“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

October 27, 2010

Some additional info about Luisa Piccarreta and the "Divine Will" Movement

A new era of grace. Revelations of Jesus never before seen by the eyes of the Church. The possibility of a holiness beyond that of saints. An Italian mystic who rivals the Blessed Mother in importance and sanctity. Sound intriguing? Good. We're about to take a trip through the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Hang on, it could get bumpy.

Divine Will Hunting
By Fr. Terrence Staples

Church history is littered with strange movements; those that have passed away and those that still remain. Just about all of them started with a single individual who, through charismatic presence or seductive writing, managed to gather a flock of believers. The Divine Will movement is no different.

Enter Luisa Piccarreta. Born in 1865, bedridden for most of her life, she claimed to receive locutions from Jesus. Evidently, the communications were lengthy and frequent, filling 34 volumes by the time of her death in 1947.

According to Piccarreta's writings, there were three great eras in salvation history which corresponded to, and followed from, three great "fiats." The first was the creative fiat: God created all things by His Word. This initiated the "Age of Creation." The second fiat came from the Blessed Virgin Mary: "Let it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). This ushered in the "Age of Redemption."

Finally, after many years of turmoil in the Church, God has completed the work of creation and redemption by inspiring the third fiat: Piccarreta's own surrender to God. Her submission, which is presented as being on par with the fiat of creation and that of our Blessed Mother, brought the Church to a new level of sanctity. We have now entered the "Era of Sanctification." Through Piccarreta, the Kingdom of the Divine Will came to earth and is available to all who welcome it. Eventually, this new gift to the Church will spread to all Her members and creation will be restored to its pre-Fall state.

This raises the obvious question: What does this gift entail? According to Piccarreta's revelations, to "live in the Divine Will" is to literally possess the Divine Will in such a way that one's actions become purely divine. Before the "Era of Sanctification," all that could be achieved by the saints was a "poor and lowly union with God." They could, by grace, do God's will, but were not capable of possessing the Divine Will itself.

This new union with Deity was introduced to the Church by Jesus through Piccarreta (though Adam, Eve and the Blessed Mother had this gift as well). One alleged locution has Jesus saying, "When a soul acts in My Will, her humanity is, as it were, suspended. Then the Divine Life of My love takes its place and acts; and, as it acts in a creature, My love finds itself unburdened of its desire for expression" (Book of Heaven, 94).

Contrasting the traditional way of holiness (ie. obedience to God's will by grace) with the new way (ie. possession of the Divine Will), Jesus tells Piccarreta, ". . . to live in My Will is to reign in It and with It, while to do My Will is to be at My orders . . . To live in My Will is to live with a single Will — God's Will — a Will all holy, all pure, all peace." In this way, the traditional Catholic means of holiness is denigrated as mere servitude, over and against the new life in the Divine Will.

How, then, is one to receive this sublime gift? Two things must be done . . . (continue reading article)

[Also . . . read the letters to the editor written for and against this article, as well as Fr. Terrence Staple's lengthy, point-by-point response to challenges to his view of Luisa Piccarreta and the "Divine Will" movement.]


  1. Hitler had "The Triumph Of The Will". Now we have "The Triumph Of The Divine Will". The first one ended in disaster, so "will" this one.

  2. This sounds like the various Pentacostal movements within the Protestant world. I have always asked why, if these are legitimate teachings, that the Bible presses do not stop and recalibrate to print additions to Holy Scripture.

    On the comments page to which you linked, I saw references to this teaching receiving both Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. This is troubling to one who is standing on the banks of the Tiber contemplating the swim. If this is as goofy and heretical as the Pentecostal stuff, how could it receive such approval?

  3. If the supporters of Medjugorje don't accept these revelations as true, in light of Catholic Faith, they would be able than see Medjugorje from the skeptics' point of view.

  4. Hmmm...her Confessor/Spiritual director is now a canonized saint: St Annibale Di Francia. I wonder what his opinion was about all this?

  5. "If this is as goofy and heretical as the Pentecostal stuff, how could it receive such approval?"

    Like you, I once thought the Imprimatur was the Church's official seal of approval. I also once thought the Pope could only speak infallibly, Bishops could not sin, the priest didn't go to Confession, private revelations had to be believed under pain of sin, and other things of an immature faith. But the Holy Spirit, Who leads us into all truths, formed my faith, and so He shall yours.

    The Church's teaching on censorship - like the Imprimatur - can be found here: Instruction on Some Aspects of the Use of the Instruments of Social Communication in Promoting the Doctrine of the Faith

    More Church documents: What Do The Catholics Believe?

