In 1944, at Torchio, sub hamlet of Ghiaie di Bonate Sopra, lived
the Roncalli family, composed of one son, Luigi, and seven daughters:
Caterina, Vittoria, Maria, Adelaide, Palmina, Annunziata and Romana
(and Federica, who died in her tender years). Dad Enrico had given
up his peasant life and was now working in a local factory. Mother
Anna Gamba, housewife, was busy growing their numerous offspring
with great patience.
Adelaide was seven then. She was born on the 23rd April 1937 at
11 at Torchio and was baptized on the 25th April by the parish priest
Don Cesare Vitale. She attended the first class of the primary school;
she was a child like many others, healthy and lively; she enjoyed
playing all day long.
Nothing bespoke that her name would cross not only Italy's boundaries
but also Europe's, until that afternoon of 13th May 1944, when the
Holy Family appeared to her.
While the world was burning among the flames of hatred and mortal
weapons, and the war seemed to never come to an end, Our Lady, Mother
of Unity and Queen of Peace, chose a girl from Bonate, Adelaide
Roncalli, to launch her messages to the world. She appeared to her
for thirteen days in two cycles: the former from the 13th to the
21st May, the latter from the 28th to the 31st May.
Our Lady foretold her:
"You shall suffer a lot, but do not cry,
because then you will come with me into Paradise."
In this valley of deep sorrows you will
be a little martyr
" But Adelaide was too
young to grasp the gravity of those words immediately. After the
apparitions, she was isolated, intimidated, frightened and psychologically
tortured, insomuch that somebody, on the 15th September 1945, managed
to wrench a retractation in writing which will weigh a ton on the
case for the acknowledgment of the apparitions.
On the 12th of July 1946, she withdrew the retractation that had
been imposed on her, restating in writing the truthfulness of the
apparitions, but unfortunately that did not bring about the wished-for
effect, as on the 30th April 1948 Bergamo's bishop mons. Bernareggi
issued a 'non constat' decree, prohibiting every form of devotion
to Our Lady, worshipped as appeared at Ghiaie di Bonate.
Moved this way and that, against her will and without their parents'
knowing, opposed to, laughed at and slandered, Adelaide took up
her cross, far away from home.
When she had her fifteenth birthday, she was allowed by the bishop
to go into the convent of the Sisters Sacramentine in Bergamo. After
the bishop's death, somebody managed to draw out the order of driving
her out of the convent, making her give up the vocational plan that
Mary had expressed about her. This renunciation brought about much
suffering and cost her a long disease.
Any teenager would have been destroyed by such a vicissitude like
hers, but Adelaide was strong and she recovered. Tired of waiting
for the gate of the convent to open, she made up her mind to get
married and went to live to Milan, where she devoted herself to
the care for the sick. The years passed and Adelaide shut herself
up in silence as commanded by her superiors.
Finally, availing herself of the decrees of the Council Vatican
II as regards one's right to information, Adelaide felt disburdened
of the prohibitions that had been imposed on her and decided to
restate the truthfulness of the apparition in front of a notary
public, solemnly and officially.