In May of 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed in Tel Aviv. Wars and atrocities soon followed in the Middle East. But something special happened a few years later in July of 1954. The Coptic Patriarchal Church and the Coptic School of St. Anthony of Egypt are barely a hundred yards away from the Holy Sepulchre or Church of the Resurrection where the tomb of Jesus and True Cross were allegedly discovered. It was in these surroundings that there occurred two apparitions of Blessed Mary during a two-week period that July. They become important because there were so many witnesses.
On the morning of July 18, 1954, Primary Class Five was receiving religious instruction at the School of St. Anthony. The young students included Coptic, Catholic, and Moslem children. At about 11:00 a.m., as the students were anticipating their lunch break, some of them were looking out the window. Suddenly, they exclaimed with excitement, “El Adra! El Adra!” (The Virgin!)
They shouted that the Virgin Mary was floating by a window across the courtyard. They recognized her as the Blessed Virgin because she was dressed in blue and was surrounded by a glowing white aura near her body. This white glow transformed into an iridescent blue as it radiated outward from her form.
All of the children rushed to the windows to see the sight. All of them saw Our Lady. The teacher, however, could not see her. She had trouble getting the children to settle down and come back to their seats. The children did not want to leave the windows and lose sight of this divine presence. The teacher summoned the school’s male secretary for help. He, also, could not make out any image of the Blessed Virgin, so he commanded the children to stop being so silly. After bringing the class back to order, he locked the door to prevent them from going into the courtyard.
Soon, the children were in an uproar again. This time Our Lady actually appeared within their classroom among the children! The Virgin’s form with its whitish-blue aura seemed to have been rather transparent since the young witnesses could see right through her. This event lasted for about five minutes – or at least long enough to attract several of the adults. The adults were bewildered because they still could not see anything while the children were ecstatic with excitement.
But then, Blessed Mary positioned herself in front of one of the classroom walls where she grew in intensity and brilliance. At that point, several of the adults admitted that they could make out the outline of her figure with a faint luminescence. Now they knew that the children were not imagining things and had good reason to be excited. The Blessed Mary vanished at this moment.
News of this supernatural event spread like fire. The school was permanently disrupted for that day with hundreds of the curious coming to view the classroom where the apparition had taken place. Eventually, this classroom was painted in blue to match the color of Our Lady’s dress. A magnificent icon of the Virgin Mary was placed on the wall in front of which she had appeared. A plaque outside the classroom window details the events of that appearance by Our Lady.
The Coptic Patriarchal church associated with this School of St. Anthony experienced a sudden increase of visitors and pilgrims. Scheduled services became standing-room only! And their devotion was richly rewarded one week later.
At Vespers, on July 25, 1954, there were close to four hundred people present, including Moslems as well as Christians. The parish priest was a “tough, strong, no-nonsense man” who was conducting the service when it became interrupted by startled shouts and cries. The entire congregation was definitely seeing something. When the priest looked up, he was so overcome with emotion at what he witnessed that he could not continue the service. The priest and the entire congregation clearly saw the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, moving either just above their heads — or among and between them.
This time the Lady was more visible than before. Rays of colored light streamed out from her and bathed the astonished faces of the congregation with many colors. People also saw the rays of light reflect off the church walls. This appearance of Our Holy Mother lasted for about fifteen minutes – which was enough time to alert others who came in and observed her as well.
Then the miraculous and divine image of Our Lady slowly faded until only her blue-white aura was present. Then, that also faded and disappeared altogether. An account of these two apparitions appeared in the Coptic Patriarchal Journal. Yet, the Copts did not feel favored; their bishop summarized their feelings well with his statement:
“She did not come for our sakes. She came because this place is holy, being within a few yards of Calvary and the Tomb.”
Despite this wonderful and inspiring pair of sightings, Israeli and Arab conflicts escalated and intensified, continuing to the present day.
Mary Ann Van Hoof was born on July 31, 1909, to Matthias Bieber and his wife, Elizabeth Gallman. Her father, Matthias, was mean and anti-religious. They were very poor; Mary Ann had to attend her herding and milking chores instead of school by the eighth grade. Then she worked as a cook in a restaurant seven days a week. She married, got pregnant, and then learned that her husband was already married! After getting away from this physically abusive and deceptive man, she finally married Fred Van Hoof in 1934. They had eight children, one of whom died as an infant.
While praying on the winter night of November 12, 1949, Mary Ann, now age forty, heard a disturbance in the hall. She saw a white light and a figure with a veil on its head. She assumed it must be one of her kids. She retreated to her bedroom and was surprised that this figure followed her. It stopped about four feet from the bed and watched her, silently. “It was sort of bluish and light-colored in the front.” Mary Ann became terribly frightened.
The next supernatural event occurred on April 7, 1950, when Mary Ann saw the body of Jesus on the crucifix become “all aglow and twice its size.” Then she heard a voice say,
“Yes, pray, my child. Pray, pray, pray hard. My child, your cross is heavy to bear, but the people all over the world are facing a heavier cross and sorrow with the enemy of God unless you pray. Pray hard with all your heart. I will return, outside, when the flowers bloom and the trees and grass are green.”
On Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 1950, Mary Ann reports:
“I saw a flash of light, sort of like when the sun reflects across the windshield. Thinking a car drove up outside, I looked and saw a blue mist behind the four little ash trees out there, and something told me that this was the approach of a saint. At that time I always called her a saint because I didn’t know who she really was. I went out. And as soon as I went out, this blue mist floated through the tips of the trees and then formed into Our Lady. She lowered herself, smiling, with her arms extended.”
Blessed Mary positioned herself in the air about two feet off the ground. She stood on a small cloud with bare feet and pink roses surrounding them. She had a blue veil on and a blue robe with a few gold stars near the bottom. She wore a cream-colored gown underneath with a golden cord around her neck. On one end of the cord was a small globe of the earth; on the other end was a large tassel. She had a large crucifix about four or five inches long and a large rosary in her hand. The rosary beads were white. On the crucifix Jesus lacks the crown of thorns and is nailed through his wrists not his hands.
Mary Ann describes more features of Our Lady: deep blue eyes, oval-shaped face, pointed chin, and golden-colored hair (from what she could see under the veil). She says,
“Oh, she was so radiant and beautiful. An artist couldn’t paint her to do her justice. The Lady’s arms seem always extended as if she was going to embrace me as I walked toward her. I’m pretty sure I hear her with the ears of my head. I just hear. It seems she blots out everything. Like the family asked me a couple of times if I noticed a train going by, which I didn’t.”
On the next day, May 29, 1950, Blessed Mary returned and urged America with this:
“Wake up, America! The enemy of God is creeping all over America! All religions must work together against the enemy of God! Pray! Pray! Pray for this. You must pray and convert Russia!”
In her appearances on May 30, June 4, June 16, August 15, and October 7, Blessed Mary vowed to return on these same dates and Trinity Sunday every year for as long as Mary Ann lived.
With 1,425 people gathered at the Van Hoof home on June 16, 1950, the Blessed Virgin delivers her first major message, which, in no uncertain terms, criticized the clergy.
“To the priests of America, archbishops and bishops: There are too many of you whose desires in earthly goods and pleasures go before your duties. Humble yourselves and be an example to your people. Remember: you are workers of Christ here on earth. You must put more effort to call your flock back into the fold.
For, if you will not hear me now, you, who are getting weak, will suffer terribly from violence and penance similar to the purged (Communist) countries. As you all know, the atomic bomb with its destruction is in the hands of the enemy.
Tell this to your priests and all other priests all over America and all over the world. There are too many priests who put luxuries and good times before their duties to God…
Priests and ministers must not war between themselves. Jealousies and hatred between religions is just what the enemy is looking for. Priests must be real shepherds, showing the way of Truth and the way of God’s law regardless of religion and color.”
Nine days later on June 25, 1950, the Korean War began. Because of the embarrassing, critical tone of this message toward the religious, bishops were not eager to approve these apparitions and tried to deflect public attention elsewhere. Efforts to discredit Mary Ann Van Hoof failed and thousands more took interest. In fact, the Blessed Virgin even predicted that at least 100,000 people would attend the next promised apparition on August 15, 1950.
More than 100,000 people attended the August 15 apparition event. Local trains even added an extra stop by Mary Ann’s house because so many people were getting on and off there. Visionary Mary Ann knelt at noon, and the Blessed Virgin appeared while thousands surrounded the place. Here are excerpts from the Virgin’s lengthy message:
“All religions must go together against the enemy of God, for he is very strong right now. Remember your Commandments, the Way of the Cross – for the Enemy of God is all over America. You would be surprised if the sheep’s clothing were taken off and how they would spring up, all around you – even some that act like Christians – they have Satan in their hearts.
The priests cannot carry on alone – nor can the Catholics carry on alone. That’s why all religions must work together, not in jealousy and hatred, but in love. Love thy neighbor. Profanity and blasphemy hurts Our Lord.
Bullets will only destroy and keep destroying … But all of you must remember my warnings of Fatima, Lipa, and La Salette. I warned you then – I’m warning you again. The beginning (of the destruction) is now in Korea; it will not end there unless we pray. It’s only beginning (in Korea) – half of America is involved with the Enemy of God.”
Although four years prior to any public fears developing about Communism, Blessed Mary predicted many things that would be taking place soon. After August 15, she told Mary Ann of how the devil was affecting every branch of government, the civil service, the news media, the armed services, the Pentagon, the priesthood, and even Protestant ministers. Blessed Mary exposed the fact that 30,000 Communists were trained as priests to infiltrate the Catholic Church. Our Lady also revealed how the drug culture would develop as well as abortions and “satanic” music and art (around 1968).
Asking for all the religions to work together was viewed as outrageous and became yet another reason for the lack of ecclesiastical support for these apparitions. However, the supernatural events continued and were well-observed.
On a Friday in Lent in 1951, in the presence of numerous people and cameras, Mary Ann Van Hoof received the stigmata of the Crown of Thorns – which was visible and photographed between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The same stigmata reoccurred on a Friday in Lent in 1952 under similar conditions. Examined by doctors, these “holy wounds” were “tangible surface and subcutaneous marks that caused considerable pain.”
