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Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (1777)

As the thirteen colonies fought fiercely to gain independence from corrupt British rule, General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the pitiful, struggling army. The soldiers were weary, starving, ragged, and without enough warm clothing for the bitter winter in Valley Forge. George Washington knelt in the snow in front of his troops and prayed to God for blessings upon his dedicated and suffering men.

picture #1: George Washington takes time to pray to God
picture #1: George Washington takes time to pray to God

General George Washington experienced an apparition of a “Beautiful Lady” clothed with the sun, who appeared to him during those dark days of starvation and defeat at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Mysterious and unidentified, this lady appeared to Washington to encourage, guide, and warn him about future events in this country that had been entrusted to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary one year earlier by the first bishop of the thirteen colonies, Jesuit John Carroll.

Anthony Sherman, a colleague of Washington and an eyewitness to the event, recounts the story – which was first published in the December 1880 issue of the National Tribune:

“George Washington would hardly have been the type of man one would expect to be seeking visionary manifestations or to be easily taken in by them. From the opening of the American Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good, now ill, one time victorious and another time conquered. The darkest period we had, I think, was when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the winter of 1777. Ah! I have often seen the tears course down our dear commander’s careworn cheeks, as he would be conversing with confidential officers about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington going to the thicket to pray. It was not only true, but he often used to pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the Interposition of whose Divine Providence brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation.”

picture #2: Beautiful Lady in bright light entrances Washington
picture #2: Beautiful Lady in bright light entrances Washington

“One day – I remember it well – the chilly wind whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless, and the sun shone brightly. He remained in his quarters nearly all afternoon alone. When he came out, I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dark, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of another officer, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about half an hour, Washington, gazing upon us with that strange look of dignity, which he alone could command, said,

‘I do not know whether it is owing to the anxiety of my mind, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something disturbed me. Looking up, I saw, standing opposite me, a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the purpose of her presence. A second, third, even a fourth time did I repeat my question but received no answer from my mysterious visitor – except a slight raising of her eyes. By this time, I felt strange sensations spreading through me. I would have risen, but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible. I essayed once more to address her, but my tongue had become useless. Even thought itself had become paralyzed. A new influence, mysterious, potent, irresistible, took possession of me. All I could do was to gaze steadily at my unknown visitor. Gradually, the surrounding atmosphere filled with sensation and grew luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarefy, the mysterious visitor, herself, becoming more airy and yet more distinct to my sight than before. I now began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensation which I have sometimes imagined accompanies dissolution. I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move. All, alike, were impossible. I was conscious only of gazing fixedly at my companion. Presently, I heard a voice say:

“Son of the Republic, look and learn!”

At the same time, my visitor extended her arm eastward. I looked and beheld a heavy white vapor rising at some distance, fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I watched before me lay spread out in one vast plain all the countries of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, the billows of the Atlantic Ocean, and between America and Asia lay the Pacific.

picture #3: The heavenly lady presents visions for George Washington
picture #3: The heavenly lady presents visions for George Washington

“Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

At that moment I beheld a dark shadowy being, standing, or rather floating in mid-air between Europe and America. Dipping water out of the ocean with his right hand, he cast it upon America, while that in his left hand went upon the European countries. Immediately, a cloud arose from these countries and joined in mid-ocean. For a while it remained stationary, and then it moved slowly westward until it enveloped America in its folds. Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans of the American people. A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean in whose heaving bellows it sank from view. A third time I heard the mysterious voice say:

“Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages, towns, and cities springing up, one after another, until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dotted with them. Again, I heard the voice say:

“Son of the Republic, the end of the century comes. Look and learn.”

picture #4: An angelic vision and of things to come for America
picture #4: An angelic vision and of things to come for America

And with this, the dark, shadowy angel turned its face southward, and from Africa an ill-omened specter approached our land. It flitted slowly over every town and city of the land. The inhabitants presently set themselves in battle array against each other. As I continued to look, I saw the bright angel – on whose brow rested a crown of light — on which was traced the word UNION, place an American flag between the divided nations and say,

“Remember, ye are brethren.”

Instantly, the inhabitants, casting from them weapons, became friends once more and united around the National Standard. Again, I heard the voice of my most beautiful and mysterious visitor say:

“Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

picture #5: The Angel of America as presented by Blessed Mary
picture #5: The Angel of America as presented by Blessed Mary

At this, the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth and blew three distinct blasts. Taking water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia, and Africa. Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene. From each of these countries arose dark black clouds that were soon joined into one. Throughout this mass there gleamed a bright red light by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud marched by land and sailed by sea to America, which country was enveloped in the volume of cloud. And I saw these vast armies devastate the whole country and burn the villages, towns, and cities that I saw springing up. As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, the clashing of the swords, and the shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice say:

“Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

As the voice ceased, the bright angel, for the last time, dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon America. Instantly, the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious. Once more, I beheld villages, towns, and cities springing up where I had seen them before – while the bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought in the middle of them, cried in a loud voice:

“While the stars remain and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Union last.”

picture #6: George Washington maintains a strong faith and many prayers
picture #6: George Washington maintains a strong faith and many prayers

And taking from her angelic brow the crown on which was blazoned the word UNION, she placed it upon the National Standard while people, kneeling down, said, ‘Amen.’ The scene instantly began to fade away, and I saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I had first beheld. This also disappeared, and I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious beautiful visitor, who said:

“Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus: three great perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the third, but the whole world united shall not prevail upon her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for God, His land, and the Union.”

With those words the beautiful visitor and the bright angel accompanying her disappeared from my sight.’

Such, my friend, were the very words I heard from Washington’s own lips. America will do well to profit by them.”

picture #7: The tone was set for a government under God -- FOREVER
picture #7: The tone was set for a government under God — FOREVER

Thus, George Washington had an experience which sounds exactly like those of visionaries who encounter the Blessed Virgin Mary. They see the “beautiful lady” in the bright light and are mesmerized into a state of ecstasy – in which they, too, feel immobilized and held in a gaze with Blessed Mary while she imparts visions, predictions, messages, and even warnings. Angels often accompany Blessed Mary as well – as this happened for George Washington as well. Can you figure out what the three great perils were? Revolutionary War? Civil War? Others? This story just shows how much Heaven was involved from the start in America and how Our Heavenly Mother has always been with us here in America.

