In October 2014 the civilised world was shocked to see a photo-montage in which the unfurled ISIS flag was mounted on the obelisk in front of the Basilica of Saint Peter on the front cover of Dabiq, the Islamic State magazine.
Sixty-nine years earlier, a similar prophecy had already been foretold by the Virgin of the Revelation to Bruno Cornacchiola in the Roman apparition of Tre Fontane. “There will be days of pain and mourning. A people from the East, strong, but far from God, will unleash a frightening attack, and will break the most holy and sacred things, when the time will be given to do so?”
Cornacchiola died in 2001, after a somewhat fictional life marked firstly with the intention to kill the Pope, whom he considered the head of the temple of Satan. His extraordinary experience at Tre Fontane, on April 12, 1947 led to a lightning conversion to Catholicism.
On that day, together with his three children, he saw a young lady of great beauty, with olive complexion and dark hair, with a green mantle and a book clasped in her hands. Henceforth, and for the rest of his life, he received spiritual and prophetic messages.
The visionary assigned all the secrets of the Madonna to the Vatican, which, until now, have never been considered for publication. They dealt with dreams and visions of prophetic, disturbing events of the last century: from the tragedy of Superga in 1949 to the election of Paul VI in 1963, the Yom Kippur War in 1973 to the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro in 1978, from the wounding of John Paul II in 1981 to the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor in 1986, the attack of the basilica of St. John Lateran in 1993 to the fall of the Twin Towers in 2001.
Byauthority of the Virgin, Cornacchiola guarded a personal copy of all that was revealed to him from 1947 to the year of his death in 2001.
Today, after years of study and analysis, Saverio Gaeta – the only journalist who has had access to Bruno’s diaries that are kept at the SACRI Association of the faithful founded by Cornacchiola, reveals the contents in full.
Saverio Gaeta is the managing editor of the Saint Paul edition of the Famiglia Cristiana e Credere weekly ‘The Believing Christian Family Publication’. He was previously the editor of L'Osservatore Romano and another monthly magazine, Jesus. He specialises in religious issues. He has published sixty books on saints, miracles and devotions. He has worked as an expert in several news broadcasts for ‘Salani’. He has compiled and published ‘Effetto Bergoglio’ (with Father Livio Fanza in 2014).
Doctrine and the Clergy
Prayers and Peace
The Last Appeals
+ Card. Jose’ Saraiva Martins
“Come O Mother, in our midst’
Come O Mary here below” Whenever, during Mass, I happen to recall this hymn, which anyone attending a church in recent decades certainly knows, I feel a lump in my throat. There are countless invocations, to which The Virgin Mary has consistently responded with her many apparitions around the world. Nevertheless, relatively few have caught these signs. Normally it is the most simple and humble believers, while the ecclesiastical authorities generally behave with extreme caution, bordering on incredulity.
Once, discussing in confidence with an authoritative Cardinal on an apparition not yet officially recognized, I asked, why approval had been delayed. He replied: "Well, daily repetition does not go down well. Regarding her messages, in Lourdes eighteen appearances were sufficient, and in Fatima even less, only six ...”
I replied: "But if today there was a new Lourdes, with a poor illiterate teenager who kissed the ground during the ecstasy and ate grass because she was asked to do so as penance for sinners, would you approve of the supernatural nature of the event, or would you invoke a mandatory medical treatment for the girl? In Fatima, was is it not true that the most important requests of Our Lady - the consecration of Russia, in the secret writings of Lucia were made many years after 1917, in appearances which have never formally been approved? "
The comment of His Eminence came with a forced smile, due to his realizing the irony in which he was placed.
Bitter thoughts like these often returned to mind on the many weekends spent in the headquarters of the Catechetical Association of SACRI Rome, a Fervent group of Christ the Immortal King, founded by Bruno Cornacchiola, the seer who - since 1947, in the locality of Tre Fontane in Rome, and practically up to his death, received dozens of apparitions of the Virgin Mary who appeared with the title Virgin of the Revelation.
By a series of fortuitous circumstances, triggered by a dear friend who is meticulously devoted to the Virgin Mary, I came into contact with the spiritual heirs of Cornacchiola, who had appreciated some of my work on the Marian manifestations, and other supernatural events. Willingly, they authorized me to consult Bruno’s archives: a series of notes penned on thousands of loose papers, dozens of notepads with accurate descriptions of the testimonies given on his many trips and recorded on agendas from 1936 to 2001.
