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“I CHOOSE THE LITTLE ONES AND THE WEAK”

“I CHOOSE THE LITTLE ONES AND THE WEAK”

THE APPARITION OF PELLEVOISIN, 1876

Estelle Faguette, lady’s maid to the Countess Arthur de La Rouchefoucauld, became very ill in Paris in May, 1875. She was admitted to hospital there, and the doctors diagnosed her illness as an advanced case of consumption. She was also suffering from a tumour which she had had for ten years. The doctors said there was no hope for her. Estelle was thirty-two years old at the time.

THE DOCTORS SAID THERE WAS NO HOPE FOR HER

A short time later,  she was moved to a house owned by her employers in Pellevoisin in the diocese of Bourges.

In September, 1875, Estelle wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin. A new shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes had been erected near Pellevoisin. She asked a friend to take her letter to the shrine and hide it in the stones at the feet of the Virgin’s statue.

For a long time she could not resign herself to the thought of dying. “It’s not fair,” she said to herself. “God can’t take me now. I’m the only support of my mother and father and little orphan niece. How would they get along without me?”

AFTER A LONG STRUGGLE WITH HERSELF, SHE WAS ABLE TO MAKE AN ACT OF COMPLETE RESIGNATION 

After a long struggle with herself, she was able to make an act of complete resignation. “My God,” she prayed, “in expiation of my sins, let me suffer. Behold, I am ready; strike as it shall please You; only give me courage, patience, and resignation to Your holy will. If groans escape from my lips, receive them as prayers from my heart to Yours.”

On February 10, 1876, the doctor said she had only a few hours to live. When told that she could keep nothing in her stomach, he said, “It is useless to torture her for the short time she has to live.”

SHE SEEMED TO BE IN HER LAST AGONY

She was still alive on Tuesday, February 15, although she was expected to die momentarily. That morning she told the priest that the Blessed Virgin had appeared to her during the night and that she would be either dead or cured by the following Saturday. The next day she told the priest that she had seen the Virgin again and that she would be cured Saturday. On Thursday morning she emphatically repeated the statement to the priest and to several other people.

On Friday night she seemed to be in her last agony. The priest wished to hear her confession, but she said she would wait until the next day when she would be well. He was very uneasy about this, but he left without hearing her confession.

“YOU HAVE EDIFIED US BY YOUR COURAGE AND RESIGNATION”

On Saturday morning she told the priest that she felt as if she had been cured but that she could not move her right arm. She had lost the use of it four or five days earlier. The priest gave her Holy Communion.

“MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND”

Then he said to her: “My poor Estelle, you have edified us by your courage and resignation. Be full of confidence now, and to prove to us that what you have said is not an illusion, make the Sign of the Cross with your right hand.”

Estelle raised the hand, and the seven or eight people present saw her make the Sign of the Cross without the least difficulty.

Later that day she got up, dressed herself, ate a meal, and talked happily with her friends. The consumption was gone. The tumour, which had grown larger during her illness, had disappeared completely. The doctors who had been attending her said the cure could not have come from natural causes.

Estelle lived for many years after that and never had a relapse. In fact, her health remained better than it had been before her illness.

“DO YOU NOT SEE THAT SHE WEARS MY LIVERY?”

The next day Estelle wrote her account of the five apparitions. On the night of the 14th, she says, she was trying to get some rest “when suddenly the demon appeared at the foot of my bed. He was horrible and at once began to make grimaces at me. Scarcely had I seen him when our Blessed Lady appeared on the other side at the corner of my bed. She wore a pure white woolen veil, which fell in three folds. I can never describe how beautiful she was. Her features were regular, her colour white and rose tint, rather pale. Her large gentle eyes reassured me somewhat but not completely.

“The demon, perceiving the Blessed Virgin, drew back, dragging the curtain and the iron rod of my bed. This increased my terror which became unendurable. I crouched down in bed. He did not speak but turned his back to me.

“The Blessed Virgin said to him sharply: ‘What brings you here? Do you not see that she wears my livery, and that of my Son?’ He disappeared gesticulating. Then she turned to me and said gently, ‘Fear nothing; you are my daughter.’ Then I remembered that from the age of fourteen I have been a child of Mary. I now felt less fear.

“HAVE COURAGE”

She said to me gently: ‘Have courage; be patient; my Son will allow himself to be prevailed upon. You will suffer five days longer in honour of the five wounds of my Son. On Saturday, you will be either dead or cured. If my Son restores you to life, I wish you to publish my glory.'”

Our Lady told Estelle the next night that she was to be cured on Saturday. “If my Son has allowed Himself to be prevailed upon, it is because of your resignation and your patience.” Then our Lady reproved Estelle for the faults she had committed during her past life. They had seemed to be very small faults when she committed them, but now she saw that any sin is big in the eyes of God.

“I would have longed to cry out for pardon, but could not; my grief overcame me… Oh, how sad I felt.”

The next night our Lady reassured Estelle. “By your resignation you have expiated your faults… I am all merciful… Your good works and fervent prayers have touched my mother’s heart. Among others that little letter you wrote to me in September. What moved me were the words: ‘See the sorrow of my parents. If I fail them they are on the eve of begging bread. Remember, then, what you suffered when your Son Jesus was stretched out upon the Cross.'”

The fourth appearance was very much like the first three.

Estelle asked our Lady on the fifth if she should change her state in life. “One can be saved in every state,” was the answer. “Where you are, you can do a great deal of good, and you can publish my glory. What afflicts me most is the want of respect shown by some people to my divine Son in Holy Communion and the attitude taken for prayer, when at the same time the mind continues occupied with other things. I say this for people who pretend to be pious.”

After our Lady disappeared that night, Estelle was cured.

(to be continued)

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

 

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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

“FRANCE WILL SUFFER”

“I can no longer restrain my Son!” Our Lady had declared sadly to Estelle Faguette at Pellevoisin in 1876. The world continued to ignore its Mother’s warnings and to bring ever closer the great punishment that was to befall it.