Necedah, Wisconsin, USA (1949-1974)

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.

picture #1: Mary Ann Van Hoof, visionary visited by Blessed Mary
picture #1: Mary Ann Van Hoof, visionary visited by Blessed Mary

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.

picture #3: Messages and Drawings
picture #2: Messages and Drawings

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. 

picture #4: Actual site of original apparitions
picture #3: Actual site of original apparitions

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. 

picture #5: Mary Ann in later years with her sunflower garden
picture #4: Mary Ann in later years with her sunflower garden

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.

Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA (1943-1944) “Our Lady Of Graces”

Claude Newman was a twenty-year old African American who was sitting on Death Row in a Mississippi prison in 1943.  His crime was that of ambushing and shooting a man named Sid Cook – the abusive and horrible second husband of his beloved grandmother.  Although the murder may have felt emotionally justified, Claude found himself, nevertheless, awaiting execution in this Mississippi prison near Vicksburg.

One day, he noticed a medal hanging around the neck of a fellow prisoner.  Claude asked the young man what it was.  The other prisoner responded by cursing and throwing the medal to the ground.  “Take it,” he said.  The medal was a Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces.  Claude knew nothing about it, who was actually pictured on it, or what it represented.  Nevertheless, Claude picked up the oval trinket and hung it around his neck.

Blessed Mary in Vicksburg
Blessed Mary in Vicksburg

During that night, Claude was awakened by a touch on his wrist.  Looking around he beheld a glowing supernatural vision – “the most beautiful woman that God ever created.”  The lady calmed the frightened prisoner and said,

If you would like me to be your Mother, and you My child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church.

Then the “beautiful woman” simply vanished.  “A ghost! A ghost!” screamed Claude.  He begged and pleaded for a Catholic priest to come see him.

The next morning, Father Robert O’Leary, SVD, was summoned (This priest was the one who preserved these details and documented these events.)  After listening to the extraordinary experience that Claude described, the priest discovered that Claude was illiterate and knew nearly nothing about religion.  So, the priest began to slowly and carefully teach him about the Catholic faith.  Four other prisoners, who were deeply impressed by Claude’s experience and details, joined into the teachings of Catholicism.  Occasionally, two sisters from Father O’Leary’s church joined the catechetical team to teach these inmates.

Claude Newman, visionary in prison
Claude Newman, visionary in prison

Several weeks later, when Father introduced the sacrament of Confession, Claude unexpectedly blurted out,

Oh, I know about that!  The Lady told me that when we go to Confession, we are kneeling down not before a priest, but before the cross of Her Son.  And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the Blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins.

The priest and nuns were stunned at this new revelation coming out of Claude’s mouth.  Seeing their shock and surprise, Claude heartily apologized,

“Oh, don’t be angry – don’t be angry.  I didn’t mean to blurt it out!”

The Virgin Mary appears to Claude Newman
The Virgin Mary appears to Claude Newman

Assuring Claude that he was far from angry, Father O’Leary asked Claude if he had seen the Lady again.  Taking the priest aside, Claude admitted that he had. 

“She told me that if you doubted me or showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland (during the war) in 1940, you made a vow to Her which She’s still waiting for you to keep.”

This truth of this amazing revelation firmly convinced Father O’Leary of the authenticity of Claude’s experiences.  In fact, during the war, Father O’Leary had prayed through Blessed Mary’s intercession for his own survival – promising to build a church in honor of the Immaculate Conception if he lived to do so.  There was no way that this prisoner on Death Row could have known about that priest’s prayerful promise in 1940.  And the Virgin Mary – through Claude – was correct.  Father O’Leary had not built that promised church yet.  With new inspiration and determination, this priest made sure that the church was finally built.  His promise was fulfilled with its completion in 1947, and it is still standing today in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

A drama on his life was developed for stage
A drama on his life was developed for stage

As Father O’Leary and Claude Newman returned to the class on Confession, Claude told his classmates,

“You should not be afraid of Confession.  You’re really telling God your sins, not the priest.  You know, the Lady said that Confession is something like a telephone.  We talk through the priest to God, and God talks back to us through the priest.”

About a week later, when Father O’Leary and the sisters were preparing to teach on the Blessed Sacrament, Claude asked if he could share what the Lady had told him about the Eucharist.  The catechist joyfully acquiesced, and Claude shared with everyone,

“The Lady told me that in Communion, I will only see what looks like a piece of bread.  But she told me that it is really and truly Her Son, and that He will be with me just as He was with Her before He was born in Bethlehem.  She told me that I should spend my time like She did during Her lifetime with Him, in loving Him, adoring Him, thanking Him, praising Him, and asking Him for blessings.  I shouldn’t be distracted or bothered by anybody else or anything else, but I should spend those few minutes in my thoughts alone with Him.”

The stage drama about Claude's life in prison
The stage drama about Claude’s life in prison

Finally, the catechumens (inmates) were received into the Church.  The baptismal records of St. Mary’s parish in Vicksburg record Claude’s baptismal day as January 16, 1944.  He was actually scheduled for execution just four days later on January 20th.

As Sheriff Williamson asked Claude Newman if he had any last requests, he could not believe what the young prisoner told him:

“Well, all my friends are all shook up.  The jailor is all shook up.  But you don’t understand.  I’m not going to die – only this body is.  I’m going to be with Her.  So, then I would like to have a party.”

Certificate of Baptism for Claude Newman
Certificate of Baptism for Claude Newman

And so, Claude Newman had his party with cake and ice cream, and his fellow inmates were allowed to attend.

On the morning of his execution, Claude was full of joy.  As he prepared with Father O’Leary, Sheriff Williamson rushed in, shouting that the governor had granted a two-week reprieve.  To the sheriff’s amazement, Claude broke down in tears, sobbing and crying inconsolably.  Through his tears he said,

“But you don’t understand!  If you ever saw Her face and looked into Her eyes, you wouldn’t want to live another day (without Her)!  What have I done wrong these past weeks that God would refuse me my going home?  Why must I still remain here for two weeks?”

Dramatized scene in the electric chair
Dramatized scene in the electric chair

Then Father O’Leary had an inspiration – and perhaps a reason why.  There was another prisoner, James Hughs, also on death row for murder.  Despite having been raised Catholic, he had led a horribly immoral life.  Furthermore, James had a particular hatred for Claude and all priests as well. 

Father O’Leary proposed to Claude that he offer his disappointment on not being executed that day for the conversion of James Hughs.  Claude spent his final two weeks generously offering his prayers for the salvation of his troubled fellow inmate.

