Consecrate yourself to the Virgin of Carmel, who appeared in Garabandal. "-" So it is true? ", I said. -" Right and true! "(" Yes, it is true! "), Said Padre Pio.
Testimony of Joachim Bouflet
The following statement, translated from French by Helen Rozeluk, was printed with his own permission.
Joachim Bouflet received his doctorate in history at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in 1972. After teaching for 10 years, he entered the field of specialized spirituality, in the study of stigmatized people and apparitions, and is the author of books dealing with these matters. For several years, he worked with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, as a consultant on the causes for people who were leading the way to his beatification. Recently, he was appointed a consultant for the cause of the stigmatized Frenchwoman, Marta Robin. He is from the Third Order of Mount Carmel.
Saint Padre Pio
In July 1968, I had invited four of my friends - like me, we were students at the University of Sorbonne (Paris, France) - to come and spend ten days at my family's home in Germany (my mother's family is German). We were all about 20 years old, and we had a Catholic student movement at the university, we often asked ourselves what our future would be like.
For a few years I kept hoping to enter the Order of the Carmelite Fathers, while one of the people in our group, due to the product of a totally agnostic environment, was hesitating in choosing a religious life (some time later, she joined to the Sisters of Bethlehem).
These points indicate the atmosphere in which we found ourselves, we often spoke about religion, and often moved to the surroundings, to the charming region of Lake Constance, where in addition to relaxing the body, we also found the pleasure of a rhythmically life punctuated with religious practice, reciting the Holy Office and doing meditation.
At the end of our stay in Germany, I decided to hitchhike - cutting across Austria because I thought it would be easier. And so, after spending time with my family, I decided to go there in mid-August.
The route proved to be quite easy from the beginning, because a bus full of pilgrims bound for São Damiano took me and took me there (São Damiano). I was familiar with the place, having been there before, but it didn't appeal to me much. However, I took advantage of the pilgrimage that went there, around the 15th of August.
Providentially, in São Damiano I ended up meeting another student, Loulou, an extraordinary woman about fifty years old, an ex-cloistered nun, who was studying Russian. When I told her about my intention of hitchhiking to San Giovanni Rotondo, she declared that she would also accompany me, she said that she would not let me walk alone on the roads of southern Italy (to hear that this was a dangerous area, with many thieves and murderers), and that she would also be useful to me, since she spoke fluent Italian, while I only knew a few words.
Note: After meeting with Padre Pio, this author burst into tears and wept with joy.
He took the statue by the head while I took the base and we passed a side door to a cloister. A short distance away, in the shade under the arcades, Padre Pio sat in an armchair. He looked tired. I was filled with excitement at being so close to him. But the young priest was pulling me and we went to the new church, where we placed the image of the Saint next to the altar.
While placing and arranging the support of the statue with a piece of cloth and placing flower pots, the young Capuchin slowly explained to me, in order to make himself understood, that São Luís was from the Third Franciscan Order, that they were celebrating, a since his feast day would be on the night of the next day (vigil) and that was especially special for me, because a Frenchman helped for this cause. I guessed what he said, more than understanding, because my Italian was very limited.
Finally, I asked him how he could return to the small chapel of Nossa Senhora das Graças. With a simple gesture, he indicated the door I had just used and I went back to the cloister to make the return trip.
It was so close to Padre Pio! An opportunity like this would never have again. I crossed the cloister garden and fell at his feet. He was surprised. At the same time, two Capuchins ran out, shouting unintelligible words. Padre Pio signaled them with his gloved hand and they were silent, but they stayed close. So he looked at me seriously, but I'm sure there was understanding and affection and that was reflected in his eyes. He put his hand on my head (I was kneeling in front of Padre Pio) and he said a few words to me. The two monks withdrew for a distance. I heard Padre Pio, who kept his hand on my head. I understood perfectly what he said to me.
I confessed my sins and he answered me, commenting on what I had said, and then I was given an overwhelming experience of the charism that was attributed to him, and of his knowledge of the heart. I felt a deep peace and a deep anguish. I don't know how long all this went on.
Finally, he said to me: "Pray to Our Lady. Consecrate yourself to the Virgin of Carmel". "Yes, Father, I pray to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In fact, I would like to become a Carmelite." He did not comment on this, but repeated insistently: "Consecrate yourself to the Virgin of Carmel, who appeared in Garabandal"
- "So it's true?", I said.
- "Right ( Vero! )!" ("Yes, it is true!") Said Padre Pio.
Then he said two or three personal things to me. When he was asking for her blessing before getting up, he concluded: "And tell Janine that everything is fine and that I am praying for her." I had completely forgotten about the main reason for my trip to San Giovanni Rotondo! With his supernatural delicacy the priest was reminding me. What a mess!
So I received his blessing and he got up. He looked at me seriously and then closed his eyes. The two friars, who had stayed at a distance, escorted me to the church of Nossa Senhora das Graças. They looked angry and scolded me a little. I wondered if they were serious or not, but to tell you the truth, I didn't care at the time.
Once in the chapel, I started to cry. I cried with joy. A little later my friend Loulou arrived. She took me outside and said: "So it looks like you were able to see Padre Pio!" As my surprise, it was obvious, she interrupted, "I see you are not used to it. Around here, everyone knows everything within a quarter of an hour." It didn't take long for me to find out for myself.
By the end of the afternoon, I had to face the interrogations of numerous curious pilgrims. I was uncomfortable, especially when I expressed the opinion that perhaps Padre Pio had just a little time to suffer down here, it was a very distinct impression that I had when I was with him.
For many it seemed to have uttered blasphemy, as if people were convinced that the Holy Father was immortal or something. I then decided to leave the next day and Loulou agreed. At night I wrote Padre Pio's words (in Italian) that I remembered exactly.
I left San Giovanni Rotondo on August 24, 1968. Padre Pio was called by Our Lord a month after the day I had seen him. This is the story of my encounter with the Servant of God and the exact content of his suggestions regarding the events in Garabandal.