Perryville, Missouri (2003-present)

In the small town of Perryville on the eastern side of Missouri, about an hour south of St. Louis, something inspirational has been happening every month since June of 2003. It began with a farmer and part-time construction worker named Neal. This humble, hard-working man in his late forties came from a family of eleven children; he had six brothers and four sisters. Neal has lived in Perryville all of his life, attending all 12 years of Catholic school. He has two children from a failed, “Godless” marriage and eight children from his present marriage of the past 17 years.

St. Mary of the Barrens, National Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, Perryville, Missouri, USA
St. Mary of the Barrens, National Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, Perryville, Missouri, USA

His mother was a devoted Catholic who constantly reminded him, “If you don’t have God in your life, you have nothing.” In second grade he wanted to become a priest – and “played Mass” in his basement by rolling out the bread to make the host and using a metallic shot glass of his father’s for the chalice. But, as he advanced into high school, he became distracted by sports, girls, partying, and activities with his friends. By his young adult years, he had strayed far from the Church and is not proud of those days. And his Mom kept reminding him that he did not have God in his life.

Then things began to happen. In 1995, his brother showed him a fascinating picture that he had taken of a nun in a parking lot – and in the sun was the image of a Miraculous Medal! Neal thought that this was amazing. About four months later, a Catholic prayers book appeared on the seat of his truck. Thumbing through it one day, its prayers started triggering memories of his devoted days, years ago, as a young Catholic. But when he came to the “Hail Mary,” he had a vivid flashback to his first Communion. He became overwhelmed, emotionally, realizing how far he had strayed from his Faith. At that moment he began praying the Rosary again on a regular basis.

Inside the beautiful St. Mary of the Barrens parish
Inside the beautiful St. Mary of the Barrens parish

Then, other things began happening. His mother’s religious friends from her prayer circle (whom he had called “Holy Rollers”) started running into him everywhere he went, often giving him a direct message or piece of information about prayer groups, parish missions, or religious presentations. August 11, 2000 will stick in his memory forever; a friend of his became adamant and persistent about his attending a special presentation on Mary at another parish, 12 miles away from his own, on the Feast Day of the Assumption. He had politely agreed to attend several times, knowing that he probably wouldn’t – until his friend took his arm, looked him in the eyes, and insisted one last time. Neal felt God in his actions at that moment – and sincerely agreed to attend. Much to his surprise, his wife easily agreed to attend the event with him at this distant parish.

Strange things began happening to Neal as the anticipated event began. As the speaker began, Neal felt a force pressing him forward and his emotions building within, until he could not hold back the tears any longer – fearing that he would disturb others around him. When he looked up at the speaker, the church appeared “smoke-filled” – and he could only see the speaker and his wife. They both had halos over their heads “just like you see in pictures of the saints.” The more the speaker talked about Mary, the brighter the halos became, until they were as bright as the sun! The light became a full image behind the speaker, and then the image of Mary in this bright light leaned her head forward for Neal to see for the first time in his life. She did not speak, but Neal said,

“She was dressed fully in white, enclosed like in the sun – bright as the sun, yet it didn’t hurt your eyes to look at her. She did not say one word, yet everything became infused and known to me in that moment. Our Lady wants us to know that God is real. And he loves each and every one of you. He has Mercy for each and every one of you, but we have to ask for His Mercy. We also have to live our life according to God’s Will. We have to give ourselves to God. We cannot sit idle. We have to always present ourselves in a charitable, meek gentleness towards each other and even to those we don’t even know. God wants others to see Christ in us.”

Story of the Miraculous Medal in Stained Glass in church
Story of the Miraculous Medal in Stained Glass in church

“St. Joseph was obedient in every way to God. The Blessed Mother wants you to know that Joseph is the role model for men. Wives, be submissive to your husbands in all things. Husbands, love your wives as Jesus loved the Church. God flourishes in such a marriage. The man must bring the church into the home. Honor and respect help keep a balance – along with including God in the marriage.”

In 2002, Neal had an opportunity to go to Medjugorje with a group, but his wife needed to stay home. He felt a great sense of being “homesick” after he arrived and wished that she had been able to come with him. Suddenly, he was calmed by this message,

“While you are here – and whatever I ask you to do from here on, you need to give it your best effort – and all of yourself to others …”

Stunning shrine to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in the church
Stunning shrine to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in the church

Around 7:00 p.m. on the last night there, Neal and a few others decided to make one last trek on the long, rugged path up Cross Mountain, stopping at the various Stations of the Cross along the way. At the fourth station (where Jesus sees his Mother), Neal suddenly was overwhelmed by a strong scent of roses – “so intense that you could almost taste them!” He fell down on the large rocks as if unconscious, but suffered no cuts, bruises, or injuries. He had an intense desire at that moment to be with Mary and Jesus in heaven. He felt like “a million bits of information were being dispersed all at once.” Then he heard Blessed Mary say to him,

“I have much for you to do … Never waste a moment to serve God.”