  6. So certainly Dodgy that one should not have to bother.

  7. "Walt" wonders what St. Annibale di Francia's opinion about all this would be. Well, he was the one who gave the Nihil Obstat to the first 19 volumes, the Bishop giving the Imprimatur. Fr. Staples says in his article "Evidently, the communications were lengthy and frequent, filling 34 volumes by the time of her death in 1947" First his facts are wrong in something so basic: there were 36 volumes. Secondly, he says "Evidently" the communications were lengthy. This indicates to me that Fr. Staples never did any serious reading of the original source material. As I point out in my book, many of the critics appear to have relied on summaries of her work. Finally two trained theologians assigned by the Vatican to evaluate her writings have very recently concluded that there is nothing contrary to the Faith in them, which means her Cause can go forward. www.lifeofluisa.com for my book.

  8. The devil always tries to sow confusion and distrust. Just as Frank said, two Vatican officials have recently concluded that there is nothing contrary to the Faith contained in her writings. The Divine Will, as revealed to Luisa is not new doctrine. All of these teachings are found in scripture. As with all approved private revelation, i.e., Divine Mercy, devotion to the Sacred Heart, etc, the teachings of the Divine Will are already contained in scripture. It is only now, in our time, that the gift is being understood. Namely, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." Our Lord, Himself, promised that this would be accomplished in this prayer.

    God Bless,

  9. Whether approved or unapproved, they're private revelations, so I'm not going to bother with 'em.

  10. I know the Divine Will for many years now... at home we have a Divine Will prayer group.... it sound complicated at first but in reality it is very simple.... just the way God likes us to be.... Adam and Eve were pure spirit and body enrobed with light before they fall into sin... God is giving us by His Divine Will the great gift again to restore that state of light, what a great gift just the way we were supose to be before sin. Who will turn away that great opportunity ?

  11. Maryanne,

    God does not restore original justice, God gives us greater graces. Holy Communion, for example, is greater than original justice.

  12. Seems a bit gnostic to me. One decides for themselves that they are acting within the Divine Will rather than acting on their own will, therefore whatever their actions it cannot possibly be a sin. There have been previous movements such as The Brethren of the Free Spirit that had similar beliefs and were condemned by the Church.

  13. The objections of Fr. Staples was answered by Stephen Patton way back February 1999. It can be found at http://www.transporter.com/Apologia/Obj_Response.htm. It seems that Envoy Magazine is biased against the writings of Luisa Picarreta when it labeled as "Bad news" the positive responses to the writings.

  14. Nick.... God can do whatever He wish... He is God, His plan for humanity did not stop at the fall of the first man but only delayed. If He wish to restore the first state of humanity through His Divine Will, who are we to judge that, for this is His Will not our.. and this is the first key to enter in His Divine Will.

  15. Re: "Nick.... God can do whatever He wish... He is God"

    God does whatever He wishes, and He wishes to not restore us to original justice but give us greater graces. Since you thus believe that God can do as He pleases, so you must agree with the Church's teaching on God, on grace, and on original justice. See below.

    The Catechism:
    412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away." And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'; and the Exsultet sings, 'O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'"
    420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom 5:20).

  16. My impression was that the two Vatican theologians, one of them a mystical theology expert, read her writings to see if they contained anything contrary to Church teaching. They found no contradictions in any of her writings. One thing to note is that there are translations of her writings that are not authorized by the Church. Divine Will groups are supposed to be presided by a priest trained in the spirituality of the Divine Will and rarely is a lay person allowed to lead a DW meeting. The local bishop as well as the bishop of Luisa's diocese has to approve these clergy.

    She is in the process of canonization and these two theologians have just given their two thumbs up!

  17. Years ago when Nihil Obstat was necessary, at least 2 of the volumes, Hours of the Passion and The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will were given this. Now, we have the Vatican (appointed theologians)clarifying that all 36 volumes are free from errors against Catholic faith and moral teaching. The greatest teaching I have learned from Luisa's writings is Obedience to the church. The church is Our Lord, and Our Lord is married to the church.

    Who are we to judge and cast "opinions" at this point after the theologians have made this determination?

    It has to be that either those who cast judgement do not want this Kingdom to come, or they prefer their own egositic opinions instead of the church's.

    "The Kingdom of God is within you" and "Only those who are like little children will be admitted to the heavenly banquet."

  18. Thank you for this post Patrick. I have a friend who gave me some of this to read and it hasn't sat well with me for a number of theological reasons.

  19. In response to Maryanne, we already have that existence with Jesus. If we have a relationship with Him we know the Father. Mary was the new Eve - we didn't need Luisa. She may have been a Saint but I don't think she intended to make a new movement. Even the Bible ends with saying we don't need to add anything to it. Jesus completed His work on the Cross.