Our Lady identified herself as Queen of the Holy Rosary, Mediatrix of Peace. She also foretold of racial difficulties and Masonic conspiracies. Miraculous cures conversions, and witnessed miracles occurred at or near the apparition site just outside the Van Hoof home all throughout these apparitions. An extensive accounting of these miracles between 1950 and 1966 was listed in the Testimonials of Pilgrims, published by “For My God and My Country, Inc.”
Yet, an ecclesiastical “silence” was imposed on Mary Ann in 1974 by Bishop Frederick Freking of La Crosse, Wisconsin. However, The Blessed Virgin reportedly told Mary Ann in 1975 to continue her work because “the term obedience was being used loosely by a church hierarchy that does not always follow the directives of the pope.” But Mary Ann remained in hiding.
Veneration of the apparition at Necedah has been a passionate grassroots effort. The shrines at Necedah consist of a complex of seven buildings donated by devoted workers’ money and labor. The Shrine of the Queen of the Holy Rosary, Mediatrix of Peace, produces extensive amounts of literature. Mary Ann Van Hoof died in 1984.
Tilly was a small town about fourteen miles south of the English Channel, lying between the bigger towns of Bayeux and Caen. There was a school of seventy students staffed by three nuns. In March, 1896, at about 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon, a young boy glanced out of one of the school’s windows opening onto a field to see a “beautiful lady” slowly descending from the sky. As the boy reported this, the other children and the teacher in the classroom rushed to the windows and all saw the same scene. In extreme wonderment, they watched the Lady move here and there – as if uncertain where to land. She finally positioned herself in the air near a big elm tree across the open field.
The seventy students and three nuns evacuated the school and raced across the field to see the “beautiful lady” up close. All of them clearly saw the apparition. The beautiful lady was within an oval-like aura of brilliant greens, reds, pinks, blues, and yellows which emitted “rays.” Inside of these rays was the “beautiful Lady.” Her dress appeared to have been “opulent and Turkish” in style, but it scintillated and changed colors. The Lady stood out in some resplendent and astonishing fashion and was life-size or slightly larger.
Not only had the school’s occupants all seen the descending apparition, but others in the area had also seen her arrival. Soon, there was “a great concourse of the devout and curious” filling up the field, all of whom witnessed the resplendent Lady, too. Most knelt in awe and began praying. They all assumed that this was the Blessed Virgin Mary. After a short time, the apparition vanished.
Blessed Mary did return at frequent intervals in the days thereafter, which made the usual conduct of school activities nearly impossible with these heavenly distractions! The appearances of the “beautiful lady” continued sporadically for about four years. These supernatural appearances submerged Tilly-sur-Seulles beneath an enormous and continuous crowd of pilgrims, reporters, devout and curious, and platoons of both religious and skeptical investigators.
Even on days when the Lady did not appear, crowds of 400 to 2,000 waited for her anyway. The field and nearby trees became a “forest of candles” and effigies of the Holy Mother. When Our Lady did appear, the crowds would swell into the thousands. Skeptics became convinced that these events “surpassed comprehension.” Investigators arriving to debunk the appearances would see her and then have to wrestle with their own disbelief. Witnessing her appearance with their own eyes undermined their initial convictions to doubt and disbelieve.
A large number of witnesses also described seeing other features – including saints, angels, demons, devils, and other assorted imagery which would revolve around the central apparition of the Virgin Mary. It was not realized at that time that these swirling figures corresponded to the apocalyptic visions reported by the two young visionaries at La Salette in 1846. The apparition and its accompanying phenomena usually occurred during broad daylight. But these horrible figures were soon thought of as “disquieting” and phantom-like. Some began gossiping about them as being diabolical.
Many observed some of the witnesses going into “ecstasies, trances, fits, and convulsions.” Their eyes would fix on the apparition and could not be distracted. They could not be jolted by pin pricks, burning candles touching their fingers, or slaps to their faces. Our Lady, asking for prayer, spoke through many of those in ecstasies. Some reported unintelligible languages from various angels, demons, and phantoms.
Two visionaries, Paul Guerard and Marie Martel, had much enthusiastic support by the faithful during their trances or ecstasies. Others witnessed “combat between angels and disgusting creatures.”
It is estimated that the original descent of the Blessed Virgin was witnessed by at least one hundred people. Up to one thousand had observed her prior to the addition of any other beings or imagery. Many miraculous cures were claimed. Yet, certain medical doctors and psychiatrists attempted to explain these supernatural events as either “communicable hysteria” or “mass insanity.” Neither term is viewed with any credibility in today’s field of psychiatry.
Although the Blessed Virgin did not directly warn of what was to come to this area of France in the future, it is commonly known that she frequently appears just before some upheaval, disaster, or deadly event. It is significant that just fourteen years later the broad area around Tilly-sur-Seulles was plunged into World War I. The area became an apocalyptic wasteland of fighting, trenches, mud, deadly gas weapons, insanity, slime, disease, and death – with thousands of rotting bodies and mass graves. This area around Tilly and north to the beaches of Normandy became another massive graveyard during World War II. Some of the most intense and bitter fighting occurred in this area.
No known official investigation by the Catholic Church has ever been conducted. No explanations could ever account for the supernatural visits. Skeptics and investigators were impressed by the events that they witnessed; no answers could ever be found.
