“Mary, Reconciler of People and Nations”
BETANIA, VENEZUELA (1976-1990)
It was a gorgeous spring day for a large church picnic on March 25, 1984 for the 108 people in attendance. A grotto nearby with a spring-fed waterfall attracted the active children. Around 3:00 pm one of the children ran excitedly back to the resting adults to proclaim that the Blessed Mother was appearing to them above the waterfall near the grotto. Word spread quickly, and soon everybody was rushing to see what the child was talking about — and they ALL saw the incredible sight! The glowing white figure of Our Lady stood out against the dark green trees. Many saw a blue sash around her waist, and she was holding the baby Jesus. Many were able to see the clear, beautiful features of her face. She was silent like a statue, causing some to search for tricks or natural explanations.
Fifteen minutes later, she evaporated or “was absorbed into the trees.” But, she appeared six more times that day to the delight of the onlookers. The seventh appearance, right before sunset, was very clear and detailed so that nobody could doubt that it was a strikingly beautiful woman — not a statue or foggy illusion. All of the 108 people at this church picnic saw her clearly — not just children and poor people, but doctors, lawyers, a judge, priests, an army general, and even a few atheists!
Maria Esperanza (55) was not surprised at this event, because she had seen Mary on this same farm exactly 8 years earlier on March 25, 1976! At that time Mary spoke to her and identified herself as “the Reconciler of People and Nations.” She had asked Maria to help promote prayer, conversion, sacrifice, and to have a church built there.
Maria had an interesting life after her father died when she was only two. When she was five, she had fears about her mother leaving to go on a trip — perhaps that she would die, also. As her mother departed, she saw a smiling woman rise from the nearby river and toss a rose toward her to console her.
She would dress her dolls up to look like nuns and priests. At age 12, she developed such a severe case of pneumonia that doctors only gave her a day or two to live. The young Maria prayed to the Virgin Mary about dying, and Mary appeared to her, assuring her that she would survive in order to serve God, and then told her what medications she needed. The doctors heeded the heavenly advice, got the medications, and Maria Esperanza recovered. She had several other private apparitions of both Mary and Jesus in her youth.
The appearance near the grotto on the farm in 1976 was the most memorable — as she describes in her own words,
“I was staring at the grotto when, all of a sudden, I saw a white cloud which was enormous and beautiful. A friend thought a fire had broken out. The cloud seemed to open, and out came the Virgin Mary. And when she revealed her image, she went up to the top of a tree, and I saw she was beautiful with her dark brown hair, light brown eyes, very fine — very pretty eyebrows, tiny mouth, very straight nose, and beautiful complexion. Her skin seemed like silk. It was bronzed. I saw her dressed all in white, wearing a white mantle over her shoulders and on her head. She had some kind of veil which became tangled in the trees. Very young — like 15 or 16, with hair down to her shoulders… Rosy cheeks.”
As Mary stretched out her hands, light poured forth, illuminating everything around her. Maria was humbled and overwhelmed by the dazzling sight. Then Mary spoke,
“My little daughter, tell my children of all races, of all nations, of all religions, that I love them. All of my children are the same. There do not exist rich ones or poor ones, ugly ones or beautiful ones, black or white. I come to gather all of them to help them to go up to the high mountain of Mount Zion to my fertile land of Betania in these times so that they can be saved. I love all of them … to the youth I am directing myself so that they will really serve me and make me happy… to save the world. Little daughter, you are beholding me with my hands outstretched with graces and wrapped in the splendor of light to call all my children to conversion.”
Many more apparitions occurred in the following years. On one occasion on this farm, March 25, 1978, many saw a radiant mist coming from the woods. As the mist settled on top of a large tree, Maria — with 15 others — saw Our Lady materialize with hands on her chest. Maria heard, “Little daughter, this is not a dream. My presence among you is real.”
“Then her hands opened up, and I saw what appeared to be rays coming from her hands.
They came directly toward us, bathing us with light — and one man cried out, ‘Everything is burning up!’ The whole area appeared to be on fire. It was beautiful. The sun began to gyrate, and everyone was shouting with emotion.”
