There came a woman to one of the houses of our little congregation, in this kingdom, to tell one of the fathers that her husband had not been to confession for many years, and that she did not know how to bring him back to his duties, for whenever she spoke to him of confession he beat her.
The father told her to give him a little picture of Mary Immaculate. Evening came, and the woman again begged her husband to go to confession; but the man being as deaf as before, she gave him the picture. He had no sooner received it than he said:
“When will you take me to confession, for I am ready? ”
The wife, at that sudden change, wept for joy. In the morning he came to our church, and when the father asked him how long it was since he had been to confession, he answered:
“And what has brought you to confession this morning?” said the father.
“Father,” he said, “I was obstinate, but yesterday my wife gave me a picture of the Madonna, and immediately I felt my heart changed, so that last night appeared to me a thousand years long, and I thought the day would never come when I might go to confession.”
He made his confession with great compunction, changed his life, and continued for a long time to go often to confession to the same father. In another place, in the diocese of Salerno, during one of our missions, there was a certain man who had a great enmity against one who had offended him. One of our fathers spoke to him, and exhorted him to pardon the offence.
“Father, have you ever seen me at the sermon? No, you have not, and for this reason I stay away: I see that I am damned, but I do not wish it otherwise, I must have revenge.”
The father made every effort to convert him, but finding that he was wasting his words:
“Take, he said to him, this little picture of the Madonna.” ” Of what use,” said he, “is this picture?”
But he took it, and as if he had never refused to pardon his enemy, he said to the missionary:
“Father, do you wish anything more than reconciliation? for that I am ready.”
The next morning was appointed for the reconciliation; but when the morning came, his mind was changed, and he would do nothing. The father offered him another picture. He did not wish for it, and took it unwillingly; but behold, no sooner had he taken it, than he immediately said:
“Let us be reconciled: where is Mastrodatti?”
He then forgave his enemy, and afterwards made his confession.