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in St. Mary's of the Barrens
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in St. Mary’s of the Barrens

Back in Missouri, in June of 2003, Neal was working in the fields when he again experienced a strong scent of roses and felt that Blessed Mary was nearby. She asked him to begin praying at the Grotto on the 13th of every month for the next 13 months. The grotto that she was referring to happened to be on the grounds of the National Shrine of the Miraculous Medal – right there in Perryville! The Vincentian community of priests resides there – one of whom is Father Oscar Lukefahr, a well-known writer of Catholic educational materials. The church, St. Mary’s of the Barrens, was founded in 1818. The Shrine was built in 1929 to honor Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. The Grotto was built on the beautiful grounds by seminarians during World War I with completion in 1920. The statue of Mary, for a niche high in the rock wall of the Grotto, arrived on August 5 (Mary’s actual birth date!) of that same year.

Neal prayed the Rosary at the Grotto for three months by himself. He placed some of her messages to him, anonymously, in the local paper, potentially for anyone’s inspiration. After the three months, Mary asked him to bring five friends – and stated that a television station would eventually be involved later on. By June of 2004, Neal made it public about what was happening at the Grotto. Sure enough, Channel 12 TV from Cape Girardeau appeared during December of 2004 to do a story about the events at the Grotto for their 10:00 p.m. newscast. When that first 13 months had passed, Mary indicated to Neal that she was pleased with the devotions and prayers taking place at the Grotto – and asked him to keep coming on the 13th of every month, indefinitely.

Prayer Grotto on the grounds of the National Shrine of the Miraculous Medal
Prayer Grotto on the grounds of the National Shrine of the Miraculous Medal

In June of 2013, ten years later, Neal has never missed a month and still receives a message from Our Lady on each occasion. He continues to be faithful and devoted to her requests, never knowing if there will be an endpoint to it all. When asked if it is hard to keep this dedication going, he replied,

“When the Mother of God asks you to do something, you feel compelled to listen!”

Neal describes Our Lady as coming to him in a vision, surrounded by clouds and mist. She wears a long white gown with gold trim and a gold sash. There appear to be stars on her gown, but Neal says that they are actually floating just above her dress and all around her. She has long, wavy, brown hair with a gold crown on top of her head. The crown appears to have dark green emeralds encircling it and twelve little crosses around the top, representing the twelve apostles. She has a blue mantle over her white gown. Neal feels disconnected from everything and everyone else around him when she comes – “I only see Mary.” Sometimes, there are saints or angels with her.

Visionary Neal (on left) prays and awaits the appearance of Our Lady on the 13th of each month since 2003.
Visionary Neal (on left) prays and awaits the appearance of Our Lady on the 13th of each month since 2003.

Neal states that when she comes, he can see her and know exactly where she is without looking around for her. “I don’t know how heaven does that, but that’s what I see.” He says that she will often walk through the praying crowd, blessing them, and hearing their thoughts. At times, she will tell him, “A woman in the crowd is wondering about …(some issue); tell her …(Mary’s reply).” Blessed Mary told Neal this:

“Darkness has filled the earth. If the prayer of St. Gertrude is prayed between each decade in union with the Rosary, a thousand souls will be released from Purgatory for each Hail Mary.”

How the Blessed Virgin appears to Neal during the apparitions.
How the Blessed Virgin appears to Neal during the apparitions.

I had the opportunity to personally visit this Grotto to pray with the group and talk with Neal on May 13 (first Fatima apparition) and October 13 (Fatima’s Miracle of the Sun) in 2013. As a psychiatric therapist, I can attest to Neal’s grounded, sane, and humble manner – free of any obvious disorder or delusions. Some members of the Marian Association attend the Shrine every month. We all have had the experience of “smelling the roses that are not present” and feeling a great peace and unity while praying the Rosary there. Some have captured some fascinating photos of the sun with doves, crosses, and especially rose petals appearing in the photographs.

Perryville is in the diocese of St. Louis; the archbishop and area priests are aware of Neal allegedly receiving messages from Our Blessed Mother. They are accepting of the activities going on at the Grotto but have neither condemned nor officially approved of them at this point in time. Decide for yourself what is happening in Perryville – as it is within driving distance for most of us. Here are just a few of the messages from those visits:

Visionary Neal in ecstasy with the Virgin Mary in Perryville, Missouri
Visionary Neal in ecstasy with the Virgin Mary in Perryville, Missouri

May 13, 2013:

“Our world is full of much darkness. It seems that Evil is prevailing. My people, for those who are faithful to God, who hold true to His Word, those are devoted to my Immaculate Heart, St. Joseph’s Most Chaste Heart, and Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart, you will prevail in everything. Evil will not succumb you. We must remain true to God in all things, living our everyday life for God. You are to be that Torch of Light to others in a world of darkness. You have nothing to fear if you keep your eyes on Christ at all times. You are to reflect the Holy Family. I am calling on all of you to carry that torch of Christ’s light to the whole world.”

“So many wonder what tomorrow may bring. Tomorrow will take care of itself. You just need to live in the present of each and every day. Never deny Jesus. Men, devote yourself to St. Joseph. He was obedient to God in all things; learn this obedience so that you can be good priests of your households. As a good mother I come here each and every month to encourage you, to guide you in wisdom and truth. Learn the true faith of the Church. God will never fail you. God is in control of all things, and He knows all things. He sees the hearts and minds and souls of all of you.”

 Neal shares the messages given to him with the prayer group of 200 people.
Neal shares the messages given to him with the prayer group of 200 people.

“God sees good here. If you saw what your prayers are doing – and the power of your prayers, you would never cease praying.”