What the other prisoner saw at his execution
What the other prisoner saw at his execution

Finally, Claude Newman was executed on February 4, 1944.  Father O’Leary testified,

“I have never seen anybody go to his death as joyfully and as happily.  Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed.  They said they couldn’t understand how anyone could sit in the electric chair beaming with happiness.”

When the time came for James Hughs to be executed, he violently refused all spiritual assistance, cursing and blaspheming – even while seated on the electric chair.  Had Claude’s prayerful efforts all been in vain?  The sheriff asked James if he had any last words.  Suddenly, looking to a corner of the room, there was a surprised – then horrified, look on his face.  James suddenly shouted, “Get me a priest!”

Father O’Leary was in the room, so he approached James and heard his full confession.  Then, Sheriff Williamson, who could not bear his own curiosity, asked the condemned man what was in the corner.  James explained that he had seen Claude Newman with the Blessed Virgin standing behind him with her hands on his shoulders.  Claude had obtained from Our Lady that James be given a glimpse of his place in hell — where he was about to go!  What James saw filled him with such horror that he screamed for the priest.  Having confessed his sins, he could now die in peace.

News article about Claude Newman's death
News article about Claude Newman’s death

Once again, the simple wearing of the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces called down Our Lady’s maternal gaze, saving not just the soul of Claude Newman, but of many souls in that Mississippi prison.

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.”

Barberton, Ohio, USA (1992-1995)

Tony Fernwalt was not a spiritual or holy man. In fact, he had suffered many hardships, including raw poverty, violence, and going to prison. He was not expecting what he experienced on March 10, 1992, as he was doing some cleanup work at St. Jude’s Orthodox Church in Barberton, Ohio. As he climbed the stairs from the church basement where he had been working, he describes:

“I could hear the voice of some young lady that sounded like she was singing – or crying. Then I smelled these roses. I mean the place just reeked of roses. It was so strong … I couldn’t believe it … Then I peeked through the open door of the church, and I saw this lady dressed all in red, standing with her hands open in front of the altar. She was saying over and over, ‘My Son’s Heart is broken.’

I thought, Oh boy! Her kid’s been in an accident or something. Maybe he’s in the service, or sick, or getting a divorce. Anyway, it was none of my business. I shut the door to the basement. I figured to go to the back of the church and not bother her. As I walked past her, she said again, ‘My Son’s Heart is broken.’

She looked like she was from India or some place like that. Long dress, draping veil, funny clothes. Everything was red. When I got to the back of the church, I sat down to rest on an old folding chair. She was right there! It scared me! First thing she says to me is, ‘As you know, my Son is Jesus.’

Tony questions the strange lady
Tony questions the strange lady

That bothered me. I said, ‘Yeah, and I suppose you’re the Virgin Mary.’ I figured she was nuts and belonged in the state hospital, Fallsview or Massilon or someplace like that. I looked at her pretty close.

Then I started noticing the beauty of her. She looked too young to have a son in the service. I looked at her real close now. She looked too tall for her body. ‘Something’s wrong here,’ I said to myself. I started going down from her head, down her whole body, till I got to her feet. They were standing on a mist that was resting on the floor. Her feet were maybe a foot off the floor on the mist! She looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Yes.’ (to his question about being the Virgin Mary)

Something in me told me that this was serious. It gripped me – choked me – I couldn’t breathe. I’m sitting in the chair – I felt like I was dying. I grabbed my neck. She said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ I was scared – but some kind of peace came to me when she spoke. ‘Do not be afraid. You have sinned against God. You have sinned against my Son, and you have sinned against God’s children.’

I knew that I had whipped my kids and my wife. Then she started to tell me about other things I had done. She said that I wanted to be cruel. I figured anybody can look up the court records. It’s all there. Then she said,

‘You need to pray. Pray that people come back to church. Pray that people come back to my Son. Pray for forgiveness. Ask my Son for forgiveness.’

Tony is stunned by the Virgin Mary's presence
Tony is stunned by the Virgin Mary’s presence

Then I started to see my sins unfold in front of me. Only now I wasn’t thinking about how I felt. I could feel how the others felt when I was hurting them. I felt their pain. I even felt their fear. If I hit somebody, I felt the hurt. I could feel their mental and physical pain when I hurt them. She kept asking me to ask Jesus for forgiveness for each thing that I did that I was seeing. She told me things about things I did that nobody ever, ever knew! I thought that I must be dying. I can’t stand this! I didn’t see anything good that I had ever done in my life. Only the bad stuff. And there was plenty of bad stuff. I was kind of mad.

I said, ‘If you are who you say you are, I want to know about the world – things that they say are going to happen.’ We talked about wars, riots, violence in the cities. She said that God does not cause these. We do. She told me about lots of things that are going to happen on the earth. I said to her, ‘I’ve been bad all my life. Why would you care about me? I would have sold your Son for thirty pieces of silver too, maybe less.’

She looked at me – I could see her love for me! She said,

‘No, you are only a child. People will come and teach you love. They will help you to love and understand. I will take you from a Saul to a Paul. I will leave signs to prove that I was here, and believers will come and see and believe.’

She promised that the scent of roses would be a sign. Things would turn gold. The sick would be healed, and weak faith would become strong. She said,”

“My Son wants all people to return to Him. Pray that sinners will be converted. Pray that their hearts turn back to my Son. My Son wants all souls. He does not want to lose even one soul.”

The painting that began weeping afterwards
The painting that began weeping afterwards

The apparitions with Blessed Mary occurred over a one-and-a-half-year timespan beginning on March 10, 1992 and ending on October 18, 1993. Initially, the visionary claimed he saw her in a small Orthodox Church called St. Judes in Barberton, Ohio where a visible sign was left in the form of a weeping Icon. This painting of the Virgin Mary appeared to produce visible tears that brought people to view the painting for themselves. Seven days later, as She had told him that She would do, the visionary was revisited again by the Mother of Jesus. She told him to “kick the dust from his shoes” and seek the Church of Peter. He did not understand what that meant at first but was brought to a Roman Catholic Church in hopes of doing what she asked. The apparitions began to take place inside the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Kenmore, Ohio twice a week for nearly two weeks.

