Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Loretto

The title “Our Lady of Loreto” is associated with the Holy House of Loreto in Italy, the house of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, miraculously transported by the angels from Palestine to Europe.

The house of the Holy Family in Nazareth has always been the object of Christian veneration. Shortly after 313, St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, built a basilica over this holy abode. The Saracens invaded the Holy Land in 1090, plundering and destroying Christian shrines, including Constantine’s basilica. Under the ruble, the Holy House was found intact.

During the twelfth century, another basilica was built to protect the holy dwelling. In 1219 or 1220 St. Francis of Assisi visited the Holy House in Nazareth. So did King St. Louis IX of France, when he was leading a crusade to liberate the Holy Land.

In 1263, when the Muslims overpowered the crusaders, the basilica was again destroyed but, once more, the Holy House was found intact.

When the crusaders where completely driven out of the Holy Land in 1291, the Holy House disappeared.

On May 10, 1291 a parish priest, Fr. Alexander Georgevich in the town of Tersatto, Dalmatia, (present-day Croatia) noticed the sudden appearance of a small building resting on a plot of land. Puzzled, he prayed about it, and in a dream saw the Blessed Virgin Mary, who explained that the structure was the house of the Holy Family, brought there by the power of God.

In 1294, with the Moslem invasion of Albania, the house disappeared again. According to the testimony of shepherds, it was seen on December 10 of that year born aloft by angels over the Adriatic Sea. This time the Holy House came to rest in a wooded area four miles from Recanati, Italy. As the news spread fast, thousands flocked there, and many miracles took place at the site.

Due to contrary circumstances, twice again the house was moved, finally coming to rest in the town of Loreto, Italy, its present location.

As miracles continued to occur in connection with pilgrimages to the house, deputations were sent to Nazareth to determine its origins in 1292, in 1296, and in 1524. All three declared that the measurements of the house corresponded to the visible foundations of the house of Nazareth.

In 1871 at the suggestion of Cardinal Bartolini, Professor Ratti of the University of Rome was given mortar and stones from the house at Loreto, and similar materials from houses in Nazareth. Ignorant of which was which, Prof. Ratti ascertained that the composition of the material from the house of Loreto while not original to Italy was identical to that of the material from Nazareth.

Other striking facts about the house in Loreto are that it has no foundations. The walls rest on a plot that was part field and part road, a sure indication that it was not built there but placed there. The style of the house of Loreto is not Italian but Eastern. And the original door was on the long side of the house, indicating that it was a dwelling and not a church.

Today a great basilica houses the dwelling of the holiest of families. From 1330, practically all the Popes have considered Loreto the greatest shrine of Christendom. Bulls in favor of the shrine were issued by Pope Sixtus IV in 1491 and by Julius II in 1507. While the miracle of the translation of the house is not a matter of faith, Innocent XII, in the seventeenth century, appointed a special Mass for the Feast of the Translation of the Holy House. Numerous saints have visited the house-relic.

As pilgrims enter the small precinct, they read on the threshold, “Hic Verbum caro factum est” – “Here the Word became flesh”. Above the altar inside the holy house is an ancient statue of Our Lady holding the Infant Jesus, known as Our Lady of Loreto.

~Source:americaneedsfatima.org

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of China

In 1900, the Catholic Church was healthy and growing in China. There were 40 bishops, about 800 European missionaries, 600 native Chinese priests and about 700,000 Catholics throughout China.

It was during this time that the Boxer Uprising (1898–1900) started what ushered in a period of animosity against all things European.

It was from this hatred that the Boxer Rebellion was born. In June 1900, the Boxers besieged the Beitang cathedral. Directing the defense during the siege was the French Lazarist Bishop Pierre-Marie-Alphonse Favier, C.M., of Peking. Bishop Favier, who designed the cathedral, kept a journal during the siege and gave vivid accounts of what was endured before and during the siege.

He provides the following account of the Boxer revolt:

The Boxers are a truly diabolical sect; invocations, incantations, obsessions, and even possessions, are common among them. Savants may attribute their extraordinary doings to magnetism or hypnotism or may look upon them as victims of hysteria and fanaticism, but to us they seem to be even more directly instruments of the devil. The hatred of the name Catholic drives them to the greatest excesses.

Established as they are in every village they unite on a day specified to attack any one Catholic settlement, destroying and murdering everything and everyone in it.

Small children were quartered, women were burned in church or run through with a sword, men were stabbed or shot and some were even crucified.

The conduct of the Catholics is admirable; apostasy is proposed to them, but they prefer flight, ruin, even death.Ten thousand Boxers and soldiers from the regular army besieged the cathedral, which was the Lazarists’ usual place of residency. Behind the church’s walls were over 3,000 Chinese Catholics, 30 French sailors led by a 23-year-old Lt. Paul Henry (who died in the siege), 11 Italian soldiers led by a 22-year-old Lt. Olivieri, and numerous French and Chinese priests and sisters. This siege resulted in the deaths of more than 400 people. Over the two-month siege, the Catholics endured continuous bombardment, mine attacks, flaming rockets and starvation. Many of the children died from smallpox.