Warraq Al-Hadar, Egypt (2009)

Warraq al-Hadar is a small island in the Nile River in the Giza governorate, a part of Greater Cairo. This is a very poor district. December is a Marian month and Nativity Fast on the Coptic Calendar. During this month the Coptic Church celebrates a special Midnight Praise dedicated to the Holy Virgin and the Incarnation.

The apparitions began at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael in Al-Warraq. Hassan, a Muslim neighbor, was sitting at his local coffee shop across the street when he saw a strong light coming from the church around 8:30 p.m. More people on the street began to notice the light and saw a bird circling above the church. Around 2:00 a.m., a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared in her blue and white robes.

Supernatural lights appear around the lighted crosses on dome
Supernatural lights appear around the lighted crosses on dome

Father Dawoud of this same church reports how that first night developed after neighbors began calling the church, worried about why the large crowds were suddenly gathering:

“The phone calls poured in; many people said that they had just seen an apparition of Virgin Mary on the right dome of the church.”

Muslim neighbors were among the callers. A dear friend of Father Dawoud, Haj Rashad, the neighborhood distributor of gas cylinders, filed this report:

“What are you doing here (inside the church), Father? I have just seen Our Lady Mary with my own eyes! Go and see for yourself.”

“At first we thought that a little kid was playing with a flashlight, but then the light intensified and moved from the tree in front of the church entrance up to the right dome. An embodiment of the Virgin Mary could be easily recognized. It stayed there for a while. I have captured the scene with my mobile phone.”

Anba Theodosius, Bishop of Giza, issued this statement:

“On Friday, December 11, 2009, at 1:00 a.m. the Holy Virgin appeared in her full height in luminous robes above the middle dome of church named after her – Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church in Al-Warraq. She was described as wearing a pure white dress with a royal blue belt. She had a crown on her head, above which appeared the cross on top of the dome. The crosses on top of the church’s domes and towers glowed brightly with light. Blessed Mary moved between the domes and on to the top of the church gate between its two twin towers. All of the local residents saw her! The apparition lasted from 1:00 a.m. until 4:00 a.m. on Friday. Many cameras and cell phones took pictures. Some 3,000 people from the neighborhood, surrounding areas, and passers-by gathered in the street in front of the church to see the apparition.

Since Friday, the huge crowds gathered in the vicinity of the church have been seeing luminous white pigeons soaring above the church during various times of the night. They also saw a star emerge suddenly in the night sky and travel some 200 meters across the sky and disappear. The huge crowds never stopped singing hymns and praises for the Holy Virgin.”

The scene, as described, along with photos and videos, was broadcast on Amr Adib’s talk show, “Cairo Today” on December 13, 2009. The news spread like wildfire; crowds flocked to Giza to catch a glimpse of Our Lady.

TV reporter provides live coverage during the apparition scene.
TV reporter provides live coverage during the apparition scene.

Bishop Theodosius adds that it is important to investigate the event fully:

“I stayed up all night on Sunday. I 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 like hovering with their wings. It is uncommon for doves to fly at night.”

The event had a different dimension for security forces. Selim, a policeman, pointed out that he had been on duty at the site for seven hours already and did not expect to be relieved for another five hours. Father Dawoud said that the police were exerting a tremendous effort and were being very cooperative. Father Dawoud also praised church neighbors, many of whom allowed visitors to view the church from the roofs of their buildings.

For several weeks, a silent crowd running in the thousands gathered in front of the church, gazing up into the sky in the early morning hours. Whenever the mysterious light appeared over the church tower, the crowd was jolted into a frenzy of astonished cries.

Is that the Virgin Mary standing between the domes?
Is that the Virgin Mary standing between the domes?

Many of the local Muslims did not deny the sightings, but claimed they were hoaxed with laser beams – although no evidence or proof of those claims ever surfaced.

For the Muslim named Rami, it was a different reaction:

“It was her! – with her blue and white clothes.”

Kawkab Munir Shehata, age 39, is convinced of what she saw. In fact, the mother of two says that the Virgin Mary restored the sight that she had lost in her left eye.

“It was about 3:40 a.m. I felt immense pain, which lasted about a quarter of an hour. Then I was ecstatic to find out that I could see clearly. Now, my left eye is even better than my right one.”

Circle is around one of the "glowing birds" in flight among the domes.
Circle is around one of the “glowing birds” in flight among the domes.

By December 22 of 2009, more than 200,000 Christians and Muslims had witnessed the apparitions on the domes of this church in Warraq al-Hadar. Apparition lights in the night sky could be seen several kilometers away from the church. The full silhouette of the Blessed Holy Virgin dressed in a light blue gown could be clearly seen over the domes and between the church crosses. People used their mobile phones to make videos of the apparitions and share them via Bluetooth and on YouTube. These events received wide media coverage in Egyptian newspapers and Arabic TV channels.

For some, the apparition of the Virgin Mary is a response to a recent article that appeared in a periodical published by Al-Azhar University that questioned the foundations of Christianity. Father Fishay comments:

“Maybe her appearance is to bring people closer together. Maybe it will bring about the end of the state of tensions between Muslims and Christians – and an end to extremism. Maybe it will bring back forgiveness like there once used to be in Egypt.”