Frankly, I thought that I would only retrieve some news to convey a reality of the history of those now distant apparitions and to propose a re-reading of the few declassified records on the long message pronounced by the Virgin on 12 April 1947. I had not the slightest suspicion that I would come across completely unpublished explosive revelations, which in this book are presented in full. And not even the custodians of the writings of Bruno Cornacchiola imagined it. In fact, after the death of the seer, 22 June 200l, the disciples continue to perpetuate the memory and commitment to the SACRI Association, whose foundation had been asked directly by the Blessed Virgin to especially take care of the catechetical preparation of those participating in the weekly meetings and monthly retreats, where the Bible is read in sequence and commented on by the inspired words of the founder. This is the reason why the attention of those few who are responsible is directed chiefly towards meditative texts and the archive of diaries and notes have remained virtually unexplored.
As I proceeded, I increasingly became aware of the threads that connect the messages received by Cornacchiola with others given by the Blessed Virgin in her diverse appearances in various locations in the last two centuries. From the first in modern times, the one at Rue du Bac in Paris in1830, where the Virgin gave the widespread miraculous medal, to the latest recognised in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, between 1945 and 1959 (in which the Second Vatican Council and the landing on the moon were prophesied).There was also Kibeho, in Rwanda, between 1981 and 1983 where the seers were shown the terrible massacres of Hutus and Tutsis in the region of the Great Lakes.
Other Marian manifestations remain in progress, awaiting the judgement of the church, in which the 'apocalyptic' resonances of the Tre Fontane messages are interwoven with regrettable events. One is able to see and judge in these days the new cold war between Russia and the United States to local wars, the Islamic attacks, religious conflicts going on in the East, and such scandals that have troubled the Catholic Church in recent years. It is impressive to note that what is said in an apparition becomes all the more evident in another, in a series of communications, albeit without a seal of certainty, to allow every person the freedom to believe or not to believe – however always having the opportunity to achieve something.
One day, sifting through brochures and newsletters set out on a table in the meeting room of SACRI, my attention was struck by a colourful postcard. On the back were given dates and the place for where this was to happen, desired explicitly by Cornacchiola, on 12 April 1997, the fiftieth anniversary of the first apparition at Tre Fontane. In particular the subject of the image saddened me. In the background of the photo there was an assortment of skyscrapers and the statue of the Virgin of the Revelation was in the foreground.
A demonstration of the mysterious plots among Marian manifestations, caused my thoughts to immediately race to an article published on 8 October 1995 in the Italian weekly magazine ‘Epoca’ where the story of Simona one of the visionaries of the alleged apparitions in Ischia was reported, and is currently under review by the ecclesiastical commission. From October 1994, in the woods at Zaro, located halfway between Lacco Ameno and Forio, some boys and girls say they receive messages and visions of great emotional impact. And, in that interview, Simona narrated: "I saw skyscrapers crumbling; then I saw the Statue of Liberty shattered and I realized that it had to be New York.”
Referring to the postcard, I asked the lawyer Gabriele Gatti, one of the current leaders of SACRI for an explanation. He replied: "At Easter 2000 I went to the US with my wife for a sightseeing tour. On returning I went to greet Bruno and, when I told him where I had been he was very angry. He made me promise that in the future, I would consult him before going abroad. At the time, I did not understand the reasons, but after the attack on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 - I guessed what Bruno meant, and suddenly all become clear as to why he had printed that postcard. Unfortunately, however, Cornacchiola died on 22 June 2001, and so I've never been able to verify what he had received in a vision a few years earlier. "
In any case, the reader will discover the supernatural messages, the mystical visions and prophetic dreams of Bruno Cornacchiola as they are presented. These pages have much to say about our present, and more importantly, our future. There is no obligation to believe in the Marian apparitions, although officially recognized and trustworthy, they are not dogmas. You can be a good Catholic without believing in them. But undoubtedly the anxiety that comes from the words of the Virgin about the risks facing us are to be taken seriously and, without unnecessary fear, we are to face them in the light of the Gospel and in the dimension of our faith.