Maria was overwhelmed and fell to the ground. But, in front of everybody’s eyes, her body was raised up into the air — causing her daughter Maria and goddaughter Jacqueline to cry inconsolably from fear. During the levitation, the soft, tender voice of the Virgin Mary had asked her to accept the difficult task of bringing the message of peace and reconciliation to all nations. Word spread of these amazing sights. More apparitions continued, and more messages were given to Maria regarding Betania becoming “a new place of peace and harmony” — and the importance of salvation, prayer, and reconciliation. Later on, Mary warned:
“Mankind is currently abusing the graces received and is moving toward perdition, and if there is no change, he will succumb under fire, war, and death. But I am being sent into the world by God to avert or mitigate such a cataclysm.”
Bishop Ricardo wanted to investigate the events of March 25, 1984 himself — and was most impressed by the reports actually from several atheists and agnostics. “One of them was minding his own business, drinking water from the waterfall when he saw the apparition without any preconception or expectation — and he was not psychologically prepared for this!”
The day before Pope John Paul II was shot, she told others that she knew that it was going to happen, but had no idea how she could warn him. Then, on 14 different occasions with witnesses watching, a fragrant and beautiful red rose would emerge from her chest above her breasts, causing great pain and embarrassment each time, which she endured graciously. Mary wanted people to notice her and believe her words!
The Virgin told Maria that the presence of an unusual, evanescent, blue butterfly would be a symbol of Her presence. Many pilgrims to Betania have had the joy and privilege of seeing this unique butterfly emerge from the waterfall grotto and fly around the church.
About twenty others had verbal contacts with Mary. As many as 30,000 people gather on the 25th of each month. On one occasion, Dr. Arrieta, stricken with prostate cancer which had metastasized to his spine, was in attendance. In the morning, thousands saw the sun lose its light, turn green in its center. Then, like at Fatima, the sun seemed to come down toward the screaming, fearful crowds. Dr. Arrieta felt an infusion of heat throughout his body and believed he was being healed at that very moment. Medical tests confirmed he was now completely free of cancer. By 1987, five hundred cures had been documented at Betania. The church deemed these events to be authentic.
Each year, Maria Esperanza receives the stigmata of Jesus from Good Friday through Easter Sunday and suffers the pains of His Passion. Others have witnessed a gold glitter fall on them from the sky. Perhaps the greatest miracle occurred on December 8, 1992, during a midnight Mass on the vigil of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Several thousand people saw a bright light over the Host. Father Otty Aristizabal, the chaplain of Betania, broke the Host in half, placing a small piece in the chalice. But the remaining piece of the Host began to bleed. Miraculously, the blood on this wafer-thin Host did not seep through to the other side. Examination revealed it to be human blood of AB type. This miracle has been preserved in the Convent of Los Teques by the Recollect Augustinian Sisters.
On another occasion, Father Rodriguez was holding this miraculous Host in its protective sealed container for pilgrims to kiss and adore when a young and most beautiful child mysteriously appeared out of thin air at his side. The child was reported by those present as having a most holy demeanor and loving appearance. When a visiting priest from Trinidad, Father Cuthbert Alexander, was presented this Host to kiss, the child placed her hand on the priest’s shoulder and then disappeared from view in front of everyone.
On March 25, 1993, author, scientific researcher, and physician, Professor Courtenay Bartholomew, M.D., heard thirty pilgrims shouting with joy near the grotto, and he turned in time to catch a glimpse of Mary – “wearing a beautiful chiffon-like long veil of light blue which floated majestically in the gentle breeze.” Immediately afterwards, the sun appeared to shed smaller golden suns which moved swiftly across the sky in various directions, and then suddenly disappeared. He was impressed that “all known laws of science had just been altered by the Creator.”
Bishop Pio Bello Ricardo published his letter of approval for these apparitions in 1987. He declared after great study and examination that they are authentic and of supernatural character. The site is declared sacred and approved for pilgrimages and worship.
First Apparition: March 25, 1976 – 8:30 a.m.
