VISIONS OF MARY: From Guadalupe to Medjugorje

Guadalupe . . . Lourdes . . . Fatima . . . Medjugorje. These names resonate within us, and a deep yearning awakens us: the call homeward.

Apparitions of Mary, Mother of Jesus have been occurring literally since the crucifixtion.

The Angel Gabriel entered her presence, and he said to her, “Peace to you, full of grace, our Lord is with you; you are blessed among women.” Luke 1:28, Aramaic Bible in Plain English.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

To learn more about the rosary visit
Sacred Heart Southern Missions.

An early, and possibly most powerful, visitation by Mary occurred on December 9th, 1531 close to the former Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. An Indian man, Juan Diego, had his first visitation from the Virgin of Guadalupe as she came to be known. Note, December 9th is the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The series of ensuing events that led Juan Diego to present a simple peasant shawl filled with roses to the bishop is told in detail  in Maria of Guadalupe. The author, Paul Badee, applies his considerable investigatory skills in a narrative that includes current visits to the basilica dedicated to the Santisima Virgen.

The Austrian novelist, Franz Werfel, was a Jew trapped in France at the outbreak of World War II. While avoiding the Nazi roundups, he took refuge in Lourdes where he was much taken by the story of Bernadette Soubirous and her experiences with The White Lady.  Werfel prayed for assistance to Mary in his efforts to reach America and promised to tell Bernadette’s story. And he did with an eloquence that led to The Song of Bernadette  being made into a popular Hollywood film.

Bernadette’s simple honesty and sincere faith led to the discovery of the healing spring beneath the town dump that is still providing miracle cures since 1858.

When Bernadette’s body was exhumed in 1925 to make a case for her beatification her features were unblemished. She radiated an earthly mirror of the wonder that is Mary. The story is well told in LOURDES by Ruth Harris. The photos alone make this a must own.

In the spring of 1917, as World War I raged, the Angel of Peace appeared to three young children in Portugal. He taught them what has come to be known as THE PARDON PRAYER.


Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta

The angel visited Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta once more before their visits with Mary that have became the stuff of legends. On May 13th, 1917 Mary appeared to the children and promised to return on the same day every month until October. On the final visit, the sun danced around the sky and seemed to hurtle earthward. This miracle was seen by seventy thousand people.

A recent book from Ignatius Press, Fatima For Today by Fr. Andrew Apostoli provides a vivid recounting of the Fatima legend.

Pope John Paul II was a devoted Mary practitioner. On May 13, 1981, the 64th anniversary of Mary’s first appearance at Fatima, the pope was shot in Saint Peter’s Square. Some accounts say the bullet was deflected from a fatal trajectory by a Fatima medallion. In any case John Paul credited Mary with saving his life. Two months later he had the sealed letter containing Sister Lucia’s handwritten account of the Third Prophecy brought to him from the Vatican vaults.

A new book THE SECRET LIFE of JOHN PAUL II, offers a fresh account of the Third Prophecy and its relationship to John Paul’s papacy. Lino Zani’s family owned a ski resort in the Italian Alps near Mount Adamello where John Paul happened to spend a skiing holiday. The Pope became enchanted by an old wooden cross mounted high atop Cresta Croce, visible from his room. The cross was placed there after World War I to commemorate some of the most brutal fighting of that conflict between the Italian and Austrian armies. Lieutenant Karol Wojtyla, the pope’s father, had been one of the combatants.

Zani’s book, co-written with Marilu Simoneschi,  has some of the most beautiful descriptions of nature and spirituality imaginable. His friendship with John Paul led him to place papal crosses atop some of the world’s highest mountains. But it is the narrative of the Cresta Croce cross that makes the story worth reading. Unfortunately the book suffers from a serious deficit, the author continuously tells us of his many photos of the pope, and yet  the book has no photos. There is not even one of the cross that forms the books pivotal point. I did find one by Giancarlo Trentino on flickr.

Which brings us to Medjugorje.

On June 24, 1981, six children in the mountain village of Medjugorje in central Yugoslavia reported the the Virgin Mary had appeared to them on a hillside. Allegedly she has  been returning every day since. MEDJUGORJE THE MESSAGE by Wayne Weible.

Mr. Weible, a southern newspaper publisher with a Protestant upbringing, coming face to face with the extraordinary phenomena that is Mary is a memorable read. He proves to be the quintessential witness. His classic book which is shown at the top of this post is a true gospel, an introduction and companion on our journey with Mary.

The love continues to shine. On December 17th, 1996 an image of Mary appeared on the glass panes of an office building in Clearwater, Florida. Her image was seen by over one million people. Visit the Shepherds of Christ Ministries to learn more.

Watch Sister Simone Campbell of Network-A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby address the recent Democratic National Convention in a rousing address concerning the human consequences of political decisions. Youtube.


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