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Apparitions

1557-1652

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Our Lady of Montallegro---Rapallo, Italy 1557

On July 2, 1557 a farmer, Giovani Chichizola discovered an icon left by the Blessed Virgin. It depicted her dormition from earth to heaven. As Giovanni was walking Our Lady appeared to him saying: 'Do not fear, Giovanni, I am the Mother of God. I have chosen you to be a messenger of my Motherly will. Visit the ecclesiastics of Rapallo and let them know the Mother of God has chosen this place as her perpetual dwelling place and would like a church to be erected here.I leave here a pledge of my love.'

 Seeing the icon on a rock he attempted to remove it, but could not. He notified the villagers who went to the site, removed  the icon and took it to the church in the town. The next morning the icon was gone. They found it once again in the place on the rock. A spring started to flow above where the Blessed Virgin stood during the apparition. 

The villagers, once again, brought the icon to the church where it was displayed all day for veneration, then locked away for safe-keeping. They next morning they found that it had disappeared again. It was found on the rock on the hill. They all agreed that this was the place where the Blessed Virgin wanted her church to be built.

In 1558, the Archbishop of Turin authorized the building of the church on the 'Hill of Joy'. The following year it was opened and dedicated to Our Lady. Several years later a group of sailors claimed ownership of the icon. They took it with them when they left the port in Rapallo. When far out to sea they found that the icon had disappeared. It was found again at the church on the Hill of Joy.

There are celebrations every year on the anniversary of Apparition Day.

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Our Lady of Good Health---Vailankanni, India 1580

As the result of three apparitions, a church dedicated to Our Mother of Good Health was built on the shore of the Bay of Bengal on the coast

of India.

Our Lady , who was holding a beautiful baby, appeared to a young boy who was on his way to sell milk in a nearby village. She asked the boy if he might have some milk for the baby. He gave her some milk and went along his way to his customer's house. He apologized for being late and for not having the full amount of milk expected. But then he saw that the pot was full. He explained to the Hindu man the appearance of the Lady. Together they went back to the place of the apparition, where the Lady appeared once again. The community was ecstatic, dedicated the place to Our Lady and named it 'Our Lady's Pond'.  They returned frequently to pray at the place where the Lady had appeared.

The second apparition happened at the pond where a crippled bot sat selling buttermilk. Our Blessed Mother appeared holding a child. She asked for some milk for the child. Without hesitation the boy gave some milk to her. The Lady asked the boy to tell this vision to a particular wealthy man in the  nearby village. Not immediately realizing that his leg had been cured, the boy jumped up and ran to the village to honor the Lady's request. The night before, the man had had a vision where the Blessed Mother asked him to build a chapel. The cured boy and the man returned to the site of the apparition. The Lady appeared to them both. Soon after a small chapel was built in honor of Our Lady of Good Health.

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A few years later wealthy Portuguese merchants fell victims of a shipwreck during a violent storm at sea. Asking the help of the Blessed Virgin, they safely reached shore and were taken to the chapel to give thanks to the Mother of Good Health. In thanksgiving, they built a permanent chapel which was dedicated on September 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, which was also the date of their safe return.

As the number of pilgrims grew through the years, numerous enlargements and additions were added. In 1962, in an Apostolic brief, Pope John XXIII elevated the Shrine of Vailankanni to a minor Basilica.

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 Our Lady of Saluva--- Siluva, Lithuania 1608

This was a time when the protestant reformation was beginning to take hold. Catholic church property was being      confiscated, schools were taken over, religious gatherings were prohibited, and the poor were enduring hardships inflicted upon them.  When the church in Siluva was about to be closed the parish priest, Fr. John Holubka, obtained an ironclad box in which to place liturgical vestments, chalices, and documents which proved the property had been given to the church by Vytautas the great. Among the items was a painting of the Blessed Virgin holding the Christ Child. It had been given to the church in 1457 and was prominently hung above the main altar. The box was sealed and buried deep into the ground next to a large rock. Shortly thereafter the Calvinists seized the property to use for their own purposes.

After eighty years, in the summer of 1608, while shepherd children were playing and tending their flocks, a beautiful young woman appeared to them, standing on a rock and holding a beautiful baby in her arms. She was glowing with light, dressed in flowing blue and white robes, her long, light brown hair falling softly over her shoulders, and had tears running down her cheeks and falling onto the rock. In a few moments the vision disappeared.

