Antonia Acutis, mother of Blessed Carlo Acutis, spoke to an audience of over 600 people on Sunday, October 1 on the grounds of Malvern Retreat House. She shared insights about her son’s life and great devotion to the Eucharist.
“Carlo’s spirituality was based on the Eucharist,” she said. “When he was 7 years old, he started attending daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. The life program of Carlo was very clear, to always be united with God.”
Around 500 people gathered under a large tent, and more sat on lawn chairs and blankets upon the grassy field. Music was provided beforehand by local singer and songwriter, Gus deSimone.
Melinda Morgan and her many family members sat on lawn chairs. They traveled from Harrisburg, where they’re members of Saint Lawrence Parish.
Morgan said she looked forward to hearing Mrs. Acutis describe her son, “how he grew up, what his life was like, to see Carlo through her eyes. I think it’ll make him more real. We’ll get to know his human side,” she said.
Connie Dolente of Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish in Phoenixville said she was there to learn from Mrs. Acutis. “You’ve got to find the Lord where you can, and this is a good spot,” she said. “I’m always looking to hear what God is going to whisper next.”
Being a 2019 convert to the Catholic faith, Chamroeun Yang of Saint Mathias Parish in Bala Cynwyd said that he’s “not familiar with a lot of the saints, but I wanted to come to hear Antonia Acutis speak.”
Of Blessed Carlo’s story, Yang says, “It shows that anyone can be a saint whether you’re young or an adult.”
Before addressing the audience, Mrs. Acutis spent private time in the Blessed Carlo Acutis Shrine and Center for Eucharistic Encounter, in Malvern Retreat House’s McShain Conference Center.
One year ago, it started as a permanent exhibit featuring 22 of the Eucharistic miracles of the world, studied and gathered by Blessed Carlo during his short life.
The exhibit has expanded to include 100 Eucharistic miracles, along with the additions of a room dedicated to Blessed Carlo featuring details from his life and an altar for Eucharistic Adoration during scheduled visits and special events.
On August 9, Father James Blount celebrated a Youth Mass and gave a special blessing to dedicate the new shrine. Only a couple years earlier, Father Blount had had a vision of Blessed Carlo in Saint Joseph’s Hall Chapel at Malvern Retreat House.
During her visit, Mrs. Acutis gave the shrine two first-class relics of her son, which will now be housed at the shrine.
“Carlo gained a lot of graces when he was alive,” Mrs. Acutis said. “Jesus was a friend. He did everything for Jesus. We should live this [kind of] relationship with Jesus, not only at Mass.”
She went on to describe how many people live “parallel lives.” Their “daily and faith lives never meet,” she said. “Carlo did everything thinking of God. Carlo and the saints show us that this is possible.”
She said though that this doesn’t come without effort on our part, and suggested more prayer is a good way to start. “Then Jesus begins to be part of us and we can then become witnesses because Jesus lives inside us. The more we become close to Jesus, the more we become extraordinary,” she said.
“Extraordinary” well-describes her son, Blessed Carlo Acutis. Born on May 3, 1991, Blessed Carlo was an Italian Catholic youth who showed great devotion to his faith from a very young age. His mother admits that though Catholic, she and her husband didn’t practice their faith with great devotion, and her son’s devotion was a surprise.
“He liked the computer, and started doing programs at 9 years old,” she said. “He bought books at a nearby engineering school.”
Carlo began designing websites for documenting Eucharistic miracles and approved Marian apparitions around the world. He did this all before his death from leukemia at age 15 on October 12, 2006.
His mother also spoke of Carlo’s “mystical life he had because he used to communicate with Jesus.” She said, “He did many charitable works with beggars who slept in the street. Carlo saw the situation, and he didn’t remain indifferent.”
She said Carlo brought them sleeping bags and blankets, and he gave them advice about where to get social services.
“He was a manager,” she said, smiling.
“When he died, at the funeral, the church was so full,” she said. “He was the friend of everybody.”
Mrs. Acutis recalled a woman with a cancerous tumor who attended the funeral. A few days later, her doctor said that the tumor had disappeared.
Mrs. Acutis also spoke about the many Eucharistic miracles her son documented, in which hosts became flesh. “Jesus is utilizing Carlo to spread love of the Eucharist,” she said.
“Why is Jesus giving us these signs?” she asked. “The more we live a Eucharistic life, Jesus will change us. The more we change, the more the people around us will change.”
“We are all Apostles,” she continued. “Catholics should be the lighthouse of the world.”
“But we don’t live this sacramental life,” she implored to the audience. “Jesus is with us. We have God who lives with us. His physical presence is with us. Real presence in the Eucharist, hiding behind the host. Jesus wants to nourish not only our souls, but also our bodies to strengthen us. Through the Eucharist, Jesus will nourish us so we can love and be patient and forgive.”
Mrs. Acutis has written a book, “My Son Carlo: Carlo Acutis Through the Eyes of His Mother.” Published last March, her book shares more stories and memories of her son and his remarkable life.
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