On one wall at the SACRI Association forty five paintings are hung. They have been painted by an amateur, Felice Menicucci a Sicilian storyteller in the style “naïve art”, recounting the most significant moments of Bruno Cornacchiola’s life. Twenty large photo albums bring together images that portray him as a young man, with penetrating brown eyes, medium height, handsome, with a moustache, a rascal; and then mature, with a look that oozes tranquillity and magnetism until the later years, and then as an elderly man who had a white-beard and a wise expression.
The Cornacchiola story has a surreal significance, since early days of childhood He was born on 9 May 1913 in Rome, in an environment that one would not envy, similar to the birth at the grotto in Bethlehem. From the thickly written page of his diaries emerge episodes and anecdotes of the past - until the day of his death.
"We lived in a cottage in the old via Cassia close to Ponte Milvio, where now is the church dedicated to the Great Mother of God. While in the stable with oxen and horses, my mum while washing clothes, went into labour. They put her on a wheelbarrow and moved her to the other side, where there was clean straw. "
At the time of Bruno’s birth, mother Giuseppa Guadagnoli and father Antonio Cornacchiola already had two sons, Tullio and Mario. The family lived in difficult conditions. Antonio Cornacchiola often got drunk, and hit out at his wife and children. He cursed and shouted. Even on the day of the infant’s baptism the father's mind became a victim of the consequences of alcohol. The ceremony was scheduled for 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the Basilica of St. Agnes on via Nomentana. The reason why the Sacrament was postponed for three months after the birth is amusing and bizarre. It was necessary to wait for Mario Carnevale to be released from jail. Well known by Antonio Cornacchiola from the times spent together in the Roman Regina Coeli jail, he was doing time for causing a disturbance during one of his brawls. He had been appointed godparent of little Bruno.
When the priest asked what name he wanted to give to the infant, the father replied, "Giordano Bruno, like that person you priests burned alive in Campo de Fiori. And if this does not go down well, I will baptize him with this bottle of wine." The priest, of course in opposition to the name of a heretic, however well known, tried to dissuade him; Antonio eventually agreed to delete the name Giordano (which he said was the surname of the famous philosopher) and christened him Bruno.
Of his earliest memories, probably the first linked to recollections, going back to when he was about three years of age, was described much later, on 8 January, 1980:
"I saw a reality when I was a child, about three years of age. Many times I was taken out of a bed with covers from jute and a mattress stuffed with leaves of corn cobs, and placed on the ground over a folded blanket while white-robed beings danced all around me singing, 'Glory to God, glory to God'. I called mother to light the oil lamp and she put me back to bed, telling me that they were angels."
A few years later, the family moved to a single room near the Appian Way, this was filled with flies in the summer, and in the winter there was dirt and slush on the floor. To earn a piece of bread and small change, Bruno would dance in front of the nearby tavern to the melody coming from a busker playing the accordion. He recalls that left to themselves and surrounded by the most squalid physical and moral misery, the children spent a very sad childhood.
Bruno received no education. He repeated first grade over three consecutive years, then because of his age he was transferred to grade two, which he never completed. As a child he was always hungry.1
1When, on 20 August 1940, at the age of twenty-seven, he tried to obtain a straightforward licence to be able to switch from a bus cleaner to a conductor, the scene seems to be as a movie comedy: "I had to sit for exams, but maths wasn’t my best subject. News arrived that a male son was born. (Carlo our second child after the eldest named Isola). They gave me permission to leave and promoted me without my sitting for the exam!"
"At home we ate badly, if we ate at all. Often dad became drunk and he threw everything from the window. Like puppies, we ran down stairs to collect something to eat. We searched through filth in bins at the rear of restaurants and gathered the larger leftover morsels and ate them before all was given to the pigs. We would steal carob to eat, from the horse bins... On the feast of the Epiphany mother at times placed some nuts and nougat on the table. Others had cars, trains and little horses. We had nothing to play with. I collected bottle caps and shiny boxes and made a train by binding them together with string. One time a cinema troupe came and filmed me playing with this train while barefoot in the Tusculum square."
At ten years of age Bruno got his first steady job as an apprentice in a coal workshop. Every day he went from the store to the homes delivering the filled bags of coal, each weighing ten kilos. But the boy had a habit, as in tipping, he rounded up the price of the coal, so he would steal, and so was sent away by the charcoal owner. From that period Bruno retained a bound volume of the Catechism by Pope Pius X, skilfully removed from the library of its owner.
