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Mythical Mary: Her Messages, Miracles & Magnification

#1  Our Lady of Guadalupe – Mexico City, Mexico (December 9, 1531)

The “ever virgin Holy Mother” appeared to a peasant in Mexico. Juan Diego was on his way to visit a church when he heard birds singing. Upon investigation, he encountered the apparition. The vision instructed him to tell the bishop to erect a church on the site of the apparition. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is now the most popular Catholic shrine in the world, with over 15 million pilgrims visiting annually.

The Messages:

  • “I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God.”
  • “I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help and protection, because I am your merciful mother..[I will] listen to their lamentations, and remedy their miseries, afflictions and sorrows.”
  • “Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold?”

The Miracles:

  • Juan Diego sees a collection of beautiful flowers blooming in December.
  • The bishop witnesses the apparition on the cloak worn by Juan Diego.
  • Juan Diego’s uncle is miraculously cured by the apparition.
  • The cloth and its image is miraculously preserved for five centuries (even from an explosion in 1921).
  • The image of a man’s head is detected in the right eye of the image.

The Magnification:

  • The Lady of Guadalupe is declared the Patroness of Mexico City (1737) and Latin America (1910), Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas (1946) and Mother of the Americas (1961).
  • December 12 is one of three Holy Days of Obligation in Mexico
  • St. Pius X grants an indulgence for praying before a copy of the image (1908).

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#2 Our Lady of Laus – Laus, France (1664)

While praying the Rosary, a 16 year old illiterate girl in a small town in the French Alps received a visit from a dazzling and beautiful lady holding a child in her arms. She told Benedicta: “My name is Mary.” This was the first of many appearances of the Lady. Benedicta would receive over 2500 visions over the course of her life, including five visions of a bloody Jesus. The apparition in Laus was the first approved in the 21st century – in 2008.

The Messages:

  • Mary: “I am the reconciler and refuge of sinners.”
  • “Oil from the sanctuary lamp will work miracles for the sick if they receive anointing with faith in my intercession.”
  • “Mary” explained to Benedicta the architectural details for the building of a shrine.
  • Benedicta was told to promote the sacrament of Penance.

The Miracles:

  • Strong smell of sweet perfume.
  • Many miraculous cures.
  • Benedicta received the gift of reading hearts and uncovering hidden sins.
  • Jesus asked Benedicta to participate in His passion – she then received the stigmata.

The Magnification:

  • “I asked my Son for Laus for the conversion of sinners, and He granted it to me”
  • “Gather together every evening to recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Benedicta beatified by John Paul II in 1984; Catholics may pray for her intercession.

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#3 Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – Paris, France (1830)

Asleep in her convent, Catherine Labouré  was awakened by a child’s voice (her guardian angel) and told to arise and enter the convent chapel. The apparition of the beautifulVirgin Mary appeared to her there, telling her: “I am going to give you a mission.” Four months later the apparition appeared again to Catherine, displayed inside an oval, standing on a globe, with rays of lights streaming from the rings on her fingers. The oval then rotated, and displayed a large letter M supporting a cross, a circle of twelve stars, and two hearts. The first heart was the sacred heart of Jesus crowned with thorns. The second heart was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, pierced with a sword.

The Messages:

  • “Go to your Father Confessor and tell him to put these images on a medallion.”
  • Framing the image of the Virgin were the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception would be affirmed by Pius IX 24 years later
  • “The rays of light streaming from my rings represent the graces I obtain for those who ask for them.”

The Miracles:

  • The miraculous commissioning of the medal. Catherine told her priest about the mission, and two years later the priest consulted with his archbishop and the medal was struck.
  • The medal is associated with the conversion of a Jewish man who, pestered by Catholic friends, reluctantly wore the medal. He entered a Church in Rome and saw a vision of Mary exactly as depicted on the medal.
  • When Catherine was beatified, her body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Her corpse can be visited at the chapel where she saw the apparition.

