By Early Members of the Italian Church
(For Part 1, please click here)
During the late 1940s, True Father was in Hungnam Special Labor Camp in North Korea, fighting to continue his mission, and fighting for his very life. At the same time (and over the ensuing years), remarkable communications about God’s light in the world were given from the spirit world during sittings in Milan, Italy, with a medium named Jolanda (pronounced Yolanda) Pizzi. These communications led to the establishment of the first Unification Church community in northern Italy.
Four people contributed their testimony:
Elio D’Alberti: Early member of the northern Italian church; now national messiah to the Czech Republic
Franco Ravaglioli: Early member of the northern Italian church; national leader of Italy for 20 years
Luciana Ferrario: An early member who joined with her husband; now national messiahs to Romania
Daniela Granata: A home member, Daniela recorded many sittings with the medium, Jolanda Pizzi, during the 1970s and 1980s, later transcribing and publishing them in a book Il Vero Amore [True Love] in 2009.
Spiritualist Jolanda Pizzi’s Declaration of Faith
I testified to him even before knowing him. When I came to know the Divine Principle brought to me by Martin [Porter], his wife and Barbara and Carla [early Italian members], it was not difficult for me to accept it, since for many years, from time to time, I had received revelations about such content. Even so, the Lord still wanted to give me a testimony based on my faith. I should explain that I have been in direct communication with Jesus for many years; therefore, after reading the whole [Divine Principle] book, overjoyed for what I had come to know, still enraptured in that feeling of beatitude induced by the reading, the presence of Jesus wanted me to write down what was happening to me and which I now report.
[Jesus:] “I am here with you, my gentle instrument and dear sister, do not be afraid, but follow so you can help the prophesies be accomplished, since it has taken too long for them to come true. I am near you, do not be afraid and go to spread the divine truth, I will pave the way for you. My being near you will help you greatly. Be bold. Your preparation is good and you will be listened to. Sow well, for the harvest will be satisfactory.”
I wish that all people encountering the Divine Principle may have such proof as to dispel any fear or doubt, and may accept with a peaceful and hopeful ear this last dispensation from God as the only salvation for us and for the whole creation.
The testimonies continue….
FRANCO Jolanda had many revelations from Jesus. She could only accept that Father was the Messiah after she received direct revelation from Jesus. I remember that she said, “I could never think to replace Jesus. I was praying a lot to him, saying that if this is the right person you have to give me a sign.”
ELIO Three months after the session with Jolanda when we met Martin Porter, Jolanda called to say that she had an important message for me. I went to her house one Saturday. She told me to sit down and then said, “The Messiah is on earth!” A wave of feelings came over me. If this were true, nothing in the world could be more wonderful. The following Monday, we started Divine Principle lectures with Barbara Burrowes. When she explained the ideal of creation, I realized that my dreams concerning an ideal family were not my own fantasy. At the end of a tormented and conflicted history, God had planted the Tree of Life on earth. I took a photograph of True Father home to show to my mother. Being spiritually open, when she took the photo, she had a vision that from Father’s face a great light, like sunshine, covered the world. My mother began to cry, feeling True Father’s incredible suffering, which she said was beyond our imagination. Jolanda’s acceptance of True Father as the Messiah helped a number of people become the first group of disciples in northern Italy.
DANIELA We often came to know what Father was going to do before it was announced, so we were absolutely certain that Jesus and therefore Horward were in contact with Father and were supporting what he was doing….
In 1972 Jolanda went to Rome to meet Father. He expressed his appreciation for what she was doing and through Mrs. Choi, who always accompanied Father in those days, she received Father’s embrace and blessing.9
FRANCO As I grew up, I strongly believed what my mother told me about the sittings, but I never wanted to go. I was afraid. My mother was pushing me… She would ask, “Since you believe so much of what Horward’s saying, why don’t you talk to him yourself?” I would say no. One day during a sitting in 1968, he told my mother through Jolanda, “Don’t push your son to come. When the time is right, he will ask to come.” So my mother came home. “Oh,” she told me, “He said you will ask to come.” I said, “He’s crazy. I will never ask to come; you know that. Don’t talk to me about it anymore.” However, one morning, in September 1969, I woke up feeling that I had to go. I told my mother, “Please call Jolanda and make an appointment; I want to go to a sitting.” My mother was shocked.
Going to a sitting is like being in a doctor’s waiting room. You sit and wait for your turn. Each sitting lasted around thirty minutes. As soon as I sat down, I looked around and saw two or three people, and I thought, What am I doing here? Are we all crazy? I’ll be talking to some spirit. I don’t know where he is, or if he really exists. Just as I was thinking of an excuse to run away, Jolanda’s sister came through the door and said, “Oh Franco, it’s your turn now.”