THE DEVIL IS “EVERY DAY REDOUBLING HIS EFFORTS” 

Two years after the apparitions at Pellevoisin, the frail sixty-eight-year-old Cardinal Pecci became the new Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII. “It is not the tiara you are giving me, but death,” the Pope said to the Cardinals who elected him. It is true that the papal tiara has been a heavy burden in these days when the devil is “every day redoubling his efforts.” Nevertheless, Pope Leo XIII reigned for twenty-five years, until 1903. He thus became the first Pontiff of our twentieth century.

Pope Leo XIII earned the title “Pope of the Workingman” because of his great encyclical Rerum Novarum. Like Karl Marx, the Pontiff recognised the great abuse that had been brought about by the Industrial Revolution. But his solution, based on the teachings of Christ, was vastly different from the class warfare advocated by Marx. Employers who were making large profits were slow to follow the Pope’s plan of granting justice to the workingman. Some even denounced him as a socialist. Had Pope Leo XIII been heeded, Communism would not be the threat that it now is.

ITALY’S SECULAR GOVERNMENT’S SEIZURE OF THE VATICAN

As a protest against Italy’s unjust seizure of the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII followed the example of his predecessor and did not leave the Vatican during his entire reign. Relations improved slightly with some countries, but only slightly. Germany, under Chancellor Bismarck, engaged in a persecution of the Church. France, now in the firm grip of the anti-clericals, passed law after law to hamstring the Church.

SECULAR FRANCE PASSED LAW AFTER LAW TO HAMSTRING THE CHURCH 

When Estelle Faguette had an audience with Pope Leo XIII in 1900, she said, “Holy Father, the Blessed Virgin said that France will have to suffer.”

“Yes,” said the Pontiff sadly, “France will have to suffer.”

Fourteen years later, World War I broke out, and most of the battles were fought on French soil. This war was even more devastating than the one of 1870-1871 had been.

Cardinal Sarto was elected to succeed Pope Leo XIII. “Since I must suffer I will take the name of those who have suffered,” he said, “I will be called Pius.”

France caused Pope Pius X great anguish, as it had his predecessors. In 1904, the government declared that the concordat which had been in effect with the Holy See for a century was at an end. The Law of Separation was passed the following year. By this law, the government confiscated all possessions of the clergy as well as of charitable institutions. Religious congregations were disbanded. Many of the religious were forced to leave the country. Nuns were driven from their work in schools and hospitals. Churches were looted.

Many of the French people protested. The men sent to despoil the churches were often attacked by the infuriated peasants, and many of them had to have guards to protect them. Nevertheless, the sacrilegious work went on. “And France,” our Lady had said at Pellevoisin, “what have I not done for her? How many warnings and yet she refused to listen!

The misnamed liberalism which was scourging France spread to Spain and – this is interesting in the light of later developments – to Portugal. The king and his son were murdered. The next king was forced to abdicate. A republic was established. A Law of Separation, based on the one in France, was passed, and the Church was in for a long period of persecution.

“THE CHURCH WAS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION”

In the dark days in which we are now living, the most encouraging signs we behold are increased devotion to Mary and increased devotion to her Son in the Eucharist. It is largely to Pope Pius X, “Pope of the Eucharist”, that we owe the latter. It was he who urged frequent Communion and permitted children to receive Communion as soon as they reached the age of reason.

In 1916, two years after the death of Pius X, an angel appeared to three children near Fatima in Portugal. They were aged nine, eight, and six. The angel placed a Host on the tongue of Lucia, the oldest. To Francisco and Jacinta, who had not made their first Communion, he presented a chalice, and they drank from it. The angel said: “Take the body and blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” He seemed to be expressing at the same time displeasure with the state of the world and approval of the early Communion advocated by Pius X.

It was to these same three children that our Lady was later to appear.

MEN WERE ABOUT TO REAP THE TERRIBLE PUNISHMENT THAT WAS DUE TO THEM

The war clouds were gathering in the last part of the reign of Pope Pius X. Men were about to reap the terrible punishment that was due to them for having “horribly outraged” their God.

THE POPE TRIED TO AVERT THE LOOMING WORLD WAR

The Pontiff tried in every way possible to avert the war, but he saw that he was doomed to fail. He told his Secretary of State that a war would break out in 1914. Early in May, 1914, he said to a South American who was returning home, “How fortunate you are that you will not be here when war breaks out in a very short time.

When he heard that Archduke Ferdinand of Austria had been assassinated, he knew that the conflict had begun. “Oh, my poor children!” he cried. “This is the last affliction which the Lord is sending me! Willingly would I sacrifice my life to ward off this terrible scourge!”

Twice the Austrian ambassador asked Pope Pius to bless the armies of that country. He was told, “I bless peace.”

Austria declared war on Serbia. Russia joined the conflict on the side of Serbia. Germany came to the aid of Austria.

Pope Pius was stricken by what the physicians thought to be a minor illness, but he died on August 10, 1914. Those about him knew that he died of a broken heart.

Pope Pius was declared a Saint. He was beatified June 3, 1951, and was canonised May 29, 1954.

THE POPE WAS FORBIDDEN TO TAKE PART IN THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS 

The new Pontiff, Benedict XV, strove valiantly to bring an end to the war. The leaders on both sides were convinced that they could win, however, and they were in no mood to stop fighting when victory seemed within their grasp. Never before had there been such destruction. This was the first war in which airplanes were used, and death rained from the skies. Ships were sunk; cities levelled. Women and children were victims along with the fighting men.

The Pope tried to arrange a truce on Christmas Day. Great Britain, Germany and Belgium seemed sympathetic, but France and Russia said no. Cannons continued to roar, and blood continued to flow on the birthday of the Prince of Peace.

When Italy entered the war, she made the Allies promise that the Pope would not be allowed to take part in the peace negotiations. She was afraid the matter of the Papal States might be brought up.