Nine day later, the Cleveland Archdiocese told Catholics not to involve themselves with the so-called “apparitions” and asked the visionary to leave the Church. The small group moved to a field in Clinton, Ohio, and then back to Barberton, Ohio to the backyard of a city councilman for several more weeks. As word started getting out, and more and more people started to come, liability concerns drove them to an open field on Seville Road in Wadsworth, Ohio. Over the entire summer of 1992, and without the protection of a church building, more and more people arrived in rain or shine, to pray in the open field and listen to what were now daily Messages. Then when the weather started turning colder and flooding became a problem because of the wet summer, the visionary and his family moved south to Jefferson County. They began looking for a permanent place to live and ended up settling in Carroll County, Ohio, about an hour and a half south of Akron.

On November 5, 1992, in the city of Carrollton, the visionary and his family were given permission to join Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church where the daily apparitions continued inside the Church. It was at this point that the visionary started to take instructions in the Catholic faith. Property was purchased several miles away in the town of Kilgore, Ohio where the family continues to live to this day. On December 14, 1992, Our Lady told the visionary about a healing stream that would be found on the property that would produce physical, emotional and spiritual healings. There, a shrine in the shape of a cross was begun. On March 10, 1993, the apparitions occurred only twice a week and then on June 1, 1993, the apparitions reverted to Saturdays. The final public apparition occurred on October 18, 1993.

And that’s when the tears had started. They were about at the neck. One was a little bit further down at the neck then the other — one tear was a little higher than the other and streaming down from both eyes. The first reaction, of course, was to think, “Oh my God, no, not here.” A lot of people would be coming to this tiny church; how could it accommodate all those people there?

People started coming there everyday from all over the world, including Paraguay, Albania, Russia, Greece, and Austria. Rosaries, crosses, and medals were still turning gold in color. The painting kept weeping for about three and half weeks. Healings and miracles became common place there. There are so many.

“There are times when someone will have a cross or rosary and you can see it turning gold right in front of your eyes. I remember a three-inch by two-inch wooden cross made of dark wood. From the inside you could see it becoming white pine. Although it was originally mahogany, it was turning from the inside like a thin hair in the middle gradually spreading out over the cross till the whole thing was all white. There are at least four to six people upstairs in the church right now that it has happened to. Eva, upstairs, has had two things turn gold on her. The central message is that God is using all these things to bring us to Him.”

The priest confirms the tears are flowing
The priest confirms the tears are flowing

November 8, 1992
“My Dear Children, many times you may sit and wonder about your life. What should you do from one moment to the next? Each day of your lives you go about very easily. For many, each day is very happy, yet for others, each day is just another day. But, yet, do they stop and wonder why it seems like another day? Did their day begin with prayer? Did their day begin with Mass? Did their day begin with communion? Did their day begin with my Son Jesus Christ? Did yours? Did your day begin with my Son Jesus Christ?”

November 9, 1992
“My Dear Children, do you feel anger? Do you feel at times in your life that things are not right? Is life confusing at times? When you need to talk, who do you turn to? Your Father? Do you turn to your Mother? Do you turn to your brother? Do you turn to your sister? Who do you turn to talk to when problems run deep? Have you talked to my Son Jesus? Have you talked to your priest? How many times did you need someone to talk to but were too ashamed or scared to tell anyone? Why did you not turn to my Son Jesus? Why did you not confide in your priest? They are loving as my Son Jesus is loving. They are human as my Son Jesus is human. They are here to teach you as my Son Jesus would have you taught. They are here because of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Be not afraid to ask your priest to show you the way to my Son Jesus. Be not afraid for they are here to guide you in the Kingdom of God through my Son Jesus. Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

March 31, 1992
“Anthony, remember all churches are holy. Never say anything bad about any church. My Son wants everybody, all people, all faiths: He wants every soul. Remember, my Son is your savior … He died for you.”

November 8, 1992
“My Dear Children, many times you may sit and wonder about your life. What should you do from one moment to the next? Each day of your lives you go about very easily. For many, each day is very happy, yet for others, each day is just another day. But yet, do they stop and wonder why it seems like another day? Did their day begin with prayer? Did their day begin with Mass? Did their day begin with communion? Did their day begin with my Son Jesus Christ? Did yours? Did your day begin with my Son Jesus Christ?”

March 24, 1992
“Anthony, before Confession, you must open your heart to Jesus. You must have a complete and open heart. You must confess all sins with your mouth even the smallest ones. Do your penance. Always remember, a CONSECRATED EUCHARIST IS MY SON’S TRUE BODY, THE WINE IS MY SON’S TRUE BLOOD. Ask My Son to come into your heart, give your heart to him. My Son is now in your body, heart and soul. Remember that He is in your body. Pray after you receive Him and act accordingly. Do not receive the host with unclean hands. Pray for everyone. Pray that people come back to church.” Note: She directed Anthony to read James 4.

St. Jude's church in Barberton, Ohio
St. Jude’s church in Barberton, Ohio

May 15, 1992
“My Dear Children, many questions have been asked about who should say the rosary. The rosary should be prayed by all (all means all Christians). The rosary is a dedicated prayer just like the Our Father, and you should be proud that you say the rosary openly and faithfully. If everyone would pray the rosary on one certain day of the week, through the prayers of the rosary, all things could change in the happenings of the world. Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

April 4, 1992
“Dear Children, abortion not only kills the child . . . it also destroys part of the mother’s conscience forever. Both the mother and the doctor will have to answer to God for her actions. Life, our immortal soul, begins at the moment of conception. The souls of aborted babies go directly to heaven and sit at the throne of God as they are innocent and did not commit this sin.”
She asked everyone to pray for the following:
“Pray for the mothers; ask forgiveness for them. Pray that the doctors will have a change of heart.”
Note: “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my father.” Matthew 18:10

Tony Fernwalt-- visionary not by his choice
Tony Fernwalt– visionary not by his choice

July 24, 1992
“My Dear Children, I want to tell you that you must realize a few things. Number one: God the Father created all things. Number two: Jesus is the only way to God the Father and His kingdom. I want you to know you must prepare yourselves because you never know when my Son, Jesus, will return. You must always be prepared. But now you must get prepared. Get prepared, get prepared! You must realize these are cries unto all you children for only you will be able to make that decision. My Son came from God the Father to live among the people and look what they did to him. Whose side will you be on when my Son returns? I pray to Him that all of you are on His side, but many of you will not be. You must prepare yourself through prayer. You must soon be ready, for He will come like a thief in the night. He has been knocking on the door for a long time, but soon, he must turn away and go. So, I tell you, get prepared, get prepared, get prepared! Make sure your candle is lit within yourself. Many may laugh at you saying the Lord will not return in your time. It’s been said before. Only God the Father knows when His Son will return, but you must get prepared. Pray that the tribulations are short and that God the Father and God the Son come swiftly and justly. For many of you should not fear when they return. But for many, they do fear. So, I say to you, go to Mass, Confession, Communion, do penance and good deeds. Remember: pray, pray, pray! Intertwine — like a vine — your life with My Son. Pray, Pray, Pray. Get prepared, get prepared, get prepared! For the ones that really love My Son, I want to tell you, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will protect you when they return. Thank you for listening and God bless you.” Note: “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36

