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.


Adelaide Roncalli

On the 20th February 1989 she stated the following:

"I the undersigned Roncalli Adelaide, born at Ghiaie di Bonate Sopra (Bg) on the 23rd April 1937, on occasion of the forty-fifth anniversary declare hereby again as repeatedly stated on previous occasions, that I am absolutely persuaded of having had the Apparitions of Our Lady at Ghiaie di Bonate from the 13th to the 31st of May 1944 when I was seven of age. I offer to God and to the rightful Authority of the Church, which is solely entitled to acknowledge or not what with clear conscience and in full possession of my mental faculties I deem to be the plain truth, the vicissitudes sorrowfully experienced by me since then on.
In witness thereof …
Adelaide Roncalli20th February 1989."