The boys ran back to the village to tell the others. Some scoffed, some believed. But the children were so sincere that many of the villagers were prompted to gather at the rock the next morning. The Calvinist pastor warned the people of 'Roman superstition' and the 'work of Satan'. He was about to leave when he heard the heartrending sound of weeping. Frightened at first, but the regaining his composure, he asked the apparition, 'Why are you weeping?' The Blessed Mother replied, 'There was a time when my beloved Son was worshiped by my people on this very spot. But now they have given this sacred soil over to the plowman and tiller and to grazing animals.' She then vanished.

The people began to regain their faith. Nearly ten years, over 11,000 people received Holy Communion during a mass offered at the scene of the apparitions. Word of the visions eventually reached an elderly man who was blind. He remembered That the church treasures had been buried next to a big rock. He was brought to the place he described and was immediately cured. The chest was dug up, opened, and everything in it was perfectly preserved. With the deed now in hand, Bishop M. Valancius petitioned the court for the return of the property. In 1622 the Tribunal of Vilnius decided in favor of the Catholics.

Over the years the church was repeatedly enlarged to accommodate the man people who came to venerate the painting of the Madonna and Child. The painting is permanently enshrined at the Basilica of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin. The rock on which she appeared has been placed in the 'Chapel of Appearance', next to the altar where pilgrims may kiss and touch it.

The events at Siluva were extensively investigated. On August 17, 1775 Pope Pius VI authenticated the apparitions by Papal decree. 

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Our Lady of Good Success---Madrid, Spain, Unknown date, Quito, Ecuador 1610

The oldest of the known statues of Our Lady of Good Success are in Madrid and Quito. In Madrid, in 

1400's, Some Spanish friars were travelling to  Rome to gain approval for a new order, the Order of

Minims, founded by St. Francis Paola. As they were passing through the village of Traigueras a huge

storm broke out. As they looked for shelter they saw a mysterious light coming from a cave. When

they entered the cave they saw a beautiful statue of The Blessed Virgin holding the Child Jesus. It 

was surrounded by a shimmering light and a heavenly fragrance. No one knew anything about the statue so the friars kept it with them on their journey to Rome. When Pope Paul V heard the story he blessed and venerated the statue, and granted approval for their new order.

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The statue was placed in the Royal Hospital of Madrid. So many miracles happened there that King Philip III ordered the construction of the

Sanctuary of the Puerto del Sol, where the statue still stands today. 

Sr. Mariana Jesus Torres had a great devotion to Our Lady of Good Success. She joined the Order of the Immaculate Conception and was sent from Spain to Quito. While praying, the Blessed Mother visited her as Mary of Good Success. The Blessed Mother asked that a statue be made in her likeness for the consolation and preservation of the convent, and for all faithful souls who would pray to her. 'With this statue I will favor not only my convent, but also the people of Quito and all the people throughout the centuries.'

There were also other prophesies during subsequent apparitions. One in particular she warned...'evil will invade childhood innocence. The clergy will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties. Faithful priests upholding the Faith will suffer greatly and will be overwhelmed with vexations in order to stop them from fulfilling their ministry. The precious light of Faith will be extinguished in souls by the almost total corruption of customs.'

The Lady said of those with financial means, 'Their miserly attitude toward God and His Church will allow evil to seemingly triumph.' Sr. Mariana of Jesus Torres died on January 16, 1635. Three hundred years later, when the church was being remodeled, her tomb was opened revealing her incorrupt body. Her Cause for beatification was opened and after the investigation she was given the title 'Servant of God.'

At the request of the Blessed Mother her statue was placed above the Abbess' chair in the convent's upper choir, because she desired to be Abbess of the convent 'until the end of time.'

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 Our Lady of Manaoag---Manaoag, Pangasinan, Phillipines 1610

A man was walking home along a lonely road when he heard a Lady's voice. When he turned around he saw a radiant Lady on a bright cloud over a small bush, holding a small in her left arm and a rosary in her right hand. The man knelt down as she looked sweetly at him. She said nothing, but when the villagers heard of the apparition they built a small church over the site. A small town sprung up, which they named Manaoag, meaning 'to call'.

 Many miracles have happened there and Our Lady has provided great protection to the people of the region. Safety from fire, locusts, drought, aerial bombardment, and many injuries. 

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Comforter of the Afflicted---Kevelaer, Germany 1641

The village of Kevelaer was an area of vast destruction where few traveled. Around Christmastime in 1641 Hendrick Busman, a travelling salesman, had to pass that way to get t his next stop. The story as told to the Synod of Venio by the salesman is as follows:

'My Name is Hendrick Busman... At Christmas in 1641 I was making my way in the course of my business from the town of Weeze when I came to the region of Kevelaer. There was a cross by the roadside and I heard a voice saying to me , 'Here thou shalt build me a chapel. 'I heard the voice and looked about me but saw no one. I resolved to press on and put all thoughts of the phenomenon out of my head. About a week later, I passed the place again and there heard the same voice speaking the same words as before. I heard it again a third time. I was sad because I was poor and had no means by which I might build a shrine. Nevertheless, I saved regularly from my petty cash in the distant hope that one day I should have a fund to fit the purpose.