At the far western end of the country of France, about one mile from the coast of the English Channel is the small area called Kerizinen which was too small to qualify as a hamlet. Kerizinen only contained a few ancient and poor homes built of rock. On September 15, 1938, a sad and lonely woman, Jeanne-Louise Ramonet, was patiently knitting on an embankment while watching over her milk cow grazing in the meadow. It was one of those pale, sunny days typical of Brittany.
Since the age of two, she had been afflicted with a paralysis of her right leg, causing a serious limp. Her family had either grown and moved away or died from typhoid, so she remained alone in this small bleak home about the size of an average kitchen. Her health issues caused her education to be “very scanty.” In 1936, the parish priest arranged for a free trip to Lourdes with a group of sick people. Although she was not instantly healed in the waters at Lourdes, she did find her health improved enough after her return to walk better and get more work done.
On this day in 1938, a ”ball of light” suddenly appeared before her a few feet above the ground. The light expanded and developed a radiant periphery. In the middle of this “globe” there appeared a “young lady of great beauty.” Jeanne-Louise fell to her knees and the Lady immediately spoke,
“Be without fear! I mean you no evil! You will see me at different times in the years to come. I shall tell you then who I am and what I want from you. A new war threatens Europe. I shall delay it for some months, because I cannot remain deaf to so many prayers for peace arising toward me at this moment at Lourdes.”
Having said only this much, the Lady “rose slowly, slanting toward the north, and disappeared very high in the sky. Jeanne-Louise was stunned. She told nobody and kept the secret in her heart.
She said that she knew that this was the Virgin Mary – described as a “beautiful young lady of seventeen years old.” Her dress was a “very sweet” shimmering deep blue, and her eyes were of the same shimmering color. The dress was undulating at the bottom and had a white border. The sleeves also ended in white borders. A double white ribbon girded the dress at the waist. She wore a shining white mantle, held at the neck by a golden rectangular hook. The mantle covered her shoulders and extended to below her knees. A very light, extremely white veil covered her hair. She stood motionless as she spoke; her head was slightly inclined to the left. The arms were positioned as if in prayer, her fingers crossed on her chest. Her left arm was holding a rosary.
Nearly fourteen months later, on October 7, 1939, the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary – and Jeanne-Louise’s 29th birthday, the Blessed Virgin made her second appearance and said,
“The world does not stop offending God with very grievous sins, especially sins of impurity, whence this war as a punishment for so many faults.”
“But heaven is not insensible to so much misery and comes to give you a means of salvation: peace, you will have it before long, if you know how to acquire it – but for that it is necessary that the people lead a life of prayers, of sacrifices, of penance. It is necessary that very often the children, particularly, be grouped to pray, to recite the rosary, followed by the “Parce Domine” for sinners. Tell your Director (the priest) that he should make public this message. I will give these words a supernatural force that will touch hearts.”
Jeanne-Louise immediately told the priest about the first two apparitions – as the Holy Mother had requested. But the priest forbid her to say a word about them. For the next eleven apparitions over the next nine years (until October 4, 1947), only Jeanne-Louise and her priest knew about them. Because Blessed Mary sternly admonished the priest in certain messages, the last two sentences of the second message and all of the thirteenth message are usually omitted. Apparitions that chastise the clergy are not easily heard or accepted.
The first and second messages accurately predicted a war – which began almost immediately; subsequent messages continued to predict the course of France’s sufferings. In the third message of December 1, 1939, we find Our Lady advising:
“Be sure to arm yourselves with prayer and sacrifice while your soldiers are using physical weapons.”
In the fifth message on April 2, 1940, Blessed Mary gives this warning,
“The prayers said are less in number than were said in the first months of the war. For this negligence, you (in France) will all go through sufferings, but mainly to your soldiers. Many will be made prisoners and many will die of privations and misery.”
In the sixth message of December 1, 1939, Our Lady advises:
“My children of France, serious hours will soon toll for you! The invasion of your country by the enemy is the danger that threatens you.”
It is highly unlikely that this poor, simple-minded woman in this isolated out-of-the-way locale could have any intelligent knowledge of the warfront or current advances. Her priests would similarly be isolated and unlikely to know anything either.
In the eighth message given to Jeanne-Louise on May 8, 1941, Blessed Mary tells us:
“Soon, Russia will bring help to the war – help which will be a hard blow to your enemies. But, beginning at this time, pray, pray a lot, O Christian souls, for this great enemy of the church – otherwise, after the war, the Communists will be seated nearly everywhere, and the church will receive harassments from them.”
As the Soviet threat would not even be realized until after 1946 – only by closeted government circles, it is inconceivable that simple Jeanne-Louise would have such insight or even educated guesses five years earlier. In fact, the public awareness that Communists would “be seated nearly everywhere” was not apparent until the mid-1950’s, seven years after the messages “went public.”
Immediately after the thirteenth apparition on October 4, 1947, Jeanne-Louise limped the two miles to the village priest at Plounevez-Lochrist to again tell what she had seen and heard from Blessed Mary. This time, though, the conversation between her and the priest “was overheard by a young girl who listened attentively” and then eagerly rushed to the village school with the details of the apparitions – which then spread to the village. But, most did not believe any of it. A few began praying in the meadow near Jeanne-Louise’s house – and asked her many questions as well.
