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.

The Battle of Lepanto

THE VICTORY IN LEPANTO THROUGH OUR LADY OF THE HOLY ROSARY

Prior to this date there were serious threats to the Christian faith from the Ottoman invasion. In fact, on 1566, Pius V wrote the Grand Master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem to dissuade him from his idea of leaving the island of Malta in anticipation of the imminent victory of the Turks: “Let go of the idea of leaving the island. Your mere presence in Malta inflames the courage to Christians and imposes respect from the Ottomans. Know that he fears you and all your soldiers.” The Grand Master changed his mind and stayed on the island.

By the end of 1566 Pius V alerted all Catholic nations encouraging them to form a League in defense of Christianity. However, due to their internal problems, the leaders of the Catholic nations did not heed his call.

Three years elapsed when the Ottomans destroyed the Venetian arsenal and sent an ultimatum: either Venice give up Cyprus or war.

A league was formed among Spain, Cyprus and the Papal States under the command of Don Juan of Austria, 24 years of age, to defend Christianity was formed. The League had 200 galleries, 100 transports, 50,000 Spanish, Italian and German soldiers, 4,500 light cavalry, and the number of guns needed.

On the day of the battle, everything against the odds for the Christians:

  • the numerical superiority of the Turks: 286 against 208 ships;
  • the wind direction was favorable to the Turks, while the Catholics had to row against the current to approach the enemy.

Juan de Austria, carrying a crucifix, inspected all ships and ardently proclaimed: “Put all your hope in God Almighty, who reigns and governs the universe. Remember, you are going to fight for the Faith; and no frail-hearted will win Heaven.”

Alí-Pashá fired the cannon to call on the Christians to fight. Don Juan accepted the challenge response with another cannon fire. Concomitantly, the wind changes its direction unexpectedly favoring the Christian side.

Meanwhile in Rome the Pope awaited news, fasting and redoubling his prayers for victory. The Pope urged the Cardinals, monks and faithful do the same entrusting the event to the powerful efficacy of the Rosary.

On October 7, he was with his treasurer, Donato Cesi who was discussing with him some financial matters. Suddenly the Pope turned away from his treasurer, opened a window and entered into ecstasy. Then, he turned to his treasurer and said: “Go with God. Now it is not the time to discuss these matters but the time to give thanks to Jesus Christ as our squad have just come out victorious”. He then went to his chapel.

On the night of 21 to October 22, Cardinal Rusticucci woke uo the Pope to confirm the vision he had. With manly tears St. Pius V repeated the words of the old Simeon, “Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, in pace (Lord, now you can let go your servant to rest in peace” (Luc.2,29). The next morning he proclaimed the good news at St. Peter’s after a procession and a solemn singing of “Te Deum”.

Thereafter, October 7 was dedicated to Our Lady of Victories and later on to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. By popular acclamation, the advocation “Help of Christians” was added to the Litany of Loreto. Chapels with the invocation of Our Lady of Victories begin to emerge in Spain and Italy. At the Venetian Senate hangs a painting of the battle which the following inscription below it: “Non virtus, non arma, non duces, sed Maria Rosarii victores nos fecit (Neither the troops nor weapons, nor the commanders, but Mary of the Rosary who made us the victorious).”

St.Louis de Montfort on the Saints of the End Times

Saint Louis de Montfort penned these words in 1712 in La Rochelle, France, four years before his death.

Towards the end of the world … Almighty God and His holy Mother are to raise up saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs.

These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her spirit, supported by her arms, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other.

With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin. …

They will be like thunderclouds flying through the air at the slightest breath of the Holy Spirit. Attached to nothing, surprised at nothing, they will shower down the rain of God’s word and of eternal life. They will thunder against sin; they will storm against the world; they will strike down the devil and his followers and for life and for death, they will pierce through and through with the two-edged sword of God’s word all those against whom they are sent by Almighty God.

They will be true apostles of the latter times to whom the Lord of Hosts will give eloquence and strength to work wonders and carry off glorious spoils from His enemies. They will sleep without gold or silver and, more important still, without concern in the midst of other priests, ecclesiastics and clerics. Yet they will have the silver wings of the dove enabling them to go wherever the Holy Spirit calls them, filled as they are, with the resolve to seek the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Wherever they preach, they will leave behind them nothing but the gold of love, which is the fulfillment of the whole law.

They will have the two-edged sword of the Word of God in their mouths and the bloodstained standard of the Cross on their shoulders. They will carry the crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, and the holy names of Jesus and Mary on their heart.

Mary scarcely appeared in the first coming of Christ. … But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary must be known and openly revealed by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus may be known, loved and served through her.