Maybe it was a sign of hope for Egypt’s Copts, who are 10 percent of the country’s population, and have lived far too long on the margins of society – often victims of violence.

Bishop Theodosius concludes, talking to Al-Ahram Weekly:

“If the sightings continue, a fact-finding committee will be formed to investigate the matter, and they will submit their report to Pope Shenouda III, on which basis he may issue a papal declaration.”

Luminous shape suggests a heavenly figure has appeared...
Luminous shape suggests a heavenly figure has appeared…

According to the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio, these apparitions were indeed investigated and officially approved by the Coptic Pope, Shenouda III.

Ternopil / Lishnya, Ukraine (2003-2005)

Apparitions in the Ukraine have taken place in recent times and are similar to other apparitions in the sense that they call us to prayer and conversion and talk about punishment for sins. The apparitions emphasize the great importance of suffering and present interesting information about prophets, who are “created from the Heart of the Lord Jesus and are sent to people in the end times.”

When the Ukraine was one of the 15 Soviet Republics, the Church of the Ukraine was persecuted and many people lost their faith. Before the Second World War, Ternopil belonged to Poland, which is the reason this beautiful town also has a Polish name, Tarnopol.

The first apparitions began on the 13th of June, 2003. A nine-year old girl named Yulia was the recipient of visits from Blessed Mary, Lord Jesus, and Archangel Gabriel over a three-year span. Because these events are so recent and remote, there are not many details yet. What have been passed on already are many of the messages from these alleged visits, still not yet approved by the Church.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Ternopil
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Ternopil

Blessed Mary, Ternopil, April 5, 2004:

“I see your hearts. But not all who present flowers to this Holy Place have the same love in their hearts. Children, you have great envy – but why? The Mother of God and Her children cannot have envy. They should have only obedience and gladness for their neighbor or brother. Please, be frank in your heart so that your lips and heart speak together in the same manner – and then this child will be Mine. Arrogance, betrayal, debauchery, and unruliness prevent your spiritual ranks from praying with the intention of the Holy Spirit. All people seem to pray only in their own human intention.”

“My sweet children, use time for prayer in this Holy Place every day during the time of Holy Week. You should leave everything behind and be only in prayer in serving God. Children you should know that it is not the food on your tables, but your prayers that are waited on by Christ – only prayers with sacrifices in them.”

“When more than 2,500 true pilgrims come here, you will create a power for change in this Holy Land, which was chosen by God as Holy from the day of creating the World. And now it is chosen as a Holy Place for the saving of the whole world.”

Blessed Mary, Lishnya, April 18, 2004:

“Notify all the people in the world about the good news that Christ was resurrected! He gave us and all the people on the Earth eternal life, but only we must believe everything that is given from Heaven.”

Blessed Mary, Lishnya, August 7, 2004:

“You grow spiritually every day, my sweet children. Beginning with the first day of My appearance here, you have prayed every day in this Holy Place of Mine and My Son, your God Jesus Christ. Every day is like a brick with which you build a Spiritual temple in your hearts. I can be proud of you before the Heavenly Father.”

Blessed Mary, Ternopil, April 12, 2005 (ten days after the death of Pope John Paul II):

“I report to you: your Apostolic Vicar is alive, safe, and sound, in great calmness, in full consciousness, and in great sorrow for his human heart. He is in a great holy prayer for you, Faithful Remnant, which is the threaded stone of the Holy Christ’s Faith today – and for the salvation of all human beings on the Earth. You must understand – that place of concealment of Holy Father Pope John Paul II is in My Immaculate Heart – the Heart of the Mother of the Holy Church.”

Inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Lord Jesus, Ternopil, June 8, 2004:

“God will never leave His innocent people – especially when people are roaming and looking for Truth. But God sees that it is really impossible to find it anywhere. But children, you have the Holy Book; there are all of the mysteries and laws in it – which are Holy in God.”

“God’s Truth is Holy through the ages from the time of creating the world. Truth, Honesty, and Holy Law. The Book of God is Holy – it is the Holy scriptures. My children, I announced through the ages that each Word in it is Holy. To add something to it or to take Holy from it is impossible, because sin is deathful and death is to each person.”

“All children of this world, you must be wise. Use this time for your salvation, because it is very short. Do not be amused by the kindness of those who are going to decline – who are sent to you by the devil in order to distract you from your salvation. You have so short a time. All of your savings, accumulated buildings and possessions, reserved for the future for your children – that you planned all for yourselves will be scattered by winds of fire on this sinful earth, which will be devastated by the people.”

“I shall give you the kindness of Grace. I shall give you the road of knowledge, the key to closed gates of the heart. I shall open all gates which are yet closed. I shall cheer up all souls. I shall open blind eyes; I shall open impaired hearing of your ears. I shall kindle by pity neglected souls to sincerely pity for your earthly sin. I shall open the mysteries of Holy spiritual life in Truth – which are not opened yet, to all who will come.”

Lord Jesus, Ternopil, March 19, 2005:

“Open the door in your heart in order that I may come and be there. The key to this door of your heart is Holy Confession and sincere repentance with a great pity of your heart for all the sins of your life on the Earth.”

