Our Lady of Sorrows (Rwanda)--- Kibeho, Rwanda 1981-1983
Although the country of Rwanda was very beautiful and known as the Land of Eternal Spring, at this time it was in a state of unrest. Statues of the Blessed Virgin were mutilated or destroyed, there was false propaganda and the priests were lax in their duties and beliefs. Only two devout priests maintained the true principles of the Faith and teaching of sound doctrine. Fortunately, the teachings of these two priests influenced the people of Rwanda who were frevent in their practice of the Catholic Faith.
A very pious young woman, Alphonsine Mumreke, age seventeen, attended a school run by nuns and various lay teachers. She showed a great love for the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God.
On Saturday, November 28, 1981, Alphonsine was in the dining room at school serving her classmates when she was startled by a sweet voice that called her. She didn't see anyone who had called her name so she went out into the hallway and saw a beautiful Lady who told her the she was the 'Mother of the World,' and had come in answer to her prayers. This is how Alphonsine described the Lady:
The Virgin was not white as she is usually seen in holy pictures. I could not determine the color of her skin, but she was of incomparable beauty. She was barefoot and had a seamless white dress, and also a white veil on her head. Her hands were clasped together on her breast, and her fingers pointed to the sky. Later I was told by my classmates that I had been speaking in several languages: English, French, Kinyarwanda and others. When the Virgin was about to leave I said three Hail Mary's and the prayer, Come Holy Spirit. She then rose to heaven like Jesus.
Alphonsine remained in a state of ecstasy for about fifteen minutes. The nuns and staff members tries to rouse her. When she finally began to stir and spoke about the apparition the faculty thought she was not feeling well.
The second apparition took place the next day, November 29, and was repeated almost every Saturday in December. During these appearances Alphonsine's classmates tried to test her by pricking her with needles, trying to burn her with matches, verbal abuse saying she was out of her mind. But the various phenomenon, which included sparkling lights and the appearance of a star, eventually brought the faculty and students to believe. They even gave their rosaries to Alphonsine the be blessed by the Virgin.
The daytime visions happened in the dining room. The nighttime visions in her room at the dormitory. As news spread about the miraculous visions they began to occur in the schoolyard where thousands gathered.
Everyone was surprised to learn that Our Lady began to appear to another student, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and then to Marie-Claire Mukangango who had been one of the most vocal opponents of the apparitions. Marie-Claire declared, as a result of one of the apparitions, that 'One must meditate on the Passion of Jesus, and on the deep sorrows of his Mother. One must recite the Rosary every day, and also the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, to obtain the favor of repentance.'
On March 20, 1982, Alphonsine experienced a mystical journey. She informed the nuns that she might appear to be dead during this event, but in reality she was very much alive. The ecstasy lasted eighteen hours. During this time priests, nurses, religious and medical assistants for the Red Cross all witnessed that Alphonsine appeared to be in a deep sleep. She was rigid and had clasped hands that could not be separated. She later revealed that the Blessed Mother had shown her Heaven, Purgatory and Hell.
Calling herself the Mother of the World, the Blessed Virgin gave many messages for the world. She said the purpose for her visitations was to communicate a message of conversion through a life of prayer and confession, a life renewed by the Word of God and by works of charity and justice. The Blessed Mother told Marie-Claire that she was speaking to the whole world which is in revolt against God and is 'on the edge of catastrophe.'
During other apparitions, Anathalie described the visions in this way:
In July 1982, and in following months, August 15, 1982, the feast of the Assumption, and again on September 4, and in January 1983, Our Lady showed us many things about the coming war. Often she talked in general that the world is bad, that people do not have love, contrary to what God shed His blood for; Our Lady insists as well on love. Our Lady talked about and showed us some visions of reality where people killed each other, blood running, fire burning on the hill, mass graves, skulls, beheaded bodies, skulls put apart. Our Lady appeared to remind us what we have forgotten. In her messages she insisted on prayer and on conversion, on penance and humility.
The Blessed Mother's last visit to the visionaries was August 19, 1982 during which she revealed the consequences of those who ignored her messages. Like the vision of Anathalie, the other visionaries saw a 'river of blood, people who were killing each other, abandoned corpses, trees all in flames, bodies without heads.'
In the Spring of 1994, about a decade after the apparitions, a vicious civil war broke out in Rwanda. An estimated 500,00 to 800,000 people were killed, many beheaded and dumped into the Kagea River. The genocide lasted one hundred days. Many were killed by friends or neighbors.