Our Lady of Sorrows~Kibeho Rwanda

Kibeho, Rwanda 1981–1983

The small country of Rwanda is seen by some as the heart of the continent and one of its most beautiful areas, where plantations of tea and coffee abound. Visitors have named it the Land of Eternal Spring. But at the time of the apparitions, the country was in a state of unrest. Statues of the Blessed Mother were mutilated or destroyed and priests, influenced by the propaganda of false theologians, were lax in their duties and beliefs. Only two devout priests maintained the true principles of the Faith and the teaching of sound doctrine, which influenced most of the people of Rwanda to the fervent practice of the Catholic Faith. To correct the morals of the region and to plead for the restoration of religion, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Alphonsine Mumreke who was seventeen years old. Alphonsine was a student in a school that was run by three nuns and various lay teachers. There she was known to have been very pious and to have shown a great love of the Mother of God.

THE FIRST APPARITION

The first apparition took place in the school on Saturday, November 28, 1981. Alphonsine was in the dining room serving her classmates that day when she was startled by a sweet voice that called her. Since she did not see anyone around her who spoke her name, Alphonsine went into the hallway and saw a most beautiful Lady who announced that she was the “Mother of the World,” and had come in answer to her prayers. Alphonsine described the Lady in this way, The Virgin was not white as she is usually seen in holy pictures. I could not determine the color of her skin, but she was of incomparable beauty. She was barefoot and had a seamless white dress, and also a white veil on her head. Her hands were clasped together on her breast, and her fingers pointed to the sky. Later I was told by my classmates that I had been speaking in several languages: English, French, Kinyarwanda and others. When the Virgin was about to leave I said three Hail Marys and the prayer, Come Holy Spirit. She then rose to heaven like Jesus. Alphonsine remained kneeling in a state of ecstasy for more than fifteen minutes while the nuns and staff members attempted to rouse her. When Alphonsine finally began to stir and spoke of the apparition, the faculty thought she was sick.

THE SECOND APPARITION

Another apparition took place the next day, November 29, and was repeated almost every Saturday in December.During these visitations, Alphonsine’s classmates attempted to test her by pricking her with needles or trying to burn her with matches. They also waged a subtle persecution by heaping upon her all types of verbal abuse, saying among other things that she had lost her mind. Eventually, because of various phenomena, which included sparkling lights and the appearance of a star, both faculty and students came to believe, and even gave Alphonsine their rosaries for the Blessed Virgin to bless. While the daytime visions took place in the dining room, the evening visits took place in the dormitory, in the room of Alphonsine. Eventually, as news spread about the miraculous events, the apparitions began to take place in the school yard where thousands gathered. To the surprise of all, Our Lady began appearing to another student, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka and then to Marie-Claire Mukangango who had been one of the most vocal opponents of the apparitions. Marie-Claire declared, as a result of an apparition, that “One must meditate on the Passion of Jesus, and on the deep sorrows of His Mother. One must recite the Rosary every day, and also the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, to obtain the favor of repentance.” Alphonsine experienced a mystical journey on March 20, 1982. After informing the nuns that she might appear to be dead while this was taking place, she would nevertheless be very much alive. During the eighteen hours in which this ecstasy took place, priests, nurses, religious and medical assistants for the Red Cross, all saw that Alphonsine appeared to be in a deep sleep, was rigid, and had clasped hands that could not be separated. Alphonsine later revealed that the Blessed Mother had shown her Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. During these visitations, the Blessed Virgin gave many messages for the world. Calling herself the Mother of the World, she announced that the purpose of her visitations was to communicate a message of conversion through a life of prayer and confession, a life renewed by the Word of God and by works of charity and justice. The Blessed Mother told Marie-Clare that she was addressing herself to the whole world which is in revolt against God and is “on the edge of catastrophe.” During other apparitions, Anathalie described the visions in this way: In July 1982, and the following months, August 15, 1982, the feast of the Assumption, and again on September 4, and in January 1983, Our Lady showed us many things about the coming war. Often she talked in general that the world is bad, that people do not have love, contrary to what God shed His blood for; Our Lady insists as well on love. Our Lady talked about and showed us some visions of reality where people killed each other, blood running, fire burning on the hill, mass graves, skulls, beheaded bodies, skulls put apart. Anathalie continued: “Our Lady appeared to remind us what we have forgotten. In her messages she insisted on prayer and on conversion, on penance and humility.”