“Daughter, here you have Me with My Hands enriched with graces and covered with splendors of light, to call all My children to conversion; this is the seed of glory I offer as “MARY RECONCILER OF PEOPLE AND NATIONS”, for I come to reconcile all of you. Reconciliation is the inheritance of divine brotherhood of My Divine Son! Daughter, hand on My message to all. I will keep you here in My Heart from today on and forever!”
Second Apparition: August 22, 1976 – 1:30 p.m.
“Daughter, when all men on earth come to carry their cross with love, there will be no more pain nor weeping for they will live rising each day with My beloved Son.”
“My daughter, I wish for you to make them feel the worth of prayer and the importance of My new Apparition as Reconciler of People and Nations, for under this title they will find essential and determinant conditions to prepare their souls to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit… through the communication and the visits of Our Lord, through faith… for faith is the basis of Christianity… and increasing that same faith will make them seek with sincere love Our Father, and My Heart and the Heart of My Divine Son..!”
Sixth Apparition: November 27, 1978 – 9:00 a.m.
“My daughter, in 1983 you will be able to carry out, the land movement in a clear way… and then in 1984… the great event of My presence at the place..! And therefore, the great triumph of a march which unites, reestablishes, appraises multitudes that will start coming to My chosen place for these times..! And on the 13th of May… I will lull you in My Arms… all will turn into healthy, good and honest children..! Among those present there, some will feel Me… others will see Me… their hearts will be touched..! Daughter, that great day is coming..!”
Eighth Apparition: March 27, 1984 – 11:30 a.m.
“Children, today I make Myself present once more because the GREAT ANNOUNCED TIME has come… a CHURCH FOR ALL… THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH, which establishes the rules and points out, according to the law, a moral guide of how children should behave themselves, respecting the Commandments and Doctrine of My Divine Son… and devoting themselves to everyone’s well-being, especially to the most needy’s well-being, starting by improving their inner life, renewing their spirit with particular attention to meet with the Lord; thus, enter fully into the defense of human rights..!”
Ninth Apparition: January 25, 1985 – 3:00 p.m.
“Children, from this My Holy Mountain of this blessed place, among these trees, I gaze at you from My grotto of prayer, and in silence and seclusion I let you feel Me… so the grace of the Holy Spirit may enter fully in each one of you, and all may receive the divine vocation of service here in My Promised Land, and may be able to sweetly work for the love of My Beloved Son..! Blessed are those who offer their lives to the service of the Lord..!”
Eleventh Apparition: December 8, 1986 – 11:00 a.m.
“Daughter, children, here I am as I announced before; some will feel Me… others will see Me between the shrubs… others will perceive the perfumed roses of My garden from Heaven… and even more, some, who are sick, drinking from the water of My grotto of prayer, will be relieved; others, will be healed, attaining health and peace..! Daughter, wherever I place My Feet, it is as sowing the seed… and behold, the Doctrine and the Gospel are enacted through the faith that comes forth from the heart of those who seek Me..! And I tell you, all of you will be saved… for the Church renews and calls to a burning faith… when her children draw close to the flock of My Divine Son… to nourish themselves with His Mystical Body… and daughter, today many will be nourished..! Today there is a Feast of Angels in the whole world, and here in My Promised Land I come to call mankind to reconcile with their brothers..! I come to bestow peace upon the world and calmness to the people and nations..! I come to reign in the heart of the most humble… and I come to soften the proudest and the most arrogant… so they may mend their actions… all accompanying Me..!”
Thirteenth Apparition: July 6, 1987 – 11:30 a.m.
“My children, reaffirm your trust in the adorable Heart of My Jesus, who is in love with His Father’s delights..! Rest on the promises of the Lord who hears the prayers of His children… and whose mercy reaffirms all forever..! Do not worry, for Religious vocations will multiply. Apostles of My Heart..! fill yourselves with gratitude… for all will taste love and wisdom… since the Holy Spirit will enlighten each one of you in these apocalyptic times with His divine grace, sustaining all with bountiful fruits and divine rain..! Sons and daughters, do not stop wearing My miraculous medal to cover yourselves, in order to be protected… also distribute it generously so sinners may be converted, the sick may be healed and the moral values of today’s world may be reestablished..!”
Fifteenth Apparition: February 16, 1989 – 4:00 p.m.