Jeanne-Louise repeated all of the messages to those who inquired, word for word as retained clearly in her memory. This included the stern admonishments given to the clergy during the thirteenth apparition for their failure to publicly broadcast the messages, including the warnings and calls for prayer.
Soon, a small shrine was set up in the meadow. Flowers were deposited and candles were lit. Small groups began attending, especially when Jeanne-Louise narrated the new messages, #14 through #21.
In late May of 1949, a woman from Plounevez-Lochrist had become seriously ill. When brought to the hospital, she was declared a “desperate case with death imminent.” Visionary Jeanne-Louise joined others at the meadow shrine and began a novena to Our Lady of the Rosary of Kerizinen for that lady’s health. The 22nd apparition happened on May 24 during the novena. The others saw a “globe of light” descending over Jeanne’s house. Taking the flowers at the apparition site and weaving them into a wreath, the visionary asked several others to take them to the sick woman in the hospital.
Although the good people were denied access to the dying patient’s room, the religious sisters agreed to deliver the flowers to her bed. As soon as the flowers touched her bed, the dying woman began to speak. All present were astonished and watched as her pulse and temperature became normal again. She was miraculously healed. Word of this miracle spread fast and attendance at the meadow shrine increased rapidly.
During the 23rd apparition on August 6, 1949, Jeanne-Louise asked the Blessed Virgin about the absence of good drinking water within a mile of the apparition site. Blessed Mary promised that she would “bring forth a source to gush water.” Three years later, on July 15, 1952, water started flowing from rocks and increased in its flow as more people desired it. The water is still flowing today, and many have claimed miraculous healings from using it.
On December 8, 1953, about a thousand people were reciting the rosary under gray clouds and a thin rain. Our Lady did not appear, but, at 3:00 p.m., as the prayers and Hail Mary’s came to a close, a “strange light attracted the eyes of all to the sky.” The clouds suddenly disappeared and a “very red sun detached itself from a part of the blue sky.” Witnessed by everyone present, the sun seemed to “fall down” and then split into two parts.
“The two halves began to turn in contrary directions, one from another, each one throwing out brilliant rays intensely colored and painting the same colors on everything in the neighborhood.”
The same phenomena were witnessed by larger numbers of people again during May, August, and October of 1954. During the October display, the “sun seemed to fall and emitted the same rays – but without splitting into two halves again.” And then another beautiful, supernatural display happened:
“It was as if a snow of light was flying around all of those in the meadow. The sky was serene, the air clean. The ‘snowflakes’ – which looked like flower petals – were formed at some height and were disappearing before touching the ground. The witnesses ran here and there to catch them, but their hands closed on air. Later, this prodigy occurred again. At times, there are perfumes that come by.”
News of these remarkable phenomena, attested to by over a thousand witnesses, now began to radiate through Brittany and the rest of France.
During the 24th apparition on December 9, 1949, Our Lady told Jeanne-Louise:
“Go to your bishop. I want him to organize prayers and pilgrimages on this site, and that a chapel be built here. The miracles performed by My Son in former times here upon this very land, I want them to happen again, especially in favor of sinners.”
Tradition indicated that a monastery had been built long ago in the meadow of the apparitions, and that Jesus had often appeared there!
Nonetheless, the bishop did nothing! Some of the townspeople compensated by constructing a small, forlorn, shed-like structure on the site. A life-size statue of the Virgin Mary was placed inside. Despite the small size, crowds as big as 6,000 people would gather around this “chapel” – especially on feast days, which must have embarrassed the local clergy.
During the lengthy 31st message of May 12, 1955, Or Lady asked,
“Ask your bishop to establish in the parish an Association of the Children of Mary, which I have spoken of in earlier years.” (This referred to a sanctuary for poor children as well as a school and hospital.)
But the bishop ignored the visionary’s words and request – and began increasing his public declarations against the apparitions at Kerizinen. No official inquiry was ever held for investigating these apparitions – despite the many supernatural occurrences witnessed by thousands.
Eventually, Jeanne-Louise would experience at least seventy-one apparitions of Our Lady. Some included secret messages not revealed; in others, the Virgin did not even speak even though she appeared to her. The Holy Mother was effectively stalemated at Kerizinen – as ultimately acknowledged by Our Lady, herself. During the 31st apparition on May 12, 1955, Blessed Mary concluded:
“The devil has unchained all his malice so that my apparitions not be accepted in Brittany, but, in spite of him I will triumph.”
It was later revealed that Jeanne-Louise had been given “an animated tableau” during the eleventh apparition on May 1, 1944. She was shown images of men hoisting a red flag, and priests trying to stop them. The priests were threatened, abused, and stones thrown at them. In a corner of the “tableau” the devil appeared very happy, encouraging the abuse of the priests. In another corner was a weeping Blessed Virgin. The inscription on the tableau read, “The Image of Communism.” What is significant is that the worldwide threat of Communism was not fully realized until after 1953. At the time of this “tableau,” the Soviet Communists were the much-appreciated allies of the West.