Our Blessed Mother had also warned that sexual promiscuity would lead to disaster. This was before the world experienced the AIDS epidemic, of which, by 1994, Africa had 70 percent of the world's cases. It was estimated that several million Africans fell victim to the disease.
During the war the visionary Marie-Claire was killed. She had married Elie Ntabadahiga in 1987 and moved to Kigali to be with him. Elie was taken prisoner by militants and when Marie-Claire begged for his release she was murdered.
Alphonsine became a cloistered nun in the Saint Claire convent of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Her religious name became Alphonsine of the Glorious Cross. Anathalie remained in Kibeho parish, dedicating herself to preparing the church and the altar for Holy Mass.
After the civil war the Catholic Church made a definitive ruling on the apparitions. Four others are said to have witnessed the visions, but approval for the apparitions of the original three was granted by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Gahamanyi who was in charge of the diocese at the time of the visitations. On July 2, 2001, the Vatican released the declaration of Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro who expressed approval of the visions after examinations by both medical and theological examiners. The original summary of their studies consisted of a twenty-three page document. Bishop Augustin Misago declared:
There are more reasons to believe this than to deny it, and that,the events corresponded satisfactorily to all the criteria established by the church in the matter of private apparitions and revelations.
During his visit to Rwanda in 1990, Pope John Paul II exhorted everyone to turn to the Virgin Mary as a sure guide to peace and salvation.
Mary of the Rosary of St. Nicholas--- Buenos Aires, Argentina 1983-1990
Gladys Quiroga de Motto had only a fourth grade education and no knowledge of the Holy Bible. Housewife, mother and grand-mother, she was a very simple and humble person. The Blessed Mother visited her several times over the course of seven years. Our Lady's requests were conversions, consecrations and praying the Holy Rosary. Before the apparitions began Gladys saw a gentle glow illuminating a rosary that hung on the wall in her bedroom. This is the same place where the Blessed Virgin would appear.
The first apparition happened on September 25, 1983, and the second three days later. Then on October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, while Gladys was praying the Rosary, Our Lady appeared and Gladys spoke. Gladys said, 'I saw her (the Blessed Mother) and I asked her what she wanted of me.' Our Lady remained silent, then faded away. A vision of a chapel replaced the apparition. With this Gladys 'understood that she wanted to be among us.'
Gladys spoke to her parish priest about this. He suggested she sprinkle the vision with holy water, and later he advised her to write down all of her experiences,, including the words spoken by the vision.
On October 13 Our Lady appeared and spoke to Gladys for the first time. This is Gladys' description:
The Virgin's figure glowed with light. She wore a blue gown and a veil and held the Baby Jesus in her arms along with a large Rosary.
And another time she describes the following:
Today I wish to say how I see the Most Holy Virgin Mary. Her beauty is not easy to describe, but she is beautiful, and in her the humility, the force, the purity and the love...because all the love of the world I believe that it does not cover the love that she feels for her children. When she orders, I feel the force that she has. When she gives advice, I feel her maternal love. And when she says to me that she suffers for those that have moved away from our Lord, she transmits her sadness to me. All this leaves in me this wonderful Mother to whom I have consecrated my life. I do this so that my dear brothers can know somehow how our heavenly Mother is.
On the evening of November 24 Gladys saw a shaft of light pierce the darkness and indicate the pace where the chapel was to be built. It was a wasteland called Campito on the banks of the nearby Parana River. Many villagers saw this light as well. During an apparition three days later, the Blessed Virgin referred to Exodus 25:8 which reads: 'They shall make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.' In the church requested by Our Lady, it would the the Ark of the Covenant, her dwelling place in the midst of her people.
Later that month Gladys met with their new bishop, Domingo Salvador Castagna. He listened intently to her story. Later, while in Rome on other business, the bishop arranged to have a meeting with Pope St. John Paul II. In April 1985 a Commission of Inquiry was named.
In May of 1985 the Blessed Virgin requested that a medal be made.
You must strike a medal with my image and the words 'Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolas.' On the reverse side the Holy Trinity with Seven stars. These represent the seven graces with which my Son, Jesus Christ, will grant to all who wear it on their chest.
The medal was struck and has gained enormous popularity. The foundation for the new sanctuary was laid on September 25, 1986. On October 13, 1987, the anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, that the construction began in earnest.
On April 11, 1987 Bishop Castagma of San Nicolas met with Pope St. John Paul II in the city of Rosario and consulted with His Holiness about the continuing apparitions. The full study was concluded in February 1990.