It was too late to escape, so I went into the room. I was expecting something terrifying, but Jolanda was just sitting in an armchair with a blanket on her knees, with her eyes closed. As soon as I entered the room, she said, with a strong English accent (though speaking in Italian), “Oh I have been waiting so long to meet you! You finally came.” Without asking any questions, Horward began to talk. He said that it was the time of a great revolution, not a physical one but a spiritual revolution, because God had sent his living light to earth and it was now walking among mankind. “If you have faith,” he said, “you will find the light.” All of a sudden, he stopped and asked, “Do you understand what I am saying?” I said that I did, but he replied, “You don’t understand one word of what I’ve said. But don’t worry; in a few days, you will understand.”
I thanked him and left. When Jolanda’s sister asked me how it had gone, I told her what he’d said about the light of God walking on earth and that I didn’t understand it. When she said that she knew what he meant, I was even more convinced that they were all a bunch of crazy people. I returned home and told my mother, “Please don’t tell me to go there anymore; they’re all nuts.” And I forgot about it. Some weeks later, Jolanda called to ask what I’d thought of the experience. I told her it had been very interesting. She said she was glad I’d enjoyed it and invited my mother and me to her house the next night because a lady was coming “to explain a nice philosophy from the Orient.” I spoke to my mother, who agreed to go, which is how we met Barbara Burrowes.
At Jolanda’s house, we heard the explanation of the first chapter, which was very interesting, very uplifting. Then we learned about the Fall, why human beings could not reach what the first chapter had promised. When I heard the Fall—Satan, the snake, Adam and Eve—I decided it was a poor imitation of Catholic theology. When we left, I told my mother, “Please don’t ask me to come anymore. It makes no logical sense.” Jolanda invited us for another meeting the following week, but I told her I was busy. My mother, who had recently bought me a small car, wanted to go to the meeting. She said, “You see! I bought a car for you, but you won’t even bring me to the meeting. What kind of thanks is that?”
So, I took her to the meeting to hear another “story.” That night, Barbara explained the chapter on Jesus. I was shocked when I heard it. It was such a profound explanation. I was not a good Catholic at all. I went to church out of duty. I made offerings to help myself when I had school exams or to ask for grace when I needed something. I didn’t believe in the church or the priests, but I had always believed that Jesus was a real person, who really existed. The explanation Barbara gave uplifted me, and from that time on, I continued to attend the meetings.
We were doing one chapter at a time. I heard the final two chapters in a center they opened in Milan. After her explanation of the Principle, Barbara invited us to sit in a circle in the living room and pray. She explained that we should pray aloud and express what we feel, and so on.
I told myself that I hope she doesn’t ask me to pray. And Barbara looked directly into my eyes and said, “Now, you pray.” I was stunned. I did not know what to say, or how to start. Everyone else had bowed their heads and were waiting for me. I began trying to say good things in perfect Italian. But the more I prayed, the more the prayer became natural. I began to feel I was really expressing myself, and I felt God’s love and energy embracing me, giving me so much warmth and love. I started crying. At that moment, I accepted that True Father was the Messiah.
When I next talked to Horward, he asked, “Do you understand now what I meant when I said that the light was walking with men on earth? That is the light I was speaking of.”
Extracts from the book Il Vero Amore (True Love), which Ms. Daniela Granata compiled and published. Daniela is speaking with Howard some ten years after the events described in the testimonies above. (Howard is the spirit guide who lived on earth in the 13th century, and who spoke through the medium Mrs. Jolanda Pizzi, a spiritualist from Milan in northern Italy.)
December 21, 1979 Daniela: We want to ask you how the Movement [the Unification Church] will develop.
Horward: The truth is the truth. The Principle shall continue. I have said this before now. It will develop even more after the year 2000. It is not important whether the person who revealed it will still be alive at that time. I tell you, he shall work more freely and will accomplish more when he is in the spirit world than while he is on earth. Here [in the spirit world] there are already many of his disciples, who are instructing other spirits. Most of the people in the spirit world do not know the Principle. That’s why some spirits still speak through mediums about Christianity or even about things before Christianity. Now they have to change, but it is very difficult, because they are spirits that are not advanced, that still ignore this message. Yet many other spirits here are getting ready to convey this message….
December 19, 1980 Daniela: Many times we face great difficulties, since we don’t know what to do… perhaps, because we do not have a sufficiently deep bond with Master [True Father].
Horward: You see Master only in his human form. You are used to worshipping idols on an altar. Master walks and does all the other things that men do; he has to act on earth like any other man, but internally there is a completely different mechanism with which he understands God’s law and transmits it. God did not send us His son as a being to be worshipped on an altar. He sent him to help the earth. He sent him for him to work, and not in order to have a monument to him. What I mean is that Master lives on earth in the same way any other man does; with more wisdom, of course, because he knows [God’s plan]; you should not have the idea that he is different. He too has to brush his teeth, since one can’t brush one’s teeth with God’s law, and if he loses a tooth he has to replace it with another. God’s law is right and can do anything…. Do not worship him; He does not want to be worshipped; he just wants that through him you love God.