-Translation of selected passages. [The webmaster would like to gratefully thank Mrs. Angelica Avcikurt for translating from the original Italian the inspiring and informative passages below. May God reward her for her efforts.]
At the age of fourteen, she meets Padre Pio for the first time the night between the 25th and the 26th of August, 1934. Padre Pio appeared to her while she was praying. She had never seen him before, so he introduced himself saying, “Cristina, I am Padre Pio,” and started calling her “bambina” (little girl) not because of her age but rather because of her innocence. This is what Father Franco D’Anastasio, a passionist priest, who has dedicated thirty years to gathering information about Sister Rita writes: “On September 14, 1935 (almost a year after the first apparition of Padre Pio) around 2:00 am, the fifteen year old was praying as usual in her bed. Suddenly, Heaven opened up to her. She saw in the forefront, Jesus alive on the Cross, with rays coming out of his wounds. Near him, were the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and Padre Pio.” Sr. Rita herself remembering this in 1976 says that it was then that she received the stigmata. She recalls that Jesus asked her if she wanted to feel the pain of His wounds and she said yes. At that moment the rays of light from the wounds of Jesus penetrated her hands, feet and side and the wounds started to bleed. The following day, she went to the Shrine of the Madonna dell’Arco to seek advice from a priest. She found a young recently ordained passionist priest named Padre Paolo Guida whom she told what had happened. He told her to go pray in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary and ask her for the grace that Jesus may take away the stigmata. Sister Rita did as she was told. To the astonishment of Padre Paolo and Cristina herself, her prayer was immediately answered and the stigmata disappeared, however, the pain and the wound in her side remained until the end of her life. In one of her mystical encounters with Padre Pio, he told her, “Lucky you, little girl, who has them hidden,” and he kissed her hands and she kissed his.
|Sister Rita of the Holy Spirit (Cristina Montella)|
At this time she greatly desired to enter the cloister, but her father was against it. Then on January 10, 1940, her father, Luigi Montella, suffered a stroke and died calling on Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Cristina later said that: “The Lord called my father to Himself because he opposed my vocation to enter the cloister.” She also revealed, “In the days following his death, I prayed intensely for his soul. On the seventh day Jesus granted me the grace of freeing him from Purgatory. He embraced me and kissed me and then went with Jesus to Heaven.”
|Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty|
She often went in bilocation together with Padre Pio to Budapest to comfort Cardinal Mindszenty in jail and to visit other victims of the Soviet government. Both Sister Cherubina Fascia and Father Franco D’Anastasio, a passionist priest who has collected much of the information about the life of Sister Rita in an unpublished manuscript , can attest to this fact. The following is from a conversation Fr. Franco had with Sisiter Rita:
"-Is it true that you were present when they condemned the Cardinal? What did you say?
I was there and I said that by doing that they were going to go to hell. One of them told me that he did not care about hell.
-Were you dressed as a nun?
No, I was dressed as a lady from the city.
-Did Padre Pio used to go with you to visit the Cardinal?
-Where did you get the Sacred Vessels for the celebration of the Mass?
From the sacristy of my monastery.
-What language was spoken?
Different languages. That was not a problem.
-Did you use to take other things to the Cardinal?
Sometimes, I would take him a coffee.
-What if I asked the Cardinal personally to confirm these instances of bilocation?
He would not say anything because he has to keep it a secret."
It began at 2:00 on April 27 which was the day of my investiture.
-Before that occasion had you done the ‘Holy Hour" with Padre Pio?
Yes, he even came that night.
-Who was present from Heaven?
The same ones I have told you before.
-Are they the Virgin Mary and St, Joseph, Padre Pio, St. Augustine, St. Cristina, St. Clare, Augustinian, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Gabriel of Sorrows, and St. Gemma Galgani?
-Did you get a wedding ring?
Yes, Jesus put it on me and I on him.
-Did they (the saints) congratulate you?
They gave me a simple hug and extended their wishes for holiness.
-It seems to me that this is about being a ‘crucified’ spouse.
Yes, of course. Otherwise, it would not make sense."
“Dear Fr. Pancrazio,
I have asked grandpa Pio why he did not have the stigmata when he died. He responded, “Who wants to know?” I answered, “Fr. Pancrazio.” He smiled and added, “Tell the mystic (this is what both Padre Pio and Sister Rita called this priest) that I myself asked Jesus for that grace.”
The doctor, therefore, encouraged me to present to this nun all the requests I had for the patients so that I could get the response from Padre Pio during the following morning. He even offered to take me by car with his wife to meet this nun.
|Suor Rita dello Spirito Santo|
Oh Lord, our God, You have called Sister Rita of the Holy Spirit to the full realization of her baptismal consecration by dedicating herself completely to You in the contemplative Augustinian life in order to find God and help the Church. You, Oh, Father, have made shine forth through her with the charisms You have given her the face of Christ, making Him visible among men and women of our time. With Your help she has taken on herself the troubles of her brothers by serving Christ suffering in her body and becoming through humble prayer a sign and witness to Your Love. Hear our prayer: deign to glorify her now on earth and through her intercession grant us the grace that we ask with faith. Amen.
For more information and to report graces received:
Monastero Santa Cristina
Via Viucciola 1
56029 Santa Croce sull’Arno, (PI) Italy