When the church was nearing completion they needed a statue of the Blessed Virgin for the altar that was to be dedicated to her. A statue had been blessed in Rome by Pope Leo XIII, the 'Pope of the Rosary'.Because of damage and deterioration of the statue it was stored in the belfry of the cathedral. It was taken down, restored and placed on the new altar. When Gladys saw the statue she exclaimed how it had so closely resembled the Blessed Virgin as she appeared in the apparitions.
Pilgrims come from all over, especially of the twenty-fifth of each month, the anniversary date of the first vision. There have been a number of spiritual and physical healings. On July 25, 1990 Bishop Castgna declared: 'Undoubtedly this event of grace will continue to grow; it has proved its authenticity by its spiritual fruits.' One month later the bishop consecrated the sanctuary to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and issued an Imprimatur for the Spanish edition of the Messages of Our Lady to Gladys de Motto. A replica of the statue Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolas holding her Son was blessed by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 2000, and Pope Benedict XVI blessed the crosses that adorn the crowns worn by the Mother and the Child Jesus.
Reconciler of People and Nations--- Betania, Venezuela 1976-1990
Visionary Maria Esperanza had thirty-one visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at this place that the Church has declared as 'sacred ground.' Many people have also reported and witnessed numerous phenomenon there.
Born on November 22, 1928, Maria had her first mystical experience when she was five. She had a vision of St. Therese of Lisieux, who gave her a rose. When Maria was seven years old and near death from pneumonia the Blessed Mother appeared to Maria and recommended the appropriate medicine to hasten her recovery.
From early on Maria felt she had a calling to the religious life. She entered the order of the Franciscan nuns in Merida, but the Mother Superior determined that Maria didn't have a vocation there. St. Therese of Lisieux consoled her and revealed to her that her vocation was in married life. On December 8, 1956, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, while on a visit to Rome, Maria married Geo Bianchini in St. Peter's Basilica. Together they had seven children.
In 1974, Maria and Geo purchased a farm a few miles from Caracas. The Blessed Mother predicted this would become a center of 'constant prayer and pilgrimage' for 'all nations of the world.'
The first apparition happened on March 25, 176. Here is how Maris described the Blessed Virgin:
When she revealed herself, she went to the top of the tree, and I saw she was beautiful, with her hair brown, dark brown, her eyes were light brown and she had very fine, pretty eyebrows, a tiny mouth, a nose very straight and her complexion was so beautiful, it was skin that seemed like silk. It was bronzed. It was beautiful. Very young. Her hair was down to here, to her shoulders.
The farm soon became a place of pilgrimage. Over one hundred people saw the Virgin at the grotto in 1984. Maria does not have to be present for phenomenon to happen. Sometimes the Virgin reveals herself, sometimes in mysterious manifestations in clouds or a type of haze.
Of the thirty-one times that the Blessed Virgin appeared to Maria, twenty-four took place after 1984. Our Lady asked for prayers for Reconciliation of Peoples and Nations. During these apparitions and pilgrim visits more than five hundred miracles and cures have been reported. Over two thousand testimonials were given claiming various celestial phenomena.
Maria was favored with the stigmata. She is known to have been surrounded by a sweet aroma, and to have had gifts of healing, levitation, bi-location, and the capability of predicting future events. She was blessed not only with visitations from the Blessed Virgin, but also that of her beloved Son.
On November 21, 1987, Bishop Pio Bella Ricardo of Betania declared approval:
After having studied repeatedly the apparitions of the Most Holy Virgin in Betania, and having begged the Lord earnestly for spiritual discernment, I declare that in my judgement the said apparitions are authentic and have supernatural character. I therefore approve, officially, that the site where the apparitions have occurred be considered as sacred.
Likewise, Bishop Freddy Fuenmayor, Bishop of Los Teques declared:
I declare the sacred place where the image of Our Lady has been venerated under the title of Mary Reconciler of All Peoples and Nations. a Marian diocesan sanctuary of Our Lady.
The final vision took place on January 5, 1990. The following year, on December 8, 1991, another beautiful manifestation happened. It was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. During Holy Mass, offered by Father Orty Ossa Aristizabal, the consecrated Host began to bleed. Tests later made in Caracas revealed that the blood was of human origin.
On August 7, 2004 Maria died of a Parkinson-like ailment, surrounded by her family.
