Today is the Feast Day of St Annibale Maria Di Francia…
Just past midnight, Brother Michelino felt the bed moving, a light shaking. He approaches the Padre asking him if he needs something; there is no response. He is frightened, he calls Brother Maria Antonio and both of them wake up Father Vincenzo Gandolfo d’Aragona who is sleeping next door.
Father Gandolfo realises that the Padre is dying and he starts to recite the proper prayers. They call Father Vitale who rushes in together with the doctor who checks his condition and tells them that he is about to die.
At four in the morning, Madre Nazarena, passing by the dormitories of the Holy Spirit says, “Sisters, wake up, the Padre is seriously ill…”
She arrives at Guardia before he dies. She is able to see him for the last time, while his soul is already preparing for the great flight…
He does not speak anymore, his eyes are closed in agony… but his soul’s eyes are open.
He smiles at her and shakes his head.
Father Vitale, interpreting the desires of the Padre in this last hour, asks Father Gandolfo to celebrate the Mass for the agonising, while he continues to recite the prayers for the dying, with the Rogationists and the Sisters who are becoming anxious.
He also sends a telegram to the Holy Father to ask for the Apostolic Blessing for the dying.
The Mass is ended and the Padre gives his last breath, dying amidst the prayers of his children.
It is six-thirty in the morning, Wednesday 01 June, 1927.
… in the solitary wood
at the foot of the mountains,
unknown to the world, to men,
my room shall be!
And here I will die.
The story of my solitary pains
will remain unknown to men,
God alone will know!…
The day of death is near
I feel the touches of death…
Who will watch over me?
Oh, the Beloved of my heart,
my eyes will close!
No one will tell me in that moment:
He dies, he passed away!
With Mary in my heart
Death is transformed into life!
Solitude by St Annibale (who at aged 18 predicted the place of his death)
The above is an excerpt from a booklet called Your last 22 days, O Padre! The text is not a copy of any manuscript of Padre Annibale which was recently discovered, instead it is the summary of a short research done by a young Daughter of Divine Zeal who was deeply moved during her first visit to the sacred places of the Rogationist Spirituality.