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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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