Patrizia Cattaneo

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Translation from Stella Maris n. 434

A simple testimony can often change a life, especially if it is transmitted with conviction and enthusiasm. Patrizia Cattaneo is one of these people who had the opportunity to meet and to know Father Michele Bianco and to experience his gifts. This young priest, charismatic, is also the exorcist of the diocese of Benevento, serving in Torre Le Nocelle (AV), the old sanctuary of Saint Cyriacus, deacon exorcist, wonder-worker and martyr. Patrizia Cattaneo took part in particular in several healing masses of Father Michele on Saturdays. Very impressed by the many graces of healings received and granted, she wanted to make this place known, where there are so many blessings.

The "Editions of Parvis" have just published two of her booklets: one on the sanctuary of Saint Cyriacus, with a short history of the sanctuary, a presentation of the priest, the prayers and the novena of liberation and healing and the practical information to go to the place. The other booklet presents the various charismas (1Co 12) preceded by a teaching of Father Michele on the Pentecost. Giuseppe Canali, journalist with
La voce di Parma, collected in May 2004 the testimony of Patrizia Cattaneo which follows.

Patrizia, how did you know Father Michele?
I attribue this grace to Padre Pio. I regret so much not having been able to know him, especially at the most critical time of my life. In July 2003, in the bus of San Giovanni Rotondo towards Avellino, I met Mrs Maria Bove of Avellino. She spoke to me with enthusiasm about Father Michele, describing him as a very charismatic man and she suggested me I organise him a meeting in Pavia. Back at home, I wrote to him and I received graces. At this time, I decided to go to meet him.

How did your life change after this meeting with Father Michele?

After receiving, through his intermediary, several important graces, I understood that I had to make Father Michele known in the North of Italy, to give the opportunity to all to enjoy his exceptional charismas. I immediately wrote an information note that I distributed also by mail to hundreds of people, especially with the aim of helping them to organize a trip, because I realized that it is difficult in the beginning to know where to go and how to manage without a guide.

You did to some extent introduce a function of service...
Yes, but I quickly realized that some people were only looking for the gifts of God and not for the God of gifts. Then, I integrated some religious concepts in my sheet to help the faith and to push back the superstition and the myths. From there, I began the writing of a book which speaks thoroughly of Father Michele, miracles and healings that God operates through him, like a starting point to question and undertake a more mature way of faith, rather than a point of arrival to oneself.

And the pilgrims at Torre Le Nocelle?
Then the voyages started. To collect the photographs and the objects to be blessed for those who could not come themselves, to welcome and listen to each one, bring hope, to refer to Father Michele, to bring back the photographs to their owner, and pray more than before. In fact, since I met Father Michele, my life has changed a lot but is much happier and I thank God for that.

Until now, how many people did you convince to go to Avellino?
From the moment I started attending the healing masses of Father Michele, many people expressed the desire to accompany me to Torre Le Nocelle, for many reasons, behind which I see the action of the Holy Spirit. Some concretized this appeal, without changing program.

They are all familiar with the Holy Spirit?
This is an indubitable fact, all these people, including me, are indistinctly and strongly related to Medjugorje.

How is that?
The experience of Medjugorje transformed us radically, bringing us much closer to Mary. We experience her as a living Mother, loved and present. The experience with Father Michele transformed us differently, by printing in us a strong experience of Jesus alive, present and burning with love for us. Miracles, healings and conversions that occur through Father Michele in Torre Le Nocelle and through Mary, in Medjugorje, are strong signs of this complementary burning love from Jesus and Mary for us, love often not loved, like Saint Francis said, crying. For this reason I believe that these two experiences are complementary, like the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

How can we recognize that Father Michele is not a charlatan?
First, because of his obedience to his bishop and his hierarchy. Where there is no obedience, it cannot be serious. Father Michele is authorized by the bishop of Benevento to perform the ministry of healing and liberation and now of exorcism.
This same bishop charged a journalist to collect the medical documentation of healings to place at the disposal of those who want to consult it. No charlatan would agree such a scrupulous checking of his acts. But the one who is acting in the light does not fear anything.
In the second place, there are the fruits. Father Michele is credible because the fruits are good. In Torre Le Nocelle, authentic, magnificent physical and spiritual healings occur. I never saw fanaticism or sectarianism accompanying some so-called charismatics.
But it is mainly the holiness of life. Father Michele achieved with the greatest seriousness his sacerdotal ministry, by missing many hours of sleep to dedicate himself to the prayer. Beyond the charismas and the exceptional intelligence he has, he remains humble. Because holiness does not depend on the charismas, as it is wrongly understood — Charismas are free gifts for Community service —, but on charity, heroic exercise of virtues, i.e. on the exercise of the brotherly love whose Father Michele is an example and which is often exhausting and tormenting.