In 1925, at age of twelve, he began work at the Pensione Calcagni in via Veneto, where he cleaned rooms and helped in the kitchen. Every evening he took a meal to the owner’s mother down via Laurina, near Piazza del Popolo. One day, while going down the stairs he had an encounter which he later recognized as the foreword to the mystical experiences that were to follow in 1947:
“At the foot of the stairs there was a kind of niche against the wall. As I passed by I heard someone call me in this manner: 'Child of God do you not even look at me' I turned and saw an old man wearing torn cloths, he was crouched in the corner and had a flowing white beard and his eyes were shining. I approached him and said, 'Excuse me; I had not noticed you there'. 'Come over closer he said'. I approached him and he invited me to sit down. 'Sit here with me, where do you go, racing around every night?' I explained what I was doing. 'Rest a while, then go'. I sat next to the old man and he said: 'Do you give any thought that you must work well for the Lord? Look, read this'. I knew little about reading at that time and while stuttering I read slowly. The more I read, the more I did not understand a thing. I only remember him saying: ‘St. Paul wrote this, and my name is Paul'. I loved to hear him speak and he explained many things that I now understand. "
Every evening Bruno set aside half of his meal and shared it with Paul, who happily ate while the young boy, from the book, would read the Word of God. On Christmas Eve the old man explained what the feast of Christmas was all about:
"Know that we are in darkness. The child was born 1900 years ago, of the ever Virgin Mary without sin. She gave birth to a Son who is the light and gives us all light in order to illuminate the world. One day you'll see that light and you'll be a missionary of the light."
At that time, the boy began to live away from home and often slept in one of the chapels at the cemetery of Verano, where he would hide in the evening to re-emerge early in the morning, or sleep under the so-called “Triclinium Leoniano” in Piazza di Porta San Giovanni, in front of the basilica and near the Holy Steps.
“With cardboard cartoons as a bed on the bottom and newspapers as covers, all alone, and before going off to sleep, there were tears, hunger and so much anger, because I saw others happy and rich."
In the cold dawn of January 1927, Mrs. Maria Farsetti, a 60 year old widow who died in a state of sanctity in 1953, was on her way to daily Mass in the Chapel, at the Holy Steps. She woke Bruno, asked his age and why was he sleeping there. Then the dialogue took a surreal turn:
"Have you received Holy Communion?" The lady asked. "What is communion?" questioned Bruno.
"Do you not know? And your mother, has she made her communion?’ "Mother at times has made pasta and soup ..., but she has never cooked that meal.”
Cornacchiola later commented:
"The good lady understood my appalling ignorance and the urgent duty to help me. She invited me to follow her into the church, promising that later, she would buy a piece of pizza for breakfast. Hungry as I was, I could not imagine a greater gift. All things considered, I had only understood the pizza. "
Every morning for a couple of months the boy was taken over to Father Luigi, a Passionist from “Our Lady of Sorrows”, (ie a member of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ) who was teaching catechism to the most forsaken at the Holy Steps. Bruno received the basic religious teachings, including the prayers of a good Christian. (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Angel of God and Eternal Rest). And breakfast offered by Mrs. Maria Farsetti, always followed. On 7 March 1927 he received his first communion and confirmation together with a group of 'naughty' inmates, as they were generally known, from the juvenile reformatory at Porta Portese. He was the only one without a sponsor, so then the bishop Gisleno Veneri, who presided over the ceremony, gave him Father Dante Ferri, his Secretary as the godparent, while the traditional white band with the embroidered cross in gold thread that fitted around his forehead was loaned and worn for the time strictly necessary, by another candidate for the Confirmation.
In the retreat for the preparation that preceded the rite, the priest Salvatore De Angelis had focused the reflection on children’s love towards the Virgin, inviting all the young people present to kneel before the painting of Mary placed on the altar. Cornacchiola remembered.
"I looked at the Virgin Mary, I thought of her love and compared it with that of my mother. How it was different, and I supposed, that a child of Mother Mary would have to be so happy."
At that moment, an unstoppable surge produced a crystal clear thought in the heart of Bruno.
"If you truly are Mother ... take me with you."
After the ceremony, with the booklet of the Eternal exaltations of Saint Alphonsus Marie Liguori and the rosary beads in hand, which had been donated as a souvenir, he went home with the purpose of putting into action the good things that he had learned.