IT “APPEARS TO US AS THE SUICIDE OF CIVILISED EUROPE” 

The Pope’s efforts for peace went on constantly. On March 6, he said to his Vicar-General, Cardinal Pompili: “A father whose sons are engaged in a violent conflict is not at liberty to cease his pleadings for peace, even though they disregard his tears and exhortation… Therefore, we must again raise our voice against this war which appears to us as the suicide of civilised Europe.”

Far from diminishing, the war, like a giant conflagration, was spreading throughout the world. Portugal was engulfed in 1916, the United States in April, 1917. By this time almost every country in the world was involved.

EVENTS OF SINISTER IMPORTANCE 

In Russia, events of sinister and far-reaching importance were taking place. The war was going badly for that country which had been misruled for so many years by the czars. A revolution broke out in March 1917, and Czar Nicholas II abdicated.

An unstable provisional government was set up in Russia. It was not to last for long. Conditions were in a state of chaos, and the followers of Karl Marx thrive on that sort of thing. On April 16, Nicolai Lenin and Leon Trotsky, leaders of the Communists, arrived in Petrograd to make their plans for taking over the country.

In May, 1917, the month of our Lady, the world situation seemed hopeless. The war had been going on for almost three years, and no end was in sight… On May 5, 1917, when everything appeared darkest, Pope Benedict XV addressed a letter to his Cardinal Secretary of State in which he recounted his unsuccessful efforts to bring about peace. Then he said:

“Because all graces… are dispensed by the hands of the most holy Virgin, we wish the petitions of her most afflicted children to be directed with lively confidence, more than ever in this awful hour, to the great Mother of God.

“We charge you, then, Lord Cardinal, to communicate to all the bishops of the world our ardent desire that recourse be made to the Heart of Jesus, Throne of grace, and that to the Throne recourse be made through Mary… To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy, and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth… Let it bear to her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of little ones, the sighs of every generous heart, that her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask be obtained for our agitated world.”

The Pope also directed that “Queen of Peace” be added to Mary’s titles in the Litany of Loreto.

Eight days later – as if in direct answer to the Pope’s appeal – the Mother of God appeared to the three shepherd children of Fatima.

(Next chapter – Fatima)

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

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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FATIMA 1917: “MEN MUST OFFEND OUR LORD NO MORE”

FATIMA 1917: “MEN MUST OFFEND OUR LORD NO MORE”

Through the shepherd children of Fatima, our Lady spoke to us who are living today.

Her words are just as pertinent today as they were in 1917. In fact, many parts of her message seem to be meant specifically for us. “If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace” means infinitely more to us than it did to the world of 1917. At that time, Russia had just undergone a revolution and was so weak that she had been forced out of World War I. Who at the time, when the Allies were deeply embroiled in a war with Germany, could foresee that Russia would ever be a threat to the peace of the world? Now the fact is pounded home by each new day’s headlines.

That the message of Fatima is directed to us is also emphasised by the fact that much of the message did not become known until 1942.

MUCH OF THE MESSAGE DID NOT BECOME KNOWN UNTIL 1942

This latter fact has puzzled a great many people. It puzzled the Rev. Thomas McGlynn, O. P., and, in 1947, he had the opportunity to ask Lucia about it. Lucia is the one living survivor of the children of Fatima. When Father McGlynn had the privilege of interviewing her, she was a Dorothean Sister. Since then, she has joined the Carmelites.

“It seems,” Father McGlynn said to Lucia, “from the words of our Lady in 1917, that the war of 1939-1945 was threatened as a punishment for sin. But the warning was not generally known until 1942, after the punishment had begun. How is this explained?”

HOW IS THIS EXPLAINED? 

Lucia replied that, in 1917, the people knew the important part of our Lady’s message, that is, that men must amend their lives, that they must not offend God, that He was already much offended.

In other words, our Lady let the people of 1917 know what she wished them to know at the time. They should have carried out her requests even though they did not know the punishment that awaited them if they failed.

Today, we not only know her requests, but we see that World War II was inflicted on the world as punishment for its sins. And we know that if we do not heed Mary’s requests, there will probably be a World War III.

WHAT DID HAPPEN AT FATIMA? 

The three children were watching their flocks as usual. They were ten-year-old Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, nine and seven respectively. They were in a natural depression among the hills which was called the Cova da Iria. They had said their Rosary, as was their custom, and they had begun building a stone playhouse.

Suddenly, a brilliant shaft of light pierced the air. Frightened, they looked about them. The sun shone brightly, and there was not a cloud in the sky. How could there have been lightning? Just the same, they decided that they had better go home. They gathered the sheep and started down the hill.

When they were halfway down, another shaft of light filled the air. Panicky, they turned toward the right, and there, standing above a small holm oak they saw a beautiful Lady.

“It was a Lady dressed all in white,” Lucia says, “more brilliant than the sun; shedding rays of light, clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”

HER HANDS WERE JOINED IN AN ATTITUDE OF PRAYER

Her hands were joined in an attitude of prayer. From her right arm hung a string of pearly white beads ending in a cross of burnished silver. Her feet were bare and rested on a cloud that just touched the little evergreen.

“Do not be afraid,” the Lady said in a sweet voice, “I will not harm you.” (How similar to the first words spoken to the children of La Salette!)

The words and the voice were both reassuring, and Lucia summoned enough courage to ask, “Where are you from, Madam?”

“I am from heaven.”

“What do you wish of me?”

“I come to ask you to meet me here six months in succession at this same hour, on the thirteenth of each month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want.”

AM I GOING TO HEAVEN? 

Francisco could see the Lady but he could not hear her, nor could he hear any of the subsequent apparitions. Jacinta could both see and hear the Lady, but Jacinta did not talk to her. All conversation during the series of apparitions were between the Lady and Lucia.

“And I, am I, too, going to heaven?” Lucia asked.

“Yes, you shall.”

“And Jacinta?”

“She, too.”

“And Francisco?”

“He, too, but first he must say many Rosaries.”

