February Feast Days, Marian apparitions

Our Lady of Lourdes

The Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes

Thursday 11th february 1858: the first meeting

Accompanied by her sister and a friend, Bernadette went to Massabielle on the banks of the Gave to collect bones and dead wood. Removing her socks in order to cross the stream, she heard a noise like a gust of wind, she looked up towards the Grotto : “I saw a lady dressed in white, she wore a white dress, and equally white veils, a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot.” Bernadette made the Sign of the Cross and said the Rosary with the lady. When the prayer ended the Lady suddenly vanished.

Sunday 14th february 1858: holy water

Bernadette felt an inner force drawing her to the Grotto in spite of the fact that she was forbidden to go there by her parents. At her insistence, her mother allowed her; after the first decade of the Rosary, she saw the same lady appearing. She sprinkled holy water at her. The lady smiled and bent her head. When the Rosary ended she disappeared.

Thursday 18th february 1858: the Lady speaks

For the first time, the Lady spoke. Bernadette held out a pen and paper asking her to write her name. She replied; “It is not necessary” and she added: “I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other. Would you be kind enough to come here for a fortnight?”

Friday 19th february 1858: the first candle

Bernadette came to the Grotto with a lighted blessed candle. This is the origin of carrying candles and lighting them in front of the Grotto.

Saturday 20th february 1858: in silence

The Lady taught her a personal prayer. At the end of the vision Bernadette is overcome with a great sadness.

Sunday 21th february 1858: “Aquero”

The Lady appeared to Bernadette very early in the morning. About one hundred people were present. Afterwards the Police Commissioner, Jacomet, questioned her. He wanted Bernadette to tell what she saw. Bernadette would only speak of “AQUÉRO” (“that thing” in local dialect)

Tuesday 23th february 1858: the secret

Surrounded by 150 persons, Bernadette arrived at the Grotto. The Apparition reveals to her a secret “only for her alone”.

Wednesday 24th february 1858: «Penance !»

The message of the Lady: “Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners. Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!”

Thursday 25th february 1858: the spring

Three hundred people were present. Bernadette relates; “She told me to go, drink of the spring (….) I only found a little muddy water. At the fourth attempt I was able to drink. She also made me eat the bitter herbs that were found near the spring, and then the vision left and went away.” In front of the crowd that was asking “Do you think that she is mad doing things like that?” she replied; “It is for sinners.”

Saturday 27th february 1858: silence

Eight hundred people were present. The Apparition was silent. Bernadette drank the water from the spring and carried out her usual acts of penance.

Sunday 28th february 1858: the ecstasy

Over one thousand people were present at the ecstasy. Bernadette prayed, kissed the ground and moved on her knees as a sign of penance. She was then taken to the house of Judge Ribes who threatened to put her in prison.

Monday 1st march 1858: the fist miracle

Over one thousand five hundred people assembled and among them, for the first time, a priest. In the night, Catherine Latapie, a woman from Loubajac, 7 kilometres away , went to the Grotto, she plunged her dislocated arm into the water of the spring: her arm and her hand regained their movement.

Tuesday 2nd march 1858: message to the priests

The crowd becomes larger and larger. The Lady asked her: “Go and tell the priests that people are to come here in procession and to build a chapel here.” Bernadette spoke of this to Fr. Peyramale, the Parish Priest of Lourdes. He wanted to know only one thing: the Lady’s name. He demanded another test; to see the wild rose bush flower at the Grotto in the middle of winter.

Wednesday 3rd march 1858: a smile

From 7 o’clock in the morning, in the presence of three thousand people, Bernadette arrived at the Grotto, but the vision did not appear! After school, she heard the inner invitation of the Lady. She went to the Grotto and asked her again for her name. The response was a smile. The Parish Priest told her again: “If the Lady really wishes that a chapel be built, then she must tell us her name and make the rose bush bloom at the Grotto.”

Thursday 4th march 1858: the day all were waiting for !

The ever-greater crowd (about eight thousand people) waited for a miracle at the end of the fortnight. The vision was silent. Fr. Peyramale stuck to his position. For twenty days Bernadette did not go to the Grotto, she no longer felt the irresistible invitation.

Thursday 25th march 1858: the name they waited for !