Among the admirable figures in the siege was Sister Helen de Jaurias, the Superior of the Sisters of Charity in Beitang, of whom it is said that she possessed the virtue and character of their foundress, Saint Louise de Marillac. Her diary, containing the daily events of the siege until her death on August 20, 1900, provides proof of this: despite having to lodge and feed 1,800 women and children, she overcame the burden of old age and fatigue. She went, as she expressed it, “to observe from Heaven the triumph of Holy Church and the conversion of China.”

In 1901, at the Lazarists’ motherhouse in Paris, Bishop Favier would recount events of this dramatic siege:

Every night during those two months, the Chinese [Boxers] directed heavy gunfire at the roofs of the cathedral and the balustrade surrounding it. Why? wondered [Lieutenant] Paul Henry and the missionaries. There was no one there to defend the cathedral. After the liberation, the pagans provided the key to this mystery: “How is it,” they said, “that you did not see anything? Every night, a white Lady walked along the roof, and the balustrade was lined with white soldiers with wings.”

Their miraculous survival was attributed to the appearance of a woman in white, Our Lady of Deliverance. Bishop Favier had a chapel erected in thanksgiving, in the church of Beitang in her honor.She is represented as the Empress of China holding in her arms the Child Jesus, Who is depicted as an imperial prince.

Bishop Favier expressed his absolute confidence in Providence that thus manifested Its protection:

The good God wishes to save the missions of China. The persecution had been so cleverly organized, that it seemed that the Catholic religion in China was going to be extinguished. However nothing of the kind happened. Thanks be to God.Death gives birth to life. Blessed are those who succumb to death, they prepare the way for the final triumph, they are martyrs crowned by God.

~Source:americaneedsfatima.org

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Beauraing

The Virgin With The Golden Heart

Beauraing,Belgium 1932

THE little village of Beauraing is located about sixty miles southeast of Brussels, Belgium, and had about two thousand people at the time of the apparitions. Most of the people in the region made their living by farming, and some worked in nearby quarries and forests, while many had gardens which helped in supplementing their food supply. At one time, the people had been staunch Catholics, but by 1932, many had drifted away from the Church. Some were indifferent toward the Catholic Faith while others were hostile to it. Not helping the situation was the Labor Party which was Marxist and anti-Catholic, and which had carried the district in many elections. It was a time of unrest in the world as well, because the Communists were in power in Russia and were trying to extend their godless rule throughout the world. Benito Mussolini was master of Italy, and Adolf Hitler was soon to have complete power in Germany.

In this terrible world situation, the Blessed Virgin displayed her motherly concern by visiting Beauraing thirty-three times. The visionaries were five children, four girls and one boy, who belonged to two families. The children of the Voisin family were Gilberte, who was thirteen, Fernande, fifteen, and their younger brother, Albert, eleven. The two girls of the Degeimbre family were Andrée, fourteen, and Gilberte, nine. It became a habit for four of the children to walk each evening to the Academy where Gilberte Voisin attended school until 6: 30 p.m. When Gilberte was dismissed, the little group returned home. Arriving at the convent school, which was operated by the Sisters of Christian Doctrine, they entered the gate and walked to their favorite place to wait, a garden that displayed a small Lourdes grotto. Beyond the garden was a street and above it a small bridge that crossed over it.

On November 29, 1932, while waiting for Gilberte, Albert was the first to notice a luminous lady walking on the bridge. He at once exclaimed, “It is the Virgin Mary walking atop the bridge.” The figure then proceeded to move in mid-air toward the treetops within the garden. Albert’s companions also saw the Lady, and when the nun opened the school door for Gilberte to leave, Gilberte also saw the Lady. Sister Valeria was alerted by the children, but she dismissed the story as simply child’s play since she saw nothing. The children excitedly informed their parents who were extremely skeptical but listened as the children described the beautiful Lady as wearing a long white gown with a silk veil that flowed down to where a small cloud covered her feet. They said that as the Lady drew near to them she seemed to emanate a bright light. Her hands were folded in prayer and she smiled at them, but said nothing.

The next evening, when Gilberte was leaving the school, all five children once again saw the beautiful Lady walking along the bridge. When they again reported it to their parents, their parents became furious and thought that someone was trying to scare them. The next evening, Mrs. Degeimbre took a stick with her to inspect the bushes for the prankster. While Mrs. Degimbre was thrashing the bushes, the children were heard to cry, “Oh, oh.” This time the Lady was near the Lourdes grotto, her hands joined in prayer, her eyes raised to Heaven. She looked at the children, smiled and while rising from the ground, she disappeared.