August 4, 1992
“Dear Children, don’t hold My Son inside of yourself or a small group. You must go out as my Son sent his disciples out and spread his message all over to all people, not to just a few. This way, when all mankind hears of My Son, then the prophecies will be fulfilled. For many of you want to hide My Son within yourself and not share Him with anyone else. How many of you are guilty of this? He gives you everlasting life and He loves you. Why can’t you share His love with others? For the light that shines should be all over in each one of you. Maybe some of you will love each other enough to share that light with the ones that don’t have it yet? Don’t be selfish, for my Son’s life, death and resurrection were for all of you. He was not selfish. So please, follow the examples He has given you.”

“Here is my story on the pictures of Our Blessed Mother. On July 21, 1992, I was on the tractor mowing the field. I had started at about 3:00 pm. I was almost finished mowing at around 5:30 pm when Jon Lombardi and Tony Fernwalt drove into the field and parked near their usual spot. We waved hello to each other. I was mowing down at the south end of the field, so we were probably over 100 yards apart from each other. I was still on the tractor when I saw Tony start taking pictures with a Polaroid camera. He had been doing this quite a bit lately. He told me that the Virgin Mary had said that she would show herself in a picture.

I guess that they had taken several pictures when I drove by to say hi. I got down off the tractor and asked them what they were doing. Tony said they were taking pictures of the sun. I asked if anything had shown up on the them, and they told me that nothing had –and they showed me the blank pictures. Then Tony handed me the camera and told me to try and take one. I asked how he was doing it, and he told me just to point the Polaroid camera at the sun and take a picture, so that is what I did. I gave the camera back to Tony, the picture still in the slot where it comes out. Tony took the picture out and set it on the seat in Jon’s car, and then, he handed the camera to Jon, so he could take a picture too. I told them that I was going to finish mowing and put the tractor away. I would be back to pray the Rosary. By then, Jon had taken a couple more Polaroid pictures and put them in the car, too.

I had walked 20 to 25 yards away when Jon and Tony started screaming for me to come back and look at the picture. I came back, and Jon started showing me the picture that I had just taken. It wasn’t quite finished developing yet but the image in the picture was very obvious to us. Then, either Tony or Jon looked at the pictures that Jon took after the one that I had taken, and Mary had shown herself in these two pictures also. Then things got pretty hysterical. It was quite an event. Jon did think to write on the pictures the date and time that the pictures were taken.

To me, these pictures are a miracle allowed to happen through the will of God. I have shown these pictures to many people. Some believe in the miracle of the pictures, and many choose not to believe. I understand both opinions very well because I was also a very passive participant in my faith for a long time. In previous years, I was shown other pictures from apparition sites from around the world, and I decided that anybody could fake something like that. Obviously, my thinking has changed quite a bit. There is one saying that keeps coming to mind, ‘To those that believe no proof is needed. To those that do not believe, no proof is enough.” (David E. Pfeiffer, Wadsworth, Ohio)

“In August of 1992, I stopped by the field in the afternoon to plant some mums. I met another carload of people who had heard about the Field. Again, remembering all my questions the first time I had arrived there, I patiently answered them and showed them my photo album in the trunk of my car. Before long, I began noticing people starting to arrive for the evening’s apparition and prayers. All at once, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and yelled at me to turn and look at the sun. I looked and then immediately flinched at the absurdity of her command. I thought, “This woman’s crazy, yelling at me to stare at the sun!” But she would not take no for an answer. This time, the woman grabbed my arm, and swung me partly around since my back was facing the sun.

When I turned again, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The sun itself was pulsating like it was going to jump out of the sky. Then it started to spin, then pulse, then spin, then pulse. People were pointing, staring or kneeling in awe as I grabbed my camera to try and record the event. I realized that I couldn’t capture the motion with a 35mm camera, but that was the only camera I had, and I snapped the picture anyway. My tennis partner, who had never been to the field before, stood next to me watching the sun spin and pulse. All he could say was, “Holy cow.”

A woman's rosary beads turn gold in front of everyone
A woman’s rosary beads turn gold in front of everyone

On August 27, 1992, after six months of daily apparitions, the public messages stopped with this last message:
“Dear Children: I have come to you for a while. I have told you many things, yet you did not listen. I came here thinking many of you would turn your soul and life over to My Son, Jesus. I will not give warning to you. I will be silent for a while, then maybe you will understand. I will talk again to you through Anthony on September 30, 1992. Please read and listen to My Son and I thank you for listening. God bless all of you.”