“Daughter, children, here I am..! Living among you..! Children, My Heart beats with Heavenly delights as I gaze at each one of your faces which come to find the hope of better days, to solidify your steps on the road that leads to Mount Zion. For My fountain of the waters of Betania shall restore your souls to a new life… that will bring you to lead an apostleÕs life, that is to say, of service, devoted to a mission of love, which will reaffirm your trust in the light of the New Dawn of My Divine Jesus! He, My Beloved Son, wishes for all of you to live cradled in this motherly Heart, with the charismata and graces of the Holy Spirit. In this way, My children may hold hands, based on the Commandment, ‘Love one another..!’ It is the only truth that can save mankind from a war among brothers… that is to say, in these times, all should have recourse to the charitable harvest of good deeds, which is the identification of love and of truth of God’s people, who are longing for Social Justice… because as long as unity does not come forth, you will lead a life of anguish, grief, shadows and sorrow. Behold, children, the love of a Mother, who cherishes you… and comes as a starting point to lead you toward a law of justice, love, peace and reconciliation..! Prayer… Meditation… Penance… Eucharist..!”
Sixteenth Apparition: February 22, 1989 – 12:00 pm.
“Children, you saw Me just some minutes ago in the arbors of this, My grotto of prayer, as Mary of the Solitude, with the weeping and the suffering of a Mother… O, My little ones! There is so much grief in My Heart! I do not want you to suffer, I do not want to worry you, let alone for you to go through days of tribulation… but there are things that are so hard for men to understand. The only truth which remains is faith… which will build in your families the firmness and the certainty that the Lord, and this Mother live among all Our children… showing you the way, that only through deeds of faith the shadows that surround your daily living can be lessened..! Children, that is why your prayer must be constant, morning, afternoon and night, for only prayer can save you..! Never forget, the more you suffer, the closer to you We will be, soothing, healing the wounds of your hearts, to continue to live with the responsibility of being redeemers of this time, and saviors in hope for the great eternity..! Observe, to understand My message today..! Children, be courageous, and be willing to give your harvest of peace and love..! I keep you..!”
Nineteenth Apparition: April 1, 1989 – 4:30 p.m.
“Daughter, children, I am trying to talk to all of you, to tell you I lead you by the hand, covering your shoulders with My motherly mantle… Sons and daughters, I call you to the site of My new Apparition as Mary Reconciler of People and Nations… so you may begin to work on the harvest that you will sow in the hearts of the innocent children… and others, who are young and long for truth, love and justice..! I call you, for the GREAT MOMENT OF RECONCILIATION has arrived… and you need to prepare yourselves as soon as possible… for example: in the sowing of doctrine, catechism, spiritual exercises, the Gospel, and mainly the Eucharist. Daily Communion, the soulÕs nourishment, accompanied with work, in a task in which you can be productive, sowing the furrows with the holy seed of nourishment…”
Twenty-second Apparition: May l3, l989 – 7:00 p.m.
“My daughter, your own experience has taught you many things, so Evangelization takes root in your soul with vigor and infinite love… think of your personal experience as a language of love… to execute in a particular way, your task for the sake of human solidarity, growing… taking clear positions in the media of social communications… Your position must be freed from human conditioning, your basic judgment of life, your personal activity as a testimony of faith, of hope and of charity, sublime love, kindness, fidelity to your duties, with the patience, and that innate happiness, which you offer to all in a community-like way..! Thus, with courage, strive to perform your deeds with skill, reforming as you progress, with each day’s experience, the truth of love that conveys respect toward life and toward family dignity..! Behold, My daughter, work and struggle, serving everyone..! Daughter, you have seen Me covered with My white robes, with My Rosary in hand… children, you also were able so see Me and see the little shepherds who accompanied Me… O, sons and daughters! How great is My Lord’s kindness.. to give you this grace of infinite tenderness..!”
Twenty-third Apparition: May 25, 1989 (Corpus Christi) – 6:00 p.m.
“Children, you are here to learn from the classes of My Son Jesus, He uses His Priests to reaffirm His Words will never pass… that they are the ones who are in charge of giving all the proper teachings, with the orientation of appraising your faith and renewing your hearts to a new life… with the knowledge that the message of peace and human solidarity is to embrace one another in concord and brotherly unity..!”