During 1961, Jeanne-Louise became increasing disabled and stayed home more frequently. After 1978, obscurity descended over these apparitions. Devout groups in Canada, France, and Belgium have worked to perpetuate the memory of holy events at Kerizinen.
Maggie Holguin was a humble housewife and factory worker, living in a small house in Lewis, Kansas, with her husband, Tomas, and her two young children, Anna Lee, and Thomas Jr. in 1996. Lewis is about 47 miles east of Dodge City. The diocese had been placed under the patroness of Our Lady of Guadalupe due to the majority of people in Dodge City being Hispanic. Therefore, it was perfect when Maggie’s sister in Mexico gave Maggie a six-inch plaster plaque of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1995 which she had possessed since 1989.
On December 12, 1996 – the 465th anniversary of Our Lady’s miraculous image materializing on Juan Diego’s tilma in Mexico City, Maggie’s plaster plaque began to weep. Just four days earlier, the Diocese of Dodge City had announced that, due to a shortage of priests, it planned to close six parishes by July 1, 1997 and perhaps ten more by 2005. Was this why it started weeping?
Maggie had come home from her job at the manufacturing plant at 12:45 a.m. that night. As usual, she switched on a light in the corner of her living room to pray before the plaque of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As she was praying she noticed that tears were flowing from the eyes of Our Lady. She woke her husband and children; they, too, witnessed the plaque weeping off and on until 6:00 a.m. During that next day, a videotape was made that documented two more episodes of weeping at 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The first time lasted ten minutes; the second recorded occurrence lasted just five minutes.
On December 13, several friends, neighbors, family members, and Maggie’s parish priest, Father William Vogel, were present in the home for an interview with a local newspaper reporter. At 11:00 a.m., while they were all there, the plaque began to weep clear tears. With a video recorder documenting the event, the tears soon turned to a substance that appeared to be thick blood.
On December 15, Father Vogel of St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Kinsley said that there was “no way to explain the events in a human way.” The Edwards County Sentinel even quoted the United Methodist Church’s minister as saying that these events were real and “messages from God.” The plaque wept again on Christmas morning – and has continued to do so, periodically, at least until 2001.
Another surprise happened on December 30, 1996, when Maggie suddenly began receiving messages from Our Lady. After a group in Maggie’s home had just finished praying the Rosary, the group heard Maggie speaking in a different voice that was “very sweet” and using words not normally used by Maggie. Maggie fainted at the end of the messages and did not remember the incident when she woke up. Eyewitness, Matilda Munoz, said that the voice directed those in attendance to help Her save the world with their prayers – to say the Rosary every day, which would help stop abortions and wars.
On January 10, 1997, Maggie came home from work early that day because she had had a strong pain in her chest for about five minutes. That night, while saying her prayers in front of the plaque of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a voice called to her. The house filled with the scent of roses. Maggie saw the full body of Our Lady. The Blessed Virgin told Maggie that the pain she had experienced earlier had also been shared by Her as well – because four abortions were taking place at that time. Our Lady shared other messages about stopping the wars and injustices in the world.
On January 25, 1997, Maggie awoke to find blood under her eyes. With her sister-in-law driving her to the emergency room, Dr. Robert Wray examined Maggie and could find no explanation or medical reason for blood to be coming from her eyes. In fact, Dr. Wray added that in his 35 years of optometry, he had never seen blood in the tears without a resulting laceration or injury.
On January 26, 1997, Maggie, her sister, Juana, and their collective four children, were returning from a grocery trip to Kinsley when they witnessed a bright light on the horizon. They lost sight of it until they were about three miles west of Lewis near the farm of Aaron and Denise Wheaton. When they saw the light again, they debated whether to stop or keep going. Although Maggie wanted to stop, Juana didn’t feel comfortable, so she accelerated the car in an attempt to pass through the light. Because Maggie had wanted to stop, she had started to open the car door. The next thing she knew was that she was outside of the car – and without any injuries! Juana had heard a tornadic-type wind and then noticed that Maggie was no longer in the car.
Maggie found herself kneeling in front of a row of cedar trees near the highway. Juana turned the car around, and then she and the children joined Maggie near the trees. They all saw the Virgin Mary appear as she stood and held Maggie’s hands while Maggie prayed. Maggie’s daughter, Anna Lee, said that she saw “sparkles” in the hair of Our Lady. The others could not hear the Blessed Virgin, but clearly understood that a conversation was taking place between Our Lady and Maggie.
Blessed Mary: “Why don’t you believe the message?”
Maggie: “I believe.”
Blessed Mary: “What do I have to do to make people believe? Do I have to give you stronger proof to have the children believe? Go home, and I’ll be waiting for you.”
Upon arriving home, they saw a little old man with a walker approaching Maggie’s home. Maggie hurried to help him up her stairs. As she walked in front of him and turned around to assist him, she saw the Blessed Virgin behind him with outstretched arms. The old man suddenly put aside his walker and walked up the stairs unaided. Inside, he did not wish to see the weeping plaque. Instead, he delivered a plastic bag with several copies of a Christian periodical about preparing for Christ’s Second Coming. When asked again about seeing the plaque, he said, “No, I came with Our Lady of Guadalupe!”