Our Lady of Shoubra--- Cairo, Egypt 1986-1991
On Tuesday, March 25, 1986, the Blessed Virgin began appearing atop the little church of Saint Demiana in the quarter of Shoubra in Cairo, Egypt. She was seen by the people living in nearby houses as she appeared between the two towers of the church. Their homes were illuminated by an unusual light. They discovered the light was emanating from around the vision of a Lady on top of the church. They saw her full body which was surrounded by a halo of light. The Lady appeared the next night. As people began to hear of the vision and came to visit the site, she was recognized as the Mother of God. The people began to sing hymns, and many prayed the Rosary.
The phenomenon was soon broadcast throughout Egypt, an around the world. The Coptic Pope, Shenouda III issued a papl order to announce the formation of a special committee to examine the accounts of the eyewitnesses. There were six committee members, four of which were bishops.
On Thursday, April 10, 1986, the committee went to the church at midnight. Between dawn and 5:00am they witnessed the Blessed Virgin in clear form surrounded by a halo.
After examining witnesses, the committee learned that the Virgin appeared in different forms. Incense was noted, and white doves fly about. There was a very luminous, radiating, unnatural light that shone from the inside of the church towers to the outside. The electric power was turned off, but the light still continued to shine through the whole quarter of the church. After receiving the committee's result the Coptic Pope Shenouda III stated:
Let us thank the Lord for this blessing on the people of Egypt and for the repetition of these spiritual phenomena.....we are contented to take from these apparitions their blessings, the satisfaction of the saints and the positive action of these matters in our hearts.
The committee report was sent to the Holy Synod that assembled on June 21, 1986. It reported that the apparitions also occurred during the day, and they were not limited to the church towers but also happened inside the church on the eastern side of the altar. The Blessed Mother appeared, and also the Child Jesus, as well as the martyr Saint Demiana who held a green palm, just as she appeared in one of the church icons. The apparitions continued and still occurred on June 20, 1986.Not only did a luminous glow appear around the Virgin, but also at times there were flames of fire.
An April 20 article published in the Watani newspaper stated that the Virgin was surrounded by a transparent light, the she wore a halo of light, that she looked at the crowds and often extended her hands toward them in blessing. There were white doves often seen flying in formation with their wings extended, but not flapping them. The Blessed Virgin was seen wearing white, and sometimes blue or red. The Blessed Virgin also appeared inside the church in a normal size, sometimes surrounded by luminous colors. A measure of light that appeared by the altar circulated three times around the church over the heads of the people. The apparitions of Our Lady of Shoubra continued until 1991. The Coptic Orthodox Papal Delegation of April 1986 states:
We are contented to take from these apparitions their blessings, the satisfaction of the saints and the positive action of these matters in our hearts.
Our Lady of China--- Dong Lu, China 1900 and 1995
Between November 2, 1899 and September 7, 1901 anti-colonialists and anti-Christian members of the Boxer Rebellion were active in China. They were against many political issues, religion, they attacked mission compounds, besieged foreign embassies and were responsible for many atrocities. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians fled to the Legation Quarter where they remained for fifty-five days until the Eight-nation Alliance brought twenty thousand armed troops the defeat the rebels.
During this time, in 1900, ten thousand rebels attacked the small, impoverished village of Dong Lu. The rebels were firing their weapons into the groups of frightened Christians when they suddenly began shooting into the air. Their attack was unsuccessful, so they stopped. The people looked and saw in the air a vision of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by a mystical light. The rebels were chased from the village by an apparition of a fiery horseman, thought to be St. Michael.
The villagers built a beautiful church in honor of Our Lady, and in thanksgiving for her protection.The pastor had a painting done that depicted the Virgin dressed in the Imperial garb of Dowager Empress XI, and the Christ Child wore a costly imperial robe. The painting was hung in the church of Dong Lu in 1924. Many pilgrims came to honor Our Lady. This painting was officially named Our Lady of China. It was blessed in 1928 by Pope Pius XI. The little church was recognized by Pope Pius XI in 1932 and was approved as an official Marian Shrine. In 1942 Pope Pius XII designated the second Sunday of May as a special feast day to Our Lady of China. During World War II the little shrine was destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1992 and is now the largest church in Northern China.
The Second Apparition
On May 23, 1995 there were 30,000 Catholics gathered at the shrine on the vigil of the Feast of Our Lady, Mary Help of Christians when another apparition of Our Lady and the Christ Child took place. There were four bishops and almost one hundred priests who had gathered in an open field to celebrate Holy Mass. When the opening prayer began, and then again during the Consecration, the people observed the sun spinning from right to left emanating various colors. Our Lady of China holding the Child Jesus was clearly seen. Also, there was the Holy Family and other figures. This phenomenon lasted about twenty minutes.
