Life

28th February 1963. It is the most tragic and yet the greatest day in the life of Benedetta. She becomes blind. The journey toward the mistery of God is slowly coming to an end. She spends some desperate hours: "... she was greatly suffering; she was breathing with much difficulty. She was shaking while the nurse was inserting the intravenous needles on the back of her left hand. Using the other hand, that was left free, we were trying to "talk" to her, telling her to keep still. We were desperately trying, for the first time, to "talk" to her, who was now deaf and blind, with the deaf alphabet that she knew, moving the fingers of her hand to shape every conventional letter. Yet she was not used to this exercise of heroic patience. She was desperate and she was rejecting us. Then, almost all of a sudden, Benedetta became calm and serene. Blindness was for her a horrifying chance until the day before and now it is a reality, a fact, and Benedetta accepts it, as the expression of the will of God"... (from Maria Grazia's testimony)

On March 1st, she was anointed, as death seemed imminent. But, the next day, to everyone’s surprise, a great calm came over her. Her mother noticed "that she seemed completely free from the fear and anguish that had seized her only a few days before. She seemed to accept her blindness as a path to greater joy and brighter light"

Thus began the last stage of her return journey to God, in complete darkness, or as she herself put it, "in isolation and emptiness".

Deaf, completely paralyzed and blind, Benedetta communicates with others through that breath of voice that was left to her and others were "speaking" to her by folding the fingers of her right hand and by pressing them on her body and on her face according a conventional deaf alphabet. In this way they are reading to her letters from friends, book pages, world news, everybody's thoughts. A hand and a breath of voice are her only bridge to the world.

Far from being isolated and lonely, she became more alive to the mystery of God's love for her that had unfolded in such an unexpected manner. "Her bed became the pulpit from which Benedetta 'preached without preaching' lessons of patience, humility, fortitude, resignation to God's will, the value of the Cross endured with Christ and for Christ" (Father F.X. Grasso, S.J.) to people from all walks of life, believers and unbelievers alike. "They'd come and go in groups of ten and fifteen, with her mother as interpreter, she was able to communicate with each one. It seemed as though she could read our innermost souls with extreme clarity, even though she couldn't hear or see us. I will always remember her with her hand extended ready to receive the word of God and her brothers and sisters". (From Maria Grazia's Testimony).

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