“My Will is in sufferings for your earthly sins: back-biting, betrayal, your earthly glory, unnecessary self indulgences, the human powerless will, and non-productive life on Earth. You must suffer and ask God about the Grace of patience. That is My Will. But your will is to throw away sufferings and to be in Heaven.”

“For the people of the Earth — those who are in ranks and without ranks – the only way to God is salvation. The way without salvation leads to hell. But elected children have only the way to Heaven. They are children – prophets, who were created by God before the creation of the world. These children are Mine from My Heart. These children don’t have fear for truthful Faith. They are children of Love from My Heart. The luxury of life in this world is nothing for them.”

“A loss of mankind is that sign of Punishment from Heaven in the near future, my people. My children, whoever loves Me, carries his cross in suffering and does not complain, who is exhausted in dirty word from human word, who gives his glory to the Glorification of Great God, who suffers humiliations, who does not find relief – I am with you. I send you sufferings, but I also send you strength, grace, and the quiet in your soul.”

Approaching the altar
Approaching the altar

Lord Jesus, Ternopil, May 21, 2005:

“I entrust you from My Holy Heart, to which you consecrate your sweet heart in every coming day of God’s, to spread all over the world the Majesty of Holy Glory of Our Queen of Heaven and the Earth as Our Protectress and Co-redemptrix of the whole world.”

“People who are filled with the Power of My Holy Will are given the Spirit of My God’s Providence. They are filled with joy of the great Holy Glory of God the Father and of God the Son and of God the Holy Ghost. They are filled with the beautiful aroma of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

“Hurry to all Holy Places untouched by the devil’s power. Ask and beg for forgiveness.”

Lord Jesus, Lishnya, no date:

“Write this last warning! People will see a big cross. It will be seen by the whole world for seven days.”

Blessed Mary, Lishnya, no date:

“Write this, my golden daughter (Yulia), that the end of the era will begin on Easter after Holy Mass.”

Archangel Gabriel, Lishnya, no date:

“People will see their Guardian Angels and also devils. Those who listen to devils will explode in the atmosphere. But those who listen to their Guardians will be saved.”

Lord Jesus, Lishnya, no date:

“The end of the era will last 13 years. Two comets will fall down to the Earth, one of them to the southern part, and the other to the eastern hemisphere into the ocean. Thirty-seven earthquakes will take place. Sinners will explode in the atmosphere and righteous people will be saved in the Holy Places (where Our Lady appeared) in Lourdes, Fatima, Garabandal, Zakarpattya, and here in Prykarpattya – and also in their own houses.
You must cover doors and windows with white material. During this time, electric power and clocks will not work. Simple candles will not give light. Only candles blessed on the Candlemas Day will give some light. After the end of the era, people will return and believe in God; they will also go to the Church. I Bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

The Virgin Mary of Ternopil, Ukraine
The Virgin Mary of Ternopil, Ukraine

Much more information needs to be gathered about these apparitions and their messages. At this time there has been no official disapproval or any official acceptance yet. But some of these final details from this nine-year old Yulia certainly do match specific details from other messages from Garabandal, El Escorial, and Medjugorje.

Zakarpattia, Ukraine, 2002

On August 27, 2002, two girls from the village of Nyzhne Bolotne (in Western Ukraine) went to a grove to get some water from the spring there. Olenka Kuruts was ten years old, and her friend, Mar’yanka Kobal, was nine years old. Olenka looked up to see a “beautiful lady” standing at some distance behind Mar’yanka. When Mar’yanka first turned around to look, she did not see her. But after she filled her bucket with water and looked around again, she did also see the “beautiful lady,” standing quietly several paces away. Because the lady did not say anything, they became frightened, thinking she might be a witch. The lady was standing on a small cloud adorned with all kinds of flowers, just above the ground. Mary was wearing a white dress with a blue belt and a white headscarf. As the girls took their filled buckets and headed back to the village, the lady on the cloud glided along behind them, escorting them home.

Olenka’s parents disbelieved her story and reprimanded her for wasting time on such foolishness. But Mar’yanka’s father was a priest, so he cautioned the girls to be careful and always make the sign of the cross.

Zakarpattia Picture 1
Zakarpattia Picture 1

Later that same day, the girls headed to pick up Olenka’s younger sister from kindergarten when they saw the lady on the little cloud again. When they made the sign of the cross to protect themselves, the lady was quite pleased and smiled radiantly. Mary then made the sign of the cross in return with her folded fingers. When the girls asked who she was, they were told that she was “The Most Pure Virgin.” On their way home from the kindergarten, the lady appeared again – this time with “two angels” with her. One “angel” was taller than the other. They later learned that these were “guardian angels.” A third angel which appeared in later encounters was identified as St. Michael.

As the children became more accustomed to seeing the Blessed Virgin, they became bolder, asking her many questions. Mary said that she came to promote the authority of the priests among the people, to unite the church, to bring together the Ukrainian people who were separated, and promote more prayer. Mary wanted the children’s parents to go to the spring in the woods to pray, but Mar’yanka’s father, the priest, was reluctant because it did not seem proper. Mary asked – through the children – for the priest to inform the local church authorities of her appearances by telling “the old Bishop Marhitych” first.

Zakarpattia Picture 2
Zakarpattia Picture 2

The bishop was informed and immediately came to their village to question the young girls closely. He wanted to know if she could confirm her identity in some manner to them. The girls replied that when people started praying at the spring in the woods that a confirmation would happen. Therefore, on August 31, 2002, Bishop Marhitych held a religious service at the spring in the woods (known as Jublyk).

