Mary is with us now and has been through the centuries. She has appeared, and still does today, through apparitions and personal revelations. Following are just a few of her major appearances, each time having specific requests in order to draw her children closer to God. These are basic summaries of the events that happened at each apparition. Please take time to study these more in depth to discover the wealth of help that Our Lady provides for us.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel--- Ayelsford, England and Avignon, France 1251 and Fourteenth century
On July 16, 1251 Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with the child Jesus, appeared to St. Simon Stock. She presented
the brown scapular to him with this promise: 'This shall be the privilege for you and for all Carmelites that
whoever dies piously wearing this scapular, shall not suffer eternal flames.'
On March 3, 1322 Pope John XXII received a vision, now known as the Sabbatine Privilege. Our Lady revealed, 'I, the Mother of grace, shall descend into Purgatory on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory I shall free.'
When Pope Benedict XV learned of this vision he encouraged all to wear this 'common armor, which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death'.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spain)--- Caceres (Guadalupe), Spain 1326
While searching for a lost cow, a cowherd named Gil Cordero saw a radiant lady emerge from the forest. She indicated where he should dig to find a treasure. She also requested that a chapel be built to commemorate her visit. Gil Cordero searched with local authorities. At the entrance of a cave they found a statue that had been lost for 600 years, as well as the documents that accompanied it. The documents indicated the statue had been presented by St. Gregory the Great to Bishop Leander of Seville in the year 580. The statue, made of unstained oriental wood, was examined and pronounced to be in perfect condition.
The simple chapel structure that was first built was later replaced by another one under the orders of King Alphonso XI. The statue and the church were named 'Guadalupe' for the little village near it's place of discovery. Many visited the miraculous statue. It is now enshrined in the Camarin room behind the main altar at the monastery of Guadalupe.
The statue is regarded as a symbol of Our Lady's royal maternity because she holds the Divine Christ Child in her left hand and a royal scepter in her right hand.
Madonna of Mount Berico---Vicenza, Italy 1426 and 1428
From 1404 to 1428 the territory around Vicenza, Italy was plagued with pestilence and sickness. Many people died and many others fled the area. Here Our Lady appeared to provide consolation and help.
On the morning of March 7, 1426 Our Lady appeared to a seventy-year-old, simple, faith-filled woman, Vincenza Passini. As was her custom,
Vincenza was climbing to the top of the hill to bring food to her husband who was working in his small vineyard. She saw in front of her a woman who was 'in the likeness of a most beautiful queen, with garments more resplendent than the sun, wreathed in a fragrance of a thousand scents.' So overcome by the beauty of the vision that Vincenza swooned and fell to the ground.
'When she recovered the Blessed Virgin identified herself, 'I am the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ who died on the Cross for the salvation of men. I beg you to go and say in my name to the people of Vicenza that they must build in this place a church in my honor if they want to recover their health,otherwise the plague will not cease.'
Weeping with joy and kneeling in front of the Madonna, Vincenza questioned, 'But people will not believe me. And where, O glorious Mother, will we find the money to do these things?'
The Madonna replied, 'You will insist so that my people will do my will, otherwise they will never be rid of the plague and until they obey, they will see my Son angry with them. As proof of what I say, let them dig here and from the rock living water will spring and, as soon as the building begins, money will not lack.'
After saying this, the Madonna, with a graceful movement took a twig, traced the Sign of the Cross on the ground and even drew the shape of the church to be built. She then planted the twig in the ground where the high altar of the shrine now stands.
The Lady then added, 'All those who visit this church with devotion on my feast days and every first Sunday of the month, will be given an abundance of grace and the mercy of God and the blessing of my motherly hands.' ('See How She loves Us' by Joan Carroll Cruz, pgs. 10-11).
No one believed her, including the bishop. So the plague raged on. Vincenza resumed her daily life and on feast days she prayed on the spot where
the Madonna appeared.
On August 1, 1428 the Virgin appeared a second time. She repeated her previous warning and recommendation for the health of the people. This
time they listened. Work began on the church on Mount Berico just 24 days after this second apparition. When the church was completed the plague disappeared. In regards to the water that the Lady said would spring from a rock, as the church was being built, a '...wonderful and incredible quantity of water welled out like a spring....overflowing like an abundant river that ran down the hill with great noise.'
The shrine is now a grand basilica where a beautiful statue of the Madonna of Mount Berico is enshrined. The statue is marble and painted in various precious colors. The Madonna has an open smile, her head framed by curls, she wear a gold decorated veil, a gold-colored dress with a greenish gold-edged mantle. Children, women, and men are huddled beneath her mantle that drapes over her extended arms.
During the First World War the people of Vicenza made a solemn vow to the Madonna of Mount Berico that if their lands were spared, they would observe the Madonna's birthday every year in a special way. The Madonna answered their prayers, so every year on September 8th multitudes of people visit the sanctuary in gratitude. Because of the crowds who visit on this day as well as the first Sunday of each month, in 1972 two large chapels were constructed with upper and lower levels, as well as thirty additional confessionals inside the basilica.
