Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Third Visit to the Piedmont Valleys

Leaving Valence on Wednesday, November 3, Ellen White and the Ingses took third-class passage and found themselves in the midst of thirty-three Italians emigrating back to Italy from America. EGWE 236.4

And why was Mrs. White traveling third class? To save money as other Christian workers have done. Thirty-six francs to be exact! She had found D. T. Bourdeau short of funds and had given him nine dollars. Then too, she had paid the fare of her young watch-maker convert, Abel Bieder, to Basel so he could work with Elders Conradi and Erzberger in evangelistic meetings for the Germans. EGWE 236.5

At Modane the party was able to transfer to second class, and that evening arrived safely in Turin, where they spent the night. The next morning it was on to Torre Pellice for her third and final visit to the Piedmont valleys. EGWE 236.6

A. C. Bourdeau had a package of letters for her from Basel, one of which was of special interest to her. She wrote Willie that the last letter she opened “contained the important news of the birth of your second daughter.... I shall be much pleased to welcome the little one” (Letter 110, 1886). EGWE 237.1

W. C. White was properly proud of the new arrival and wrote to his brother, Edson: “Early Monday morning, November 1st, Mary presented me with a little girl.... They call her Mabel, and she promises to be as good as other Swiss children” (W. C. White letter, November 10, 1886). In another letter he described his new daughter as “fat, pretty (of course) and possessed of a most amiable disposition.... Ella says that I may give away the doll babies now, for this one is better”Mabel, by name, at the age of 88 at the time of this writing, lives at Elmshaven, California. Her married name is Workman. (W. C. White letter to C. H. Jones, November 10, 1886). EGWE 237.2

The same evening she arrived in Torre Pellice, Ellen White witnessed an unusual occurrence, a spectacular star shower. She had been but a girl of five when the “stars fell” on November 13, 1833, and probably slept through it all. But she didn't miss this November star shower. EGWE 237.3

“Here I was looking upon a sight I never expected to see—the starry heavens ablaze with shooting, falling stars, each leaving a tail of light in its passage across the heavens, and then disappearing. They were crisscrossing in every direction, yet we could not miss any of these bright jets of light. With emotions I cannot described, we looked for hours upon these shooting, flashing meteors. I looked upon the snowcapped Alps, and the flashing lights seemed to fall directly upon them.... What did it mean? EGWE 237.4

“When we returned at midnight the same scenes continued. But for all the hundreds of stars flying across the heavens, we could not miss one—not a single glory in the starry host seemed to be missing. The following nights we had no such scene repeated. God's host still shines in the firmament of the heavens.”—Manuscript 73, 1886. EGWE 237.5

The servant of the Lord did not draw any lessons beyond that of the unchangeable certainty of the fixed stars and constellations behind the hundreds of meteorites that flashed for a moment and were gone. But there was a lesson in the stars that night, one that had at least some relevance to the problems that still plagued the work in northern Italy. EGWE 238.1

O. Corcorda, the former Adventist who had joined with Miles Grant in his attacks on the church during Ellen White's previous visit, had come again with his “flaming notices” that he would give the history of the Adventists from the beginning and thus discredit them (Letter 110, 1886). The outlook was discouraging, she admitted: “The people cannot tell what is piped or what is harped. They think one talks well and another entirely the opposite in faith talks well.”—Manuscript 73, 1886. EGWE 238.2

Adopting the same course she had taken previously, she made no reply to the attacks, but went quietly about her work. But Corcorda's “flaming notices” were like the meteorites that flashed brilliantly for a moment and soon burned out while the fixed stars of present truth remained to cheer the hearts of the believers with their precious light. EGWE 238.3

Mrs. White's diaries and letters for this final visit to Italy are uncommonly brief, but we do know she stayed two weeks. November 20 we find her back in Switzerland, visiting the Swiss churches at Lausanne and Bienne, returning home to Basel on Wednesday, November 24. Two days later she passed her fifty-ninth birthday. EGWE 238.4