The Blessed Mother’s last visit to the visionaries was on August 19, 1982, during which she revealed the consequences of those who would ignore what she recommended. Like the vision of Anathalie, the other visionaries also saw “a river of blood, people who were killing each other, abandoned corpses, trees all in flames, bodies without heads.” About a decade later, in the spring of 1994, a vicious civil war erupted in Rwanda in which an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 people were killed; many beheaded by machetes and dumped into the Kagea River. Many were killed by friends or neighbors in the genocide that lasted one hundred days. The Blessed Mother had also warned that sexual promiscuity would lead to disaster—this before the world experienced the AIDS epidemic. By 1994, Africa had 70 percent of the world’s cases. It is estimated that several million Africans fell victim to the disease. It was during the war that the visionary, Marie-Clare, was killed. It is said that she had married Elie Ntabadahiga in 1987, and had moved to Kigali to be with him. According to eyewitnesses, Elie was taken prisoner by the militants, and when Marie-Claire begged for her husband’s release, she was murdered. As for the other visionaries, Alphonsine is now a cloistered nun living in the Saint Claire convent of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Her religious name is Alphonsine of the Glorious Cross. Anathalie still lives in the Kibeho parish where she is dedicated to preparing the church and the altar for Holy Mass. It was after the civil war that the Catholic Church made a definitive ruling regarding the apparitions of Alphonsine Murmureka, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka and Marie-Claire Mukangango.

Although four others are said to have witnessed the apparitions, approval for the visions of the original three was granted by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Gahamanyi who was in charge of the Diocese of Butare at the time of the visitations. On July 2, 2001, the Vatican released the declaration of Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro who expressed approval of the visions after examinations were conducted by both medical and theological examiners. The original summary of their studies consisted of a twenty-three-page document. Bishop Augustin Misago declared, “There are more reasons to believe this than to deny it,” and that “the events corresponded satisfactorily to all the criteria established by the Church in the matter of private apparitions and revelations.” Pope John Paul II, during his visit Rwanda in 1990, exhorted everyone to turn to the Virgin Mary as a sure guide to peace and salvation.

~Source:”See How She Loves Us” by Joan Carrol Cruz

Our Lady of the Snow

Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August, history tells of a snowfall that seemed more impossible, namely in Rome, Italy. August 5, 352, snow fell during the night in Rome.

There lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of Pope Liberius, prayed that she might make known to them how to do this by a particular sign.

In answer, the Virgin Mother during the night of August 5, appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, Pope Liberius, directing them to build a church in her honor on the crown of the Esquiline Hill. And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested?

“Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”

Snow rarely falls in Rome, but the flakes fell silently during that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news quickly spread and crowds gathered to throng up the hill and behold the white splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the Snows.

The church built there is now known as Saint Mary Major. It is the focal point of devotion for many of Mary’s millions of children, one of the most popular churches in the world. There Mary has been pleased to secure various and many blessings as numerous and varied, as the flakes of snow that fell that August night.

The church built by John and his wife in honor of Our Lady of the Snows, restored and enlarged at various times was known by different names: the Basilica of Liberius, Saint Mary of the Crib because it enshrines relics of Christ’s Crib; lastly, Saint Mary Major, to distinguish it from the many other Roman churches dedicated to the Mother of God; Major, means Greater. There is an image revered as Our Lady of the Snows, which is believed to have been produced by St. Luke the Apostle.

Saint Mary Major is one of the four basilicas in which the pilgrims to Rome must pray in order to gain the indulgences of the Holy Year. Most fitting do we call Mary Our Lady of the Snows. The white blanket of that August night symbolizes Mary, pure as the driven snow; her blessings and graces, numerous and varied as the falling snowflakes.

Science tells us that every snowflake is different in form and make-up: size, outline, structure, ornamentation, are all without limit, infinite in wondrous beauty, startling complexity, perfect symmetry as they fleet, dancing down from the sky. What a wonderful figure of the blessings Mary obtains for us! Snow changes the face of the earth, painting even a field of mud with a white coat. The grace of God won through prayer to Mary, also changes the face of the earth. Snow preserves the heat of the earth, protects vegetation, supplies moisture with slow effectiveness.

Grace serves similar purposes: it preserves the warmth of God’s love in our hearts; it protects the soul from the chill of temptation and sin; it nourishes the soul with new life. We see a further symbolism in this feast. There are millions living in lands of ice and snow who have not come to the knowledge of Mary and her Divine Son. We might ask that with the actual snowflakes, she shower down upon them the graces of the True Faith.

In particular may that land where snow falls long and heavily, Russia, come to share in a fall of graces through prayer to her whom we honor on August fifth as “Our Lady of the Snows.”