The Servants of Mary have been ministering to the pilgrims since 1435. Pope Pius X crowned the Madonna, and on January 11, 1978 Pope Paul VI decreed that 'the Most Blessed Virgin be honored with the name of Madonna of Mount Berico, and from then on be the principal patron, next to God of the city and diocese of Vicenza'
Our Lady of the Guard---Ceranesi, Mount Figogna (Genoa), Italy 1490
There were two visions and many miracles that happened at this location. In the first vision Our Lady appeared to a peasant named Benedict Pareto while he was grazing his flock on the mountain. A brilliant movement caught his attention. A woman holding a child approached him. He felt compelled to kneel before her. The beautiful Lady assured him, 'Do not be afraid. I am the Queen of Heaven and have come to you with my Divine Son for this reason. You are to arrange for a church to be built on this spot, to be dedicated in my name.' Benedict said that he had no money. She told him, 'Trust me, Benedict. The money will not be lacking; only your own good will is needed. With my aid all will be easy.' The priest and neighbors were skeptical.
The second vision happened after Benedict had fallen out of a fig tree. He broke several bones, was carried home, and received the Last Sacraments. He was unable to move and was grieved that he couldn't share Our Lady's request with those who could make it happen. The Blessed Mother appeared to him a second time and again requested a shrine where she first appeared. When she left, Benedict was instantly cured. The people now believed and the priest authorized a fund for the building of a small oratory on Mount Figogna. It was later replaced by a large chapel.
In 1582 the shrine was approved by the Bishop of Navarre. On May 27, 1604 it was approved by the Archdiocese of Genoa. Permission for the publication of miracles was given and devotion to Our Lady of the Guard was authorized.
The most well known miracle happened in 1625. Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy, marched on Genoa with an army of fourteen thousand men. Capuchin Lay Brother Fra Tomaso da Trebbiano exhorted the people to pray o Our Lady of the Guard for protection. The next day the Duke was defeated by a small band of peasants who had been sent into battle with the parish priest's blessing. This victory was accepted everywhere as a miracle.The shrine has been recognized by many popes who granted special indulgences to the devotees, including Pope Clement XVI, Pius VI,
Pius XII, Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. And Pope Benedict XV, who was a native son of Genoa.
Our Lady of Trois-Epis--- Orbey, France 1491
Thierry Schoere, a blacksmith, on hi way to market, stopped to pray at an old oak tree where a friend had died. Suddenly there was a dazzling light in which he could distinguish the Blessed Mother dressed in a long, white veil. She held three ears of corn in her right hand and ice in her left hand. She said to Thierry, 'Arise, brave man. See these ears? These are the symbols of fine harvests that will reward virtuous and generous people and bring peace and contentment in the homes of faithful Christians. As to the ice, it means hail, frost, flood, famine and all its attendant misery and desolation that will punish disbelievers with the gravity of their sins which tire the Divine Mercy. Go down to the village and announce to all the people the meaning of these prophecies.' (See How She Loves Us, by Joan Carroll Cruz, pgs. 19-20).
He went back to the village and said nothing to the village, in disobedience to the Lady's wishes. He purchased a sack of wheat, and when he tried to place it on the back of his mount it became very heavy. Even with help the sack could not be moved. Thierry understood this as a sign of his disobedience. He then loudly shared the Lady's message. Many people took it to heart and resolved to do better. The sack of wheat then became very light.
That year a chapel was built on the site of the apparition. In 1495 the suffragan of Basel authorized worship at teh shrine, and all demonstrations of faith.
Our Lady of Garaison---Monleon-Magnoac, France 1515
Our Blessed Mother appeared to Angleze Sagazan, a 10-year-old shepardess, three times. Our Mother asked for a chapel to be built in her honor where she would 'spread her gifts'. She would relieve the hunger and distress of the people. Angeleze told her father and the people, who were skeptical. But they followed the girl to the place of the vision, also hoping to see the Blessed Mother. She appeared only to Angleze. People from other areas began to make pilgrimages to the place, chanting hymns in honor of her.
Cures were being obtained and devotion of the people increased. The first chapel was enlarged in 1540 to accomodate the growing devotees. The sanctuary still holds many beautiful pieces of art dated in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The statue of Our Lady of Garaison is a pieta dated from the sixteenth century. There have been many cures and miracles at the shrine. The apparitions were recognized by Pope Urban VIII and Pope Gregory XVI, who granted indulgences to those who visit the shrine.
Angleze became a Cistercian nun at Fabas where she died in 1582.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico)---Mexico City, Mexico 1531
fifty-five-year-old Indian name Juan Diego lived five miles north of Mexico City. On his way to attend mass at Tepeyac Hill one day, he heard a great many birds singing. He stopped and heard a woman's voice calling him. She asked him, 'Juan, smallest and dearest of my little children, where are you going?' He explained he was on his way to attend holy mass. The Lady said, 'Know for certain, dearest of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin May, Mother of the True God, through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things, who is Master of Heaven and Earth. I ardently desire a temple be built here fro me where I will show and offer all my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection to the people. I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping and their sorrows, and will remedy and alleviate their sufferings, necessities, and misfortunes. Therefore, in order to realize my intentions, go to the house of the bishop of Mexico City and tell him that I sent you and that it is my desire to have a temple built here. Tell him all that you have seen and heard. Be assured that I shall be very grateful and will reward you for doing diligently what I have asked of you. Now that you have heard my words, my son, go and do everything as best as you can.'
