Rosario Cassareto from Calabria, prophesies his own death with the help of Saint Bridget
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery, At the Moment of Death; Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying – Camille Flammarion
Extracted from Filosofia della Scienza of Palermo, a published letter from Salvatore Rizzo of Marianopoli, Caltanissetta May 20th 1911
I spoke to you of an extraordinary case which happened in this parish called by the people a ‘Miracle of Saint Bridget’, for there is the conviction here that the saint’s worshipers are accorded the grace, through her, of being warned of their death at least three days beforehand, in order that they may fittingly prepare for it. You then charged me to investigate the details of the narration, and to write them down as best I could. I took the matter up and can today write you what follows:
In October 1875, at a time when brigandage was rife, an unknown man, decently dressed but of suspicious behaviour, was noticed in the environs of Marianopoli, on the Valte-Enferna (Hell valley) road.
A certain Carmela Guercio, still living, was the first to see him and she ran to the village to report it. The mayor, Baron Pietro Landolini di Rigilifi, sent several guards to the designated spot, who arrested the man and brought him to the village.
According to information furnished by him and by the prefectures of Caltanissetta and Girgenti, he was a certain Rosario Cassareto, a native of a Parish in the Calabria, who after personal sorrows, had left the conjugal home and, wandering over the countryside in an over-excited state, had reached that spot.
While waiting for the necessary letters of identification relative to his case, Cassareto was kept in a room on the ground floor which communicated with other rooms occupied by the guards; he was in their charge.
He had, between his lips, an object which he claimed was a relic of Saint Bridget; he declared himself her devotee and told the persons who approached him that he still had three days to live.
The next day he took occasion to repeat, a great many times, that two still remained to him, and the following day that there was only one left. This prophecy roused at the time a feeling of pity in all those who heard him and they believed him mad.
At length, after three days, they provided for his transportation from here to Caltanissetta; he was next to be taken to Girgenti.
Mounted guards were ordered to go with him – Pietro Raso and Salvatore Cali. Just when these guards appeared, to lay hold on Cassareto, he cried ‘Here are my executioners!’ He was then put on a horse which had been saddled by Salvatore Arnone, a waggoner, and all of them, including Arnone, took the mule path to Caltanissetta and went through the Mimiani wood. There was in this wood a spring and at this spring a horse trough.
The group stopped there to water the horses and while they were thus occupied, Cassareto’s horse gave a bound and ran away at a gallop, a distance of some hundreds of yards. The real reason for the horse’s jumping and running away was never known. They thought that Cassareto wished to escape and Rasa, one of the guards, rode after him on his horse; but on account of the inequalities in the ground, this horse fell with its rider and the latter’s musket went off; the shot struck Cassareto and killed him. Rasa was sentenced to four years in prison, as guilty of having killed through excess of zeal.
Such are the known facts, related by most of the natives here. I had from Monsieur Salvatore Ferrara, secretary of the local charity organisation confirmation of all the above details; he added that he was present at the moment when the guards appeared to Cassareto, and heard the latter’s exclamation ‘Here are my executioners!’.
Monsieur Ferrara was then a superintendent of telegraph operators and his office was situated above the place where Cassareto was under guard; at the moment of this exclamation he was leaning on his elbows on the balcony.
I questioned the waggoner Arnne, as well, and he, in confirming the story, added another detail not less important: When in the journey from Marianopoli to Caltanissetta, they reached the road – about 2 kilometres from the horse trough – Cassareto got off his horse, knelt upon the ground, offered up a prayer, then said ‘I have still 20 minutes more to live’ and mounted his horse again.
The investigation of this singular incident brought to my attention another case of a ‘Miracle of Saint Bridget’. Such are the facts.