She continued Her daily apparitions to the visionary and on September 30, 1992, a huge crowd waited to hear Her message. At the end of the message, She told us She would send another public message on October l5 and November l5, 1992. Her October l5 message was,
“Dear Children, I call upon all of you to turn your life to My Son, Jesus. Turn your life towards God. Guide one another hand in hand. Many times, you cry out to us. Now I cry out to you, so you may see the Kingdom of God. Satan and his evil are so strong in the world today. I have asked repeatedly throughout the world to fill God’s House to where it is overflowing to the point to which crowds will be standing outside. Many of you must realize I have said before that My Son and I are always with you. Many times, you cry out and we hear. It seems many will gather to hear my words, but yet, they do not want to listen. All of you must pray. I have told you of many things but the greatest thing I can tell you is that I love all of you. Come closer, come closer. Ask Jesus to really take over your life. Ask Him to really make yourself whole inside. Ask Him and let Him know that your will is weak, and ask Him and let Him know that you want Him to control your will, to bring your will into His loving arms. Cry out that you are a sinner and really need to be forgiven. Ask Him to lead you His way and not your way. Cry out! Cry out, my dear children, for the love of God to come upon you. In the beginning, I told you what would happen, and you did not believe. Many say their faith is strong. Many believe their faith is strong but in an instant your faith can be shaken. So how strong is your faith? How strong is your love? You must stand up and be firm, be counted. Glorify God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I call on you to fill God’s House. I call on you not to be ashamed in public. If you are out eating, say your grace as if you were at home. If you are out and you feel you need to pray, then stop and pray as if you were at home. I call upon you to pray for Pope John Paul II. I call upon you to pray for all the cardinals, bishops, chancellors, priests, sisters and all that believe. You must realize your prayers can change the world. You must realize that love can change the world. God’s love and My Son Jesus’s love changed the world. You, through prayer and love, can change the world. If someone criticizes you or if someone would smack you, what should you do? Do not argue back. Do not fight back, Just show love. My Son could have fought for His life. My Son could have given up and quit. My Son could have walked away. He did not, because of His love for God and you. So, my children, please come forward to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. How My heart aches to see what is happening throughout the world, and how many are turning away from God. I call on you to show your love back. I call on you to show your true love. Only if the whole world would pray and love; they would just begin to see what the Kingdom of God is really like. My tears are of sadness. I wish they were of joy. My Son’s Heart is broken. Through your praying, through your love and through giving your heart to Jesus, His heart can mend, then mine will mend too. Only each and every one of you can make that choice to mend His Heart and my heart. Many of you have set forth with your life towards My Son. Yes, you have fought many battles within yourself and you have fought many battles outside of yourself and you will continue to fight many battles from the outside for my Son. You know that He will also fight for you. For the ones that do not understand, fighting means persecution for believing in my Son, Jesus. This does not mean physical fighting, this means fighting temptations from Satan. Temptations from many things. What is temptation? It could be politics, greed of money, greed for sex, greed for luxuries, greed for control and one of the most powerful, greed of gossip and greed of excuses, the greed of lying, the greed of hatred, the greed of wantonness. Why don’t you greed for the way they want you to live? I say to you, make “His House” overflowing. Grow in your faith. Be proud that you believe. Yes, I love every one of you for my love is pure, and I was given this pure love from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. You, too, can be given this pure love. All you have to do is ask and then live what my Son has asked you to do through His words and deeds. Thank you for listening and God Bless all of you.”

August 4, 1992
“Dear Children, you hear the words, “pray, get prepared, conversions” and some of you wonder what I mean. Get prepared means that the light within your soul must be able to shine in the darkness. For my Son will be able to see your light. This will be part of your candle when the days are dark. But you must remember, giving your total life to my Son will make you glow very brightly. You must get prepared, for all prophecies must come true. To pray means that you must ask for help and guidance. This way your life will be able to be intertwined with my Son. You must realize if your life does not intertwine with His, it will be lost. Conversion is something all of you must think of. Don’t hold my Son just inside of yourself or a small group. You must go out as my Son sent his disciples out and spread his message all over, to all people, not to just a few. This way when all mankind hears of my Son then the prophecies will be fulfilled. Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

Other medals and objects turned golden as well
Other medals and objects turned golden as well

July 21, 1992
“Dear Children, I want all of you to realize the true life is through my Son, Jesus. When you need my Son in your deepest hours, you cry out to Him. But, yet, when things are okay for all of you, you forget to cry out for Him. Why? Where does your weakness begin and end in your faith? You should have no weakness . . . just true faith. My Son showed God the Father the faith He wants you to have. Have you really prayed from your soul and heart today? You should pray as though you need my Son Jesus all the time because you really do! Try not to look upon yourselves and think you only need My Son when you need help. Search again as you should look all day for My Son within yourself. Your life should intertwine with Jesus. Pray . . . Pray . . . Pray. Go to Mass, Confession, Communion, do penance and good deeds. Pray that God the Father, and God the Son come swiftly and justly. Pray that when you see my Son, Jesus you will be able to say to Him, I am glad you have come. For many will hide in their darkness. Many will be like the tree that bears no fruit. But remember, the candle that is lit and shines there most is in your soul, for when it is dark that will be the brightest light. There will come a time when only your light will protect you, for it will be the candle within you. So, search out the Kingdom of God through my Son, Christ Jesus, for all of you should stand up with glory to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. For soon, you will not have to worry about the immoral ones. Many of you say, “What date will be that?” But, as I said before . . . no dates shall be given, for if you know a date then you would live only for that date, then upon that date you would fall upon your knees and pray. And please, when you do pray, stop asking for petty things. You should ask that My Son would guide you . . . that’s all you need in your life. Jesus is all you need to be prepared. So, I close by saying, ‘Be prepared . . . be prepared . . . be prepared. Pray! Pray! Pray!’ Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

December 14, 1992
“Anthony, therefore, when you see the flow from the place I have told you, you’ll know that it will be right. But the day the lady slipped and almost fell, it was her faith that brought her to the spring. Even though she was weak, she will be strong. So, from that day forward, the power of the water has been there. Not the power of muscle but the power of faith. Now let My spring flow as all the faith will flow towards My Son Jesus as it will flow toward God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. So, prepare for when they flock to the spring. All of you must help for tomorrow the children will know. They will have their signs in the water. They will have their signs in the spring. They will have their God and their hearts once again. Proclaim, so that when you are not here, people will still have faith, still see the flow, and see the Kingdom of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.”

November 14, 1992
“My dear children, blessed are the ones that do no see and believe. Their rewards will be great in the Kingdom of God. How would you feel if your sight was taken from you? Would you believe that someone would help you around? Would you believe that someone would guide you so that if you would fall, they could help you up? Seek the true meaning of blind faith. Ask My Son Jesus to help you and to guide you throughout each day — for one day you may be able to say, ‘I have blind faith.’ Thank you for listening and God bless you.”

November 20, 1992
“My dear children, you think that each day is a gift from God. It is! Many things throughout your life have been gifts. My Son Jesus was and is the greatest gift of all. What gift have you given? Thank you for listening and God bless you.”

The men are stunned that Mary's image appears on film
The men are stunned that Mary’s image appears on film

November 21, 1992
“My dear children, when you look deep inside yourself, what do you really see? Do you see yourself as just a human being? Or do you see yourself as a creation of God? When you look inside yourself, do you see a person with free will, or do you see a person trying to do God’s will? Do you know and understand God’s will? Do you know and understand My Son Jesus’ will? Do you understand God’s love? Do you understand My Son’s love? Thank you for listening and God bless you.”

May 15, 1992
“Dear children, if a child comes to heaven, why do you still feel sorrowful? Praise God because that child is in heaven. Feel no sorrow because all the children are safe. Now have you opened your eyes? I guess not. Why do you feel sorrow at times? Remember you are human; you need to be spiritual. You need to pray for stronger faith. You need to really believe. Poor souls, you are so weak. Don’t you understand that God is love. Seek nothing but God!”