For the next apparition, the Lady appeared under the arch of a hawthorn tree in the convent garden. It was there that she appeared for all the following visitations. During the early visions, the Lady did not carry a Rosary, but later there was always one suspended from her right arm. For each of the visions, as soon as the children saw the lady they simultaneously dropped to their knees and recited the Hail Mary in high-pitched voices.

The children again described the vision as looking young, about eighteen or twenty; her eyes were a beautiful deep blue and rays of light formed around her head like a crown. She wore a long, white, heavily pleated gown without a belt. The children said that the dress reflected a kind of blue light and the Virgin’s hands were pressed together as if in prayer, but she parted them as she vanished from sight. On December 2, when the Lady again appeared, Albert made himself the spokesman of the group and asked: “Are you the Immaculate Virgin?” The lady smiled and nodded her head. “What do you want?” Albert asked. The Lady’s first words were “Always be good.” She appeared two more times that day and during the last time she asked: “Is it true you will always be good?” “Yes,” Andrée cried. “We will always be good.” The Lady then disappeared.

Crowds began to form, but no one except the children saw the vision. When the Lady asked the children return on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, approximately fifteen thousand people assembled, expecting a great miracle. During this apparition, the children recited the Rosary while they waited for the Lady, who asked for a chapel to be built. During this apparition, a number of doctors made an attempt to distract the children during their ecstasy by pinching, slapping, by shining a flashlight in their eyes and even attempting to burn their fingers, but the children were unaffected. Four days later, the Lady announced, “I am the Immaculate Virgin.” Fernande, on December 23, asked the Lady, “Why do you come?” The Lady answered: “That people might come here on pilgrimage.” On December 29, the Blessed Virgin opened her arms in the usual gesture of farewell, and it was then that Fernande saw in the region of the Virgin’s chest, a heart of gold surrounded by glittering rays. Our Lady then said, “Pray. Pray very much.”

During the next vision, all the children children saw the golden heart. In the following apparitions the Blessed Mother said, “I will convert sinners … I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. Pray always.” Another time she gave a secret to each child and asked, “Do you love my

Son? Do you love me? Then sacrifice yourself for me.”

During the last vision she showed her heart of gold, said, “Good-by,” and disappeared. Some of the children wept in heart-wrenching disappointment.

When the visions ended, the children visited the hawthorn tree each day to recite the Rosary. Their families never benefited financially from the visions, although they were frequently visited by the curious.

In 1933, it was estimated that over two million pilgrims visited the hawthorn, which by then was protected by a bronze railing. Cures also bestowed legitimacy for unbelievers and many cures were investigated investigated and regarded as miraculous. And, according to the Lady, many of the visitors were converted, including some Communists who at first meant to scoff and ridicule. All of Belgium knew of the visions, and because of some criticism and opposition, the bishop almost immediately initiated an investigation in 1935. In 1936, Bishop Heylen consulted with Pope Pius XI who praised the heroic faithfulness of the children in going to the hawthorn every night for prayers. Many documents, studies and letters were circulated between the Holy Office, various cardinals and diocesan officials, so that by February 2, 1943, Bishop Charue accepted the validity of the visions of Our Lady of Beauraing and participated in official ceremonies celebrating the recognition. The Holy Father once again gave his personal approval of the apparitions by blessing the Sanctuary and the pilgrims in 1947. On July 2, 1949, Bishop Charue wrote to the clergy of his diocese:We are able in all serenity and prudence to affirm that the Queen of Heaven appeared to the children of Beauraing during the winter of 1932–1933 especially to show us in her maternal Heart, the anxious appeal for prayer and the promise of her powerful mediation for the conversion of sinners.

The chapel that the Lady requested was built and consecrated on August 21, 1954. Many confessionals were added for the converted sinners while the former Academy convent was converted into a home for ill pilgrims. None of the children were called to the religious life, instead, they all married and raised their children in the good graces of the Catholic Faith. The visionaries always shunned attention, saying that they were merely instruments through whom Our Lady gave her message to the world—one of the messages being proof of her tender love for the world by the displaying of her golden heart. Our Lady of Beauraing. Our Lady appeared thirty-three times to five children in 1932 in the village of Beauraing in Belgium. She asked that the children be good and pray very much, and that people come there on pilgrimage.

~Source:”See How She Loves Us”~

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows”
CASTELPETROSO, ITALY  (1888)  

 On March 22, 1888, the day before the Feast of the Compassion of Our Blessed Lady, two peasant women were shepherding their sheep on the hills in Southern Italy near the village of Castelpetroso.  Fabiana Cicchino (35-year old virgin) and Serafina Valentino (34-year old married woman) belonged to Pastine, a hamlet in the diocese of Bojano.  One of their sheep had strayed onto a hill nearest Castelpetroso.  Fabiana found the lost sheep in a ravine near some rocks.  But a strange light was coming from a crack in the rocks.  The rays of the bright light formed a clear image of Our Blessed Virgin on her knees with her eyes gazing toward heaven.  Her arms were outstretched in an act of imploring and offering of her Son, full of wounds and lying dead beneath her.  It was the image of the Pieta.