The vision finally revealed her name, but the wild rose bush, on which she stood during the Apparitions, did not bloom. Bernadette recounted : “She extended her arms towards the ground, then joined them as though in prayer and said Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou (I am the Immaculate Conception)”. The young visionary left and, running all the way, repeated continuously the words that she did not understand. These words troubled the brave Parish Priest. Bernadette was ignorant of the fact that this theological expression was assigned to the Blessed Virgin. Four years earlier, in 1854, Pope Pius IX declared this a truth of the Catholic Faith (a dogma).

Wednesday 7th april 1858: the miracle of the candle

During this apparition, Bernadette had to keep her candle alight. The flame licked along her hand without burning it. A medical doctor, Dr. Douzous, immediately witnessed this fact.

Friday 16th july 1858 : the final apparition

Bernadette received the mysterious call to the Grotto, but her way was blocked and closed off by a barrier. She thus arrived across from the Grotto to the other side of the Gave. “I felt that I was in front of the Grotto, at the same distance as before, I saw only the Blessed Virgin, and she was more beautiful than ever!”

January Feast Days, Marian apparitions

Our Lady of Pontmain

On January 17, 1871, Eugene Barbadette (12) and brother, Joseph (10) heard the priest pray through Blessed Mary at Mass for mercy to come to the area. Paris was already besieged by Prussian forces, and war-torn France was in complete disarray. The little town of Laval nearby would be the next to fall to the invading Prussians.

That wintry night, looking outside the family’s barn at 6:00 p.m., Eugene noticed in the cold starry night that a section of the sky was without stars. Suddenly, in that very area, a young woman of 18 years old appeared to be hovering in the sky and smiling down at him. She was strikingly beautiful and wearing a dark blue dress covered with stars and a black veil with a golden crown on top. He gasped a yell of surprise, and brother, Joseph came to him and stared up at the apparition as well. Their parents then came to see what was going on but could not see what the boys continued to marvel at. The mother boxed their ears, scolded them, and then forced them to come in and eat dinner.

The visionary children who were able to witness the spectacle in the sky.

The visionary children who were able to witness the spectacle in the sky.

They ate hastily, rushed back outside, and again saw the beautiful lady in the sky. Joseph records the details later in his writings as follows:

“In the air above Augustin Guidecoq’s house, I saw a woman of extraordinary beauty. She appeared to be young, about 18-20 years of age and tall of stature. She was clad in a garment of deep blue. When we were told to describe exactly the shade of blue, we could only do so by comparing it to balls of indigo such as laundresses use for rinsing linen. Her dress was covered with golden stars, pentagonal in form, all of the same size and brilliant, but without emitting rays. They were not very numerous and seemed scattered over the blue without regard to method. The blue garment was ample, showing certain strongly marked folds, and without girdle or compression of any kind from the neck to the feet. The sleeves were ample and long, falling over the hands.

On the feet, which the dress left uncovered, were chaussons (shoes), the same blue as the dress, and ornamented with golden bows. On the head was a black veil, half covering the forehead, concealing the hair and ears, and falling over the shoulders. Above this was a golden crown resembling a diadem, higher in front than elsewhere and widening out at the sides. A red line encircled the crown at about the middle. The hands were small and extended toward us as in the ‘miraculous medal’ but without emitting rays.

The face was slightly oval. To the freshness of youth was added exquisite delicacy of feature and of tint, the complexion being pale rather than otherwise. Smiles of ineffable sweetness played about the mouth. The eyes, of unutterable tenderness, were fixed on us. I give up further attempting to describe the beautiful figure of her who looked down upon us and smiled. Like a true mother, she seemed happier in looking at us than we in contemplating her”

But when a local nun heard the startled mother’s story, she reminded her that Mary often comes to young children. Going on the theory that maybe only children could see Mary, she brought two young girls, Francoise Richer and Jeanne-Marie Lebosse (ages 9 and 11) from the convent school to the family’s farm. The nun made certain to not tell the young girls anything. Although not having heard what the two brothers had seen, the two young girls immediately began describing, excitedly, the exact same image of the Virgin Mary down to the last precise detail.

Clusters of people began to gather — within 20 minutes after this vision had begun — yet, none of the adults could see anything. Three more small children began pointing at the sky and describing the same apparition of Mary. Even a two-year old in her mother’s arms started clapping with joy, looking up into the sky, and holding out her arms as if wanting Our Blessed Mother to come pick her up. A total of about 60 villagers gathered before the barn and knelt in the snow to begin praying. Sister Mary Edward began leading the Rosary. The children reported that Our Lady smiled throughout the Rosary, appearing very much alive and showing the dazzling whiteness of her teeth.