June 5, 1992 (Wadsworth, Ohio)
“My dear children, remember your prayers are to Jesus. But I also intercede for you. Many people think this may be wrong. Many of you criticize other religions. Never criticize anybody else’s religion. I want all of you to pray to ask that My Son Jesus will help you and guide you in the hard times that you may have throughout your life. Many of you are disciples, but many of you only act as disciples. Do not act, be! Many times, I’ve asked and demanded from you to not be weak. Be strong or else you will be divided by doubts. I ask you to humble yourself before God and to accept the guidance that you have received and to pick up My Son’s cross. Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

August 21, 1992
“Dear children, you come to My Son and I with love. But, yet, many of you do not follow what My Son has said about love. If you would read My Son’s words, you would understand. I come with love for you, hoping that, in turn, you will show love to My Son. I come with love for all of you to prepare you for My Son. When He returns, not only do I want you prepared in strong faith and with your life intertwined with His, but I also want you full of love. I have been coming here for just a short while and yet many have not heeded my warnings, so one day, if I show no more, what will the last ones do? All of you are given a chance in life — whether it is for My Son, Jesus or for yourself. It seems like many, though, throughout the world have not chosen My Son. Many travel throughout the world to places where I have come. If only twice that many would come to My Son. He is sad to see the world as it is with sin, anger, lust, greed. His heart is really broken! For sin is greater now than it has ever been. Now is the time to fall on your knees and ask My Son to guide you throughout each day. Have your personal conversion, your private conversion now. Take off your masks, you lonely children, and see the brightness in My Son. I say to you, through Christ Jesus, you may enter into the Kingdom of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Pray, pray, pray, for it will be like a twinkling of the eye, and it will be swift and just and He will come with the Glory of God. He will come with all the angels and the saints. Christ, Jesus, will come again. Thank you for listening and God bless all of you.”

Original polaroid prints of Mary's image in the field
Original polaroid prints of Mary’s image in the field

November 22, 1992
“My dear children … life. As I have told you, life begins at conception. And death, as you know, should come from the hand of God only. The problem is that so many are turning against God. So many think they can choose life or death. So many will argue that life does not begin until birth, and it is okay to end a life. They say that if someone is old or sick, they should have the right to end their life. Many countries throughout the world give you papers to fill out when you are sick where they can let you or someone else end a life. Many will say that all that they do is just, that it is right. The many that have had their lives taken (because they signed a paper), have not realized the harm they have caused in their souls. The world is turning away from God. Many will say things about God and My Son Jesus, to turn you away from them. They will do this by words or actions. What is life like without God? Would you be here? Which way do you plan for your true life? How would you prepare for a stranger? Would you prepare for Him as a king, or would you find a way to turn Him away? Can you prepare yourselves or will you need help? For your decision will be forever. Seek God. Seek My Son Jesus. Seek the priest. Then maybe you can seek inside. Life belongs to God. No one can ever make a decision on death or life, but yet everyday in the world many people do. For they do not follow God. They do not follow My Son Jesus. Will you follow them? Will you shout kill, kill, kill? Would you hold a child in your arms? You must let everyone know and defend to the fullest your faith in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. For no one has the right to choose for someone else, life or death. Are you one of the ones that can make that decision? But then, ask yourself what would have happened if someone chose for you not to have lived. Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

March 15, 1993 (Kilgore, Ohio)
“My dear children, I call upon all of you to bring My Son, Jesus Christ, closer to your hearts and to your lives. The urgency that I have called upon the world is not for just a few but for all. My time has been shortened on my visits to all throughout the world. Soon I will return to the Kingdom of God. I have asked very simple things from all of you children: Mass, Confession, Communion, Penance, good deeds, love one another, love your enemies. Pray, Pray Pray. Get prepared, get prepared, get prepared. How many have really listened? How many have read My Son’s words? Many of you have searched very deeply within yourselves, and you’ve been guided towards God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Many of you suffer daily for My Son Jesus. Many have given their lives for My Son. Many have given their lives up for My Son. Realize the urgency throughout the world. Satan has a hold upon so many children. He is leading them to destruction. Realize Satan can and will deceive many. I call upon you in these times to return to My Son, to return to His most loving and merciful heart. Call upon God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Plead to them for forgiveness. Plead to them for help. I want to ask all of you who truly believe to reach out and help the ones that are weak or have no faith. Ask them if you could help them. Love means many things. Love is not cruel, love is patient. Love is not hurting, love is mending. Love is not fighting, love is peace. Love is not killing, love is healing. Love is not blind, love sees the beauty. Love is not hard, love is gentle. Love is not dark, love is bright. Love is not a stranger, love is known. Love is happiness. Love is warmth. Love is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. I pour my love upon you and the ones that are not here, for love is free. Through My Son Jesus, He will give you and show you all the purest love you shall ever know. My Son Jesus loves all. His most loving and merciful heart is open to everyone of you. My heart is full of love for all my children which is everyone upon the earth. Search, search, search, for the true love and true light, the true Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. I close in saying to you my time with you is very short. Soon you must draw on your faith alone. Remember, there will always be someone to help you. Fear not, for when I am gone, I will still be with all of you. But, most of all, have My Son Jesus in you. Conversion is a must. Pray for all sinners. Pray for the world. Pray to My Son, Jesus. Please love one another as My Son loves you. Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

First polaroid print of Mary's image
First polaroid print of Mary’s image

December 11, 1992 (partial)
“Anthony, as I told you in the beginning, woe to the politicians that will be elected for they will be immoral. But woe also to the ones who cast their votes for them. What came to their mind? They thought of riches. They thought it would be better. As it is said, destruction is within oneself. Destruction is the lust of money. Destruction is lack of God. Woe to the ones who do not believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, for they cannot serve God and man. For many will suffer eternally. Many will serve God in the glory of His Kingdom.”