Our Lady of Montallegro

Rapallo, Italy 1557

THE magnificent Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro is nestled on a wooded hill, called the “Hill of Joy,” overlooking the city of Rapallo. It was here that the Blessed Mother deigned to leave a precious icon depicting her dormition as she passed from this world to the Heavenly Kingdom. Our Mother is pictured lying on a bier with the Holy Trinity represented by the figures in the central part of the icon. Surrounding her in mournful attitude are several saints and two angels.

THE FIRST VISION

The discovery of the icon on the hill was made by a farmer, Giovanni Chichizola, on July 2, while he was walking nearby on a donkey trail. Suddenly he had an apparition of Our Lady who reassured him: Do not fear, Giovanni, I am the Mother of God. I have chosen you to be a messenger of my motherly will. Visit the ecclesiastics of Rapallo and let them know that the Mother of God has chosen this place as her perpetual dwelling place and would like a church to be erected here. I leave here a pledge of my love. When the Virgin disappeared, the farmer discovered an icon on a rock and attempted to remove it, but could not. He notified the villagers of Rapallo who journeyed to the hill, lifted it and brought it to the church in Rapallo.

The next morning the icon had disappeared, only to be found where John had originally discovered it. Much to their surprise, a spring had started to flow at the very place above which the Blessed Mother stood during the apparition. The villagers, once again, brought the icon to the church where it was displayed all day to the veneration of many who were impressed with the details of Giovanni’s experience. In the evening, the icon was locked away for safekeeping.

They were surprised the next morning when they discovered that it had disappeared once again., The icon was subsequently found on the rock up the hill. All agreed that the mysterious travels of the icon indicated the Blessed Mother’s wish that it remain in that particular place, to be protected by the church she had requested.

CHURCH IS BUILT IN 1558

The very next year, 1558, the Archbishop of Turin authorized the building of a church on the Hill of Joy, which began immediately. The following year it was opened and dedicated to the Blessed Mother. For seventeen quiet years the precious icon was loved and venerated on the Hill of Joy until a group of Greek sailors, sailing from Ragusa, experienced a storm while crossing the Gulf of Tigullio. The ship’s captain, Nicholas de Allegretis, together with the crew, promised Our Lady that if they were saved, they would make a pilgrimage to the nearest sanctuary dedicated to her. Upon safely reaching land, they climbed to the sanctuary to fulfill their vow of thanksgiving. It was then that they noticed the precious icon and declared that it was formerly venerated in Ragusa, and that it had mysteriously disappeared from there in 1557. They claimed ownership, which resulted in court proceedings before the magistrate of Genoa.

Eventually, the icon was given over to them for safe delivery to its former location. The icon was taken to the port, boarded on the ship, and placed in a secure location. The ship was well out to sea when they found that it had disappeared. Eventually the captain and his crew learned that the icon had been discovered in the church where all agreed it was meant to stay.

APPARITION DAY

Every year on the anniversary of “Apparition Day,” the people of Rapallo travel to the hill in a grand procession, carrying an ancient wooden crucifix and a silver shrine with the Mother’s statue. Upon reaching the sanctuary, the first-time pilgrim is amazed by the huge collection of votive offerings and ex-votos, some of them in silver, which decorate the walls, giving proof of prayers answered and miracles worked through the Virgin’s intercession. In the chapel of St. Joseph can be found the spring that began flowing from the time of the apparition. It is said to originate from the rock where the icon was originally found. The pilgrim has two unique ways to reach the sanctuary on the Hill of Joy: by walking along an ancient mule track or by cable car from Rapallo, which was specifically constructed for the convenience of the pilgrims. The pilgrims are well rewarded when reaching the sanctuary. They are intrigued with its beauty and can pray before the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Montallegro. Joining in the celebration for the 450th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Montallegro, in 2007, was Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, the Secretary of State of the Vatican. The feast day of Our Lady is celebrated with great joy on the first three days of July.

~Source:”See How She Loves Us”~

Our Lady of Ocotlan

Tlaxcala, Mexico 1541

JUST ten years after the spectacular apparition of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego in Mexico City, during which he received the Heaven-sent picture known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, another Juan Diego was thrust into history. His last name was Bernardino and he lived during a time when Tlaxcala, once the most populous and largest city in the country, was suffering an epidemic of smallpox. Estimates claim that nine out of ten Indians died as a result of the infection.

VIRGIN APPEARS TO JUAN BERNARDINO

To help Juan’s relatives who had been stricken with the disease in the village of Xiloxostla, Juan walked to the River Zahuapan to collect water thought to have medicinal properties. After filling his jug with water, he made his way to the village through a thick grove of ocote trees. He abruptly halted at the sight of a beautiful woman of regal bearing standing among the trees. The reassuring smile of the Lady gave him the courage to draw closer to her. With a heavenly voice she greeted him: “May God preserve you, my son. Where are you going?”