Father John De Marchi in  The Immaculate Heart says that here the Lady’s beautiful and compassionate glance rested for a little while on Francisco. “For reasons we are not qualified to fathom, it held a shade of sadness and disapproval. Somewhere in his little heart the Lady must have read a fault that others could not see.

Lucia thought of two girls who used to come to her house to learn sewing from her sisters. Both girls had died only recently.

“Is Maria Nevers in heaven?”

“Yes, she is.”

“And Amelia?”

The document gives three different versions of our Lady’s answer to this question: “She is in purgatory”; “She is still in purgatory”; and “She will be in purgatory till the end of the world.”

Many people have objected to the third version, but Lucia has insisted that it is the correct one. She says there is nothing strange about it; a person can go to hell for all eternity for missing Mass on Sunday.

The Lady then said to the children: “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God and endure all the suffering that He may chose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?”

“Yes, we do!” Lucia answered eagerly.

“Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will assist you and always bear you up.”

She opened her hands. From each palm came a stream of light which shone on the children and seemed to penetrate to the depths of their souls. Moved by an inward impulse the children fell to their knees and prayed: “Most holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

The Lady spoke again. “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”

“She began to elevate herself serenely,” Lucia says, “going in the direction of the east until she disappeared in the immensity of space.”

THIS WAS NOT THE CHILDREN’S FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH THE SUPERNATURAL 

This was not the children’s first experience with the supernatural. An angel, “the Guardian Angel of Portugal,” had appeared to them three times. On one occasion, as was mentioned in the preceding chapter, he had brought them Holy Communion. After each visit of the angel, they had felt heavy and tired. The Lady, however, left them with a feeling of lightness, of peace and of joy. After the Lady had disappeared, they knelt for a while having no desire to move or to speak or to do anything but meditate on the beautiful vision they had seen.

ONLY ONE THING CAN MAKE OUR LADY UNHAPPY, AND THAT IS SIN

After a time, they rose to their feet and began to look for the sheep. They found them grazing quietly on the grass.

They spent the rest of the afternoon in the fields talking about the wonderful visit from our Lady. Francisco, who had not heard anything, wanted to know everything the Lady had said. When told that he would go to heaven, but that he must say many Rosaries, he almost burst with happiness. “O my Lady,” he exclaimed, “I will say all the Rosaries you want.”

The children agreed that our Lady had seemed unhappy about something, and this was the only thing that marred their very great happiness. They were too young to comprehend fully the fact that only one thing can make our Lady unhappy, and that is sin. They were to realise this, however, before the series of apparitions was over. In 1846, Mary had wept because of the sins of the world; in 1917, sins were still making her very sad.

LUCIA’S MOTHER THOUGHT THE GIRL WAS LYING

The Lady returned every month as she had promised. The children underwent great suffering and had many occasions to remember her words, “Then you will have much to suffer.”

Lucia’s mother thought the girl was lying. The pastor of their church suggested the apparitions might be the devil. They had trouble with the authorities, just as Bernadette had had. The civil administrator of their district arrested the children and kept them in jail so that they missed the apparition scheduled for August 13. In that month, the Lady appeared to them on the 19th.

THEY GAVE THEIR LUNCHES TO POOR CHILDREN AND ATE BITTER ACORNS AND UNRIPE OLIVES

But these sufferings were not enough for them. They gave their lunches to poor children, and they ate bitter acorns and unripe olives. Each wore under his clothes a shaggy rope which itched and chafed. Our Lady had asked for sacrifices, and they delighted in thinking up new ones to offer her.

On June 13, the Lady told the children to “say the Rosary always.” To Lucia she said, “I want you to learn to read. Then I will tell you what else I want.

When Lucia asked that the three of them be taken to heaven, our Lady said: “I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you must remain longer here below. Jesus will use you to make me better known and more loved. He wishes to establish throughout the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself as flowers to adorn His throne.”

“Then I am to stay here alone!” Lucia said, at the thought of being left behind.

“No, my child. You are suffering very much, but do not be discouraged. I will never leave you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

Once more she parted her hands, and the children were enveloped by the light from her palms. Francisco and Jacinta were in a stream that went toward heaven, and Lucia was in a stream that spread over the ground. A heart surrounded by thorns was in front of the right palm. “We understood,” says Lucia, “that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind, desiring reparation.”

“O JESUS, IT IS FOR YOUR LOVE…”

Four or five thousand people were on hand for the apparition of July 13. When our Lady appeared to the children, the crowd saw that the sun became dimmer and that a little cloud stood over the holm oak. The Lady told the children to continue to say the Rosary. “Say it with the intention of obtaining the end of the war. The intercession of the Blessed Virgin alone can obtain this grace for men.”

Lucia, thinking of her mother and all the people who doubted her story, said, “Will you please tell us who you are and perform a miracle so that everyone will believe that you really appear to us?”

“Continue to come here every month. In October I will tell you who I am and what I desire, and I shall perform a miracle so that everyone will have to believe you.”

Lucia requested the cure of some sick people. She was told that some would be cured and others not.

“Sacrifice yourself for sinners,” the Lady said, “And say many times, especially when you make any sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'”

THE VISION OF HELL 

As our Lady said these words she parted her hands as she had done the two previous months. The light from her palms seemed to penetrate the earth. The children saw a great sea of fire. “In this sea,” says Lucia, “were immersed burning demons and souls in human forms, resembling live transparent coals. Lifted up into the air by the flames, they fell back on all sides like sparks in a conflagration, with neither weight nor balance, amid loud screams and cries of pain and despair which horrified us and shook us with terror. We could tell the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures of baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire.”

Pale with terror the children raised their eyes to our Lady for help.

“You have seen hell,” said the Lady, “where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, our Lord wishes to establish throughout the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace in the world. The war is coming to an end, but if the offences against God do not stop, another and worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI.

“WHEN YOU SEE A NIGHT ILLUMINED BY AN UNKNOWN LIGHT…”

“When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger and of persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

“To prevent this, I shall come back to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.

“BUT IN THE END MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH.”

“But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me; it will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.

“In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will be kept always.”