Mary appeared as Our Lady of Sorrows, wearing a deep red dress and a dark mantle.  She was a very beautiful, fair-skinned, young woman with disheveled hair and bleeding from wounds received from seven swords.  The Blessed Virgin never spoke.  When Serafina caught up to Fabiana, she could not see anything.

They returned home, crying, sobbing, trembling, and terrified.  People naturally inquired as to the cause of their emotions.  But very few believed them, and nobody paid much attention to their statements.

During the Solemnity of Easter on April 1, 1888, the same vision occurred again to these two women in the same location.  This time, Serafina also witnessed the apparition.  More people became curious after this encounter and began to believe that something was truly happening there.  People began to go to the mountain and visit the spot of the alleged apparitions, some 2,600 feet above sea level.  First, a child saw Mary; then an avowed heretic witnessed her also.  Others affirmed that they saw Our Blessed Virgin bearing her dead Son in her arms.

Pilgrimages began, and within a few days, some four thousand persons visited the spot – which was double the number of those living there.  Soon, this place which had been generally unknown, suddenly became the center of attraction to countless crowds from the neighboring countryside.  Of those who went, some testified that they saw the Blessed Virgin as Our Lady of Carmel, Our Lady of Grace, and also Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.  But most of the time, she appeared as Our Lady of Sorrows.  She was usually alone but was also accompanied at times by St. Michael, St. Anthony, or St. Sebastian.  Among those who testified to these apparitions was a well-known disbeliever, who received the grace of seeing Our Lady four times in half an hour.

The apparitions were accompanied by another phenomenon; in May of 1888 the body of water at the foot of the mountain began bestowing miracles.  Soon, believers from other countries came in masses to behold and experience the extraordinary events and the fountain of miracles.  Angelo Verna, a six-year old mute boy, was given a drink of this water by his father and was completely healed by receiving the gift of speech.

The priest in the diocese treated the whole affair as delusional and preached against it.  A second priest, Don Luigi Ferrara, was also a disbeliever – until he saw her, too!

“I had many times derided those who visited the mountain on which these wonderful apparitions took place.  On May 16, 1888, however, I felt a desire to visit the place.  When I arrived, I began to look into one of the fissures, and I saw with great clearness Our Lady, like a statuette, with a little Child in her arms.  After a short interval I looked again at the same spot, and, in place of the Most Holy Virgin I saw, quite clearly, the dead Savior bearing the crown of thorns and all covered in blood.  Whenever I think of these visions on this mountain, I am moved to tears and cannot speak.”

News of the occurrences reached Msr. Francesco Macarone-Palmieri, Bishop of the diocese of Bojano.  While in Rome on business, he updated Pope Leo XIII on the events near Castelpetroso, adding that he should have liked the apparitions to have been confirmed by “some clear sign.”  The Pope replied by asking the Bishop if he did not think the apparitions in themselves were signs.  Pope Leo XIII asked the bishop to return to the site of the apparitions and make a further investigation.

On the morning of September 26, 1888, the Bishop returned to the site and had the privilege of witnessing the vision of Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows – just as Fabiana and Serafina had described.  After observing Our Lady on three occasions, he proceeded to file his official report:

“The Blessed Virgin appeared daily more frequently as the Mother of Sorrows, and, at other times, as Our Lady of Mount Carmel or the Queen of the Holy Rosary.  A number of persons affirmed that they saw apparitions of St. Michael, St. Anthony, St. Joseph, St. Sebastian, together with the Blessed Virgin, and also the Holy Face of Jesus surrounded by angels.

As the event became more widely known and acquired a high degree of credibility, I deemed it expedient to have an account reduced to writing and certified to by the depositions, under oath, of those who had been eye-witnesses of the prodigy.  The preparation of this report occupied several months.  When it was completed, I took it in person to Rome to submit it to the Sovereign Pontiff that the Holy See might pronounce authoritatively and definitely in the matter.

I, myself, can bear witness that I visited the sacred spot, and, after some time spent in prayer, saw the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin.  At first the image of Our Lady appeared faint and indistinct, but at length she appeared in the attitude and proportions of the representation of the Mother of Sorrows published in one of the numbers of the Servo di Maria.  Besides myself and the very large number of persons whose names are recorded in the official report, there are the Vicar-General of the diocese, the Archpriest of the Cathedral, and many other ecclesiastics, who also beheld the miraculous Apparitions.  With joyful heart, I affirm that the wonders happening in Castelpetroso are the last touches of the Divine Mercy, to call those who have gone far from the right way.”