I found my mother upstairs, in the midst of a cloud of smoke, very busy in front of the stove, preparing a meal for dad. As soon as she saw me, rightly so, she rightly scolded me because I had left home and for some time she had not set eyes on me.
“Bruno said to his mother, the confessor told me that I should not disobey you and dad and I must ask forgiveness. So I ask pardon for the wrong that I have done to you, all the punches, slaps and bites I gave you. I ask pardon for the finger I broke, when I sent you to hospital”. In response his mother asked, “Do you still think about those things? Just give me a hand from time to time.” And she gave me a kick that sent me rolling down to the foot of the stairs. I became angry and went back to the old Bruno. I used much profanity to my mother and had no stones at hand, so I threw the booklet and the rosary beads at her, and then left for Rieti in search of a job. "
Those were fleeting unremitting years, spent in the country and I was periodically employed in villages in the vicinity of Rieti collecting firewood in the woods for the heating system, in order to produce lime, leading sheep to pasture and sewing in the mattress workshop. For a time I also worked in the circus. Cavalca e Preziosi “Precious Passing Circus”:
"Full of lice, abandoned and battered, jumping on trampolines, falling into tanks full of water for laughs, I would release myself from chains fastened around my body, and they broke stones across my chest with two sledgehammers."
On 30 September 1951 he drew up a list in his diary of the many trades in which he had worked. Electrician, shoemaker, bricklayer, carpenter, upholsterer, mattress maker, chimney sweeper "and finally I bellowed at the newspaper vendor’s stand. This toughened my voice for when -I was to be giving out the meditations at conferences”. He slept wherever he could, according to the seasons, and ate when he could, in a succession of days without a future, stimulated solely by the desire to survive.
“I lived in squalid misery, bound by the brutal regime of forced labour, without being able to see the slightest glimmer of hope or a way out. I believed that the middle class society was solely responsible for my misery and unhappiness. That of the fertile soil on which the clandestine atheists campaigned full of hatred and the desire for revenge. The more abundantly they sowed the more abundantly they harvested, never satisfying their desire”
In April 1934 he passed his medical for the military which was mandatory for twenty year olds; and then he enlisted in the army for military service, for an eighteen month term. Dirty as a beggar, with a pair of shoes laced together with wire found in a landfill, he set out for Ravenna to join the army. And there in the courtyard of the barracks, the land of plenty burst open before his eyes.
"I received my first pair of real shoes, my first uniform and new coat. Several times I asked the quartermaster, who held a list, and diligently handed me clothing and accessories. What would I do, if this entire God given goodness that I had never seen was mine? "
Skills developed during this wandering period made him a good marksman, so much so that, with the rank of a corporal, he was sent to the national rifle competition in the Foreign Ministry of Polygon. There he did well in the presence of Benito Mussolini. He took advantage on his return to Rome, in September 1935, to become engaged to Iolanda Lo Gatto, daughter of a prison guard that Antonio Cornacchiola had met in Regina Coeli jail and lived near them, in the area of the Three Madonne (now Tusculum square).
Iolanda was born in 1909, Bruno having know her since childhood. Later in his diary, he reported a memory dating back to 1918:
"She led me by the arm and took me to her home because I had fallen: she had a loose long dress and had thick long hair set in two braids that hung down behind her shoulders, and resembled the two handles on a farm cart…”
His wife instead, gave her friends a decisively different impression:
"Always dirty, dishevelled and wearing torn clothes, he was quick-witted and spiteful. When I saw him, I was terrified. To make me cry he always pulled at my braids. One day, on my way home with the milk bottle in hand, I saw him from a distance with a slingshot and he broke my milk bottle. Tears came rolling down my face... "
At the beginning of 1936, the decision to wed saw them in disagreement.
"On 2 March1936: I wanted our nuptials to be in the Campidoglio, Iolanda did not agree. On 4 March 1936: Iolanda wanted a church wedding ceremony. I am saying stay away from those priests. On 5 March the priest agrees to marry us in the sacristy. I accept. "
At around 7 pm 5 March 1936 although the register records show that proceedings were carried out on the next day), the Parish Priest of St. Helena, on Via Castilian, conducted the wedding ceremony in the sacristy. Alongside them were the two witnesses; Luisa Lo Gatto, sister of the bride, and her husband Giuseppe Colace.