Word spread, and soon many pilgrims from all over the Ukraine were coming to this area in hopes of seeing a miracle. A chapel was eventually built there and sightings of Mary happened with others at this place. Some reported that Mary was weeping; others saw the Holy Family. The cross standing in front of this chapel lost its gilding and blood appeared instead. A sample was sent to a laboratory, and tests revealed that it truly was blood (as reported in a May 12, 2004 newspaper). Many people reported that they could look directly at the sun without blinking or injury while at Jublyk. Miracles were reported occurring at the spring of water. Some people smelled incense or roses — despite neither being visibly present. Another reliable report claimed that the sun appeared completely different – “with a circle of different colors” around it.

Zakarpattia Picture 3
Zakarpattia Picture 3

Several weeks after these events first began, Olenka saw a man strangely appear next to the priest during a church service. She whispered to Mar’yanka next to her who noted only the silhouette of a man initially – which then developed into a visual appearance of a tall man with shoulder-length hair and a small beard. Mar’yanka then whispered to her Mom what she was seeing – “the man wore a blue garment with a red shirt underneath … his feet could not be seen as they were hidden by a small cloud.” She described wounds on his hands and that he was very good looking. The girls both reported that he was conducting the service along with priest, making all the same gestures. Wondering if this had been Jesus, they asked the Virgin Mary at her next appearance, and she confirmed that it had been Jesus whom they had seen! They also saw, on another occasion, a man in a brown robe holding a long stick in one hand and a lily in the other. They wondered if this might have been St. Joseph.

There remained many skeptics and doubters who thought the girls must be hallucinating, making it all up, or psychic in ability. But the girls not only were healthy, normal, and active in typical events for their age, but they had no history of any disorders, lying, or fabricating tall tales.

One day, accompanied by eight other children, they went to the spring in the woods where Mary appeared to them again. They invited the other children to kiss the Virgin’s hand or feet. Even though the other children could not see her, when they were guided to where her feet would be and kissed the area, they sensed “a strange warmth” there. On the way home, they all observed a mysterious light following them to their village.

Zakarpattia Picture 4
Zakarpattia Picture 4

On another occasion, Olenka kissed the feet of Christ when he appeared before her – but then felt a sharp pain stab her in the hands, feet, heart, and head. She collapsed to the ground, and the other children had difficulty raising her. She stretched on the ground, spreading her arms out, assuming the position of someone being crucified. Again, she could not be lifted from the ground. A young boy ran back to the village for help, returning with Reverend Atanasy Chiypesh and a watchman. They eventually got her to her home after sprinkling water from the spring on her face. Unable to speak yet, she wrote on paper for her parents that she would not be able to attend school during Lent due to her inability to walk. Rev. Atanasy interviewed her carefully, learning that she had accepted an offer to suffer along with Jesus and not be able to walk until Easter. In a dream at night, the Virgin Mary took her on a cloud, riding to Paradise, Purgatory, and Hell. She was surprised to see bishops and priests in all three places. Mary explained that they were in Hell because they did not really believe in God. Some priests were in Purgatory because they did not listen to the righteous bishops as they should have. The stigmata pains lasted for some time for Olenka, but they are all gone now.

Assiut, Egypt, 2000-2001

Assiut, a city in the southern part of Egypt, was the farthest south that Mary and Joseph had travelled into Egypt. Since mid-August, 2000, the Egyptian city of Assiut has experienced unusual lights, glowing figures and doves over St. Mark’s church – a large Coptic church in the center of Old Town. Hundreds and sometimes thousands prayed, sang, and danced around the church. It was initially suspected that somebody was perpetrating a clever hoax with lasers or a light effects show. But, when the local government ordered the electricity for the entire area to be switched off for one night in order to uncover any deception, the unusual lights returned as bright as ever. Next, the officials evacuated the area from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. each night, but the spiritual lights were stronger and brighter than ever.

A supernatural light appears next to the church dome.
picture 1: A supernatural light appears next to the church dome.

It began at 11:30 p.m. on August 17, 2000, while hundreds of thousands of Copts from all over Egypt were celebrating St. Mary’s Lent. Residents around St. Mark’s church of both Coptic and Muslim faith watched the apparition of the Virgin Mary above the dome and between the two towers until 3:00 a.m. Then again, from 4:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. she appeared along with blue-green flashes of heavenly lights and glowing doves. Thousands gathered as the news spread like wildfire. After the officials gave up trying to find any evidence of a hoax or clever light display, the figure of Mary along with incense, celestial lights, and flying luminous doves continued every night from 2:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. On one occasion, the shadow of a monk appeared next to Mary.

September 6, 2000: One woman told the BBC that she had seen the Virgin Mary with outstretched hands, and a light emanating from them, accompanied by a smell of incense and large numbers of glowing pigeons.

September 11, 2000: Marcelle Maurice witnessed the apparition of the Virgin Mary every night she came to the church. She saw her with the flashing lights and “big white doves.”

More supernatural lights appear in the sky.
picture 2: More supernatural lights appear in the sky.

