bishop set up a commission to interview the people who had witnessed the vision. The hierarchy was extremely doubtful that what they were hearing was true. They even considered the possibility that the local Protestant constable had orchestrated a hoax to make the Catholics look ridiculous.

The people, however, were not so skeptical, and pilgrimages to Knock began in 1880. Two years later none other than Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of Toronto, visited the site and claimed he had been healed by the Virgin of Knock. That was quite a lofty endorsement.

Most of the witnesses passed on but Mary Byrne married and raised six children while living her entire life in Knock. Interviewed again in 1936, when she was eighty-six, her account was the same as it was back in 1879.

The appearance of Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John,  at Knock, transformed the quiet village as thousands now came to commemorate the vision and ask for healing from Our Lady. In 1976 a new church, Our Lady Queen of Ireland, was erected and it holds more than two thousand people. It needs to be enlarged as more than a half-million visitors come to Knock each year.

Inquiries set up by the local Bishop, and the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland formally approved the apparitions as worthy of devotion and Pope St. John Paul II, sealed it all when upon his visit in 1979, he called his stop the ultimate goal of his pastoral visit to Ireland.

Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.