After the hasty ceremony, Bruno went to the home of his brother-in-law, taking Iolanda’s trunk and dowry, that held sheets and clothing. As a honeymoon, the newlyweds walked along the Casilina ring road up to Quadraro where Bruno's parents and his brother Mario and family lived in the two adjacent cabins. There was a gap between the two buildings with a roof. One meter and a half wide and two metres long, was the size of the wedding couple’s bed made of a few wooden planks covered with a straw mattress and stuffed with leaves of corn. Iolanda and Bruno lived there until the following August, when Antonio asked them to leave because he had decided to sell the cabin and return to Rieti. Iolanda went back to her father's house and Bruno went to stay in the holding room of Termini Rail Station.
Meanwhile Bruno had started attending the underground Communist Party. His Comrades knew that he was out of work and proposed a real coup for him as a spy. He enlisted as a volunteer in the Italian Military Mission in Spain. The fascist government was organizing support for the nationalist forces of Francisco Franco to pass information to Republican fighters of the Popular Front.
On 10 November Bruno was sworn in before the political commissioner of the Communist Antonio Pettinelli. After a crash course as an engineer, he enlisted in Florence and on 28 December 1936 he went to Cadiz with the Italian Military Mission. Together with Sergeant Tieri and the Master Corporal Gattel, he was assigned to a two way radio station in the wake of the Phalangists. In this way he could pass information to the republican front, where he was known by the nickname Gonzales.
He participated in many battles which he diligently noted on his return to Italy. They took a military route from the south to the north of the country, from Malaga to Santander, and then east, up to Zaragoza and Barcelona. He also fought in the famous Battle of Ebro, the bloodiest battle of the whole civil war, in the second half of 1938. And for the rest of his life, after conversion, he nurtured a deep remorse for the violence caused against the people, and for having repeatedly been unfaithful to Iolanda.
In Zaragoza, Bruno had befriended Otto, a German soldier who in his spare time always carried a book under his arm: Bruno asked him what the contents of the book were, and he replied: 'It is the Word of God'. From this conversation, slowly he began to give me catechetical lessons and he spoke to me about the love of Jesus, and of eternal life. "
One day, while walking, the two came to the Basilica of the Virgin of the Pillar, the patron Saint of the City. Many devotees were lined up in procession with banners and crosses, to express gratitude to Our Lady for having preserved the sanctuary from the bombing.
Bruno recounted this episode with fear:
"On hearing this, I became excited and went to Otto: We entered the church, it was ages since my last Confession and Holy Communion. You have convinced me of the truth I said. However Otto turned towards me quite surprised and asked: ‘Have I spoken to you about the Catholic Church?' 'No' I answered. He continued: 'Well, I have not spoken to you because I have never entered inside the synagogue of Satan. I will not go into that puppet theatre where there are men who say they are sent by God and are living in falsehood. They invent stupid things to deceive people who are ignorant, and in a spiritual way they believe that individuals will be lost''.
To Bruno these sentences from Otto’s mouth were insulting, coming from one who had taught him to believe in Jesus Christ:
"But what are you saying? You say the same things I experienced as a boy in my home: curses and insults to priests, we called them cockroaches”
And the explanation came quickly:
"I am a Protestant. We are opposed to the claims of the Catholic Church, beginning with Confession, which is an invention by the priests. They act as spies. And then we are against the Mass, the Eucharist, and the Immaculate One...”
Until his final disclosure:
"Do you know who is funding this war we are fighting? It is the Beast of the Apocalypse, with the number 666. This Beast, which feeds idolatry, which is responsible for the ignorance of the poor, which procures misery to people and pays for wars and revolutions, is living in the Vatican, in Rome. It is the Pope, who sits on the throne of God and draws attention to himself saying, I am God. "
Bruno felt a shiver in his back and had a thought of murder: “If he is the cause of all evil, I will kill him."
A few weeks later, he happened to be in Toledo:
"I will go into a shop that sells knives and purchase a small, sharp dagger with a bone handle with a sheath cover. With the tip of my knife I will inscribe: 'Death to the Pope; and said to myself: 'If I get the likelihood to meet the beast in Rome, I swear that I will save the people from the oppressor and kill him. "
Meanwhile, a shocking outrage had happened to Bruno during one of his transfers:
"A child in the middle of the street stopped us on convoy: ‘bombs ... they are on the truck ...' I was aware that there is a truck on fire. I stopped our motorcade by means of a signal over the two way radio and I sprinted off. I saw a lot of smoke coming out from one of the Italian trucks ahead. I climbed up on the tailgate of that vehicle. On board there were many aerial bombs. Suddenly I saw a girl dressed in white, sitting on the dashboard of the vehicle, making a signal with her hand for me to get off. I jumped down of the truck and screamed over the radio for all to jump clear, and then there was a terrible explosion. I threw myself into a ditch, and so I was saved.”