These grave words, the Lady said, were not yet to be revealed to the world. The girls were to repeat them to no one except Francisco.

She then told them another secret which has not as yet been revealed. Lucia has written it down and delivered it to the bishop of Leiria.

THE AUGUST 13 EVENTS

On August 13, the children were in jail at Ourem. The civil administrator threatened to boil them in oil if they did not tell the Lady’s secret. Though badly frightened, they could not think of disobeying our Lady. In disgust, the administrator finally freed them. A large number of people, not knowing that the children had been kidnapped, went to the Cova for the scheduled appearance of the Lady. At noon, there was a loud clap of thunder. Then, according to an eyewitness:

“Right after the thunder came a flash, and immediately we all noticed a little cloud, very white, beautiful and bright, that came and stayed over the holm oak. It stayed a few minutes, then rose toward the heavens where it disappeared. Looking about, we noticed a strange sight that we had already seen and would see again. Everyone’s face glowed, rose, red, blue, all the colours of the rainbow. The trees seemed to have no branches or leaves but were all covered with flowers; every leaf was a flower. The ground was in little squares, each one a different colour. Our clothes seemed to be transformed also into the colours of the rainbow. The two vigil lanterns hanging from the arch over the holy spot appeared to be of gold.

“When the signs disappeared, the people were sure that our Lady had come, and, not finding the children, had returned to heaven. They felt that our Lady was disappointed…”

OUR LADY MADE IT PLAIN THAT HER PRINCIPAL CONCERN IS FOR SOULS

The August apparition took place on the 19th, while the children were tending sheep in a hollow called Valinhos. The Lady appeared over a holm oak slightly taller than the one in the Cova. “I want you to continue to come to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth and to continue to say the Rosary every day,” the Lady told them.

“What do you wish us to do with the money and the offerings that the people leave at the Cova da Iria?” Lucia asked.

“Two litters should be made; you and Jacinta are to carry one with two girls dressed in white; Francisco is to carry the other with three boys also dressed in white robes. The money placed on the litters is for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.”

Our Lady repeated her promise of a miracle. “In October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in my apparitions. If they had not taken you to the village, the miracle would have been greater. St Joseph will come with the Baby Jesus to give peace to the world. Our Lord will also come to bless the people. Besides, Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will come.”

Lucia asked for the cure of some sick persons and was told that some of them would be cured within the year. Our Lady made it plain, by her next words, however, that her principal concern is for souls.

“Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners,” she said gravely, “for many souls go to hell because they have no one to sacrifice and pray for them.”

“TO US HAD BEEN GIVEN THE GRACE TO SEE THE CHARIOT THAT HAD BORNE HER FROM HEAVEN” 

Many of the people who were present for the apparitions of September 13 saw a luminous globe cross the sky and stop over the holm oak. Then later it rose and disappeared toward the sun. Monsignor John Quaresma, who was one of the many to behold this phenomenon, said: “The three little shepherds had seen the Mother of God herself; to us had been given the grace to see the chariot that had borne her from heaven to the barren and inhospitable hills of Aire.”

There was another unusual feature of this apparition. Many people saw white flowers which seemed to shower from the sky and disappear before they touched the ground.

While the crowd was seeing these things, our Lady was saying to the children, “Continue to say the Rosary to bring about the end of the war.”

She repeated her promise of a miracle the following month. Then she said, “God is content with your sacrifices, but does not wish you to sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day.”

Someone had given Lucia a bottle of cologne with the request that it be presented to our Lady. It was probably the nicest gift a Portuguese peasant woman could think of. Our Lady graciously refused the gift, saying: “That is not necessary for heaven.”

AHEAD OF THE PROMISED MIRACLE, THE ROADS BECAME CLOGGED WITH PEOPLE MAKING THEIR WAY TOWARD FATIMA

In July, August, and September, our Lady had promised a miracle in October. Lucia had told a number of people about this promise, and the word spread rapidly through Portugal. Unbelievers scoffed at the idea and waited confidently for October 13. They were sure that there would be no miracle and that the entire story of Fatima would be exposed as a hoax. Those who believed talked the matter over excitedly. Think of it! A miracle promised in advance and in their own country of Portugal!

Several days ahead of the promised date, the roads became clogged with people making their way toward Fatima. “Nearby communities, towns and villages, emptied of people,” said the Lisbon newspaper O Dia.“… They came on foot, by horse or by carriage. They travelled the highways and the roads, between the hills and pine groves. For two days these came to life with the rolling of the carriages, the trot of the donkeys and the voices of the pilgrims.”

Lucia’s mother tried to get the girl to retract her story. Other people warned her that something very serious would happen if there were no miracle. It was said that there would be bombs in the crowd. The families of the children were very much frightened, but the children themselves were calm and serene.

“There will be a miracle, because our Lady promised it,” Lucia said.

On the night of the twelfth, a cold wind came out of the north bringing with it a chilling rain. This caused the most acute discomfort to the pilgrims who had to sleep in the open, but it did not dampen their ardour.

THE COLD RAIN DID NOT DAMPEN THE PILGRIMS’ ARDOUR

The next day was cold and rainy, but the pilgrims were not daunted. By 11:30, more than 70,000 of them had gathered at the Cova. They sang hymns, recited prayers and said the Rosary. Seldom has there been a more striking demonstration of faith. Our Lady must have been very much pleased with the Portuguese people that day.

A path had to be cleared through the throng for Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. “Put down your umbrellas,” Lucia said. The word spread throughout the crowd, and all umbrellas were lowered. Lucia does not know now why she made this request.

At two o’clock wartime, noon sun time, Lucia saw the flash of light that always preceded our Lady’s appearances.

“Silence, silence, our Lady is coming,” Lucia cried.

Our Lady came out of the east and again stopped above the holm oak.

“Who are you, Madam, and what do you want of me?” Lucia asked.

“I am the Lady of the Rosary, and I desire a chapel built in my honour in this place.

“People must continue to say the Rosary every day. The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes.”