Sarwat Hani Marzouk said, “I saw Mary. She was so beautiful, wearing a blue veil. Light was emanating from her hands. Then doves started flying – they were as big as ducks.”

On September 15 – with thousands headed to rooftops for the best views – one eyewitness files this report from his position across from the south side of the church.

Luminous birds create formations in the sky.
picture 3: Luminous birds create formations in the sky.

“The two church towers – especially the south one – were a festive theater of heavenly lights and flying doves for more than four hours! Very amazing! Very touching! Very impressive! Explosions of light come from each of the eight sides of the second level of the tower. Other flashes stem from the left tower, across the roof, ending in the main dome and illuminating the cross above it. Something like a spot of light could be seen inside the center of the cross above the tower – from which a storm of light burst forth. Lights vary in intensity … to a very bright shining light that is so intense that it illuminates the surrounding buildings and faces of the people!! The most touching feature that occurred many times was a burst of light coming forth from inside the dome, passing through the eight columns … From inside that light comes something like doves – seen at first still continuous with the light, then separated in a spark-like fashion to fly for a short distance – then disappear.”

“As for the doves, I could see them in many formations … flying above the church, between the towers – they don’t flap their wings. What is astonishing is that the chest of each dove is luminous like a lamp. They fly and then disappear after a while. Doves continued to fly with the bursts of light for a couple of hours. When you look around, you see the thousands of people over hundreds of roofs or hanging out windows – praying, singing hymns, or applauding.”

October 8, 2000: The dazzling apparition lights continue over the domes and towers of St. Mark’s church, accompanied with miracles of healings being reported.

Strange lights illuminate certain parts of the church.
picture 4: Strange lights illuminate certain parts of the church.

Coptic Pope Shenouda III and His Grace Metropolitan Anba Michael of Assiut followed the apparition events closely with the Coptic Pope confirming the validity of these reports on a visit to the US and Canada that year.

“These apparitions are a message of comfort from heaven – and one of confirmation of the faith of Copts – that heaven is aware of their struggle and is pleased by their perseverance.”

Both British and Egyptian journalists have traveled to Assiut and have seen the amazing lights – but cannot find a source or reasonable explanation for their appearance. Father Labib from the nearby Orthodox Copt Dronka Monastery was excited about the sightings, claiming that when you look for the source of light, you cannot find it.

The unusual lights continue.
picture 5: The unusual lights continue.

“This light is from heaven.”

March 29, 2001: At St. Michael’s Cathedral, strange events there began drawing thousands. It began in the sanctuary at 1:00 p.m. as the Eucharist was being celebrated. Bright lights illuminated the icons in the sanctuary and bathed the Holy Oblations on the altar. This occurred several more times before the Holy Mass concluded at 3:00 p.m. Several members of the congregation were able to photograph these unusual lights. Cell phones texted others and soon thousands were headed toward this church.

That evening, “heavenly lights illuminated the church dome and towers” followed by the appearance of “large glowing doves” flying around the dome. This lasted from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. at dawn and was seen by thousands who had gathered around the church to watch and photograph the spectacle. The lights and doves appeared every night until a week later on Tuesday, April 4, 2001. As the luminous doves glided overhead, the sounds of thousands chanting prayers and praises filled the streets.

The supernatural lights could become very bright.
picture 6: The supernatural lights could become very bright.

When King Herod had ordered the killing of all children in Bethlehem, the Holy Family had fled Israel and come into Egypt. Assiut is where they spent the longest period of time – six months – and the farthest south that they had travelled.

The Bishop of Assiut confirmed these stories officially on April 6, 2001.

Dong-Lu, China, 1995

Over 30,000 Catholics from the unofficial Church had gathered for Mass on May 23, 1995, at the Dong Lu shrine on the vigil of the Feast of Our Lady, Mary Help of Christians.  There were four bishops of the unofficial Church concelebrating the Mass, and nearly 100 unofficial priests standing in the open field.

Suddenly, during the opening prayer and again during the consecration, the people observed the sun spinning from right to left.  Light rays of various shades of color emanated from the sky.  Participants saw Our Lady of China and the child Jesus in the sky.  The Virgin Mary appeared as a beautiful lady in white, surrounded by light.  They also saw the Holy Family, the Heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit.  The phenomenon lasted about 20 minutes. 

Our Lady of China
Our Lady of China

The Public Security barred all pilgrims from joining anyone on the hill.  The police forced people back into buses and trains without offering any explanation.  Still, as many as 100,000 of the faithful successfully reached the area by finding alternative ways to get there to celebrate the Feast of Mary Help of Christians on May 24, 1995.

An official government announcement forbade anyone from going to the Dong Lu shrine.  The Chinese government mobilized 5,000 troops, supported by dozens of armored cars and helicopters.  They destroyed and leveled that Marian shrine, confiscated the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and arrested many priests.

However, the picture of Our Lady of China survived and remains intact.  Only a copy of that picture was actually used in the church.  The original picture had been hidden in the wall behind the copy, and this was recovered safely.  It is now in the protective custody of Chinese priests who carry out their activities secretly.

The Cardinal Kung Foundation is promoting the celebration of an annual Mass for the persecuted underground Roman Catholic Church in China.  The Foundation has chosen the Sunday that falls before October 1st as the annual date for this Mass.  October 1st is the National Day of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and also the anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s canonization of the 120 blessed martyr saints of China.