Years later, after the Marian apparition of 1947, he commented:
"Reflecting on what the Virgin told me – ‘I have always been by your side' - I thought that girl on the truck was a soul or an angel sent to me by the Lord. Originally, however, I thought it was an illusion."
On 28 June 1939 he returned to Italy and finally he was able to see his daughter Isola, born 30 December 1936, after his arrival in Spain. The little girl’s name had been inspired by the sea voyage across to Spain: Navigating by the island of Majorca I said: “Her name will be Isola, Island, and so it remained.”
On his return unfortunately, the meeting with the family, and his wife Iolanda in particular, was not enjoyable.
As soon as she saw me, she jumped at my neck and tearfully told me: “It is the Madonna of Pompeii who helped you to come home”. ‘What are you talking about? I came back alone’ ‘‘No, it was the prayers that I recited with Isola our youngster, before this picture of Our Lady of Pompeii”. And I said: 'We must destroy all the sacred images, rosaries, crucifixes. Burn them immediately. All these objects are diabolical, idolatry and superstition”. I began opening drawers, seeking through the furniture looking for any religious object to destroy and burn. I began with the painting of the Madonna of Pompeii, which I threw and trampled on the ground and, after that I smashed it, I burned the image; and then I moved a crucifix of wood away from the wall, which I broke on my knees, smashed it into pieces, and threw it into the garbage bin.
In November 1939 Bruno was hired as a labourer by the Electrical Trolley Bus Company of Rome. At last, even though modest a living wage. He was set to clean the interior and exterior of buses and trams used in the City each night. Soon after, he rented the basement room, kitchen and bathroom, 22 square meters in total, in via Modica number 2 at the beginning of via Tuscolana. Hence, every Sunday we visited the Evangelical Baptist Church located on via Urbana, a few steps from Santa Maria Maggiore, the oldest Marian sanctuary of the West.
With screams and slaps he tried several times to convince his wife to attend the Protestant worship, but Iolanda resisted tenaciously, until one day she said:
"Listen, Bruno, I will follow if you show me in truth that the Catholic Church is false. Why not make the first Fridays of the next nine months, confessing and receiving Holy Communion? If at the end you still want to have your choice, I will follow you, but if the Lord has made you change your mind, be done with it, and return to the Catholic Church."
Cornacchiola accepted the agreement with a solemn oath and faithfully practiced the devotion from February to October 1940. It was the era in which before receiving communion, it was necessary to remain fasting from the previous midnight before the Friday. Not being able to go to morning Mass, he was forced to fast for the whole day.
However, that exercise of faith was not enough to change his mind.
It came to the point where I said, “Iolanda. I still feel the same and you have to follow me."
And so, a few weeks after the birth of their second son Carlo, the couple began attending the Baptist cult. Bruno produced great works by proselytizing by persuading several relatives and friends to follow in his footsteps. After three years in attendance, 25 April 1943, Easter Sunday, he and his wife were baptized by Pastor Vincenzo Veneziano, who gifted Bruno a Protestant Bible, the edited translation by Giovanni Diodati, with the inscription that defined it as: "Book of God that contains all earthly secrets and happiness and the certainty of heavenly bliss.”
In January of that year, the family had meanwhile expanded by the birth of Gianfranco. Afterwards there would be three more children who died as infants (Esther in 1946, Maria Esther in 1948 and Mario in 1949). Luigi Marie was born in 1952.
After 8 September 1943, during the Nazi occupation in Rome, Bruno joined the underground group of Alberto Giacchini, without participating directly in the partisan warfare, but rather carrying out propaganda activities.
"We had two contact points, one in Alberto Giacchini’s office, where he worked as an insurance agent in via La Spezia off Appio square and the other in my house in via Modica."
When they were notified that Giacchini had been arrested, on 17 January 1944, Bruno ran to Giacchini home and met his wife, on via Nomentana, to ask her, how he ought to act.