In November of 1888, Count Charles Aquaderni, director of the magazine, Servo di Maria, went to the blessed rocks with his son, Augusto, who was sick with a serious bone tuberculosis.  Miraculously, the boy was healed at the site!

On December 18, 1889, Father Joseph Lais, a physicist, medical doctor, and sub-director of the Vatican Observatory, examined everything and was convinced that no optical illusion could be responsible for what people had been seeing.

“The observations I made of the character of the people lead me to recognize that they are profoundly convinced of the event having taken place.  Their simple and ingenuous demeanor does not suggest the suspicion that the fact should be, to some extent, fanciful or the effect of imagination.  The natural formation of the rocks excludes the theory of trickery.”

The Bishop of Bojano formed a committee in 1889 to begin collecting funds for a church to be built on the site of the apparitions.  Pope Leo XIII blessed their work, imparting the Apostolic Blessing to the members of the committee and to all those who contributed to the fund.  The cornerstone for a beautiful Gothic church was laid in May of 1890 in front of 30,000 faithful.  The layout symbolizes a heart with seven chapels at its center representing the seven sorrows of Mary, the seven swords piercing her heart.

On December 6, 1973, Pope Paul VI proclaimed the Blessed and Sorrowful Virgin Mary as Patroness of the region – upon a request by the Bishop of Molise.  Pope John Paul II visited the sanctuary as a pilgrim on March 19, 1995.  A community of friars and sisters has been established since 1993 — called the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

~Source:divinemysteries.info

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Pellevoisin

Estelle Faguette lay dying of tuberculosis in Pellevoisin, a small French village. It was February 1876. 

In the early days of the illness, Estelle had asked God how could He have let this happen to her who was the sole support of her father and mother, and an orphan niece. Eventually, however, she perfectly abandoned herself to the will of God, offering up her sufferings in expiation of her sins. 

Then on the night of February 14, 1876, a demon appeared at the foot of her bed. Just after Estelle spied the demon, she saw the Blessed Mother at her bedside. Our Lady rebuked the demon and he immediately departed. Our Lady then looked at Estelle and said to her, “Fear nothing, you are my daughter.” Mary told her to have courage for she was to suffer five more days in honor of the five wounds of Christ. On Saturday she would either be dead or be cured. 

The next night Mary appeared to Estelle to inform her that she was to live. But Our Lady reproved Estelle for her past sins. Though Estelle had not lived a worldly life, she was overcome with remorse for her failings. 

The following evenings the Holy Virgin continued to appear to Estelle as she lay in her sickbed. Mary told her that, “I am all merciful.” On the fifth night Estelle asked Mary if she should change her state of life. Mary replied: 

One can be saved in every state. Where you are, you can do a great deal of good, and you can publish my glory.

After Our Lady left that night, Estelle was cured. In July of the same year the Holy Virgin visited Estelle for three consecutive days. Mary Immaculate explained that, “I have come especially for the conversion of sinners.” 

On September 9th, Our Lady again came to visit Estelle. Mary showed Estelle a Scapular of the Sacred Heart that she wore and said, “I love this devotion.” She paused and said, “It is here I will be honored.” 

A week later Our Lady visited Estelle announcing, “Let them pray and let them have confidence in me.” And she prophesized that “France will suffer.” 

In November, Our Lady once more came to visit Estelle. Mary told her that, “I choose the little ones and weak for my glory.” 

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1876, the Blessed Mother appeared to Estelle for the fifteenth and last time. Mary Immaculate instructed her to go to the bishop, show him the Scapular of the Sacred Heart, and enlist his aid in promoting it. Mary said to Estelle, “See the graces I will bestow on those who will wear it with confidence, and who will assist in propagating it.” As Our Lady spoke she stretched out her hands and raindrops fell from them. In each drop Estelle read the names of different graces such as piety, salvation, confidence, conversion, health. Mary explained, “These graces are from my Son; I take them from His Heart; He can refuse me nothing.” A little later Mary left, never again to visibly visit Estelle in this life. 

Pope Leo XIII, in May 1894, approved the Archconfraternity of our Mother All Merciful of Pellevoisin. The Congregation of Rites in a decree issued on April 4, 1900 granted approval to the Scapular of the Sacred Heart. 

Estelle Faguette continued to live humbly in Pellevoisin until her death in 1929.

Marian apparitions

OUR LADY OF ST. BAUZILLE DE LA SYLVE, FRANCE

OUR LADY OF ST. BAUZILLE DE LA SYLVE, FRANCE, 1873

Auguste Arnaud, age 30, was a regular participant in Holy Mass on Sundays. He was a father of two, having been married for six years, and a respected member in his community. And he worked on Sundays.

On Sunday, June 8, 1873, the Feast of the Holy Trinity, he attended Holy Mass and then went to work in his vineyard to tend the vines. After working for two hours, Auguste sat down to rest, eat his packed lunch, and smoke his pipe. Suddenly, he saw before him a beautiful young woman dressed in white. She wore a white veil that reached to her feet. She had a fringed belt and a tall crown. He jumped to his feet and asked, “Who are you?”