“I have so many things to ask you,” Lucia said.

“I will grant some of them, the others, no.”

“MEN MUST OFFEND OUR LORD NO MORE, AND ASK PARDON FOR THEIR SINS”

Assuming a sadder air, the Lady said, “Men must offend our Lord no more, and they must ask pardon for their sins, for He is already much offended.” It was the same as the message of La Salette but in different words: “If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let go the hand of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it.”

Our Lady stretched forth her hands, and the light again shone from her palms. She pointed toward the sun which seemed dim in comparison with the light from her hands. Then she seemed to disappear in her own radiance.

High up in the sky appeared a representation of the Holy Family. St Joseph held the Child Jesus on his left arm. To the right was the Blessed Virgin dressed in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary. St Joseph and the Child Jesus made the Sign of the Cross over the world three times.

The vision faded, and then Lucia alone beheld our Lord dressed in red as the divine Redeemer. He blessed the world. Beside him stood Mary dressed in the purple robes of Our Lady of Sorrows.

In the third and last of those visions, Lucia saw the Blessed Virgin clothed in the brown robes of Our Lady of Carmelite.

The 70,000 pilgrims did not see any of this, but they were seeing something very spectacular. Our Lady did not forget that she had promised them a miracle.

THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN

The crowd heard Lucia shout, “Look at the sun!” (She does not remember saying this.) At that moment, the clouds parted suddenly and revealed the sun which looked like a phosphorescent disk. Everyone could look at it without blinking, although there was no fog and the clouds no longer obscured it.

The testimony as to what happened after that differs greatly. Most persons saw the sun spin about in the sky, throwing off rays of light in all directions like a gigantic pinwheel. This light, they say, was yellow, red, green, blue and violet successively. The people stood spellbound as they beheld this manifestation of God’s power.

Then the sun suddenly detached itself from the sky and plunged toward the earth. The terrified people thought they would be crushed by it. Most of them fell to their knees in the churning sea of mud.

“Save us, Jesus!” went up the cry from hundreds of throats. “Our Lady, save us!”

Many fervently said the Act of Contrition.

Just when it seemed certain that the world would be destroyed, the sun stopped its downward plunge and climbed back to its accustomed place in the sky. It again became the brilliant sun of every day.

Some witnesses declare that the sun spun in the sky, stopped for an instant, then spun in the other direction and that this process was repeated. Others say its spinning was one continuous motion with no stopping. Many are sure that the sun plunged toward them in a straight line; many are equally sure that it came toward the earth in a zigzag path. Estimates of the length of time the display lasted vary from a few seconds to twelve minutes.

When a number of people have seen a very important event, it is only natural to expect some variations in their stories. Carlos de Azevedo Mendez, however, has an account that is at complete variance with most of the others. Here is his version as told to Father McGlynn: “The rain stopped; the clouds split open into tatters – thin transparent strips. The sun was seen as a crown of fire, empty in the middle. It went round on itself and moved across the sky. It could be seen behind the clouds and in between them, rolling around and moving horizontally. Some cried, ‘I believe’; others ‘Forgive!’ The crowd prayed in terror.”

Senhor Mendez saw clouds, while practically all the others declare the sun spun around in a cloudless sky. For him the sun moved horizontally across the sky; for others it came rushing toward the earth. To him the sun was a crown of fire, empty in the middle, to others it was a disk. He did not see the coloured lights mentioned by others.

One woman to whom Father McGlynn talked did not see the sun at all. She saw nothing unusual except the sudden stopping of the rain. She was a rare exception. Practically everyone else in that crowd of 70,000 persons agree that something wonderful and awe inspiring happened to the sun although they do not agree as to the details of what happened. It seems that each person saw what God deemed best suited to his particular needs. The fact that impressions were so different ferestalls any interpretation if the miracle as a natural phenomenon. So does the fact that it was not registered on any scientific instruments anywhere.

Was it mass hypnosis? Did the people just think they saw the sun behave in such peculiar manner? This is rendered extremely unlikely by the fact that the rain had been pouring down until the minute the miracle occurred. In that cold drenching rain, a solar display is the last thing the people would have imagined.

If the mass hypnosis idea is rendered unlikely by the rain, it is rendered impossible by the fact that people as far as twenty miles away from the Cova da Iria saw the phenomena.

One of the best proofs of the reality of the miracle is the space given to it by the Portuguese newspapers. The intellectuals of Portugal were infected by the same materialism as their counterparts in other countries. They had declared that miracles were impossible. But there was no denying what they had seen with their own eyes. Page after page in the daily newspapers was devoted to the wondrous occurrence.

PAGE AFTER PAGE IN THE DAILY NEWSPAPERS WAS DEVOTED TO THE WONDROUS OCCURRENCE

Lucia dose Santos, a poorly educated ten-year-old girl, had announced three months in advance that a miracle would take place at noon on October 13, 1917, and that miracle had taken place. This was God’s sign that the message of Fatima was genuine, a message that should be studied and carried out by everyone.

“I shall perform a miracle so that all will believe,” our Lady had said to Lucia, and she had carried out her promise.

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

 

 

 

 
 

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KNOCK, 1879 – OUR LADY IN IRELAND

KNOCK, 1879 – OUR LADY IN IRELAND

OUR LADY OF KNOCK 

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.

WHEN THEY CAME WITHIN VIEW OF THE CHURCH, THEY SAW THE LIGHT AND THE FIGURES 

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.

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 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.

I DISTINCTLY BEHELD THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

“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.”

FIFTEEN PEOPLE IN ALL SAW THE FIGURES

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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“SACRIFICE YOURSELVES FOR SINNERS”

“SACRIFICE YOURSELVES FOR SINNERS”

“Do you wish to know a secret?” Pope Pius IX asked, in referring to La Salette. “This is it: Unless you do penance, you shall all perish.”

At Lourdes, Bernardette repeated our Lady’s plea for “Penitence! Penitence!”

