Ugo Festa was born in Vicenza, Italy in 1951. He was struck down at an early age with multiple sclerosis. Gradually his health deteriorated. This led to many other problems in his young life. By the age of 39 he was also suffering from muscular dystrophy, epilepsy and he was going blind. Early in 1990 his spine was becoming distorted and he was having seizures daily. He had been continually attending doctors but they could not help him. He decided there was nothing left to try but prayer.
On the 28th April 1990 Ugo went with a pilgrimage to Rome. Ugo was invited along to a retreat at the shrine of the Divine Mercy (The Divine Mercy is an apostolate given to a Nun, St Faustina, by Jesus. It consists of a set of prayers, a Feast-Day and an image of Jesus with the words “Jesus I trust in You” written at the bottom. The revelations came to St Faustina before the second world war, they were later approved by the church, and are now the fastest growing apostolate in the world.)
Ugo refused the invite to go on retreat. On leaving, one of the group, a nun, gave him five copies of the Divine Image picture and a Divine mercy medal. The following day Ugo wore the medal and carried in his arms the images to be blessed at the papal audience at the Vatican. At the bottom of the steps to St Peters the Pope passed by. Ugo asked him to bless his Divine Mercy pictures. After blessing them the Pope asked him how he was. Ugo told him he felt very despondent and was at a crisis in his life. John Paul 11 said “How could you have a crisis with Jesus the Divine Mercy in your arms. Entrust yourself to Him and pray to my Sr. Faustina to intercede.”
With this advice Ugo changed his mind and decided that he would go to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Trent. There is a life size icon of the Divine Mercy Image at this shrine. On the fourth day of praying in front of this icon Ugo suddenly noticed the arms of the image stretched out to him and a tremendous warmth flowed through his body. He found himself standing on his feet with his arms outstretched to the Lord and he heard himself loudly praising Jesus the Divine Mercy. He saw Jesus coming down to him, his white garment blowing as if in a breeze, he thought, “My God, this is the man from Galilee coming towards me”. He heard Jesus say in a clear voice, “Rise up and walk”. He began to walk. All his ailments were at that instant cured and he was more physically perfect than he had ever been in his life, even his thin legs grew thick and strong in an instant. Ugo ran up a flight of stairs to a small chapel to give thanks for his healing, here he came under the power of the Holy Spirit and had a vision of St Faustina, the Nun who began the apostolate.
On August 19th, 1990, Ugo returned to the Vatican and during a Papal Audience at Paul VI Hall, was taken to meet John Paul II again, he told him about the great grace he had received and thanked him for the words of inspiration which led him to Trent, and resulted in this great miracle of Divine Mercy. He gave John Paul a copy of the Divine Image, with the signatures on the back of the many people who witnessed the miracle on that day.
Ugo Festa later devoted his life to Jesus doing voluntarily work in a Hospital and spreading the Message of Divine Mercy throughout Italy. He also went to work for Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and onto the streets of Italy helping drug addicts and the homeless. He prophesied that they would “do him in” and in 2006 this came true and he was killed by drug dealers.
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