“Children, glorify the Heavenly Father and My Divine Son Jesus, for allowing all to come and take shelter in Our Promised Land… seeking this motherly Heart..! My little ones, I contemplate each countenance of yours, looking deep inside… How I love you, sons and daughters! Continue to come, for you have the generosity of this, your Mother… who comes to live among you, and to assure all, nothing will halt the march of the truth of My presence in this place… I live among you… and among all My children, through a law of love. More will come… little by little, they shall enter… especially the Religious, these are, My beloved Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Religious and all God’s people..! O nation of Mine, seek this, your Mother, who will be waiting for you with opened arms to mitigate your pain, grief or sorrow… I am the Mother of Mercy who comes to reconcile all… so you may love one another, support one another, and live a model life..! I love you very much..! I keep you here in My Heart..!”
Twenty-fourth Apparition: June 21, 1989 – 9:30 p.m.
“Yes, children, I continue to come to meet with all, for I am the Mother Reconciler who comes to reconcile you with all your brothers; and this is why I have confided in you the fulfillment of your duties as children of My motherly Heart… and behold, each person who comes to My place, will be heard and aided, for I am the Mother of the hungry… I am the hope of the thirsty… and the afflicted need help and protection..!”
“Children, today you have truly come to discern My message and at the same time, you have heard at daybreak, the song of the birds… in order to see My Image at the foot of a tree at My grotto… you saw the water of My spring flow over the stones, singing to the Lord… O children! My mystical eye, has observed each one of your faces and has been able to see in the bottom of your hearts the desire of an inner renewal, to analyze and contemplate all the beautiful things this temple of nature holds, temple I have chosen to receive all of My children..! Thus, sons and daughters, henceforth you will be enabled to understand the wonderful and heavenly gamut that exists here… and with will power you will be able to take part in the banquet of love My Divine Son and this Mother offer you… so you may lead a life, singing to the Lord His psalm of love..!”
Twenty-fifth Apparition: July 16, 1989 – 6:30 p.m.
“Daughter, My children, here among you at dusk, when the birds lift their flight to take refuge in their nests in the foliage of these trees, which have seen Me descend over this serene region… Yes, children, appearing to each one of you so you may feel My Voice in your hearts, with divine rhythms of new life… Thus, being able to comfort your brothers, alleviating their burden and offering them the fruits of the Tree of Grace and the blessed water of My cascade… Yes, sons and daughters, behold My announcement to the world, there is a place on earth where all My children may take refuge, hidden in the blessed mountain, seeking God’s treasures… preparing themselves… to understand clearly that only in the seclusion of prayer, living with simplicity and humility they will defend themselves from the violence of men on earth, and have the strength to proclaim the Word of the Lord with serenity; the peace of the just, wisdom, and God’s reason..! Behold, living in community you will learn much,… forgive very much and even more, love all your brothers..!”
Twenty-sixth Apparition: August 15, 1989 – 5:00 p.m.
“My daughter, My Heart I gave to you… My Heart I give to you… and My Heart I will give to you forever..! Children, I speak to all of you who have seen Me seconds ago… ascending into Heaven with My Arms opened, with a rain of roses… and you have had the proof in those petals, red fire, which signify represent the Heart of My Divine Jesus… He, as Christ Redeemer and Savior… renewing and purifying all men on earth..! Sons and daughters, all this seems like a dream to you… but it is a lively truth, and unique in these times of great calamity for men..!”
“On this day when My Assumption into Heaven is recalled… I want to leave you My roses of love… so keeping them in your hearts, you will have Me present with My Beloved Son..! I keep you here in My Heart..!”
Twenty-seventh Apparition: September 8, 1989 – 6:30 p.m.
“Yes, children, I want you to take Me with you so nothing will separate us… you must know truth always shines… and you will walk next to Me. I will lead you to the backwaters, where the water is clearer, for it comes from the springs of My grotto of prayer… Yes, sons and daughters, I want to protect you from the temptations of the world; you, youngsters, so you may follow God’s will in your ways in order to be worthy of His mercy and His infinite love.”
