Tag Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary




It rained all day in the little village of Knock in County Mayo, Ireland, on that memorable twenty-first day of August in 1879.

At seven o’clock that evening, fifteen-year-old Margaret Beirne was sent to lock up the church. After she had done so, she noticed a brightness over the building. This was most strange, especially on a rainy day, but Margaret was not curious enough to investigate the matter.

A little later Mary McLoughlin, the priest’s housekeeper, passed within a short distance of the church. She was on her way to see Mrs. Beirne and her daughter Mary, both of whom had just returned from a short trip. Miss McLoughlin noticed a strange light at the south gable of the church. In the light she saw three figures representing the Blessed Virgin, St Joseph and a bishop. Standing beside the figures was an altar on which were a cross and a lamb. She decided that the pastor had probably bought some new statues in Dublin. She did not mention the incident while at the Beirne home.


About eight or a quarter after, she decided that it was time to go home. Mary Beirne, Margaret’s older sister, offered to walk part way with her. When they came within view of the church gable, they saw the light and the figures.

“Oh, look at the statues!” Mary Beirne exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me that Father got new statues for the chapel?” Mary McLoughlin answered that she knew nothing about them. When they came closer, Mary Beirne cried out, “They’re not statues. They’re moving. It’s the Blessed Virgin!” And she ran home to get her mother and her brother.


The news spread and other people also came to see. Fourteen persons in all saw the figures. A fifteenth witness, Patrick Walsh, lived half a mile from the chapel. From his fields he saw a large globe of golden light at the southern gable. He had never before seen such a brilliant light. The next day he enquired about it and learned of the apparitions.

The other fourteen people all testified that they saw the Blessed Virgin clothed in white garments, wearing a large brilliant crown. Her hands were raised as if in prayer and her eyes were turned towards heaven.

At Mary’s right was St Joseph. His head was inclined towards the Blessed Virgin as if paying her respect. He was somewhat aged, with a grey beard and greyish hair. At Mary’s left stood St John the Evangelist, vested as a bishop, his left hand holding a book and his right hand raised as if in preaching. To the left of St John was an altar on which were a cross and a young lamb. One witness said he saw angel’s wings hovering about this altar.

The figures stood out from the gable wall and were about a foot and a half or two feet above the ground. The gable was bathed in a cloud of light.


The vision lasted for about two hours. The rain was falling all the while, but the figures and the spot above which they stood were perfectly dry.

Fourteen-year-old Patrick Hills, one of the witnesses, tells us that “the figures were full round as if they had a body and life. They said nothing; but as we approached them they seemed to go back a little towards the gable.”

Of our Lady he says: “I distinctly beheld the Blessed Virgin Mary, life size, standing about two feet or so above the ground, clothed in white robes that were fastened at the neck; her hands were raised to the height of the shoulders as if in prayer, with the palms facing one another, but slanting inward towards the face… Her eyes were turned towards heaven. She wore a brilliant crown… and over the forehead where the crown fitted the brow, a beautiful rose. The crown appeared… of golden brightness… The upper parts of the crown appeared to be a series of sparkles, or glittering crosses. I saw her eyes, the balls, the pupils and the iris of each. I noticed her hands especially, and face… The robes came only as far as the ankles. I saw the feet and the ankles; one foot, the right, was slightly in advance of the other.


“At times… all the figures appeared to move out and again to go backwards. I went up very near. One old woman went up and embraced the Virgin’s feet, and she found nothing in her arms or hands. They receded, she said, from her.”

Patrick Hill also tells us that he came so close to the figure of St John “that I looked into the book. I saw the lines and the letters.”


Mary McLoughlin ran to tell the priest, Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh, about the figures. He understood her to say that they had disappeared, and he did not go out to look. “I have regretted ever since that I neglected to do so. I shall always feel sorry that the sight of the apparitions has been denied me, but God may will that the testimony to His Blessed Mother’s presence should come from the simple faithful and not through priests.”

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

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Posted by on October 26, 2019 in Prayers to Our Lady


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From the England of today there also comes the story of the famous roses of Stockport. 


