Antonio Ruffini was born in Rome in 1907 on the 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. He was named in honour of St Anthony, the eldest of three boys and lived in a devout family with a very caring attitude to the poor. His mother died when Antonio was very young. Antonio only had a primary school education but, from an early age, he prayed with his heart rather than from books. He had his first vision of Jesus and Mary when he was 17 years old. He saved his money and went to Africa as a lay missionary. He stayed for a year visiting all the villages, entering the huts to take care of the sick and to baptise the newborns. He went back to Africa a few more times and seemed to have the gift of xenoglossy, which is the ability to speak and understand foreign languages without ever having studied them. He even knew the dialects of the various tribes. He was also a healer in Africa . He would ask the people questions about their ailments and then God would heal them with the herbal remedies that Antonio would find, boil and hand out. He didn’t know what he was doing - it was all instinctive. Word soon got around to the other villages.
The manifestation of the bloody stigmata in Antonio Ruffini occurred August 12, 1951 while returning from work as a representative of a company wrapping paper, along the Via Appia, from Rome to Terracina, on an old car. It was very hot and Ruffini was seized with unbearable thirst. After stopping the car, he went in search of a fountain he found shortly after. Suddenly, he saw a woman in the fountain, barefoot, covered in a black cloak, which he believed to be a local peasant also came drink. Just arrived, she said, "Drink if you are thirsty! "And added:" How did you hurt? "Ruffini, who approached her hands like a cup to drink a sip of water, saw that the water was changed into blood. Seeing this, Ruffini, without understanding what was happening, turned to the lady. She smiled at him, and immediately began talking to him about God and his love for men. He was surprised to hear his truly sublime words and in particular those referrer sacrifice of the Cross.
When the vision disappeared, Ruffini, moved and delighted, walked to the car, but when he tried to start, he noticed that on the back and the palms of his hands were open appeared large bubbles of reddish blood shed as if was bleeding. A few days later, he was suddenly awakened in the night by a loud noise from wind and rain and got up to close the window. But he saw to his astonishment that the sky was full of stars and the night was quiet. He remarked m Even time at his feet a little moisture, something unusual and noticed with surprise, that on the back and on the soles of his feet had appeared wounds like those he had on his hands. From that time, Antonio Ruffini is given completely to men, charity, the sick and the spiritual assistance of humanity.
Antonio Ruffini had the stigmata on his hands for over 40 years. They went clear through his palms and have been examined by doctors, who could offer no rational explanation. In spite of the fact that the wounds went clear through his hands they never become infected. Venerable Pope Pius XII authorized the blessing of a chapel on the spot where Ruffini received the stigmata on the Via Appia, and Father Tomaselli, the miracle worker, wrote a booklet about him. Riffuni is also reported to have had the gift of bilocation.
. After receiving the stigmata Antonio became a member of the Third Order of St Francis and took a vow of obedience. He was a very humble man. Whenever someone asked to see the stigmata, he would mumble a short prayer, kiss the crucifix, remove his gloves and say: “Here they are. Jesus gave me these wounds and, if He wants, He can take them away.”
Ruffini on the Pope
Father Kramer some years ago wrote these comments with regard to Antonio Ruffini: “I myself knew Ruffini for many years. In the early 1990s Ruffini was asked point blank in his home: “Is John Paul II the Pope who is going to do the Consecration of Russia ?” He answered: “No, it’s not John Paul. It will not be his immediate successor either, but the one after that. He is the one who will consecrate Russia."
Antonio Ruffini died at age 92, and even in his death bed, vehemently stated that the wounds in his hands, similar to what Christ had to leave the nails for the crucifixion, were "God's Gift.