“All the places where I have made Myself felt are filled with spirituality, understanding and much love for My children so all may be saved… and here also, in your fatherland, entering into the countryman’s structure, to find souls who are sensitive and worthy of the love of My Lord..! This is why you should trust your Mother… and continue your path which leads to the Holy Mount..! I keep you here in My Heart..!”
Twenty-eighth Apparition: October 22, 1989 – 2:30 to 3:00 a.m.
“Daughter, children, I speak to all of you… listen to Me: In all the sites and places of the world there are many families that as days go by, time elapses, they have transformed themselves into great families… And behold, I come so all those families do not separate nor divide themselves ever… for I wish the bigger the family, the more and more they will love one another… in order to augment their own spiritual strength, and come to lead an evangelic life… And so, from now on, a call may be made for a program of human solidarity, of healthy families… with renewed spirituality… coming together and creating a nucleus of true children of God… and grow, turning into great communities, that will call on brothers of the whole world..! Start right now My little ones..! I keep you here in My Heart..!”
Twenty-ninth Apparition: November 8, 1989 – 6:00 p.m.
“Children, I am touching the hearts of My sons and daughters so they may increase their faith, and even more, for their renewal… so they may open their hearts to this Mother’s Heart… who comes to give them, through the love of Her Divine Son, the grace of the Holy Spirit, with the gift of understanding… so all may follow the current of the great truth they have in front of them..! Children, he who knows how to live according to the Doctrine of My Jesus has found his treasure… and in finding it, he will break the chains of the past that kept him mired… allowing the light to approach him… opening his eyes… to start to awaken… and fraternize with all his brothers..!”
“Children, I am offering you the great opportunity to unite, fulfilling a structural movement of consciences, with the burning flame of My Jesus… for this is the only way to go on… embellishing yourselves with spirituality..! Behold, reaffirm your steps… to meet with the pure source of a model life which is My Divine Son… which you have to live and feel inside..! I keep you here in My Heart..!”
Thirtieth Apparition: December 8, 1989 – 6:30 p.m.
“My children, today we have lived a great day of light… with the hope that all My children who have come to celebrate by My side, My Feast of Angels, as the Immaculate Conception, may have received the supreme purity of the divine spirit… and as a result you may have felt in your hearts, not only My presence, but the presence of My Divine Son… discovering the reason why in these times of great calamity for mankind, we are calling all Our scattered children from different places of the world to receive Our message… so it may be useful and beneficial for all, thus, to cultivate love… to overcome through a healthy conviction a world that is losing its mystical way..! Behold, fill yourselves with the strength and the grace of the Holy Spirit, traveling the road and following the luminous figure of My Beloved Son, who as Master continues to teach in the classrooms of Our Mother Church, in whom He is represented on earth by the High Pontiff, who with great accuracy, works with sound judgment and understanding at his mission of serving mankind, making known to everyone, that is a Christian’s duty… behold his work: building and renewing men’s consciousness..!”
Thirty-first Apparition: January 5, 1990 – 6:00 p.m.
“Great events and painful riots are growing around the world; countries and nations are being shaken by bad times..! Men have lessened their potential, in regard to their spirituality… behold they are navigating against the divine current of peace, love and brotherly unity..!”
“That is why, I am letting you feel Me and My Divine Son… so My children feel in their hearts Our soft touch and so they may listen to the announcement that: “The time of their freedom has arrived… may they make themselves present through sanctifying love…and may they continue their way seeking the light… and thus, their thoughts may receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, so they may be worthy of that light and music of the universe..! Think that: It is sufficient to enter into the constitution of men’s structure, to find an immense forge… with the mission to fulfill an inevitable duty, that is to say, to build love in each deed which represents divinity..! Much willpower is needed..! That is why, humbly obey the teachings of the Commandments of My beloved Son, so men may ascend to the stage of the: “Great truth of God meeting with His children..!” for: He comes to give life again..! Anyone, regardless of his race, caste, religion for Him all are the same… the only existing truth should be to practice what is good… and to lead a generous life..! I keep you here in My Heart..!”