 

Then, four weeks before Whitsunday , my wife, Mechel Schouse, received a vision by night. She saw a great light and in the midst of it a shrine; and in that shrine was a picture of Our Lady of Luxembourg like one she had been shown some time earlier by two soldiers passing through our village. The soldiers had offered to sell Mechel the picture but upon asking the price, she realised she could not afford it. When Mechel told me of her vision, I connected it with my own experiences near Kevelaer and I urged her to find the soldiers and the picture. She discovered that the picture was now in the possession of a lieutenant presently in prison in Kemen. Mechel obtained the picture from him.'

Convinced that his wife's vision was a confirmation for him, Hendrick, with permission from the parish priest, Rev. Johannes Schink, used the

small amount of money he had saved to begin the construction of the shrine according to Mechel's description. Upon it's completion, on June 1,

1642, the priest placed the picture of Our Lady of Luxembourg into the shrine. Miracles were soon reported. In 1654 a new chapel was built to

replace the old one and named the Chapel of Mercy. Because of the many miracles that happened, the Vicar General ordered an investigation.

Many of the cures were declared to be miraculous. More pilgrims visited. Three Oratorian priests were assigned to minister to the crowds.

The Basilica was built between 1858 and 1864, along with the priests' house, the Candle Chapel, the Organizational Center, the Confessional

Chapel, The Fountain Courtyard, and the outdoor Stations of the Cross. It is a beautiful space of devotion to Our Blessed Mother, whose little picture of Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted remains the source of all the attention.

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Our Lady of LaSalette---Corps, Grenoble, France in 1846

 Our Lady appeared to two children, Melanie, aged 14, and Maximum, aged 11. When the children approached Her they saw tears streaming down Her cheeks. She tearfully warned for people to repent, stop blaspheming, and not work on Sundays. Her Son was want to cast them off, but Our Lady was interceding. She warned of spoiled harvest, children under seven years of age would die and there would be famine. Our Lady gave them a secret which She had Melanie write down. She entreated the children to pray well, and often.

 Our Lady warned of future events, god’s people have looked towards the devil in neglecting prayer, many will abandon their faith, including the teachings of the priests, bishops, and religious. She talked of bad books, false doctrine, wars, blood in the streets, the Anti-christ, pervasive perversion, famines, plagues, contagious diseases and much more.

She said God will take care of His faithful, the Gospel will be preached, and all people and nations will have knowledge of the Truth.

The abyss is opening, the beast is arising, but St. Michael will stifle him. The beast will be plunged into Hell forever, water and fire will purify the earth, consume men’s pride, and everything will be renewed. God will be served and glorified.

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Our Lady of the Willow Tree---Vinay, France 1649

This story involves a farmer, Pierre Port-Combet, who had abandoned the Catholic Faith for Calvinism. While still a Catholic he had married a very devout woman, Jeanne, but after he left the faith he refused to allow their six children to be raised Catholic. This drew them, instead, into the heresy of Calvinism. Pierre was more than happy to disobey the Catholic Church directives and rulings to not work on Sundays and feast days, especially those dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

On March 25, 1649, the Feast of the Annunciation, Pierre wanted to demonstrate his disdain by performing work where everyone could plainly see him. Standing on a road where villagers passed by on their way to Holy Mass, he drew his knife and pretended to be working by pruning a willow tree. When he stabbed the trunk of the tree, it bled! So much so that it splashed on Pierre's hands and arms. He thought he was injured but could find no wound. He stabbed the tree once more, and again it bled.

Just at that moment his wife passed by, and seeing the blood, went to help him. She also could find no wound. He told her the story. She tried stabbing the tree and nothing happened. Pierre again took the knife and stabbed the tree. It bled. A neighbor tried, but it did not bleed for him. Several neighbors who had gathered around agreed that this was a miracle which took place only at the hands of the heretic, and that this was a stern warning for Pierre to convert back to the laws of the Catholic Church.

When church authorities heard of the case a formal inquiry was ordered by the bishop. The decision rendered was that Pierre had received stern warning from Heaven. He took this to heart and was seen praying profoundly at the willow tree. The Calvinists disapproved of this and even threatened him with bodily harm. Because of this, Pierre's conversion was delayed for seven years. Until Our Lady intervened.