“I am the Blessed Virgin. Do not be afraid.”

Auguste was reassured by her words and listened with great emotion as she continued,

“You have the disease of the vine. You left St. Bauzille. We must celebrate his feast on the day it falls. Next Thursday you must go in procession to St. Anthony and hear Mass. In a fortnight you must go in procession to Notre Dame, to the Canton of Gignac, Montpellier, and the city of Lodeve. You must place a cross here, changing it later to another. Come in procession each year. Go tell your father and your pastor all of this. In a month I will come to thank you.”

At that, Blessed Mary rose vertically into the air and gradually disappeared. Auguste left the vineyard immediately for home, where he excitedly told his father what he had seen. When they went together to tell the village priest, the priest met their remarks with coldness and skepticism. He found it hard to believe that the Virgin Mary would make that effort just to tell one man not to work on Sundays.

But Auguste remained inspired to perform his mission given to him by the beautiful Lady. He had a carpenter build a wooden cross which he then placed in the vineyard where Mary had indicated. It was just a temporary one as the Virgin had asked for a wrought iron version with her image in the middle in his next effort.

On June 12, he and his family visited the chapel of St. Anthony. On June 22, he made it to Our Lady of Grace in Gignac. He made it to all the places that she had requested. On July 4, he finally replaced the wooden cross with the wrought iron one and set it on a stone pedestal.

Believers, skeptics, and the curious all gathered on July 8, 1873, in his vineyard for the predicted second appearance of Mary. Auguste’s wife worried about what might happen if the Virgin failed to appear and this crowd of five hundred would become disappointed and perhaps angry. But Auguste had plenty of faith and no fear at all.

After a few minutes, Auguste removed his hat and raised both arms high in the air. He seemed transfixed by what he was able to see, while everybody else saw nothing. With his arms still raised, he was suddenly carried with uncommon speed by some invisible force to the cross about forty yards away. He prayed silently while gazing at the Blessed Virgin, dressed now in gold and holding a rosary in her right hand. In a sweet voice:”Do not work on Sundays. Blessed is he who believes and unhappy the man who does not believe. You must go to Our Lady of Gignac in procession with your whole family.”She slipped the rosary to her left hand and, raising her right hand high, she blessed Auguste and the whole crowd. Before disappearing, she spoke one more time:”Let us sing hymns.”Auguste turned to the crowd and, in a low voice, told them to sing. The crowd began singing the Magnificat.

After this day, many visitors frequented the area, leaving many flowers, candles, rosaries, and ex-votos. The activity interested the local bishop to the point of appointing a Commission of Inquiry. After witnesses were questioned and the committee filed its conclusions, the bishop recognized the authenticity of these appearances by Mary with a proclamation in 1876.

A chapel was built near the site and cared for by nuns. Auguste Arnaud died on February 8, 1936, at the age of 92. He was buried in this chapel where his tomb reads:”At the feet of the Virgin he so loved and so faithfully served, here lies in wait for the blessed resurrection the body of Augustus Arnaud, piously asleep in the Lord’s peace”.

Marian apparitions, October Feast Days, Our Lady of Fatima

October 13 Apparition of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun

October 13 Apparition of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun

During the night of 12-13 October it had rained throughout, soaking the ground and the pilgrims who make their way to Fátima from all directions by the thousands.

During the night of 12-13 October it had rained throughout, soaking the ground and the pilgrims who make their way to Fátima from all directions by the thousands. By foot, by cart and even by car they came, entering the bowl of the Cova from the Fátima-Leiria road, which today still passes in front of the large square of the Basilica. From there they made their way down the gently slope to the place where a trestle had been erected over the little holm oak of the apparitions. Today on the site is the modern glass and steel Capelhina (little chapel), enclosing the first chapel built there and the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima where the holm oak had stood.

As for the children, they made their way to the Cova amid the adulation and skepticism which had followed them since May. When they arrived they found critics who questioned their veracity and the punctuality of the Lady, who had promised to arrive at noon. It was well passed noon by the official time of the country. However, when the sun arrived at its zenith the Lady appeared as she had said she would.

“What do you want of me?”

I want a chapel built here in my honor. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes.

“Yes. Yes.”

“Will you tell me your name?”

I am the Lady of the Rosary.

“I have many petitions from many people. Will you grant them?”

Some I shall grant, and others I must deny. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended!

“And is that all you have to ask?”

There is nothing more.

As the Lady of the Rosary rises toward the east she turns the palms of her hands toward the dark sky. While the rain had stopped, dark clouds continued to obscure the sun, which suddenly bursts through them and is seen to be a soft spinning disk of silver.

“Look at the sun!”