The Magnification:

  • First minted in 1832, millions have worn the miraculous medal and claimed that great graces have resulted. A free medal can be obtained here.
  • The medal shows Mary standing on a globe as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her feet are crushing the head of a serpent.
  • John Paul II used a variation of the medallion for his coat of arms
  • Catholics pray the Novena of the Miraculous Medal. A novena consists of reciting the rosary for nine straight days – approximately 500 Hail Mary’s.

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#4 Our Lady of La Salette – La Salette, France (1846)

Sitting on a rock with her head in her hands, a beautiful woman in a white dress with a crown on her head appeared to two illiterate children while they were tending cattle. The apparition was weeping because of the sinfulness of the world. She was especially grieved because the people were working on Sundays and using the Lord’s name in vain. She gave the children secret messages that warned of future tribulations. These secrets were written down and delivered to Pope Pius IX.

The Messages:

  • “If my people will not submit, I will be forced to let fall the arm of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it.”
  • “How long I have suffered for you! If my Son is not to abandon you, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up to me what I have endured on your behalf.”
  • The harvest in France will completely fail.
  • Wars and tribulations will occur if mankind does not repent.
  • Two clerical orders should be formed.

The Miracles:

  • The prediction of crop failure occurred. In 1847 a famine struck Europe causing about a million deaths.
  •  A hidden spring was discovered that had healing powers.

The Magnification:

  • The apparition wore a special cross that had a hammer and a pincer. The hammer symbolized the sins of the people nailing Jesus to the cross; the pincer symbolized all of us trying to remove the nails by living virtuous lives.
  • The Prayer of Our Lady of La Salette: “Remember, dear Lady of La Salette, true Mother of Sorrows, the tears which thou didst shed for me on Calvary; be mindful also of the unceasing care which thou dost exercise to shield me from the justice of God; and consider whether thou canst now abandon thy child, for whom thou hast done so much. Inspired by this consoling thought, I come to cast myself at thy feet, in spite of my infidelity and ingratitude. Reject not my prayer, 0 Virgin of reconciliation, convert me, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus Christ above all things and to console thee too by living a holy life, in order that one day I may be able to see thee in Heaven. Amen.”

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#5 Our Lady of Lourdes – Lourdes, France (1858)

A diminutive young girl appeared 18 times within a five month period to an illiterate 14 year old girl named Bernadette Soubirous. The beautiful apparition wore a flowing white dress with a blue sash, had a yellow rose resting on each foot, and held a rosary. Before each of the visits, Bernadette would pray the Rosary and immediately enter into ecstacy. The apparition would appear and pray the rosary with her. The grotto where the apparition appeared is one of the most popular shrines in the world. An Academy Award-winning movie was released in 1943 (The Song of Bernadette) which tells the life story of the visionary. About 5 million pilgrims visit the site of the apparition each year.

The Messages:

  • “Go, kiss the ground in penance for sinners.”
  • Tell the priest to bulid me a chapel to which people should come in a procession.
  • Bernadette received three secrets, which were never divulged
  • “I do not promise to make you [Bernadette] happy in this world, but in the next.”
  • When asked who she was, the apparitions stated: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This was a confirmation of the 1854 papal declaration.

The Miracles:

  • The apparition instructed Bernadette to dig in a particular spot in the grotto where she uncovered a spring of water. Miraculous cures have been attributed to the water from the spring. A medical bureau has been established at the site to document and investigate the healings.
  • While in an ecstatic state on Easter Sunday, Bernadette held her hand above a burning candle for a long period without suffering any burn.
  • Before one of the visits, an irresistible force dragged her to the grotto despite her attempt to go to school per her mother’s instructions.
  • Upon exhuming her body, Bernadette was discovered to be incorrupt.

The Magnification:

  • In order to test the spirit, Bernadette threw Holy Water upon the apparition (this was met with approval by the spirit).
  • Bernadette entered a convent. She was often sick, and was accused by another sister of being lazy. She responded “My job is to be ill.” Bernadette offered her sufferings for the benefit of poor sinners.
  • Pope Benedict XVI granted a plenary indulgence to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the apparition in 2008.