On the Feast of the Annunciation n 1656 Our Lady appeared to Pierre in an area near the Thornhill. He saw her in the distance, but then, with amazing speed, she stood right next him. Here is how their conversation went:

The Lady, with a very sweet voice, greeted him, 'God be with you, my friend!' Pierre hesitated, and she again spoke, 'What is being said about this devotion? Do many people come?'

'Yes, many people come,' Pierre answered.

The Lady continued, 'Where does that heretic live who cut the willow tree? Does he not want to be converted?'  Embarrassed, Pierre mumbled a response.

Then the Lady asked, 'Do you think I do not know that you are the heretic?' Then she gave him this warning:

'Realize that your end is at hand. If you do not return to the True Faith you will be cast into Hell. But if you change your beliefs, I shall protect you before God. Tell people to pray to advantage, not to neglect the source of graces which God in His mercy has made available to them.'

The Lady began to move away, but Pierre ran after her, apologized and conveyed his willingness to convert. Our Lady faded from sight. Realizing he had been blessed with a vision of our Blessed Mother, he pledged a complete reform. 

One month later, on the eve of the Assumption, Pierre contracted a serious illness. A priest of Vinay heard his Confession and welcomed him back into the Church. His conversion was completed when he received Holy Communion the next day, on the Feast of the Assumption. Pierre's conversion influenced many to return to the True Faith, including his son and five daughters, and many Protestants and Calvinists.

True to our Lady's words: 'Realize that your end is at hand...' , Pierre died several weeks later. According to his final wish, he was buried at the bottom of the willow tree.

A chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Good Meeting was built in the field of the apparition, and was later replaced with a larger church dedicated to Our Lady of the Willow Tree. 

The sanctuary was pillaged and desecrated during the French Revolution. A portion of the willow tree, and pieces of a statue to our Lady that was sculpted according to Pierre's description were saved by a woman and hidden until peace was restored. Devotion to Our Lady of the Willow Tree was revived by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and in 1856 Pope Pius IX decreed a solemn jubilee and papal crowning of the restored statue on September 8, Our Lady's birthday, and again in 1873.

There is a large painting of the meeting between Our Lady and Pierre in the chapel of Our Lady of Good Meeting, and the 400 yard path where he ran after the apparition has been specially marked. The church where the willow tree once grew was raised to the dignity of a minor basilica by Pope Pius XI on March 17, 1924. The restored statue of Our Lady is found here, the decorative box containing the piece of willow tree is is placed where it formerly grew, and Pierre's tomb is at the foot of the altar. More than one hundred cures have been attributed to prayers before this altar of Our Lady.

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Our Lady of Eternal Aid--- Querrien, La Prenessaye, France 1652

In the small village of Querrien in the northwestern part of France known as Brittany, Our Lady appeared to a poor twelve year old shepherdess who had been deaf and mute since birth. On August 15 Jeanne Courtel was tending her father's sheep and praying when the Blessed Virgin appeared holding the Child Jesus in one arm and a stalk of lilies in the other. The Lady had spoken just a few words when Jeanne had realized that she could hear and had been miraculously healed.

The Blessed Mother said, 'I choose this place to be honored. Build for me a chapel in the middle of this village and many people will come.' The apparition said, 'Charming shepherdess, give me one of your lambs.' Jeanne would have gladly given her one, but she said, 'These sheep are not mine, they are my father's.'

The Lady then directed her, 'Return to your parents and tell them I require a lamb.' The girl turned to leave, but then asked, 'But who will keep my heard?' The Lady told her, 'Myself. I will keep your sheep.'

The child returned home, and the father was so overjoyed at his child's miraculous recovery that he said, 'Ah, my daughter. Because this Lady has made you speak, we will give her all the flock.' Jeanne also related that he should dig a nearby pond to find a statue that had been buried for centuries. The father asked if the Lady had said who she was. Jeanne replied, 'She said she is the Virgin Mary and we need to build a chapel in the village so many pilgrims will go there to honor her.' The father said, 'If this is true, we will ask the bishop to allow us to build a shrine to the Virgin Mary.'

According to history, in 610, St. Gall had visited the area to erect a hermitage. He had a statue of the Virgin Mary sculpted, but the chapel that housed it was destroyed and it was lost during disastrous years in that region. When they searched the pond, as had been directed by the Blessed Virgin, they found the statue, and it was in excellent condition despite having been buried in water for centuries.

The virgin appeared again and repeated her request for the chapel.  On September 11, 1652, Monsignor Denis de la Barde, bishop of the region, visited and was informed of all that took place. After conducting his investigation, om September 20 he formally recognized the validity of the apparitions and blessed the first stone of the future chapel. The chapel was completed in 1656, and enlarged in 1779. The body of Jeanne Courtel, the visionary, is entombed at the shrine. She died in 1703.