Why, in your opinion, was he choosen for Torre Le Nocelle?
God has his imprescriptible plans. We need His credible witnesses through whom we see His face. He does not want to leave us deprived.

Would you have some episodes to tell, or some miracle?
Personally, I received various graces. My mother had a fungus on her hands which was declared to be curable in two years. I wrote to Father Michele and the disease was suddenly stopped. My grandmother often suffered from strong nervous crises. Father Michele blessed the photograph and the crises abruptly stopped. The nephew of a colleague, 6 years old, never had spoken. The parents sent the photograph of the little boy to Father Michele and a little later, he started to pronounce the first words. One of my knowledge, in final stage with a tumour in the throat and in the intestines, could not eat anymore; he hardly weighted 50 kilos. The day following the healing Mass when his photograph had been brought, he started drinking, eating and sleeping again. He is well now, he is nearly completely healed. A pair of friends who did not confess themselves anymore since years, which they thought useless, is, according to their own words, «inexplicably» approached the confession, after I wrote to Father Michele asking him to intervene. A woman with a deep depression obviously got better after having written to Father Michele. The son of my friends, 4old only, was born with cardiac problems, in continual degradation. Before being subjected to surgery, he was carried to Father Michele. The last examinations reveal a normal situation, unexplainable for the doctors. And I could still continue...

But are all people really healed at Torre Le Nocelle?
I noticed that the prayers of Father Michele heal an impressing percentage of sick people. In addition, apart from the healings and from the resolutions of unhoped situations, many obtain a more important grace: the one of conversion. In Torre Le Nocelle, God is not an abstract idea anymore. God becomes a very strong experience of the very Other, a perfect friend, who walks on our side with an infinite love.

All this is thanks to the Holy Spirit?
Yes, it is. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the Holy Spirit gives a charisma of healing to some people, to express the force of the Raised. However, the most intense prayers themselves do not obtain the healing of all diseases, neither the prayers of Father Michele, nor those of Saint Paul, who, after having requested to the Lord several times to remove the cross from him, received the answer: «My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness» (2 Co 12,9).

What do you thing about the miracles that occur?
The miracle is a sign of resurrection, a moment of light in the dark of the personal and collective history which goes against the natural laws and which makes us remember that death, whose disease is the first sign, never has the last word. Raised Jesus always walks next to us, even when we are unable to see Him, like the disciples of Emmaus. At Torre Le Nocelle, Jesus takes the place of Father Michele, to comfort us in our afflictions of tired, suffering and disillusioned travellers. The one who does not obtain the grace of healing does often obtain the grace of serene acceptance of suffering, which is incomprehensible mystery.

And now, in your mind, what will happen in the future?
I think that Father Michele will become more and more known and engaged, considering the number of requests arriving already to him.

Do the people who want to meet him have to go absolutely to Torre Le Nocelle?
Currently, yes. If somebody really needs it, I suggest to write to Father Michele and to join a photograph. It is not essential to go there, even if this is better. Let us remember the Gospel: the servant of the centurion was healed remotely by Jesus. A similar fact occurred through Karol Wojtyla when he was bishop in Cracow, in 1962. He eared the news that his dear friend Wanda Poltawska had a tumour and that she was about to die. Wojtyla wrote to Padre Pio explaining the case and the woman suddenly was healed before the surgery. Only by letter! It is the same for Father Michele.

But how does Father Michele remember all those who write to him?
Some think that Father Michele does not pay attention to all the photographs. It is true that he receives hundreds of them but he does pay the same attention to all of them. I can say it because I experienced it. A few months before knowing Father Michele personally, I started to send him the photographs of those who were in need. When I met him the first time, I saw in the basket of the sacristy, above all the others, a photograph I sent him four months before. How was it possible, as there are new ones arriving every day? And he did even remember the time the letter arrived and how many photographs it contained. Considering this special case, he put it in evidence. In fact, if we do believe that God acts with power, it is not difficult to believe that the impossible can occur through Father Michele.

Giuseppe Canali, La Voce di Parma, mai 2004


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