On the first Sunday of May, 1947, five-year-old Pauline Byrne placed a crown of roses on the statue of our Lady in St Mary’s Church, Stockport, England. The incident was similar to hundreds of May crownings taking place throughout the world.


Rev. James Turner, D. D., pastor of St Mary’s, says that 1947 was the golden jubilee of his church. When ordering the crown for the statue, he asked the florist to choose yellow tea roses, as being the colour nearest to gold.


“When I received the crown on Saturday evening,” Father Turner says, “it looked lovely but terribly frail. I did not think it would remain presentable till the next day.

“Towards the middle of May I was surprised to see the roses in the crown still intact and beautiful; in all previous years the roses had fallen out after a week or ten days.

“At the end of the month I always took the statue back to my bedroom, although the people always begged me to leave the statue in the sanctuary because they loved it so much. But I was always adamant and said that June is the month of the Sacred Heart and our Blessed Mother must give in to her divine Son.

“At the end of May the roses were still intact and beautiful. I said to my parishioners: ‘Well, you have always asked me to leave the statue in the sanctuary. I will do so as long as the roses remain intact.’ Half jokingly, I added, ‘If our Lady wants to stay in her place of honour, well, it’s up to her to keep the roses as they are.’


“Really, I do believe that our Blessed Mother took up the challenge, because month succeeded month, and there was still no change in the roses.”

In October, a reporter heard about the roses, and the story went all over the world. Visitors came by the hundreds.

The following year, the same May queen deposited a second crown of 17 golden ophelias on top of the first. This crown also failed to fade. In May, 1949, seven-year-old Anne Carley placed a third crown on the statue.

“To this day,” says Father Turner, “there has not fallen a single petal from any one of the 50 roses.


“Personally I look upon the three crowns as being beautifully symbolic of our Blessed Mother being crowned by the Eternal Father as His Beloved Daughter, by the Eternal Son as His cherished Mother, and by the Holy Ghost as His chaste spouse. Again I look upon the 50 roses as symbolising the 50 Hail Marys of the Rosary.


“For these reasons I did not wish to superimpose a fourth crown on our Lady of the Roses, and so I decided to place a crown on Our Lady of Lourdes. To our amazement, this crown is following the example of the crowns on Our Lady of Roses.


A woman reporter examined this fourth crown in June, 1950, when it was more than six weeks old. She rubbed the petals and the delicate ferns between her fingers. They were completely dry, completely dehydrated; but they retained their original shape and form and virtually their original colour. They looked like living roses and living ferns, but they were not. From their dryness, one would have expected them to fall to the floor, but they did not.

The reporter could not feel the first three crowns, because they were too high. From their appearance, however, she judged them to be in the same condition.

The Church has not pronounced upon the roses of Stockport, so we do not know whether they can be considered miraculous. If the Church does declare that a miracle has taken place, England, and the entire world, will have cause for great rejoicing.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954


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(To learn how to pray the Holy Rosary, please click here: How to meditate on Our Lord Jesus’_life / the Gospels with the Rosary  )

To know, love and imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ – such is the principle of Christian life, the secret of perfection. True perfection consists formally in the love which unites us to Jesus, but as one cannot love without acquaintance, and affectionate acquaintance engenders imitation – one is anxious to resemble those whom one loves – it follows that the imitation, as well as the knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ, form, as it were, the integral parts of that perfection, the essence of which is love.

The Rosary is the school where Mary trains us daily in the Christian life. There, not only does this divine Mother fill our understanding with the knowledge of Jesus and our hearts with love of Him, but she completes her work by imprinting on us, by imitation, the image of Him who is the First-born of all the elect. To this last point I would particularly direct your attention.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the First-born of all the elect.

Created as we are to the image of God, we feel the need of perfecting with us this divine image, of drawing out all its splendour, by imitating more and more closely our sovereign model. In the beginning, the angel and the man, intoxicated with foolish pride, wished to push the divine resemblance beyond all limits, even to the extent of absolute independence, which is the attribute of God alone. Avenging His slighted rights, God struck down Lucifer, and severely punished the first man. The punishment of the latter, however, was not untempered with mercy. God raised Adam and Eve anew, and once more showing Heaven to them, revealed to their eyes through the distance of ages One whose imperfect image they were henceforth to bear, till they at length resumed His glory.

Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God the Father, appears at the centre of the new creation as the finished model which we all must copy, which we must all resemble if we are to be counted among the children of God. To the Blessed Virgin, who formed this divine exemplar, is allotted the task of reproducing His likeness in each one of the elect. The Rosary is the mould into which she casts souls, to form them to the divine image; or let us say, rather, that with the Rosary, as with a chosen instrument, this admirable artist sculptures, paints, and imprints the image of her Son. She sculptures it in the neophytes, paints it in souls more advanced, and imprints it in hearts which are responsive to the lightest touch of grace.

The purgative, illuminative and unitive life 

Spiritual authors tell us that in the work of perfecting us, and forming us in the likeness of Jesus Christ, it is necessary, first, to take away, like the sculptors, then to add, like the painters, and finally to apply and unite closely, like the printers.

The purgative life

In the purgative life, in which the soul divests itself of its vices and bad habits, it is necessary above all to cut away. In the Rosary, therefore, Mary sculptures certain souls, refining them by the practice of poverty, of mortification, of ever increasing detachment. In the joyful mysteries, she takes from us the love of earthly treasures by showing us Jesus poor and shelterless; in the sorrowful, she destroys our love of ease, our desire for pleasure, by opposing to our sensuality the terrible sufferings of our Saviour; in the glorious mysteries, she severs the last ties which bind us to earth, elevating our hearts by the spectacle of Jesus ascending into heaven.

As the sculptor first rounds off a block of marble, then gradually outlines the statue, and finally completes it with little touches of the chisel, so the Blessed Virgin, after the sinful habits, removes the small defects, even to the last lingering imperfections of a soul which generously penitent abandons itself entirely to her.

The illuminative life

In the illuminative life, in which the soul devotes itself particularly to progress in virtue, Mary resembles the painter who adds colour to colour, mixing and blending them suitably, in order to produce an accurate and life-like portrait. When the soul, purified of its faults, presents, as it were, a spotless surface, the immaculate Virgin complacently deposits on this stainless background the colours of all the virtues, spreading perpetually a new layer of grace; and the Rosary is the rich palette from which she draws the tints which contribute to the perfection of the image, which she wishes to produce. Under the brush of this incomparable artist the dazzling whiteness of faith, the celestial radiations of hope, the soft crimson of charity, the shades and reflections of all the virtues mingle on the countenance of the soul, formerly gloomy and darkened, and stamp upon it the supernatural expression which distinguishes the children of God.

Ah! could we, by a life of piety and habitual recollection, by frequent meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, keep our soul always ready, spread forth to its utmost limit, like a precious canvas, on which Mary might exercise her divine art by completing in us the image of her Son!

The unitive life

In all cases there is no better way to obtain a perfect resemblance in a short time than to reproduce the model itself by applying it to the surface on which it is to be represented. The image shows itself immediately, distinguished by an accuracy far greater than could be obtained by endless touches of the brush.

When a soul has arrived at the punitive life, that is, at such a degree of love for God as excludes all return to self, and justifies the words of the great apostle: “It is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ who lives in me” – then Mary imprints Jesus in this soul, as on soft, pure wax. In a moment the celestial image appears, no longer merely in outline; it is reflected each day more faithfully in the affections, in the desires, in every act. Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum, ut signaculum super brachium tuum. Jesus is set like a seal on the heart and on the arm, in the intention and in the deed.

The contemplative soul, closely united to God by love, receives, in passing through the mysteries of the Rosary, the impression of this divine seal. Mary herself applies it, and, according to the mystery, she reproduces Jesus humble, gentle, obedient, Jesus in His wisdom, power, goodness and infinite grace; or again, as in those modern portraits which light produces with such exactitude, Mary, admirable light emanating from the Sun of Justice, transmits in perfection the features of the divine model, imprinting them with the utmost fidelity to the depths of the heart.

An imperishable resemblance to the Father who is in heaven

Who then, faithful to this Rosary, would not allow himself to be worked upon by Her who knows so well how to mould a soul, how to paint and imprint Jesus on it? Let us dispose ourselves daily by a life of mortification, of recollection and intimate union with God, to aid Mary in her admirable work, unquestionably more admirable than all the works of nature, for the material creation even in its most beautiful manifestations, offers only a distant reflection of God, while the soul devoted to the Rosary, closely united to Christ, bears an imperishable resemblance to the Father who is in Heaven.