Afterward, Father Guerin led in singing hymns and reciting other prayers. The children reported that the Lady became more beautiful and her garments more intense in illumination in proportion to the devotion of the people. “Oh, there are so many stars (on her dress) that the Blessed Virgin will soon be gilt (golden) all over.”

The four young children who could describe what was happening said that three bright stars formed a triangle around Mary. A darker blue oval backdrop appeared and formed around her. Two candles appeared inside the oval on either side of her shoulders. Two more candles appeared inside the oval on either side of her knees. A small red heart appeared on her left side. About forty stars only visible to the children gathered beneath her feet. The villagers were all able to witness the formation of the three stars in a triangle.

As Sister Mary Edward began the Magnificat, the children cried out that the image was changing again. A white band about a yard wide unrolled itself under her feet and extended across the roof of Guidecoq’s house. These words appeared on the banner:

“Mais priez, mes enfants.” (But pray, my children.)

As the Magnificat continued, the dreadful news arrived that the Prussians were now at nearby Laval and heading soon toward Pontmain. More letters appeared on the banner:

“Dieu vous exaucera en peu de temps.” (God will hear you in a little while)

“Mon fils se laisse toucher.” (My Son permits Himself to be moved)

So she was telling them that God had heard their prayers and fears about the invasion of soldiers, and that he would answer their needs shortly. He would answer because he is a God who allows himself to be touched by pleading and prayers. The crowd sang hymns, but when “My Sweet Jesus” was sung, the children reported that she looked sad. A blue band, the same color as the sky, began passing over the words and erasing them. As the white banner rolled away, the Virgin lifted her hand to the level of her shoulders. She seemed to be moving her fingers and speaking, but nothing was heard.

Her hands were then joined over her heart and a large red cross with a darker red image of Jesus appeared in her hands. A star seemed to move and light four candles about her. When the crowd sang Ave Maris Stella, the red crucifix disappeared and a small white cross about eight inches high appeared on each of her shoulders. Mary looked upward. Prayers continued and Mary smiled as the crosses disappeared. She opened her arms outward and downward. A white veil appeared at her feet and rose slowly upward until Our Lady was completely concealed by it.

It was now about 9:00 p.m.; the experience had lasted a total of three hours!

By the next morning the town learned that the Prussian soldiers had witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary on the outskirts of their town. The startled and frightened soldiers had told their Prussian superiors,

“Madonna is guarding the country and forbidding us to advance! We can go no further – an invisible Madonna is barring the way.”

Within eleven days the Prussian soldiers had mysteriously retreated and abandoned the country they had planned to invade and occupy. A truce was signed and the war ended.

After a thorough investigation, the ecclesiastical authority fully approved in February of 1875 the appearances of the Virgin Mary in Pontmain. The Barbadette barn first became a chapel, and then a large basilica, years later in 1900, for “Our Lady of Hope.”

Joseph Barbadette became a priest and a member of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Brother Eugene became a priest of the archdiocese. Francoise Richer became a housekeeper for a priest, and Jeanne-Marie Lebosse became a nun.

~Source:divinemysteries.info

January Feast Days, Marian apparitions

Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Our Lady of Prompt Succor is a religious title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, by the Church. It refers to a statue of the Madonna kept in a shrine in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. She is also known as Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. She is the principal patroness of the state of Louisiana, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the city of New Orleans.

French Ursuline nuns were the first to arrive in Louisiana. Establishing a convent in 1727, the nuns founded what is the oldest school for girls in the territory of the modern-day U.S., Ursuline Academy, which educated the children of European colonist, Native Americans, and those of the local Creole peole, slave or free. Spanish sisters came to assist the growing school in 1763 after Louisiana fell under Spanish control. In 1800 the territory came back under French possession, and most sisters, fearing the anti-clerical sentiment of the French Revolution, fled to Havana, Cuba.

Coming short on teachers, Mother Saint Andre Madier requested sisters from France to come to America to aid the struggling convent in 1803. She wrote to her cousin, Mother Saint Michel Gensoul, who was running a Catholic girls boarding school in France at the time. The Catholic Church was suffering the wrath of the revolution under Napoleon. Mother Saint Michel, knowing that the Church was in distress in both her homeland and abroad, was prompted by the  Holy Spirit to approach Bishop Fournier of Montpelier to request the transfer. Bishop Fournier felt unable to afford the loss of another nun, as many had been killed or fled during the revolution. Bishop Fournier responded to Mother St. Michel, “The Pope alone can give this authorization. The Pope alone!”