The following day, on May 24, 1995, members of the Public Security Forces forbade pilgrims to gather on the hill. They forced many into buses and trains. Still, an estimated one hundred thousand took different routes and successfully met to celebrate the Feast of Mary, Our Lady of China. The harassment of pilgrims continued and in April and May of 1996 five thousand troops were mobilized with thirty armored cars and helicopters in order to isolate the village. A loved statue of Mary was confiscated, but the painted portrait of the Blessed Mother and Child was safely hidden. A reproduction was displayed in the church. Some Chinese priests have the original portrait.
Many priest, bishops and Catholics loyal to the Pope have been arrested and tortured. Pilgrimages to Dong Lu have been declared illegal. Those who are faithful to the Pope must observe services in secret. Certain services are permitted by the 'official church', but are closely monitored by the government. Every year on October 1, Pope John Paul II's canonization of 120 martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion is celebrated.
Our Lady of Assiut--- Assiut, Egypt 2000-2001
This apparition of Our Lady s said to have taken place where the Holy Family sought refuge from the threats of King Herod. Assiut is 40 percent Coptic and has hundreds of mosques. It is known as one of the main centers of Islamic fundamentalism. Yet the Blessed Virgin appeared in full size numerous times on the roof of St. Mark's church, between the main towers of the church. She moved about and was seen with lights emanating from her outstretched hands. The appearances were often accompanied by the scent if incense, and over-sized brilliant white doves flew about, sometimes in formation.
Dazzling blue-green lights flashed over the church. Skeptics thought they were laser beams or some other unusual lighting. The electric in the neighborhood was turned off, but still the Heavenly Lady was visible and the Heavenly lights continued. Father Labis from the nearby Coptic monastery declared:
If you look for the source of the lights you can't find it. This is light from Heaven.
Father Mina Hanna, the secretary of the Assiut Council of Churches declared the sightings to be a 'blessing for Assiut.' His Holiness Shenouda III stated that the apparitions 'are a message of comfort from Heaven and one of confirmation of the faith of the Copts, that Heaven is aware of their struggle and is pleased by their perseverance.'
The apparitions were reported across the world by many secular news agencies. It was reported that thousands of Egyptians made the trip to Assiut, about three hundred miles south of Cairo. It was estimated that by the end of the visions there were more than two million witnesses to the apparitions. Like the other apparitions in Egypt, Assiut has been associated with a great spiritual revival, the conversion of sinners and countless miracles of healing.
Our Lady of El-Warraq--- Warraq al-Hadar, Giza, Egypt 2009
On the night of December 11, 2009 Father Dawoud, the parish priest of a small church named in honor of The Virgin Mary and Saint Michael, began to receive numerous phone calls. Father wrote, 'The phone calls were of people who said they had just seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary on the right dome of the church.
At first it was thought that a child was playing with a flashlight. But the light intensified and moved from the tree in front of the church entrance up to the right dome, and an embodiment of the Virgin Mary could be plainly seen. She stayed there for a while.
The Coptic Orthodox Bishop Theodosios of Giza issued this statement:
On Friday, December 11, at 1am, the Holy Virgin appeared at her full height in luminous robes above the middle dome of the church. Her dress was pure white and she wore a royal blue belt. She had a crown on her head, above which appeared the cross. The crosses on top of the church's domes and towers glowed brightly with light. The Holy Virgin moved between the domes and onto the top of the church gate between the two towers. The local residents all saw her. The apparition lasted from 1am until 4am on Friday and was recorded by cameras and cell phones. Some 3,000 people from the neighborhood, those from surrounding areas and passersby gathered in the street in front of teh church to see the apparition.
I stayed up all night and saw doves appear suddenly in the sky. They flew in circles in front of the church before they vanished into thin air. They were floating rather than hovering with their wings.
Doves do night normally fly at night. The bishop also mentioned that a star appeared suddenly and traveled across the sky before disappearing. Bishop Theodosios also stated, 'The huge crowd gathered around the church did not cease singing hymns and praises for the Holy Virgin.' The Copts accepted the apparitions as a sign of love and approval since they coincided with the beginning of the Coptic month of Kiahk, 'Mary's Month', which is dedicated to praising the Virgin's conception of Christ and the ending of the Coptic Church's Christmas celebration.
His Holiness Shenouda III and Archbishop of Giza Anba Dumadius, issued a statement which described the apparition, and ended with a prayer:
This is a great blessing for the church and for all the people of Egypt. May her blessing and intercession benefit us all.