Overcome by the woman’s beauty and surprised at seeing her among the trees, Juan hesitated before he was able to reply, “I am taking water from the river to my sick ones who are dying.” “Come with me,” the Lady said, “and I will give you water to cure the disease. It will cure not only your family, but all who drink of it. My heart is ever ready to help those who are ill, for I cannot bear to see their misfortune.” Anxious to obtain miraculous water that would cure his relatives, Juan followed the lady with happy anticipation. When they came to a depression in the ground, the lady indicated a spring of fresh water. In her soft, almost musical voice, she told Juan, “Take as much of this water as you wish and know that those who are touched by even the smallest drop will obtain, not merely relief from their illness, but perfect health.” Juan emptied his jug of the river water and filled it with the clear water of the spring.

Wanting to express his gratitude, he turned to the Lady who then entrusted him with a message for the Franciscans at the Monastery of San Lorenzo where Juan was employed. Tell the religious for me that in this place they will find my image. It will not only manifest my perfections, but through it I shall generously bestow favors and kindness. When they find the image they are to place it in the chapel of San Lorenzo. When the Lady disappeared among the trees, Juan hurried to the village with his precious water. Upon reaching the bedside of his afflicted relatives, he told them about the Lady and the miraculous spring, as well as her promise of health through use of the water. Juan watched in amazement as the Lady’s word was realized when each was restored to health after drinking the miraculous water.

The next day Juan returned to the monastery and told the friars of his experience. After questioning him during the day, they decided that his story had merit and planned on visiting the place with Juan at night so as to avoid the curious. Before reaching the place, they noticed a glow in the distance and when they arrived, the grove of ocote trees was afire. The largest tree in the grove, and this one alone, was burning along its entire length. Since nothing could be done, they left, but planned on returning returning after Holy Mass the next morning. With some of the parishioners, they set out and found a puzzling situation. The fire had destroyed only the lower branches of the surrounding trees—the tallest one, which had burned its entire length, was indeed blackened. Why the dry summer heat had not destroyed the other trees in a similar manner remained a mystery. One of the friars had fortunately brought an ax with him and was instructed by the abbot to chop down the trunk of the large tree. A Mexican writer of the time left this report: A new marvel met their eyes: Within the trunk of the fallen tree was visible the image of the Holy Mother of God, representing the mystery of her Immaculate Conception—which can be seen today in the temple lovingly erected later by her children … In this manner, the tale of Juan Diego Bernardino was fully verified in the presence of many witnesses.

They agreed that the apparition of the Virgin Mary to her servant Juan Diego was a happy reality on the day she showed him the medicinal water and sent him to advise the religious where they would find her sacred image. In a grand procession, and with the singing of hymns, the statue was brought to the chapel. There the abbot removed the statue of San Lorenzo and positioned in its place the miraculous image of the Mother of God. We are told that the Indian sacristan resented the removal of the statue of San Lorenzo and placed the Lady’s statue in another location during the night. The next morning the statue was found on the altar where it had been placed by the abbot. On at least two other occasions, the same marvel was repeated so that the sacristan became convinced of Our Lady’s wish to remain where she had requested to be during the apparition.

The 58-inch statue is now found in a magnificent niche or Camarin above and behind the altar of the Basilica of the Virgin of Ocotlán. From the earliest days the statue was called Nuestra Senora de Ocotlatia which means Our Lady of the Burning Ocote. It is now simply called Our Lady of Ocotlán, Ocotlán being the Nahuatl word for “place of the pine tree.” The beautiful statue of Our Lady is always dressed in costly vestments and wears a splendid golden crown which is surrounded by a halo of stars. The crown represents Our Lady’s pontifical coronation in the year 1906.

Among the persons of distinction who visited the miraculous statue was the Archbishop of Puebla, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, who visited it in 1644, and Archbishop Diego de Osoria de Escobar, who honored the Lady in 1670. Additionally, the shrine of Our Lady was recognized by Pope Clement XII who authorized a feast day for Our Lady of Ocotlán and Benedict XIV who raised the shrine to the status of a basilica and granted indulgences and Apostolic indults to the faithful who venerate the image. Other popes also recognized the apparition, including Pius VI, Pius X and Pius XII. One of the most beautiful churches in Mexico enshrines the statue of Our Lady of Ocotlán. Of interest to pilgrims, in addition to a visit to Our Lady, is the place of the miraculous spring and the small chapel that stands in the ancient ocote grove where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego Bernardino.

~Source:”See How She Loves Us”~