– Laverty & Sons, 1905




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ROSARY PROCESSION from St George’s Cathedral Southwark to Sacred Heart Church Camberwell

Please join us in procession to pray the Rosary in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saturday 7th May 2016 @ 2pm.

The procession will begin at St George’s Cathedral Lambeth Road, London, SE1 7HY – through Walworth Road and conclude at Sacred Heart Church Camberwell, London SE5 9QS.

  • 20 Decades of the Rosary with the Litany of the BVM
  • Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Solemn Benediction

Tea and coffee will be served in the church hall.

“The Rosary is a powerful armour against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresy” (Our Lady to St Dominic)


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Posted by on May 7, 2016 in For your diary


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“Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today’s Solemnity celebrates the truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary, when she had completed her life here on earth, was in body and soul assumed into heaven. This solemnity has been celebrated in the Church since the seventh century and this truth was defined as an article of faith in 1950.

St Bernard of Clairvaux wrote of today, ‘We in our exile have sent on ahead of us our advocate who, as mother of our Judge and mother of mercy, will humbly and effectively look after everything that concerns our salvation. Today earth has sent a priceless gift up to heaven, so that by giving and receiving within the blessed bond of friendship, the human is wedded to the divine, earth to heaven, the depths to the heights… Blessed indeed is Mary, blessed in many ways, both in receiving the Saviour, and in being received by the Saviour.’

A French mystic writer of the seventeenth century wrote, ‘There is nothing more wonderful than this life of Jesus and Mary; the holy life that he pours continuously into her, the divine life with which he animates her, loving and praising and adoring God his Father in her, giving a worthy supplement to her heart wherein he abounds with pleasure.’

We are reminded so often that Jesus loves it when people give honour to His Mother. Today we continue our prayers to Mary and honour her in the great privilege that has been afforded her today. We can make our own the opening prayer of today’s Mass:

‘Almighty ever-living God,

who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary,

the Mother of your Son,

body and soul into heavenly glory,

grant we pray,

that, always attentive to the things that are above,

we may merit to be sharers of her glory.'”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/2015


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Ye who own the faith of Jesus

Sing the wonders that were done,

When the love of God the Father

O’er our sin the victory won,

When he made the Virgin Mary

Mother of his only Son.

Hail Mary, full of grace.


Bless-ed were the chosen people

Out of whom the Lord did come,

Bless-ed was the land of promise

Fashioned for his earthly home;

But more bless-ed far the Mother

She who bare him in her womb.


Wherefore let all faithful people

Tell the honour of her name,

Let the Church in her foreshadowed

Part in her thanksgiving claim;

What Christ’s Mother sang in gladness

Let Christ’s people sing the same.


Let us weave our supplications,

She with us and we with her,

For the advancement of the faithful,

For each faithful worshipper,

for the doubting, for the sinful,

For each heedless wanderer.


May the Mother’s intercessions

On our homes a blessing win,

That the children all be prospered,

Strong and fair and pure within,

Following our Lord’s own footsteps,

Firm in faith and free from sin.



For the sick and for the ag-ed,

For our dear ones far away,

For the hearts that mourn in secret,

All who need our prayers to-day,

For the faithful gone before us,

May the holy Virgin pray.


Praise, O Mary, praise the Fat her,

Praise thy Saviour and thy Son,

Praise the everlasting Spirit,

Who hath made thee ark and throne;

O’er all creatures high exalted,

Lowly praise the Three in One. Amen.

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Posted by on August 13, 2015 in Prayers to Our Lady


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O most Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of gentleness and mercy, I, a miserable and unworthy sinner, fly to thy protection with every sentiment of humility and love; and I implore of thy loving-kindness that thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to be near me, and all who throughout the whole Church are to receive the Body and Blood of thy Son this day, even as thou wert near thy sweetest Son as He hung bleeding on the Cross. That, aided by thy gracious help, we may worthily offer up a pure and acceptable sacrifice in the sight of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Amen.


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