Although the Church has not issued an official judgment of the overall apparitions at Dong Lu, China, Pope Pius XI’s establishment of the church there as an official Marian Shrine constituted implicit approval.

 

Itapiranga, Brazil, 1994-1998

Edson Glauber, age 22, was a university student studying economics at the time of the apparitions in northern Brazil.  He is a kind, stable, calm young man who demonstrates remarkable balance and good mental health according to Monsignor Rene Laurentin.  The series of reported visits began on May 2, 1994, in Manaus.  Blessed Mary appeared as a “very beautiful seventeen year-old.”  Our Lady told him that she is the Queen of the Holy Rosary.

The visionary, Edson Glauber, in Brazil
picture 1: The visionary, Edson Glauber, in Brazil

She appeared along with Jesus, being held in the arms of St. Joseph, on several occasions.  When asked by Edson why Our Lady chose to appear as a mother with her son, she replied,

“Because I want to show all my children, all over the world, the love of a mother that I have for my son Jesus – and the love of a son that Jesus has for me.  For this I chose to appear as mother and son to represent this love.”

Edson tried his best to portray the image of the Holy Family as well as he saw it.  He describes that their three hearts are gathered on the same level.  The Virgin’s heart is pierced by a cross, radiating light to the heart of St. Joseph, which in turn radiates light to the land and into the heart of the little Child Jesus, in the arms of St. Joseph on the right side of the picture.  All three hearts are in alignment at the same height so that no significance or priority is given to any one person.

Queen of the Rosary in Brazil
picture 2: Queen of the Rosary in Brazil

Our Lady speaks of the consecration to the most chaste Heart of St. Joseph.  His heart appears on his chest, and in his heart there is an “M” with a cross – as if to indicate that the hearts of Mary and Jesus are always together with his.

Edson was given the mission to pray for the young, for their conversion, for peace, and for the world.

Holy Mary speaks to the truth of the apparitions at Ghiaie di Bonate, Italy, where she had introduced herself as the Queen of the Family in 1944 (exactly 50 years earlier!).  Edson had never heard of that place or that visionary before.   But with his spiritual director, an Italian priest, and permission from the bishop of Manaus, the opportunity developed to visit Ghiaie di Bonate in Italy.  While visiting there, Edson learned that apparitions of Mary had indeed taken place and had centered on the importance of the family and family values – just as Our Lady had told him.  The Blessed Virgin insisted upon praying the Rosary and penance to save the world’s problems – which were aggravated by “unbelief.”  Mary had emphasized there the importance of prayer, the Holy Mass, confession, and communion.

Edson Glauber with the Virgin Mary
picture 3: Edson Glauber with the Virgin Mary

Many spiritual fruits of conversion and life changes are attributed to these apparitions.  Thousands of people come every day to Itapiranga to drink the water from the healing fountain.  Some doctors have studied the reported healings there and sent their findings to the Apostolic Prefecture of Itacoatiara.

In her last public apparition on May 2, 1998 (exactly four years later to the day) in Itapiranga, Our Lady warns that she would no longer appear in that place because she had already said what she wanted to convey to the people.  Now it was time to put into practice what she had been telling them to do.

Apparitions continued privately for both Edson and his mother, Maria do Carmo, because Our Lady stated that she wanted to continue to guide them and pray with them for the Church, the world, families, and peace.

The three Sacred Hearts of Mary, Jesus, and Joseph
picture 4: The three Sacred Hearts of Mary, Jesus, and Joseph

In the years, 1998-2000, the Virgin Mary appeared several times to Edson during meetings with groups of young people in Brazil.  Since 2001, Our Lady has appeared frequently on Saturdays during the prayer meeting that takes place in the home of Edson.  In addition to her request to evangelize, Our Lady asked Edson to create a soup kitchen in Itapiranga for needy children.  She also requested that a chapel be built “in memory of the workers who died in the thirties in that region.”  Blessed Mary then requested that Edson bring the healing waters that were flowing at the site of the apparitions to the sick who cannot go there for themselves.  Many conversions and positive life changes occurred after this apparition.

Thousands of people come every day to Itapiranga.  They drink water from the healing fountain.  Some doctors have studied the healings there and then sent their findings to the Apostolic Prefecture of Itacoatiara.

Bishop Jorge Eduardo Marskell remained at a distance from the reported healings and other spiritual fruits – and apparently was also unfavorable of the apparitions, according to Monsignor Rene Laurentin.  But, after five years of general and pastoral verifications, the current bishop of Itacoatiara, Archbishop Carillo Gritti, publicly celebrated Mass in the place of the apparitions.  He also worked to construct a sanctuary.  He interviewed Edson Glauber and his mother, Maria do Carmo, on several occasions.

The full story and all messages contained in this book
picture 5: The full story and all messages contained in this book

On May 31, 2009, Archbishop Carillo Gritti approved the supernatural character of the apparitions in this statement:

“Considering these opinions, testimonies, and developments — and pondering all of this in prayer and theological reflection, everything leads me to finding that there are appearances in Itapiranga of a supernatural origin.” 

** To read more about this apparition and its messages from the Blessed Virgin, obtain the book by Dr. Mark Miravalle, entitled: The Three Hearts / Apparitions of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph from the Amazon.