In several unsuccessful tries to convince the bishop, Juan Diego returned to Our Lady asking her to send someone else, and then asking for a sign from her for the bishop. The fourth and final visit by Our Lady took place on December 12. Juan Diego was on his way to find a priest for his dying uncle when she appeared. She spoke these consoling words to him: 'Listen and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son. Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need? Do not let the illness of your uncle worry you because he is not going to die of his sickness. At this very moment he is cured.'
Our Lady then asked Juan to go up the hill and collect the roses that were growing there, even though it was the middle of December and a hostile place for roses to grow. He gathered some roses into his tilma. The Lady arranged the flowers, cautioned him against disturbing them, and told him to reveal them to no one except the bishop.
When Juan went to visit the bishop he opened his tilma. The bishop knelt when he saw the roses fall to the floor, and was in awe of the exact likeness of Our Lady of Guadalupe that had miraculously appeared on his tilma. After this Juan returned home to find his uncle cured.
The fabric of the tilma is not suited to the application of paint. The application of washes of four different types of paint has not needed any restoration. The portrait has been examined and declared miraculous.Additions of color have been added through the years but all have flaked and faded away. Only the original paint remains unaffected. It is praised as a work of God.
The eyes of the painting were discovered to have in them an image in the likeness of Juan Diego. For the natives there is much symbolism in the painting. Twenty-five popes, dating back to 1575, have issued decrees concerning the 450-year-old image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico. Indulgences have been granted and three popes have ordered the crowning of the image.
Our Lady of Mercy--- Savona, Italy 1536
On March 18, 1536 the Virgin Mary, dressed in white and surrounded by a dazzling light appeared to an elderly farmer named Antonio Botto. As he knelt before the vision she directed him to his confessor asking that three Saturdays of fasting be observed and three procession in honor of God and the Mother of Jesus be organized, and then return on the fourth Saturday to receive another message. The local priest and bishop were receptive to the message but the mayor was not. As he was questioning Antonio about the vision, legend has it that some fishermen saw three flames that rose high in the sky above the cathedral and the castle.
At the second apparition, April 8, 1536, Our Lady stood with outstretched hands in a gesture of mercy. She asked for the same requests and praised the local fraternities and brotherhoods for their understanding of the Word of God. She exhorted Antonio and his countrymen to follow the Creed and disappeared with the words 'Mercy my son, not justice.'
Word of the apparition spread quickly, large sums of money offered by the pilgrims, and a chapel was authorized by Bishop Bartholomew Chiabrers. The new project was approved by the city council and Cardinal Spinola. That same year construction of a new church began. Four years after the first apparition Savona decreed that March 18 would be observed with a festival and votive procession to the shrine annually.
Our Lady of Ocotlan---Tlaxcala, Mexico 1541
In order to help his relatives who had become ill, Juan Bernardino walked to the River Zahuapan to collect water that was thought to have medicinal value. After filling his jug, on the way back, he saw a beautiful, regal lady among the trees. She greeted him saying, 'May God preserve you, my son. Where are you going?' He told her what he was doing. She replied, 'Come with me and I will give you water to cure the disease. It will cure not only your family, but all who drink of it. My heart is ever ready to help those who are ill, for I cannot bear to see their misfortune.'
They came to a depression in the ground. The lady indicated a spring of fresh water, telling Juan, 'Take as much of this water as you wish and know that those who are touched by even the smallest drop will obtain, not merely relief from their illness, but perfect health.' She then entrusted him with a message for the Franciscans at the Monastery of San Lorenzo where Juan worked. 'Tell the religious for me that in this place they will find my image. It will not only manifest my perfections, but through it I shall generously bestow favors and kindness. When they find the image they are to place it in he chapel of San Lorenzo.'
Juan took the water to his village and watched as many were restored to perfect health. Juan wen to the monastery and told the friars of what had happened. They went at night to visit the place. Before reaching it they saw a glow in the trees. The ocote trees were on fire, but only the tallest was burning along it's entire length. Since they could do nothing they left, and returned the next morning with some parishioners. They found only the lower branches of the trees burned, except for the tallest tree. It was burned black. One of the friars who had an axe was instructed to chop the tree down. According to a Mexican writer, 'A new marvel met their eyes. Within the trunk of the fallen tree was visible the image of the Holy Mother of God, representing the mystery of her Immaculate Conception---which can be seen today in the temple lovingly erected later by her children.... 'The statue was brought to the chapel and replaced the statue of San Lorenzo. Archbishops and popes visited the site and recognized the apparition.