A bleeding Crucifix, the bishop declares it supernatural and the Holy Office hides it.

“The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine – but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”—Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

The intrigues that take place inside the Vatican are something that reasonably well catechized Catholics admit peacefully, because they know that the tares will be mixed with the wheat until the end of the world. Only the final judgment will separate the wheat from the tares that will be burned forever.

This does not speak ill of the Vatican, but on the contrary, because although the evil one works constantly creating conflicts in the holy place, God continues to do his work from there as well. It is a demonstration that the power of God can make use of an institution so strongly attacked by evil from within and still sanctify the institution’s good works. Here we will consider the case of a Crucifix that bled several times in the room of a mystic and that was approved as a supernatural manifestation by the bishop.

And yet it was later sequestered by the Holy Office, the convent was forced to burn everything related to the manifestation of the Crucifix, the final position of the dicastery was never known, and although its whereabouts are not known exactly, it has been known that it continued to bleed while hidden somewhere in the Vatican.

Monsignor Umberto Rossi

A big mistake made by the poorly catechized is to idealize what happens inside the Vatican, as if everything there was the result of supernatural goodness. That leads to a rude awakening when bad things are exposed. They do not take into account that the Vatican is the scene of the most violent struggle between the fallen angels and the angels of light.

Even as this internal struggle subsists, most of the works continue to be good. That clearly shows that the hand of God sanctifies the Church. An example of the climate, for example, we see when John Paul II took office, who surrounded himself only with Polish men loyal to him, in an effort to avoid what happened to John Paul I, his predecessor.

Benedict XVI used to tell those who went to visit him that his office was the only place where he had any power and that power ended at the door’s threshold.

Even Padre Pio had two periods in which he was prohibited from exercising his ministry. He was defamed due to intrigues by his enemies within his Order and the Vatican, who spread all kinds of falsehoods to ruin his image. There is a strong rejection of everything miraculous by some Vatican insiders, perhaps out of envy.

That is why they try to hide miraculous events, accepting them only when there is no other choice, and later erasing any trace of the preceding internal opposition.

That is what happened with a Crucifix that bled in Asti, Italy, which was approved as a supernatural fact by the Bishop, after a diocesan investigation. And yet, later the Holy Office (today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) intervened, seizing the Crucifix and to this day, ninety years later, the opinion of the Dicastery is not known and no one knows where the Crucifix is.

This is the story of Maria Tartaglino, an orphan who was born in 1887 and was taken in by an institution of the Oblates of Saint Joseph in Asti. As a child she showed great devotion. She made the “heroic vow” in favor of the Souls in Purgatory and from that moment many souls in Purgatory came to her to ask her for suffrages. And she would do penance for them with prayers and voluntary sacrifices. She received the visible stigmata of the Lord’s Passion between 1925 and 1930. Later, the wounds became invisible after she prayed insistently for the Lord to remove them. All external evidence of the stigmata was removed but she continued feeling the pain they caused her until the end of his life.

She experienced the mystical betrothal with Jesus. She had her heart pierced like an ember by an angel.

She was bilocated along with Padre Pio, sometimes by herself, other times the saint of Pietrelcina [bilocated], and sometimes both did. Once Padre Pio said to those who visited San Giovanni Rotondo from the Piedmont:

“Why do you come to me? You have María Tartaglino, go to her, I subscribe to what she tells you!”

The life of Maria Tartaglino remained hidden in her Convent until 1933, when a Crucifix she had on her prie-dieu, and in front of which she spent many hours in prayer, began to drip blood. She would say about the first time: “I fixed my eyes on His side of and saw the blood glistening, coming out. I immediately touched it with my finger and took it out stained with blood, I wiped it with a handkerchief, then I dried the Crucifix. There it was, blood also on the crown of thorns, on her hands and feet and there was also a drop in His mouth”.

The Crucifix bled twice, on August 11 and September 27, 1933.

The bishop of Asti, Monsignor Umberto Rossi, informed of the facts. He had some coagulated blood scabs examined at the Institute of Legal Medicine of the University of Turin, it turned out to be human blood. The Crucifix was X-rayed by two specialists. They found no anomalies, artifacts, or manipulations to simulate bleeding. A diocesan court was established and seventeen witnesses were questioned. The trial ended on February 23, 1934 with a message from the bishop, who declared:

“The absolute truth of the facts is proven by the numerous and incontrovertible testimonies, collected under oath and with the most scrupulous attention, by two trials: one, carried out by the Reverend Superior of the Oblates, Father Martino, and the other, by our Archbishop’s Curia.”

On March 9, 1934, the bishop enthroned the Crucifix in the sanctuary of Saint Joseph and from then on the manifestations of faith and piety around the Crucifix multiplied. Thousands of pilgrims flocked to the sanctuary, the confessionals were overwhelmed and there were numerous conversions. The press, both Italian and foreign, spoke of the phenomenon and Asti seemed to be the center of the spiritual world.

María Tartaglino was frightened by the fame that the Crucifix gave her and she wanted to disappear, she even thought she would have some peace of mind by staying in a different house. But on April 24, 1934, the Carmelite Father Lorenzo de San Basilio arrived as Apostolic Visitor at the Sanctuary of San José in Asti, sent by the Holy Office. He said that his goal was to take personal care of the Crucifix. Father Martino, Superior of the Oblates, welcomed him with respect but discouraged him from removing the Crucifix from the Shrine and remarked that he had not yet received a copy of the ruling issued by the Ecclesiastical Court of Asti. But the Apostolic Visitor was not interested in the Diocesan Process or in the Bishop’s conclusion.

On May 6, at night, the visitor removed the Crucifix from the temple, with the entire Oblate community present, and took it to the Episcopal Curia. On July 4, 1934 Monsignor Umberto Rossi informed that the Holy Office had taken charge of the examination and final ruling on the prodigy of bleeding. He also said that he entrusted the Crucifix to the Apostolic Visitor, with some objects and writings by Maria Tartaglino on mysticism. In addition, the Bishop ordered, always in obedience to the indications received from the Visitor of the Holy Office, that the images and books relating to the Crucifix be destroyed, and a large bonfire was lit in the courtyard of the Institute to burn them.

Don Placido Botti, Maria Tartaglino’s confessor, and Father Martino, were forbidden to deal with Maria’s spiritual direction or have any dealings with her. Maria Tartaglino was accused of being a psychopath in the throes of hysteria and thus inventing the episode of bleeding. But her accusation is denied by the medical certificate issued by a Professors Commission that visited her as early as March 19, 1934, declaring her completely healthy, normal and well balanced. Later it was known that a false medical certificate had been sent to the Holy Office. María Tartaglino was then victim of insults, calumnies, and infamies in this period. The same thing happened to the Josephine Fathers, who were accused of having invented the story of bleeding to face economic difficulties and thus save the finances of the Congregation.

Maria died on September 1, 1944, the first Friday of the month, in Asti, where she had lived. She was fifty-seven years old. She was committed until her death to bring the Crucifix back to Asti, being comforted by her friend in faith and prayer, Padre Pio, with whom she continued to share bilocations.

The trial of the Holy Office and the exact location of the Crucifix were never known. But it is known that it shed blood on several occasions in Rome, testified by some people worthy of faith like Don Luigi Orione (now St. Luigi Orione). In March 2014, the miraculous Crucifix was seen by some religious while on display in a cabinet located in a room in the Vatican.

While the heartbreaking words of Maria Tartaglino continued to resonate, Saint Padre Pio confirmed: “the Crucifix will return and it will be a great triumph!”

Translated from Foros de la Virgen.