On February 12, 1997, Ash Wednesday, the plaque wept blood profusely again – having not done so for the past 16 days. The next day, February 13, Maggie awoke with blood coming from her forehead. On February 16, friends Phil and Mary Jo Thornberry from Overland Park and three others came to see the plaque. They witnessed dried tears of blood on the image while the house had the strong fragrance of roses. After praying the Rosary in Spanish with about 25 other people, blood appeared on Maggie’s forehead, left and right temple and back left side of her head. Photographed by Mary Jo, these “wounds” corresponded to the wounds resulting from Christ’s “crown of thorns.”
On March 8, 1997, about 50 people – including personnel from two Wichita television stations – were present when Maggie began to spontaneously bleed at 4:50 p.m. from her brow, palms, and backs of her hands. The strong scent of roses filled the air. Maggie carried this strong fragrance in her hair, on her skin, and with the bleeding brow. Two babies present were found to have the scent of roses in their hair as well.
On March 17, 1997, a man and woman traveled from Texas to see this miraculous plaque. But the man asked Maggie if he could cut off Mary’s head on the plaque to see inside and determine if any trickery was involved. Maggie was greatly upset by this request and asked him to leave. As the couple was leaving, the man made a fist and struck Maggie in the mouth, cutting her lower lip and causing it to bleed. When this man, Jose Louis Colocios, arrived back in Texas, his car caught on fire. His face was disfigured from burns when he could not get out of the car in time. He then heard a strange voice that said,
“You didn’t hit her; you hit Me – and you are going to receive your punishment. Whatever you did to her will go away, but you will always have the punishment. You will always remember Maggie.”
The man returned to Maggie’s home on March 31 with a hand-written apology to Maggie. He told her about being trapped in the burning car and suffering the burns on his face. He asked for her forgiveness. He wrote this following statement:
“I plead with everybody who sees this note. Never spread bad rumors about this lady. She is a saint. Do the same to Our Mother (Virgin Mary). Please forgive me, and tell the Virgin Mary to forgive me, too. I plead.”
On March 28, 1997, the morning of Good Friday, Maggie felt her heart pounding hard while she was doing the dishes. When she pulled her sweatshirt away at the neckline to see her chest, she could see that she was bleeding right over the sternum. Several visitors witnessed this three-inch in diameter area of blood that appeared to form both the face of Jesus and a skull. When Maggie’s husband, Tomas, came home for lunch, he stated that the scent of roses was so strong that it overwhelmed him as he entered the house. She filled Tomas in on what had happened and the messages she had received from Blessed Mary. The stigmata continued throughout the remainder of Holy Week and through Easter Sunday.
On June 7, 1997, Maggie noticed that her feet were severely swollen and hurting. At 3:00 a.m. she found blood on the tops of her feet. Maggie had now received the wounds of Christ in her feet – having previously had the crown of thorns, wound in her chest, and stigmata in her hands.
On June 11, 1997, Maggie received a long message from Our Lady about future events – including how we should prepare for the 72 hours (three days) of darkness.
“Go, my little girl. Go tell the world what kinds of things are going to happen. Man does not listen to the commandments that God has given. The devil controls the world and is making people hate each other. They are making weapons that can destroy the world in minutes. Very difficult times will come for the Church. The people will lose faith.
God will permit the natural elements (cold, smoke, fire, hail, earthquakes) to slowly destroy the life on earth. The ones who do not believe will die. The ones who believe in Our Father but base their lives on material things will lose millions and their lives in seconds. The ones who survive will wish they were with the dead. God will punish the ones who do not want to believe in Him. The ones who believe and are faithful will survive and believe even more. I am calling on everyone to get closer to My Son. God helps the world, and the ones who do not listen – it will be worse for them.
As the mother of Jesus, I tell you to start praying and repenting today. Pray for the conversion of the world because there is not much time left.
My little children, believe me, the time is here for everyone to start praying and to repent. Pass the message to your family, friends, and the whole world. We are getting closer to the last days before the catastrophe. The catastrophe will be in the center of the Catholic Church. It will be dead everywhere because of the errors made by the demented and followers of Satan. These men, then – only then, will control the world. In the end, the ones who survive will proclaim God’s name every moment. In His glory they will serve Him like they did before the world became so perverted. Everywhere will be peace, and confidence in ourselves will be back, but the punishment is coming anyway. The 72 hours of darkness will be coming, and it will give life to a new generation of good people. On one cold night, ten minutes before midnight, a large earthquake will shake the whole earth for eight hours.
This will be the third signal that God is the Commander of the earth. The ones who proclaim the prophecy need not be afraid. Kneel down and ask God for His mercy. Do not go out and do not let anyone into your house. Only the faithful will not be in the hands of Satan and will survive the catastrophe.
Prepare. Your Holy Mother has given these signals. The night will be very cold. The wind will be blowing very hard, and the earth will be shaking. Do not look outside or be curious because that is the hour of God. Light the holy candle because that will be the only light for three days. Kneel down under the cross and pray the Rosary. After every ten Hail Mary’s say, “Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of Hell, Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your mercy. Mary, protect us. Jesus and Mary, we love you. Save our world.” Say five times the Hail, Holy Queen. Say five times the Apostles Creed. The Rosary is the secret of My Immaculate Heart. My little children, do not ignore this message. Meditate on it.”
