By Enza Ferreri

Raffaella Carrà, Italian singer, dancer, television presenter and actress whose fame went beyond Italy, died on July 5 at the age of 78.

She had success in several countries in Europe, including Spain, Germany, England, France, Holland, Belgium, Greece, and in Latin America.

Carrà since 1970 has sold over 60 million copies of records in 37 countries worldwide and has won 22 Platinum and Gold records around the world. Her song A far l’amore comincia tu in the English version reached the UK Singles Chart.

Her death was amply reported on by international media, including the New York Times and NPR, and, in the UK, The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian.

Raffaella Carrà, much more than what she appeared to be

What was little reported, possibly due to the image international papers portray of her as “sexual revolution icon”, is that she was a devout Catholic: contradictory it may seem, but then human beings are full of contradictions.

Raffaella Carrà had a particular, long-time devotion for Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (Father Pio’s birthplace), the 20th-century Capuchin Franciscan friar of the convent of S. Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Rotondo who was made saint.

“Raffaella was much more than what she appeared to be” were the words of Father Francesco Dileo, Rector of the Sanctuary of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, in his homily during the funeral ceremony of the entertainer held Friday July 9 at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli in Rome, itself a Franciscan church (see above photo).

Padre Pio, born in 1887 in Pietrelcina (in Campania, the Italian region of Naples), spent most of his life, from 1916, in Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, in the Gargano Peninsula located in the Puglia region of Southern Italy, where he died in 1968 and is buried.

Father Dileo revealed the strong relationship that Carrà had with the community of San Giovanni Rotondo,

“a friendship that has bound me and other brothers to Raffaella and Sergio [her former partner] for twenty years, ever since she agreed in 2001 to inaugurate the newly-born Teleradio Padre Pio and the center for social communications of the Capuchin friars of San Giovanni Rotondo, today evolved into the [national] television station Padre Pio TV. The following year, Raffaella herself wanted to make a special on Padre Pio in the evocative setting of Francesco Messina’s monumental Via Crucis next to the sanctuary. And since then we have met several times and we have maintained telephone contact.

Father Francesco also revealed that Carrà confessed to him: “I am slowly falling in love with Padre Pio”.

Raffaella Carrà’s urn will return a last time to San Giovanni Rotondo to St Pio

Raffaella Carrà went very often to San Giovanni Rotondo and it was her wish to return there.

During the homily Father Francesco Dileo made an announcement: by Raffaella Carrà’s express will, her urn will “return a last time to San Giovanni Rotondo to Saint Pio”, and remain there before being buried at Monte Argentario.

In the last few days, Padre Pio TV, the channel belonging to the Capuchin Friars of San Giovanni Rotondo, has broadcast again a video from 2002 in which Raffaella Carrà talked about Padre Pio and the Capuchin Friars, whom she had met on the occasion of the inauguration of Padre Pio TV itself, of which she was the patroness.

In the video Carrà says:

There is a very special energy in the people of San Giovanni Rotondo. The only thing I believe about Padre Pio, because I have experienced it personally, is that if you pray to Padre Pio you will have a benefit.

The star had a very close relationship with religion.

During the funeral service in Rome, there were also four friars arrived from San Giovanni Rotondo who were friends of Raffaella Carrà and paid homage to her with their homilies. Altogether, eight friars from San Giovanni Rotondo concelebrated, a sign of the artist’s relationship with their community.

Il Sussidiario