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#6 Our Lady of Good Hope – Green Bay, Wisconsin (1859)

A lady in shining white clothes appeared to Adele Brise, a Belgium immigrant to the U.S., three times in rural Wisconsin. The area was very sparsely populated – and there were few priests in the area. It was very difficult for the faithful to attend Mass. The apparition gave Adele a mission – to catechize both children and adults in the Catholic faith. The apparition, approved on December 8th, 2010, is the first in the United States, and the eleventh Catholic apparition approved worldwide.

The Messages:

  • “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners. I wish you to do the same.”
  • “Gather the children in this wild country, and teach them what they should know for salvation…Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments.”

The Miracles:

  • Miraculous healings and conversions. The shrine built to honor the apparition is strewn with “crutches and other mementoes for answered prayers left at the shrine.”
  • The shrine was miraculously preserved from the Peshtigo fire of 1871
  • Tiny Green Bay becomes a football superpower and much to the chagrin of Steelers fans, wins the 2011 Super Bowl???

The Magnification:

  • “Our Lady [of Good Hope] has lessened or relieved the burdens of the People of God, whether about financial, familial, relationship or employment matters or even through diminishing inclement and tempestuous weather.” – Bishop of Green Bay in the document approving the apparition.
  • The apparition was declared with moral certitude to be worthy of belief on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (12/8/10), a holy day of obligation in the U.S.

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#7 Our Lady of Pontmain, Mother of Hope – Pontmain, France (1871)

Prior to this apparition, France was being sieged by the Prussians, led by Bismarck. The Germans were meeting little resistance, and the French army was in disarray. In a small village, two boys, ages 10 and 12, were helping their father in a barn when they noticed a portion of the night sky was void of stars. Suddenly, an apparition of a smiling young lady appeared to them, dressed in a dark blue gown, a black veil, and wearing a golden crown.  The two boys, and then other children, witnessed this vision of the lady. The apparition drew a crowd of adults who could not see the apparition. But the parish priest led the people in seven Marian prayers, during which the apparition miraculously shared her message with the children. The vision lasted three hours.

The Messages:

  • As the people prayed the Rosary and the Magnificat, a large lighted banner unfurled at the Lady’s feet. One by one, letters appeared on the banner: “But please pray my children.”
  • As the priest led the people in more Marian prayers (the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mother, the Invoilota, and the Salve Regina) the words “God will answer you very soon. My Son allows Himself to be moved” appeared.
  • The apparition then raised her arms to show herself holding a crucifix, and the words “Jesus Christ” were written in blood above the crucifix. The crucifix then vanished, and two small crosses appeared on the lady’s shoulders.

The Miracles:

  • Inexplicably, the Prussian forces soon stopped their assault on France, and two weeks later a treaty was signed at Versaille.
  • The amazing vision, the handwritten message on the banner, and the bloody message.

The Magnification:

  •  The crosses represent the burden that Mary bears as co-Redemptrix of our salvation. She is the “Mother of Redemption.”
  • Devotion to “Our Lady of Hope” is one of the oldest devotions, dating back to the year 971. A popular novena is prayed to her for protection.
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes Mary as the protector of all humanity: “From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs.”

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#8 Our Lady of Fatima  – Fatima, Portugal (1917)

While playing, three children saw a sudden flash of light, which turned out to be a lady. She promised to visit them on the 13th day of the next six months. During these apparitions, she made secret prophecies to the children. The first secret (revealed to the Pope in 1941) was the vision of souls in hell. By devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary many souls would escape such judgment. The second secret related to Russia and communism. The third secret concerned the suffering of the Church and the attempted assassination of a pope. [John Paul II, who survived an assassination attempt on the anniversary of the apparition in 1981, revealed this secret in 2000]. On the last of the six appearances a miracle occurred. With many thousands in attendance, the sun began to move around, shooting off brilliant colors. Then it plunged toward the earth before returning to normal. Despite having rained, the ground became immediately dry. A cathedral has been built in Fatima that is also the burial site for the three children. It is a very popular pilgrimage location.

