Angry at God because of her disability, one woman found spiritual and emotional healing at Lourdes.
On February 11, the Italian website Cristiani Today published an interview with 34-year-old Rita Coruzzi, who, since childhood, has had to cope with the suffering caused by hip dislocation due to the lack of an acetabulum (the socket in the pelvis into which the head of the femur is supposed to fit).
A few years ago, I saw an interview with her on Rai1 television’s YouTube channel, and I was impressed by her cheerfulness, her frankness, and her precise and rapid way of speaking. Rita Coruzzi is a passionate writer and describes herself on her website as a woman who is in a hurry to do everything.
Anger and estrangement from the faith
Born prematurely, Rita wasn’t able to walk because of her condition. Her mother didn’t give up easily on the idea of helping her daughter lead a normal life. Because of that perseverance, Rita underwent intense physical therapy and three surgeries—which, unfortunately, did not yield favorable results.
Despite all this, Rita was forced to live in a wheelchair. The situation initially made her very angry at God. These are her words to describe her state of mind at that time, taken from her Cristiani Today interview:
I trusted Him. I put myself in His hands during this operation (the last one). I had really abandoned myself to Him. I was convinced that He would not hurt me, but instead I found myself right where I had tried not to end up: in a wheelchair. So, for four years I felt blind rage against God. I accused Him of being downright unfair and cruel. I no longer believed in His goodness and mercy.
Her mother supported her during this phase of heated recrimination, assuring her, “God has not abandoned you.” She argued that God had a plan for her daughter. If He allowed Rita to continue to suffer this disability, she said, it was because she could serve Him that way, just as she was.
A pilgrimage to Lourdes
In 2001, at the invitation of her theology professor, Rita decided to go to Lourdes, even though she was now living far from the faith. At that moment, there was something inside her that irresistibly pushed her to go.
She told Cristiani Today that she went hoping for a miracle, but she was also aware that it might not happen. In that case, instead of rebelling, she resolved to ask the Blessed Mother for the reason.
Rita and the words of the Virgin Mary
The Blessed Mother responded to this lost daughter, for whom she had long been waiting. Rita recounts the experience in her interview:
I really heard a voice in my heart (not with my ears, but I heard it in my heart). I actually heard Her; she was embracing me and welcoming me into herself and saying, “It took you a long time to get here, but now you are here. You asked me for answers and I’m giving them to you. The Lord has a plan for you: Witness and convert!”
Rita felt inadequate for the task, in part because she felt that she had lost Jesus, that He had abandoned her. But Our Lady answered her that this was not true, and repeatedly urged her to “lower her gaze.”
Jesus carries me in his arms
At that instant, looking down at her wheelchair, Rita realized she was in Jesus’ arms. She recognized Him in her wheelchair.
“I looked down and saw my wheelchair, because there was nothing else. That’s when I realized that Jesus is the wheelchair. Jesus all that time had kept me on his lap and I had never noticed,” she told Cristiani Today.
The enlightenment she received in front of the grotto of Massabielle—the reality that she had never been abandoned by the Lord completely—revolutionized her perspective on her illness. She came to accept her condition, knowing that she was living on Jesus’s lap. The realization gave her peace and fulfillment, and she no longer felt the need to pray for physical healing.
“Even in the darkest moments, the Lord is close to us”
Treasuring her experience, today Rita addresses those who’ve turned away from the faith as a result of the suffering they have endured. She understands their state of mind, and at the same time, she exhorts them with these words she shared in the interview:
Even in the darkest moments, the Lord is close to us. Even if we do not feel Him, He is close to us. He never moves away from us, but it is we who feel him far away because we’re caught up in our own suffering. But if in the worst moments, we abandon ourselves to Him and believe in Him, His Presence will always make itself felt. We just have to have the strength and courage to say, “I seek and want only one thing in life—to be in communion with God.”