Pope Pius VII was prisoner of Napoleon at the time, and it was highly unlikely that any form of communication could be made with him. Mother St. Michel knew the unlikelihood of the Pope even receiving her letter. Mother St. Michel prayed before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and said, “O most Holy Virgin Mary, if you obtain for me a prompt and favorable answer to this letter, I promise to have you honored at New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.” Sending her petition on March 19, 1809, Mother St. Michel received a letter from the Holy Father granting her request on April 29, 1809. Mother St. Michel commissioned a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus. By request, Bishop Fournier blessed the statue and the Mother St. Michel’s work.

Mother St. Michel arrived in New Orleans with the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on December 31, 1810 with several postulatants. The statue was placed in the monastery chapel and is venerated by the people of New Orleans.

MIRACLES OF OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR

Many miracles have been attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Two historical events are especially associated with the Virgin. The first occurred during the eruption of a great fire in New Orleans devastating the Vieux Carre. The Ursuline convent was facing imminent destruction as the winds blew the terrible fire toward Jackson Square. An order was given to evacuate the convent, however at that moment, a nun named Sr. Anthony placed a small statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on a window seat and Mother St. Michel began to pray aloud, “Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost unless you hasten to our aid!” Immediately, the wind shifted direction, blowing the flames away from the convent allowing for the fire to be extinguished. The Ursuline convent was one of the few buildings spared from destruction. Upon seeing the inexplicable occurrence, witnesses unanimously cried out, “Our Lady of Prompt Succor has saved us!”

The second major miracle occurred in 1815, three years after the disastrous fire. General Andrew Jackson was facing the British in the Battle of New Orleans. There were 15,000 British Troops against 6,000 American troops. It seemed as though the city of New Orleans was doomed. Knowing the terrible fate of the city of New Orleans the Ursuline nuns along with many faithful people of New Orleans gathered in the Ursuline chapel before the statue of Our Lady. They spent the night before the battle praying and crying before the holy statue, begging for the Virgin Mary’s intercession. On the morning of January 8, the Very Rev. William Dubourg, Vicar General, offered Mass at the altar on which the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor had been placed. The Prioress of the Ursuline convent, Mother Ste. Marie Olivier de Vezin, made a vow to have a Mass of Thanksgiving sung annually should the American forces win. At the very moment of communion, a courier ran into the chapel to inform all those present that the British had been defeated. General Jackson went to the convent himself to thank the nuns for their prayers: “By the blessing of heaven, directing the valor of the troops under my command, one of the most brilliant victories in the annals of war was obtained.” The vow made by Mother Ste. Marie has been faithfully kept throughout the years.

PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR

O Almighty and Eternal God, Who sees us surrounded by so many dangers and miseries, grant in Thy infinite goodness that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Divine Son, may defend us from the evil spirit, protect us against all adversities, obtain for us (here ask for the particular favor you desire), and safely guide us to the Kingdom of Heaven. This we ask of thee through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (three times)

O Mary, Mother of God, amid the tribulations of the world, watch over the people of God and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life thou may be our succor. Obtain for us (here mention the particular favor you desire). Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.

(three times)

V. Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

(Imprimatur: Philip M. Hannan, D.D., Archbishop of New Orleans, October, 1966)

Short Prayer to Our Lady of Prompt Succor

O Mary, Mother of God, who amid the tribulations of the world, watches over us and over the Church of Thy Son, be to us and to the Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life Thou mayest be our succor, and obtain for us (here ask the particular favor you desire).

Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, Thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.

(Three Times)

(Imprimatur Lucien Caillouet, Vicar General, November 12, 1960)

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Warraq Egypt

Our Lady of WARRAQ,Egypt

Warraq al-Hadar is a small island in the Nile River in the Giza governorate, a part of Greater Cairo. This is a very poor district. December is a Marian month and Nativity Fast on the Coptic Calendar. During this month the Coptic Church celebrates a special Midnight Praise dedicated to the Holy Virgin and the Incarnation.

The apparitions began at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael in Al-Warraq. Hassan, a Muslim neighbor, was sitting at his local coffee shop across the street when he saw a strong light coming from the church around 8:30 p.m. More people on the street began to notice the light and saw a bird circling above the church. Around 2:00 a.m., a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared in her blue and white robes.