From this point two distinct apparitions were seen, that of the phenomenon of the sun seen by the 70,000 or so spectators and that beheld by the children alone. Lucia describes the latter in her memoirs.

After our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus seemed to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our lady; it seemed to me to that it was Our Lady of Sorrows (Dolors). Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel. [Only Lucia would see the later, presaging her entrance into Carmel some years later.]

This would be the last of the apparitions of Fátima for Jacinta and Francisco. However, for Lucia Our Lady would return a seventh time, in 1920, as she had promised the previous May. At that time Lucia would be praying in the Cova before leaving Fátima for a girls boarding school. The Lady would come to urge her to dedicate herself wholly to God.

As the children viewed the various apparitions of Jesus, Mary and Joseph the crowd witnessed a different prodigy, the now famous miracle of the sun. Among the witnesses there were the following:

Eye Witness Accounts

From the road, where the vehicles were parked and where hundreds of people who had not dared to brave the mud were congregated, one could see the immense multitude turn toward the sun, which appeared free from clouds and in its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver, and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up, and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: “A miracle! A miracle!”

Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws—the sun “danced” according to the typical expression of the people.

Standing at the step of an omnibus was an old man. With his face turned to the sun, he recited the Credo in a loud voice. I asked who he was and was told Senhor Joao da Cunha Vasconcelos. I saw him afterwards going up to those around him who still had their hats on, and vehemently imploring them to uncover before such an extraordinary demonstration of the existence of God.

Identical scenes were repeated elsewhere, and in one place a woman cried out: “How terrible! There are even men who do not uncover before such a stupendous miracle!”

People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and the dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it in its rays. Some said they saw it change colors successively….

O Seculo (a pro-government, anti-clerical, Lisbon paper)

“At one o’clock in the afternoon, midday by the sun, the rain stopped. The sky, pearly grey in colour, illuminated the vast arid landscape with a strange light. The sun had a transparent gauzy veil so that the eyes could easily be fixed upon it. The grey mother-of-pearl tone turned into a sheet of silver which broke up as the clouds were torn apart and the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy grey light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. A cry went up from every mouth and people fell on their knees on the muddy ground….

The light turned a beautiful blue, as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral, and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. The blue faded slowly, and then the light seemed to pass through yellow glass. Yellow stains fell against white handkerchiefs, against the dark skirts of the women. They were repeated on the trees, on the stones and on the serra. People wept and prayed with uncovered heads, in the presence of a miracle they had awaited. The seconds seemed like hours, so vivid were they.

O Dia (another Lisbon daily, edition of 17 October 1917)

We looked easily at the sun, which for some reason did not blind us. It seemed to flicker on and off, first one way, then another. It cast its rays in many directions and painted everything in different colors— the trees, the people, the air and the ground. But what was most extraordinary, I thought, was that the sun did not hurt our eyes. Everything was still and quiet, and everyone was looking up. Then at a certain moment, the sun appeared to stop spinning. It then began to move and to dance in the sky until it seemed to detach itself from its place and fall upon us. It was a terrible moment.

Ti Marto (father of Jacinta and Francisco)

The sun turned everything to different colours—yellow, blue and white. Then it shook and trembled. It looked like a wheel of fire that was going to fall on the people. They began to cry out, “We shall all be killed!” Others called to our Lady to save them. They recited acts of contrition. One woman began to confess her sins aloud, advertising that she had done this and that…. When at last the sun stopped leaping and moving, we all breathed our relief. We were still alive, and the miracle which the children had foretold, had been seen by everyone.

Maria de Capelinha (one of the earliest believers)

I was looking at the place of the apparitions, in a serene, if cold, expectation of something happening, and with diminishing curiosity, because a long time had passed without anything to excite my attention. Then I heard a shout from thousands of voices and saw the multitude suddenly turn its back and shoulders away from the point toward which up to now it had directed its attention, and turn to look at the sky on the opposite side.

It must have been nearly two o’clock by the legal time, and about midday by the sun. The sun, a few moments before, had broken through the thick layer of clouds which hid it, and shone clearly and intensely. I veered to the magnet which seemed to be drawing all eyes, and saw it as a disc with a clean-cut rim, luminous and shining, but which did not hurt the eyes. I do not agree with the comparison which I have heard made in Fátima—that of a dull silver disc. It was a clearer, richer, brighter color, having something of the luster of a pearl. It did not in the least resemble the moon on a clear night because one saw it and felt it to be a living body. It was not spheric like the moon, nor did it have the same color, tone, or shading. It looked like a glazed wheel made of mother-of-pearl. It could not be confused, either, with the sun seen through fog (for there was no fog at the time), because it was not opaque, diffused or veiled. In Fátima it gave light and heat and appeared clear-cut with a well-defined rim.

The sky was mottled with light cirrus clouds with the blue coming through here and there, but sometimes the sun stood out in patches of clear sky. The clouds passed from west to east and did not obscure the light of the sun, giving the impression of passing behind it, though sometimes these flecks of white took on tones of pink or diaphanous blue as they passed before the sun.