The Messages:

  • Do penance and acts of reparation.
  • “When you make some sacrifice, say ‘O Jesus, it is for your love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
  • A great sign in the night sky would precede a second great war.
  • Russia and communism would cause much death and suffering in the 20th century. Consecrate the world and especially Russia to the Immaculate Heart in order to bring a period of peace.
  • Pray the Rosary every day to bring peace.

The Miracles:

  • On October 17, 1917, the sun miraculously danced and changed colors in front of over 70,000 people.
  • Mary deflected the bullet to save Pope John Paul II’s life on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981.
  • An extremely bright and unusual Aurora Borealis portended the beginning of World War II in 1938.

The Magnification:

  • The apparition promoted the Communion of Reparation on First Saturdays. “I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive monthsshall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
  • In 1930, Pius XI granted a plenary indulgence to pilgrims who visited the shrine and prayed for the intentions of the pope.
  • Russia was consecrated to Mary’s Immaculate Heart by Pius XII in 1952; Paul VI consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart after Vatican II in 1965; and John Paul II consecrated the world to the Virgin Mary in 1984.
  •  The Immaculate Heart is venerated to thank Mary for saying yes to the angel Gabriel so that God could become man and enter the world.

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#9 Virgin of the Golden Heart – Beauraing, Belgium (1932)

A young woman in a flowing white dress with streams of light eminating around her head like a crown appeared to five children at a school playground. The apparition appeared 33 times over a three month period. The visionaries fell into a trance simultaneously – a doctor confirmed the trance by pricking and placing a lit match on the hand of one of them. Each of the five children received a secret from the lady.

The Messages:

  • Build a chapel.
  • Exhort people to come on pilgrimage.
  • “I am the Immaculate Virgin.”
  • “Sacrifice yourself for me.”
  • “Be very good. Is it true that you will be always good?”
  • “Pray, pray, pray! [the Rosary].

The Miracles:

  • A golden heart was seen by the visionaries.
  • Witnesses to the event heard a voice like thunder and saw a large ball of fire.
  • After burning and pricking by the doctor, there were no marks on the child.
  • Several healings are attributed to pilgrimages to the site.

The Magnification:

  • Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • “I am the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven.”
  • A chapel is built; Catholics are encouraged to take a pilgrimage to the site.
  • A statue of Mary (a sacramental) is blessed on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart.

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#10 Virgin of the Poor – Banneaux, Belgium (1933)

Shortly after the Beauraing appearance, the lady appeared to ten-year old Mariette Beco in a garden behind her family’s cottage. She appeared standing on a cloud and wore a long white dress with a beautiful blue sash. She held a rosary in her right hand, and had a golden rose between her toes.

The Messages:

  • “I am the Virgin of the Poor.”
  • A promise is made to intercede for the poor: “I come to relieve suffering.”
  • Build a chapel.
  • “Believe in me.”
  • Pray much.

The Miracles:

  • Mariette is led by the apparition to a small stream with healing powers.
  • Over 50 documented healings of pilgrims resulting from the spring.

The Magnification:

  • Over 500,000 pilgrims visit the site each year.
  • A Feast Day (May 31) is instituted to celebrate the apparition (Catholics recognize May as Mary’s month).

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#11 Our Lady of Akita – Akita, Japan (1973)

“Our Lady” appeared to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in Akita, Japan in 1973. The apparition was investigated for eight years by local bishop John Ito (in consultation with the Holy See). It was declared to be of supernatural origin and “the Holy Mother of Akita” was deemed worthy of veneration.

The Messages:

  • The message of Akita is the message of Fatima.
  • “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful.”
  • “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests); churches and altars will be sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demons will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

The Miracles:

  • Sister Agnes saw a brilliant light and a statue of Mary came alive and spoke to her.
  • The wooden statue wept 101 times over several years.
  • The right palm of the statue bled, the statue perspired and sent out a sweet perfume.

The Magnification:

  • All should venerate the Holy Mother of Akita.
  • Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary and pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests.
  • “I alone am able still to save you from the calamites which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved.”

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