Father Dawoud of this same church reports how that first night developed after neighbors began calling the church, worried about why the large crowds were suddenly gathering:

“The phone calls poured in; many people said that they had just seen an apparition of Virgin Mary on the right dome of the church.”

Muslim neighbors were among the callers. A dear friend of Father Dawoud, Haj Rashad, the neighborhood distributor of gas cylinders, filed this report:

“What are you doing here (inside the church), Father? I have just seen Our Lady Mary with my own eyes! Go and see for yourself.”

“At first we thought that a little kid was playing with a flashlight, but then the light intensified and moved from the tree in front of the church entrance up to the right dome. An embodiment of the Virgin Mary could be easily recognized. It stayed there for a while. I have captured the scene with my mobile phone.”

Anba Theodosius, Bishop of Giza, issued this statement:

“On Friday, December 11, 2009, at 1:00 a.m. the Holy Virgin appeared in her full height in luminous robes above the middle dome of church named after her – Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church in Al-Warraq. She was described as wearing a pure white dress with a royal blue belt. She had a crown on her head, above which appeared the cross on top of the dome. The crosses on top of the church’s domes and towers glowed brightly with light. Blessed Mary moved between the domes and on to the top of the church gate between its two twin towers. All of the local residents saw her! The apparition lasted from 1:00 a.m. until 4:00 a.m. on Friday. Many cameras and cell phones took pictures. Some 3,000 people from the neighborhood, surrounding areas, and passers-by gathered in the street in front of the church to see the apparition.

Since Friday, the huge crowds gathered in the vicinity of the church have been seeing luminous white pigeons soaring above the church during various times of the night. They also saw a star emerge suddenly in the night sky and travel some 200 meters across the sky and disappear. The huge crowds never stopped singing hymns and praises for the Holy Virgin.”

The scene, as described, along with photos and videos, was broadcast on Amr Adib’s talk show, “Cairo Today” on December 13, 2009. The news spread like wildfire; crowds flocked to Giza to catch a glimpse of Our Lady.

Bishop Theodosius adds that it is important to investigate the event fully:

“I stayed up all night on Sunday. I saw doves appear suddenly in the sky. They flew in circles in front of the church before they vanished into thin air. They were floating rather like hovering with their wings. It is uncommon for doves to fly at night.”

The event had a different dimension for security forces. Selim, a policeman, pointed out that he had been on duty at the site for seven hours already and did not expect to be relieved for another five hours. Father Dawoud said that the police were exerting a tremendous effort and were being very cooperative. Father Dawoud also praised church neighbors, many of whom allowed visitors to view the church from the roofs of their buildings.

For several weeks, a silent crowd running in the thousands gathered in front of the church, gazing up into the sky in the early morning hours. Whenever the mysterious light appeared over the church tower, the crowd was jolted into a frenzy of astonished cries.

Is that the Virgin Mary standing between the domes?

Many of the local Muslims did not deny the sightings, but claimed they were hoaxed with laser beams – although no evidence or proof of those claims ever surfaced.

For the Muslim named Rami, it was a different reaction:

“It was her! – with her blue and white clothes.”

Kawkab Munir Shehata, age 39, is convinced of what she saw. In fact, the mother of two says that the Virgin Mary restored the sight that she had lost in her left eye.

“It was about 3:40 a.m. I felt immense pain, which lasted about a quarter of an hour. Then I was ecstatic to find out that I could see clearly. Now, my left eye is even better than my right one.”

By December 22 of 2009, more than 200,000 Christians and Muslims had witnessed the apparitions on the domes of this church in Warraq al-Hadar. Apparition lights in the night sky could be seen several kilometers away from the church. The full silhouette of the Blessed Holy Virgin dressed in a light blue gown could be clearly seen over the domes and between the church crosses. People used their mobile phones to make videos of the apparitions and share them via Bluetooth and on YouTube. These events received wide media coverage in Egyptian newspapers and Arabic TV channels.

For some, the apparition of the Virgin Mary is a response to a recent article that appeared in a periodical published by Al-Azhar University that questioned the foundations of Christianity. Father Fishay comments:

“Maybe her appearance is to bring people closer together. Maybe it will bring about the end of the state of tensions between Muslims and Christians – and an end to extremism. Maybe it will bring back forgiveness like there once used to be in Egypt.”

Maybe it was a sign of hope for Egypt’s Copts, who are 10 percent of the country’s population, and have lived far too long on the margins of society – often victims of violence.