It was a remarkable fact that one could fix one’s eyes on this brazier of heat and light without any pain in the eyes or blinding of the retina. The phenomenon, except for two interruptions when the sun seemed to send out rays of refulgent heat which obliged us to look away, must have lasted about ten minutes.

The sun’s disc did not remain immobile. This was not the sparkling of a, heavenly body, for it spun round on itself in a mad whirl. Then, suddenly, one heard a clamor, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was terrible.

During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described in detail, there were changes of color in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything around was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. An oak tree nearby threw a shadow of this color on the ground.

Fearing that I was suffering from an affection of the retina, an improbable explanation because in that case one could not see things purple-colored, I turned away and shut my eyes, keeping my hands before them to intercept the light. With my back still turned, I opened my eyes and saw that the landscape was the same purple color as before.

The impression was not that of an eclipse, and while looking at the sun I noticed that the atmosphere had cleared. Soon after I heard a peasant who was near me shout out in tones of astonishment: “Look, that lady is all yellow!”

And in fact everything, both near and far, had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice, and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color. All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me in a calm and serene state of mind, and without any emotional disturbance. It is for others to interpret and explain them.

Dr. Almeida Garrett, PhD (Coimbra University)

The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceedingly fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat.

Dr. Domingos Coelho (reported in the newspaper Ordem)

The sun appeared with its circumference well defined. It came down as if to the height of the clouds and began to whirl giddily upon itself like a captive ball of fire. With some interruptions, this lasted about eight minutes. The atmosphere darkened and the features of each became yellow. Everyone knelt even in the mud….

Fr. Manuel Pereira da Silva (in a letter to a friend)

We made our arrangements, and went in three motor cars on the early morning of the 13th. There was a thick mist, and the car which went in front mistook the way so that we were all lost for a time and only arrived at the Cova da Iria at midday by the sun. It was absolutely full of people, but for my part I felt devoid of any religious feeling. When Lucia called out: “Look at the sun!” the whole multitude repeated: “Attention to the sun!” It was a day of incessant drizzle but a few moments before the miracle it stopped raining. I can hardly find words to describe what followed. The sun began to move, and at a certain moment appeared to be detached from the sky and about to hurtle upon us like a wheel of flame. My wife—we had been married only a short time- — fainted, and I was too upset to attend to her, and my brother-in- law, Joao Vassalo, supported her on his arm. I fell on my knees, oblivious of everything, and when I got up I don’t know what I said. I think I began to cry out like the others. An old man with a white beard began to attack the atheists aloud and challenged them to say whether or not something supernatural had occurred.

Senhor Alfredo da Silva Santos (Lisbon)

There may have been many former atheists in Fátima that day, but there were plenty in Portugal, nonetheless, to charge hallucination. For those the Lady provided witnesses who were not at the scene and could not have been subject to collective suggestion.

On that day of October 13, 1917, without remembering the predictions of the children, I was enchanted by a remarkable spectacle in the sky of a kind I had never seen before. I saw it from this veranda….

Alfonso Lopes Vieira (observed from a distance of nearly 25 miles away):

I was only nine years old at this time, and I went to the local village school. At about midday we were surprised by the shouts and cries of some men and women who were passing in the street in front of the school. The teacher, a good, pious woman, though nervous and impressionable, was the first to run into the road, with the children after her.

Outside, the people were shouting and weeping and pointing to the sun, ignoring the agitated questions of the schoolmistress. It was the great Miracle, which one could see quite distinctly from the top of the hill where my village was situated—the Miracle of the sun, accompanied by all its extraordinary phenomena.

I feel incapable of describing what I saw and felt. I looked fixedly at the sun, which seemed pale and did not hurt the eyes. Looking like a ball of snow revolving on itself, it suddenly seemed to come down in a zigzag, menacing the earth. Terrified, I ran and hid myself among the people, who were weeping and expecting the end of the world at any moment.

Near us was an unbeliever who had spent the morning mocking at the simpletons who had gone off to Fátima just to see an ordinary girl. He now seemed to be paralyzed, his eyes fixed on the sun. Afterwards he trembled from head to foot and lifting up his arms fell on his knees in the mud, crying out to our Lady.

Meanwhile the people continued to cry out and to weep, asking God to pardon their sins. We all ran to the two chapels in the village, which were soon filled to overflowing. During those long moments of the solar prodigy, objects around us turned all the colors of the rainbow. We saw ourselves blue, yellow, red, etc. All these strange phenomena increased the fears of the people. After about ten minutes the sun, now dull and pallid, returned to its place. When the people realized that the danger was over, there was an explosion of joy, and everyone joined in thanksgiving and praise to our Lady.

Fr. Ignacio Lorenco (Alburitel, 11 miles away)