On September 21, 1997, A CAT scan was performed on the plaque of Our Lady of Guadalupe to rule out any possibility of fraud. Bishop Stanley Schlarman had recommended this examination. Certified radiologist, Dr. James Nixon, of the Western Plains Regional Hospital in Dodge City, declared:
“The plaque is a plaster structure with no unusual fluid reservoir or tubes near the eyes or elsewhere in or about the object.”
On December 8, 1997, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the plaque again wept.
On December 12, 1997, the one year anniversary of these visitations, more than one hundred people celebrated in prayer and meditation. The plaque was brought in to a Spanish Mass that evening; hundreds came to view the plaque that weekend.
On Saturday morning, December 13, Maggie’s home filled with the fragrance of roses while several families were praying with Maggie. The containers that held holy water in the room also smelled and tasted of roses. Maggie began to perspire a mixture of oil and blood from her face. And the plaque wept again the next day while the visiting religious observed.
Another Spanish Mass was held on January 6, 1998 with Maggie bringing the plaque with her. Our Lady began to cry tears of blood – which led Father Vogel to state,
“I am a firm believer in this religious miracle that has happened with Maggie. Many people want to exploit her, and many people have caused her emotional pain, but they must realize that she is not the source of this. This is happening to her through no doing of her own.”
On February 25, 1998, Ash Wednesday, Maggie returned home to find her home filled with the fragrance of roses. When she entered the room where her plaque and shrine were placed, she found drops of blood-tinged stains under the glass of a framed picture that was hanging on the wall next to the plaque. The picture, taken by a woman from Colorado, shows a crucifix on an altar. But a round white Host had appeared mysteriously in front of the body of Christ. On this day, the Host had changed to a rosy color. Spots of blood were clearly seen on it and on the palms of the hands of Jesus. While Maggie was exploring this, the plaque began weeping bloody tears again. Father Vogel was alerted, and when he came to Maggie’s house, he opened the holy water container and discovered the strong fragrance of roses.
A family from Oklahoma came to see the plaque and prayed the rosary for a family member in St. Louis who had been bedridden with a heart condition. The next time they talked with him, he described how he had suddenly felt better, could get out of bed, and had been feeling great ever since then. With further questions, they learned that it had been the same exact day and hour as their prayers in front of Our Lady’s plaque.
A local girl, who had been severely injured in a car wreck at age two, had suffered a gash in her leg that had required 857 stitches. Four years later, she re-injured the leg, leaving a quarter-size hole that skin grafts failed to close. It remained open for three more years until December 13, 1996, when the girl visited Maggie’s home. The hole in her leg miraculously closed up while they were there. Everyone hailed it as a miracle.
Peggy Teddy, a woman from Overland Park, Kansas, was in the final stage of cancer with doctors only giving her one more month to live. Accompanied by her sister and some of her friends, they visited Maggie’s home on Good Friday, April 10, 1998. Peggy recalls smelling roses as she entered the shrine room to pray the rosary with everyone. When Peggy returned home, she started regaining her strength somehow. The tumors in her brain had stopped growing. Her life was spared and their prayers were answered!
Samples of blood coming from the plaque and from blood appearing on Maggie were collected and submitted for testing at the Analytic Genetic Testing Center in Denver, Colorado. The DNA matched from the separate samples, immediately suggesting that Maggie’s own blood had been placed on the plaque somehow. But, the opposite is actually more true: The plaque’s supernatural weeping tears were matching the unexplained supernatural appearance of blood on Maggie. Remember that doctors could not find a wound or source for the bleeding on Maggie. And they never drew a blood sample that was clearly taken from Maggie’s body. The DNA results only prove that the two locations of unexplained tears and supernatural bleeding matched – and that none of this blood was seen coming from Maggie nor taken from within her body for analysis.
Besides, the plaque has wept in other people’s homes when Maggie was not even present. Most other times there have been groups of witnesses observing copious tears, etc.
Bishop Schlarman stated in March of 1997 that the Church did not have enough evidence yet to make any final ruling. He added that this does not mean that supernatural or miraculous events are not occurring, but that the Church is not ready to rule on it. He does not want to discourage or encourage the faithful from visiting Maggie’s home. He states,
“Maggie is a humble, uncomplicated woman of simple faith. Her only plea had been for prayer to stop violence like war, abortion, and drugs.”
So, why Lewis, Kansas? Why did the Mother of God choose this location for these appearances and miraculous events? Was it because so many parishes were closing soon due to a lack of available priests? Or was it because Kansas was known at that time as the “abortion capital of the world” – largely due to Dr. George Tiller’s abortion practice in Wichita that accommodated women from all over the world for late-term abortions? Our Lady of Guadalupe is the icon for the Pro-Life movement to stop abortions. Any connection?
The plaque of Our Lady of Guadalupe still weeps, periodically. On the infamous day of 9-11 (September 11, 2001), the plaque wept tears. Maggie had a heart attack in December of 2001. During Lent of 2002, she again suffered from stigmata in her hands and feet and shoulder. Many still report prayers answered as well as miraculous healings.