At Fatima, our Lady asked the children: “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and ask for the conversion of sinners?” When Lucia answered that they did, our Lady said: “Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will assist you always and bear you up.”

THE GRACE OF GOD WILL ASSIST YOU ALWAYS

“Sacrifice yourself for sinners,” our Lady said on another occasion at Fatima, “and say many times, especially when you make sacrifices: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'”

The following words of Our Lady of Fatima put a great responsibility upon all of us: “Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray for them.”

In 1925 the Child Jesus and our Lady both appeared to Lucia in the convent and asked for acts of reparation to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

At Beauraing, Belgium, in 1932, our Lady said, “Sacrifice yourself for me.”

“THEY HAVE NO ONE TO PRAY FOR THEM” 

How are we to make sacrifices? The three children of Fatima asked this very question of the angel who appeared to them the year before they were favoured by the apparitions of our Lady. The angel had just asked the children to “offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.”

“How are we to make sacrifices?” asked nine-year-old Lucia. – “You can make sacrifices of all things,” the angel replied. “Offer them in reparation for the sins that offend God, and beg of Him the conversion of sinners. In this way, try to draw down peace on your country…  Above all, accept and bear humbly the sufferings which the Lord will send you.'”

HOW ARE WE TO MAKE SACRIFICES? 

“You can make sacrifices of all things…” The words were meant as much for us as for the children of Fatima. The three children heeded the request of the angel and made sacrifices of all things. They offered all their everyday actions to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In the spring of 1942 Lucia wrote: “This is the penance which the good Lord now asks: the sacrifice that every person has to impose upon himself is to lead a life of justice in the observance of His Law. He requires that the way be made known to souls. For many, thinking that the word penance means great austerities and not feeling in themselves the strength or generosity for these, lose heart and rest in a life of lukewarmness and sin.

“Last Thursday, at midnight, while I was in the chapel with my superior’s permission, Our Lord said to me: “The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfilment of his duties in life and the observance of My Law. This is the penance I now seek and require.'”

This is the very most that is asked of us: the sacrifice required of every person is the fulfilment of his duties in life and the observance of God’s law. This is heartening when we tend to become discouraged, and when we think we are not doing enough.

THE MORNING OFFERING

The most effective way to make sacrifices of all things is to make the Morning Offering: “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all my prayers, works and sufferings of this day for the intentions of thy Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates and in particular for the intention of the Holy Father.” If we are in the state of grace, the Morning Offering turns all our actions for the day into meritorious acts.

The Act of Total Consecration has this same effect. To a person who has consecrated himself completely to Jesus through Mary, the Morning Offering is simply a daily renewal of that consecration.

THE TOTAL CONSECRATION

“Above all, accept and bear humbly the sufferings which the Lord will send you.” When the civil administrator put the children of Fatima in jail with the hardened criminals, they offered their suffering in reparation for the sins of the world. When Jacinta was undergoing great agony on her deathbed, she murmured through her pain: “It is for love of You, my Jesus. Now You can convert many sinners, for I suffer much.”

All of us have our sufferings, small ones and big ones; the extra tasks we have to perform, the slights we receive, the plans that go wrong, the severity of the weather, the loss of a loved one, a severe illness, a financial reverse. Like Jacinta, we can offer these in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners.

“ABOVE ALL, ACCEPT AND BEAR HUMBLY THE SUFFERINGS WHICH THE LORD WILL SEND YOU”

Offering their everyday actions and their sufferings to Jesus through Mary was not enough for Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. They were constantly thinking up voluntary sacrifices. When they went out to tend the sheep, they gave their lunches to children poorer than themselves, and they ate unripe olives. Under their clothes they wore shaggy ropes which chafed their skin.

All of us can make voluntary sacrifices in addition to the minimum penance which our Lord says he requires, although our sacrifices are not likely to take such extreme forms.

“IT IS ONLY BY SACRIFICE AND SUFFERING – OFFERED AS PENANCE – THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, TO CONVERT HIM”

St John Mary Vianney, the Cure of Arms, lived a life of heroic self-denial, penance and reparation. Because of these virtues he was able to convert an entire parish, the members of which had given up their practice of religion.

One day a neighbouring pastor said to Father Vianney: “I have a hardened old sinner in my parish. Years ago he fell away from the faith. I’ve tried everything to convert him. I’ve pleaded with him: I have prayed for him: I’ve asked others to pray for him. But it’s no use. He seems determined to die in his sins. What can I do?”

“You say, Father,” replied the Saint, “that you have pleaded with him and have prayed for him. But have you tried fasting for him? It is only by sacrifice and suffering – offered as penance – that you will be able, by the grace of God, to convert him.”

PRAYER AND FASTING 

Similarly, with the grace of God, we can accomplish stupendous things by our sacrifices. The stakes are high. We can win peace on earth. We can win a Catholic Russia. We can win peace of mind and peace of soul. We can achieve the unity of the Mystical Body all over the world. We can bring about a rebirth of the moral values so long deadened by the forces of materialism.

What sacrifices shall we make? We can make them in all categories: everyday actions, sufferings and voluntary acts of self-denial. Here are a few suggestions. We can:

  • Get up an hour earlier every morning and go to Mass.
  • Do that unpleasant task we have been shirking.
  • Be kind to someone who has slighted us.
  • Be pleasant at home and at work, even when we have severe provocation to be otherwise.
  • Bear our aches and pains in quiet patience.
  • Go out of our way to help others.
  • Live up to the duties of our religion, even when doing so is very inconvenient.
  • Give up something we want very much in order to give the money to the missions.

These are only a few ways in which we can answer Mary’s call for sacrifices. With good will we should be able to think of many more ways of carrying out the wishes of the Mother of God. If made in the proper spirit, such sacrifices will help restore the world to Christ, and will help put the world on the road to true peace.