Bishop Theodosius concludes, talking to Al-Ahram Weekly:

“If the sightings continue, a fact-finding committee will be formed to investigate the matter, and they will submit their report to Pope Shenouda III, on which basis he may issue a papal declaration.”

According to the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio, these apparitions were indeed investigated and officially approved by the Coptic Pope, Shenouda III.

~Source:divinemysteries.info

Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Victory

WIGRATZBAD, GERMANY (1919, 1938)

Antonie Radler (20) contracted the Spanish Influenza in 1919 and was gravely ill. Her mother prayed desperately to the Blessed Virgin for help. Suddenly, Blessed Mary appeared at her bedside and laid her hands upon the young victim. Antonie was instantly healed.

Fully recovered, Antonie was working one day in her father’s butcher shop when the Gestapo arrived and ordered her to replace the painting of the Virgin on the wall with that of the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. She was also ordered to salute him in the Nazi fashion, saying, “Heil Hitler.” Antonie refused and barely escaped several attempts upon her life. She always maintained that her Guardian Angel – in the form of a mysterious cyclist – protected her.

The parents were so delighted with her escape from harm that they erected a small Lourdes grotto in their garden. It was blessed by Father Basch on October 11, 1936, the feast day for the Maternity of Mary. A month later, while praying before the statue, Antonie saw Blessed Mary smile sweetly and then heard the words,

“O Beloved Lady of Victory, conceived without sin, pray for us.”

Then, on December 15, 1936, while praying at the Lourdes grotto in their garden (during the octave of the Immaculate Conception), and while reciting the third sorrowful mystery of the Rosary, Antonie heard an “angelic chorus” singing these words,

“O Mary! Immaculate, conceived without sin. Beloved Lady of Victory, pray for us.”

A second appearance of the Blessed Virgin happened to a young girl named Cecilia Geyer on February 22, 1938. It was about 6:30 a.m. when Cecilia heard a “murmur” and then saw Our Lady appear in a bright cloud.

“Suddenly, I found myself in the little grotto of Antonie and heard this message:

“Build a chapel here for me. I shall trample underfoot the serpent’s head. People will come here in large numbers, and I wll pour upon them a flood of graces. St. Joseph, St. Anthony, and the souls in Purgatory will help you.

Go now and worship My Son in the Blessed Sacrament.”

Realizing that all the churches were closed at that hour, Cecilia asked Mary where should she go?

“Before my astonished eyes there appeared a chapel in the place designated by Our Lady. Inside, on the altar, was Jesus in a monstrance, surrounded by beautiful rays of light.”

Work began on the chapel on July 2, 1938. All went well until the night of November 21, when Antonie was arrested by the Nazis and jailed in the local prison. She underwent numerous interrogations.

On the night of December 7-8, Antonie witnessed a large bright cloud forming and rising in her jail cell. Suddenly, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and announced her impending release. She would spend Christmas with her family; Antonie was indeed released on December 18, the Feast of the Expectation of Our Lady.

Today, the chapel built at the site of the apparitions is host to an estimated 500,000 pilgrims each year. Although no official statement was made by Bishop Stimpfle, he was frequently known to say,

“I know that Wigratzbad is authentic!”

December Feast Days, Marian apparitions, Miracles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe +Feast Day December 12 +

An elder Mexican man makes his way to Mass in the early morning twilight of December 9, 1531. He is a peasant, a simple farmer and laborer, and he has no education. Born under Aztec rule, he is a convert to Catholicism, and each step he takes this morning is a step into history.

The morning quiet is broken by a strange music that he will later describe as the beautiful sound of birds. Diverting his path to investigate the sound, Juan Diego comes face to face with a radiant apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Juan Diego is 57 years old. He has just encountered the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill, the site of a former Aztec Temple. His wife has died two years earlier, and he lives with his elder uncle, scratching his living from the earth as a humble peasant farmer. Why should this unlearned, man be chosen by Our Lady to carry a message to the Bishop? Perhaps because she would find none other as humble as Juan Diego.

Juan Diego is dazzled by the incredible beauty and miraculous nature of Our Lady’s appearance. She appears as a native princess to him, and her words sound more beautiful than the sweetest music ever made.

Our Lady calms the startled traveler, and assures him of who she is. She instructs Juan Diego to visit his bishop and ask that a temple be built on the site of her appearance, so that she will have a place to hear petitions and to heal the suffering of the Mexican people. “Now go and put forth your best effort,” Our Lady instructs.