"Run away, they do not know anything about you and the other comrades, Alberto has eaten the piece of paper with the list of names."
Bruno Cornacchiola was eternally grateful because he was convinced that, if not for the act of kindness, he would have been shot on 24 March 1944 at the Fosse Ardeatine, as happened to Giacchini.
After the war, Bruno enquired about a membership card to join the Italian Communist Party on 23 March 1946. He had Antonio Pettinelli as the guarantor, who wrote the following when he signed his name on the back of the application form.
Antonio Pettinelli notes that comrade Cornacchiola had participated at the secret meetings of the sixth district, in the presence of Mecaccioni. “He has received material and has distributed it. After the liberation of the allies he made a request to join our Party through the Latino division, which then was misplaced for circumstances unknown: for other reasons it was no longer possible for his application to be accepted. I testify that Bruno is of good behaviour and a communist with true faith."
In the Baptist Church hall in via Urbana, where Cornacchiola frequented, with the family he met members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who took part in the Community Bible study every Saturday morning, following the Old Testament prescription. Sometimes the leaders of the two would organize joint meetings in common:
"In one of these meetings, I found the Adventist Pastor John Cupertino stronger than my Pastor. He was more obstinate and hardened towards the Catholic Church".
On 8 September 1945 Cornacchiola made a choice:
"I wanted to be well versed with the truth and to do this I left the Baptist sect of brothers and agreed that the stronger, in my opinion, was the Seventh-day Adventist group."
By virtue of his energetic personality, Cornacchiola in 1946 was appointed director of the Lazio Adventist Youth Missionary. At that time the community consisted of fifteen people. Less than two years later, one could count one hundred and fifty, thanks to the vigorous propaganda by Bruno and the generous donations of food provided by US brethren.
On one of these occasions, on the afternoon 17 March 1947, Cornacchiola and Karl the Pastor got into animated discussion with a lady named Linda Mancini on theological issues. The lady had asked for support to be given by the Franciscan Bonaventure Mariani the professor for the Centre of Holy Scripture at the nearby Pontifical University 'Antonianum'. On several occasions, the debate burst into violent rage when Bruno directed his argument against the Franciscan friar:
"You are cunning artists; you make plans to deceive the ignorant, you can’t do anything with us because we are well versed with the Word of God. You practise so many stupid idolatries and interpret the Bible in your own manner."
After four intense hours, the debate was finished by assessment. Father Mariani later recalled:
As we got up to go home, the women present said to Cornacchiola: “You give the impression of not being comfortable, we can see by your face.” “Yes, I am happy since I left the Catholic Church” he retorted. But the women insisted: “Turn to Our Lady, she will save you”. They showed him the rosary.
Bruno in fact, was troubled for some time, as he confided in his diary on 21 February, 1947:
"I feel something new in my heart that I never understood before. I see in me a strong change in character ".
A couple of months earlier, on his way home from work, he identified something had taken shape in his heart, in the form of prayer and supplication.
"Dear Lord, the world perishes. If you need a creature to lead others to salvation which you have given us, here I am, I'm ready. Send me to the depths of hell as well, but work through me, so that I may know, love and serve you. I am of little value, but with you, I will become something great. Accept me O Lord!"
But meanwhile he lost no opportunity to unleash his hatred against the Catholic clergy. He urged his children to spit on every priest they encountered on the street. Once he caused a serious accident by closing the doors of the trolley bus on a priest as he was climbing aboard. The poor priest fell and fractured his legs, but as fate would have it, after the apparition of 1947, a Nun invited Bruno to go and visit an invalid priest:
I asked him how he was hurt and he related what had occurred after falling from a bus in Piazza Gioacchino Belli. I looked at him and cried out: 'Father, I did it; I did it on purpose because I hated priests! I ask forgiveness for the crime committed’. He blessed me, we hugged and both began to cry.
Another priest, while busily searching in his wallet for his trolley fare, was unaware that Bruno managed to steal his black leather case and hide it under the seat:
When the priest became aware of the missing bag, he asked if I had noticed anything. I replied that I had seen a passenger descend from the bus with that bag in hand, and I thought it belonged to him.
With this bag, containing the Diodate Version of the Bible and a clipboard, Cornacchiola would travel to Tre Fontane for the fateful meeting with Our Lady.