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

 

 

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“BUT PRAY, MY CHILDREN” – THE STORY OF OUR LADY OF HOPE

“The Franco-Prussian War, which began in 1870, was the backdrop to this silent apparition of Our Lady at Portmain in northwestern France. By January 1871, the country was in a very serious position militarily, with the Prussians controlling two thirds of the country and Paris besieged. It seemed to be only a matter of time before Mayenne and Brittany, the northwestern part of the country, would also be taken. The next attack was expected at Laval, the capital of Mayenne, less than 30 miles from Pontmain, where the Blessed Virgin would appear.

Guided by their parish priest, they sought to live as good Christians

At the time, Pontmain was a small village, inhabited by simple and hardworking country folk, who, guided by their parish priest, Abbé Michel Guerin, sought to live as good Christians.

The Barbedette family consisted of father Cesar, his wife, Victoire, with their two sons Joseph and Eugene, aged ten and 12, and another older brother who was away in the army.

On 17th January 1871, after going to early morning Mass, the boys spent the day at school as usual. On their return, they were helping their father in the barn when a neighbour, an elderly lady named Jeannette Details, called in and began to talk with Cesar. During the conversation, the older boy, Eugene, walked over towards the door to look out, and noticed one area practically free of stars above a neighbouring house. This puzzled him; but, as he gazed at it, suddenly he saw an apparition of a beautiful woman smiling at him; she was wearing a blue gown covered with golden stars, and a black veil under a golden crown.

His mum suggested they should all say five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys in her honour

As Jeannette Details was about to leave, Eugene asked her if she could see anything, and as she replied in the negative, his father and brother came out to look. Joseph immediately said he too could see the apparition, although their father, like the old lady, saw nothing. He asked Eugene if he could still see the lady and on being told ‘Yes’, asked him to go and fetch his mother. Victoire arrived but like the other adults she could see nothing, although she was puzzled because her boys were usually very truthful.

She suggested that it might be the Blessed Virgin, and that they should all say five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys in her honour. By this time the neighbours were coming out to see what was going on, and the Barbedettes withdrew into the barn to pray.

The family servant, Louise, was called but she too could see nothing; and as it was now about a quarter past six, the family went inside for supper. Victoire gave the boys permission to go out again soon after, and, on hearing that the lady was still there, went to fetch Sr Vitaline, the local schoolteacher.

He pointed to three bright stars in the shape of a triangle

Eugene pointed to three bright stars in the shape of a triangle and told her that the lady’s head was in the middle of them. Although Sr Vitaline could see the stars, she saw nothing else, and so she went to get three young girls from the school to see their reactions. Immediately they arrived, the two youngest of these, aged nine and 11, expressed their delight at the apparition, describing it as the boys had done, although the oldest girl saw nothing. The three stars were seen by everyone that evening, but disappeared after the apparition.

It was decided to fetch other children, and another sister called at the presbytery to tell Fr Guerin, who, after some hesitation, decided to come out as well. As he reached the barn with his housekeeper, a child of two and her mother had just arrived. Immediately the infant looked with delight at the apparition, clapped her hands, and called out the name of Jesus, as taught by her mother. The next evening the child was taken back to the same spot at the same time and told to look, but gave no indication of seeing anything.

They began to say the rosary, and as the rosary progressed, the stars began to multiply around her

The adults in the crowd, which had now grown to about sixty people, including the priest, could still see nothing and began to say the rosary, as the children exclaimed that something new was happening. A blue oval frame with four candles, two at the level of the shoulders and two at the knees, was being formed around the lady, and a short red cross had appeared over her heart. As the rosary progressed, the figure and its frame grew larger, until it was twice life size; the stars around her began to multiply and attach themselves to her dress until she was covered with them.

“My Son allows himself to be moved”

As the Magnificat was being said, the four children cried out: ‘Something else is happening.’ A broad streamer on which letters were appearing unrolled beneath the feet of the lady, so that eventually the phrase, ‘But pray, my children,’ could be read. Fr Guerin then ordered that the Litany of Our Lady should be sung, and as this progressed new letters appeared, making the message: ‘God will soon answer you.’ As they continued to sing, another message was formed, one that removed any doubt that it was the Blessed Virgin who was appearing to the children: ‘My Son allows himself to be moved.’

The children were beside themselves with joy

The children were beside themselves with joy at the beauty of the lady and her smile, but her expression then changed to one of extreme sadness, as she now contemplated a large red cross that had suddenly appeared before her, with a figure of Christ on it in an even darker shade of red. One of the stars then lit the four candles that surrounded the figure, the crucifix vanished and the group began night prayers.

As the group began night prayers a white veil lifted

As these were being recited, the children reported that a white veil was rising from the lady’s feet and gradually blotting her out, until finally, at about nine o’clock, the apparition was over.

It is worth noting that earlier that evening, at the house near Paris where Catherine Laboure – the seer of Rue du Back and the Miraculous Medal – lived, the sisters observed the remarkable colour of the western sky, which some felt was an omen. Catherine looked but said nothing, although later, when the events of Pontmain became known, it was suspected that she had some inkling of what had happened. In any event, it appears that she certainly believed that Our Lady appeared there, since she said as much to a fellow nun in 1872, telling her to send her prayer intentions to the village, because ‘the Blessed Lady revealed herself there…’

Our Lady of Hope

The following March a canonical inquiry into the apparition was held, and in May the local bishop questioned the children. The inquiry was continued later in the year, with further questioning by the theologians and a medical examination. The bishop was satisfied by these investigations, and in February 1873 declared his belief that it was the Blessed Virgin who had appeared to the children. Joseph Barbedette became a priest, a member of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, while his brother Eugene became a secular priest. One of the girls who had seen Mary assisted him as his housekeeper, while the other, Jeanne-Marie Lebosse, became a nun. A large basilica was built at Pontmain and consecrated in 1900.

During his reign, Pope Pius XI confirmed the decision of the bishop and granted a Mass and Office for Pontmain under the title ‘Our Lady of Hope’.”

– This article by Donal Anthony Foley was published in the Catholic Times newspaper, issue 16th January 2015. For subscriptions please contact: The Universe Media Group, Allerton House, St Mary’s Parsonage, Manchester M3 2WJ.

 

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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