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BOLLETTINO VALTORTIANO: No. 31, Jan.-June, 1985, p.122
— GABRIEL M. ALLEGRA, O.F.M. —
Exegete - Theologian - Missionary
Father Gabriel Allegra, missionary and biblical exegete of world renown (he translated the whole Bible into Chinese), of the Order of Friars Minor, was born at San Giovanni La Punta (Catania) in 1907, and died at Hong Kong in 1976. On the 14th of January, 1984, in the diocese of Hong Kong, the process for his beatification was opened. [Pope John Paul II declared Fr. Allegra "Venerable" on December 15, 1994, and Pope Benedict XVI approved his beatification, which took place on September 29, 2012, at the Cathedral of Arcireale, Catania, in Sicilia. —Trans.] We have already published the "Critique" and the "Valtortian Notes" of Fr. Allegra in Nos. 6, 29 and 30 of our Bulletin. [cf. Parts I, II, and III of this dossier.]
Through the kind agency of the Postulator General of the Friars Minor, we here publish some excerpts of letters of the Servant of God to his confreres and relatives which refer to Valtorta's Poem of the Man-God.
— Emilio Pisani, Editor
LETTERS OF BLESSED GABRIEL ALLEGRA, O.F.M.:
From: Hong Kong, July 30, 1965
To: Fr. Fortunato Margiotti in Rome
[This letter is probably Fr. Gabriel's initial reaction to his first acquaintance with Valtorta's Poem to which his confrere, Fr. Margiotti, had introduced him. —Trans.]
I would like for a single instant to find myself in Rome to take you by your ears and pull them very, very hard, as when the bells once used to be loosed on Holy Saturday morning! But do you know that the Poem of Jesus [sic] has detached me from my studies of Holy Scripture? And it makes me weep and laugh with joy and love. But I will not go on! I do not believe that genius could thus complete the Gospel narration: the Finger of God is here! Quite different from Formgeschichtemethode! [Form Criticism Method] I sense in this book the Gospel, or better, the intoxicating perfume of the Gospel. And I am proud that so many—not all—so many hypotheses correspond to those which I had worked out in my queer head in order to coordinate the life of the Savior. But of that I could speak only by word of mouth. This book is for me an act of Divine Mercy for the Church, for simple souls, for hearts which are evangelically children. I hope that the diligent editor will add in the last volume a fine index, at least for the proper names.
And now, dear Fr. Margiotti, since it [The Poem] is making me commit this sin of negligence toward my true duty, and since—which is worse—I have all the will to commit it entirely: be on the lookout and send me all the other volumes. And if you should find some biographical sketch of Maria Valtorta, send it to me also, because to know the witness means so much. And Norbert will pay for it; he pays for so many of my other whims, he will in outrage pay for the Poem of the Man-God !
I end now, because I want to return to the 4th volume of it...; it is irresistible: the Blessed Master—and what will it be when we see Him?
If I am not converted this time, I see it well: I am worse than Judas!...
Fr. Gabriel M. Allegra
From: Hong Kong, May 24, 1969
To: (the same) Fr. Margiotti
Dearest Fr. Margiotti,
... And now I thank you for the Autobiography of Maria Valtorta, which absolutely occupies a place apart among all the autobiographies of men and women saints which I have read; like that of B. Cellini, it stands out among all other similar works of our literature.
It is painful to read what it says of her mother, and yet it seems to me that it was this intimate, continuous, torturing martyrdom which prepared Maria Valtorta for the sublime gifts of the visions and contemplations which she later received; in sum, it was this that had prepared her to be the mouthpiece of the Lord Jesus.
The language seems to me more varied and vigorous than that of the Poem of the Man-God, which also is so fresh and lively.
To sum up, dear Fr. Margiotti, I believe that you are an instrument of the Lord to make this soul known and its message—oh! a message so ample: ample as the Gospel!
I hope that the editors continue to publish all the works of this soul, virile in her humility, a soul which often makes one think of St. Catherine of Siena.
... Again, dear Fr. Margiotti, I say good-bye and pray you to stay on the lookout if ever the editor, Pisani, should print some other work of Valtorta!!!
Yours most affectionately in Christ
Fr. Gabriel M. Allegra, ofm
From: Hong Kong, August 5, 1965
To: His uncle Joachim, Vicar in San Giovanni La Punta (Catania)
... This morning I have finished reading the 8th volume of Maria Valtorta's The Poem of the Man-God, and I confess to you that, notwithstanding the question marks that at times arise spontaneously in my mind as a theologian and an exegete—certainly from fatigue, but I should also tell the truth—this Work has profoundly moved me. It is certain to produce in all at least this: a more lively desire to meditate on the Gospel and to make love grow for the Word of God become a Book, as Origen said.
Since several have asked me what I think of this Poem, I am considering printing in some review—perhaps The Crusade of the Gospel—a presentation.
If Holy Mother Church should have to disavow this book because it is a question of private revelations, no one will be more glad to obey than I. But if, as I think, the Church will allow it to circulate through the hands of the faithful, like the revelations of Ann Catherine Emmerich or Ven. Mary of Agreda, I think that it will do an immense good.
Two volumes are still lacking: the history of the Passion and of the Resurrection. The language, more than being dignified, is fascinating; and when the Madonna is spoken of, there is a sweetness and a true Heavenly enchantment. ...
Your most affectionate nephew
Fr. Gabriel Maria
From: Hong Kong, August 29, 1965
To: Fr. Mario Crocco, Vicar in Castellammare di Stabia (Napoli)
... I end, dear Mario, by recommending to you the reading of the voluminous but fascinating Poem of the Man-God of Maria Valtorta: Fr. Margiotti has procured it for me and Fr. Pieraccini bought it for the Library. I assure you that this work brings one near the Lord and stimulates us strongly to meditate on the Gospel: I would like to say so many other things about it, but I do not want to with paper and ink, at least for now. I embrace you fraternally.
Your most devoted in Christ
Fr. Gabriel Maria Allegra, ofm
From: Jerusalem, April 4, 1974
To: Fr. Leonardo Anastasi in Acireale (Catania)
Reverend and Very Dear Fr. Guardiano, [read: Leonardo?]
... There is in the community a dear Father Missionary of Japan who has translated into Spanish all 10 volumes of the Poem of the Man-God and what is more, he is a biblical scholar who is studying scientifically the geography of the Work. Almost every day we speak of this Work, for which he lives, and it seems to me that the Spanish translation, given the number who speak this tongue—more than one hundred million—ought to do a great good for a great number of souls. And since I am habituated to dreaming, I think that if there could be a version in English, another in Russian and another in Arabic, and finally one in Chinese..., it would be a great victory against Satan...
Your most devoted
Fr. Gabriel M. Allegra
From: Jerusalem, Monday of Holy Week, 1974
To: His cousin Leonie Morabito, Poor Clare Sister in Caltanissetta
My beloved Sr. Leonie,
... I would like to write to you, as you desire, so many things on O.L. [= Our Lord] seen by one who lives in your land, but time is lacking to me; either retreats or confessions seriously bind me. ... But I assure you that the Poem of the Man-God immensely surpasses any descriptions—I do not say of mine, because I do not know how to write—but of any other writer.
I rejoice so much in perceiving that this Work is loved by the Poor Lady of Caltanissetta, and especially by my dearly beloved sister, Sr. Leonie. Pray to the Madonna that there be success in translating it into English, Russian and Chinese. The Spanish version is already finished.... It is a Work that makes one grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus and His Holy Mother.
I embrace you with so much fraternal affection, and I bless you all.
Fr. Gabriel M.
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