Visibly shaken, Juan Diego approaches the Bishop who is initially very skeptical of his account. What did this peasant truly want? Does he merely seek attention? Notoriety? Money? Or is he possessed by demons? Has Juan Diego been tricked by the Devil?

The Bishop patiently listens to Juan Diego’s accounts and dismisses him. The humble farmer has failed.

Juan Diego begins to doubt himself. He returns to Tepeyac Hill where he hopes for some conformation of what he’s experienced. Indeed, Our Lady does not disappoint, for she appears again, as radiant as before. Juan Diego tells Our Lady what she already knows, that the Bishop did not believe him. She instructs him to return the next morning and ask again.

The Bishop is beside himself. Why did this peasant insist on telling this story? How could he know if the peasant was lying or perhaps insane? At their second meeting, the Bishop asks for a sign. Juan Diego makes a promise he won’t keep, saying he will return the very next morning with a sign from Our Lady.

But that evening, Juan Diego returns home to find his uncle, Juan Bernadino, who is 68 years old, and suddenly, terribly ill. The illness is known to the people there and it brings a burning fever so hot, it’s almost always fatal. Juan Diego cannot leave his uncle’s bedside to keep his pledge to the Bishop. He spends two days with his uncle, trying to save him. When it becomes apparent his uncle is about to die, he leaves to find a priest who can prepare him for death.

Frightened and saddened, Juan Diego sets off in a great hurry, time is running out, and Juan Diego is afraid his uncle will die without a last confession. On the road, in his way, Our Lady appears for a third time. Upset and afraid, Juan explains himself. Our Lady replies, “Am I not your mother? … Are you not in the crossing of my arms?” she asks.

Shamed by the admonishment, but emboldened by Our Lady’s presence, Juan Diego asks for the sign he promised to the Bishop. He knows he is wrong to doubt Our Lady. Juan Diego is instructed to climb to the top of Tepeyac Hill where he will find flowers. He is to pick the flowers there, which are unlike any he has seen before, and he is to keep them hidden in his tilma until he reaches the Bishop.

Juan Diego is skeptical again. It’s December, what flowers could grow on the summit of the hill in this cold?

Nevertheless, he obeys and atop the hill he finds a great number of flowering roses which he picks and hastily gathers into his cloak.

For the third time, Juan Diego is ushered in to see the Bishop. The skeptical cleric has waited for two days to see what sign Our Lady has for him. Juan opens his tilma, letting the roses cascade to the floor. But more than the roses, both men are astonished to see what is painted on his humble tilma – an exquisite image of Our Lady.

In the image, she stands as she appeared, a native princess with high cheekbones. Her head is bowed and her hands are folded in prayer to God. On her blue cloak, the stars are arranged as they appeared in the morning darkness at the hour of her first apparition.

Under her feet, is a great crescent moon, a symbol of the old Aztec religion. The message is clear, she is more powerful than the Aztec gods, yet she herself is not God.

At the same time Our Lady is appearing to Juan Diego, and directing him to cut the flowers on Tepeyac Hill, she also appears to his uncle, Juan Bernadino who believes he is about to die. As soon as she appears, the fever stops and Juan Bernadino feels well again. She tells Juan Bernadino, she wants to be known as “Santa Maria, de Guadalupe.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe did not appear again, for her mission was complete. The temple was built and remains there today, in what is now a suburb of Mexico City. Juan Diego’s tilma, woven from cactus fibers, with a shelf-life of just 30 years at best, remains miraculously preserved.

The symbolism of Our Lady’s dress is obvious to over eight million Native Mexicans, whom all speak different languages. She is brighter than the sun, more powerful than any Aztec god, yet she is not a god herself, and she prays to one greater than her. Her gown is adorned with stars in the correct position as in the night sky, and the gold fringe of her cloak mirrors the surrounding countryside. Millions of natives will convert at the news of what has happened. Millions more will make pilgrimages over the next five centuries to see the miraculous tilma, and to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. Great miracles continue to occur, even today.

On October 12, 1945, Pope Pius XII, decreed Our Lady of Guadalupe to be “Patroness of all the Americas.” Her feast day is December 12, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation in Mexico.

Our Lady of Guadalupe had this to say to Juan Diego:

“Know for certain, least of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the Master of heaven and earth. It is my earnest wish that a temple be built here to my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.”

~Source:catholiconline .org

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