January 22, 1993 (partial)
“Anthony, as of today, you will find all that I have told you will soon start. Your country has truly become immoral and a Godless nation. As your President has signed the papers to legalize the killing of the innocent, there is no one to blame for what will come from this signing. No one to blame but the ones who cast their vote for him. They will also have to worry about judgement. Many talked as if it came from their hearts, but it did not come from their souls. They were for greed. How can anyone sit and listen and do nothing to try to change what has happened? Many will be upset that you speak out against the leaders of your country. Even my Pope John Paul II will speak out. I ask that you rise up again and speak out against the signing. Your country is immoral and godless, for those who say they are with My Son have shied away. The turmoil will soon begin. It will be hard for the faithful. It will be hard for the ones who do not believe also. The storms will be of nature and man. Many have brought it upon your country and the world. Yet, many are afraid to fight back and be heard. They are scared to be seen but they are scared of man. They are scared of man. They will make excuses for why they cannot stand. Their excuses will be forever. Fear no man; only fear God. Those who are afraid of man should think more of being afraid of God. My Son came upon this earth as a human and suffered for each and every one but how many will suffer for Him? Even in the world today, they would crucify Him. They would still spit upon Him, beat Him and kill Him. So, who will stand up for Him? Who will stand up for My Son? You must realize many will say that they will, but they won’t. Many will say that they will do it this way or that way, but they won’t. How will they survive with their souls if they do not stand up for God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit?”

Second polaroid print of Mary's image
Second polaroid print of Mary’s image

August 7,1992 (about Yugoslavia)
“Dear children, I came here to let you know that the way the world is going is not good. If all of you would really pray, you will be able to divert the war that has not come yet — but will soon start as all nations will be involved. I want you all to pray in the weeks and months to come. If your prayers are not strong and sincere, this will happen.”

Patrick’s Miracle (Good Friday, 1993)
We will always remember Good Friday, 1993, as the beginning of a frightening trauma that led to a Blessed miracle. Patrick (13) and his twin brother Michael were playing with friends and BB guns, when Michael accidently shot Pat in the eye. Knowing I was at a church service, they ran to a neighbor’s home. The neighbor drove Pat to the hospital and her husband drove Mike to get me. The ride to the hospital seemed endless as Mike recounted the story over and over through his tears. The panic I felt within was difficult to retain. At the hospital emergency room, they told me they had to call in a specialist and admitted Pat. The specialist reported that he had intra renal and preretinal hemorrhage as well as a choroidal rupture of the retina. Nothing could be done for Pat then because of the recurrent bleeding. They patched both eyes and he had to remain upright (even to sleep) and quiet. Having been familiar with Christ in the Hills and the Healing Spring, we made the trip for water. We began putting the water in his eye and prayed with him. Each time he drank the water, we prayed an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and asked that God’s will be done in our lives. Having been told by the doctor that they probably could save the eye but not his sight, we knew we needed God’s grace, mercy and strength in handling whatever happened. Due to the severity of his retinal and choroid injury, our eye specialist consulted with another specialist. Knowing that Our Blessed Mother was interceding for us and having surrendered the outcome totally to God, we felt at peace. Three weeks after the accident, Pat’s eye was totally healed and his vision returned to normal. We thank God and our Blessed Mother for such a wonderful miracle in our lives. Two specialists examined Pat’s eye, Dr. Fammartino and Dr. Richard L. Fuller. Dr. Fuller of The Perry Eye Clinic who diagnosed that Pat had intrarenal and preretinal hemorrhage as well as a choroidal rupture in the nasal aspect of the retina, wrote to the family after his remarkable healing. “Miracles never cease when one has faith in God and prayers”. Sharon McAllister, Navarre, Ohio
(regarding Patrick McAllister)

Surprised people witness the sun spinning in the sky
Surprised people witness the sun spinning in the sky

June 1, 1993
“Anthony, I ask you to still slowly pull yourself back. Soon, when I am gone, I ask you to read what I have told you. Soon all will have to be dependant on my Son Jesus and His words. Realize that I love you but soon I will be leaving. I call upon all to be strong. I call upon all to pray. Follow My Son. Ask Him to help you, to guide you, to forgive you. I have come to you to prepare many of the children that will come. You, as well as your family, need to prepare spiritually. Soon I will be leaving. Do as I have asked. Do as though it’s been done. I ask you to go to your priest tonight to have him lay his hands and pray over you. Thank you for listening. God bless you.”

On March 26, 1995, Jesus appeared to Tony in Our Lady of the North American Martyrs Church in Barberton. Tony states that when Jesus appears, the tabernacle radiates with light, and His form comes from within the tabernacle. He stands on a cloud of bright light and wears a robe of glowing white. His eyes and hair are brown. Rays of light emanate from the open tabernacle. His messages to Tony emphasize the absolute necessity of sacramental confession:

“People go to confession and do not confess their deepest sins. Unconfessed sins are not forgiven. One day they will be revealed to everyone. Only sins that are fully confessed are totally washed away. They no longer exist. There are those who receive the Holy Eucharist without making a truthful confession or having real sorrow for their sins. This is an even deeper sin.”

“I am truly My Father’s Tabernacle. I am truly your Tabernacle. I am also present, physically, in every tabernacle throughout the world.”

“Listen to the teachings of Pope John Paul II. Read Scripture. Return to church. Pray for the Pope, bishops, priests, and religious. Love your spouse and children. Imitate the Holy Family of Nazareth.”

“Evil grows fast. It is the responsibility of every citizen – not just the government – to help the poor. Love one another. Respect one another. Do not judge one another.”

Patrick McAllister -- a miraculous recovery!
Patrick McAllister — a miraculous recovery!

These apparitions have yet to receive approval.

Santa Maria, California, 1990

“Mother of God”, Santa Maria, California, United States, 1990

In May of 1990, author Janice Connell was invited to visit Santa Maria, California, where a housewife, Sadie Jaramillo, was receiving messages from the Virgin Mary. The Blessed Mother desired that a huge cross be erected on a hill overlooking the town. Driving out to that hill, she was amazed to find as many as 20,000 people – mostly of Spanish descent – assembled on the hill. They were all dressed in their Sunday best clothing – the men in suits, the women in beautiful attire as if attending a wedding, and the children exquisitely dressed in white clothing, dresses, white shoes, and white veils. They were praying the Rosary and singing hymns. It was very hot with no room to sit as everyone was standing on the hill. There was an air of expectation and a spirit of joy in the air.

Sadie Jaramillo, alleged visionary
Sadie Jaramillo, alleged visionary

Suddenly, people began to exclaim, “Look at the sun!” It was spinning and pulsating. Great rays of light of every possible color streaked from the center of the sun across the sky like lightning. Some people wept; others tried to film the phenomenon; others just gazed in wonder. A little girl about seven years old, standing near Janice, suddenly fell to her knees and stretched her arms towards the sun, crying, “Madre de Dios!” (Mother of God). Two little boys, probably two and three years old, also fell to their knees. Great tears of joy fell to the ground from their little cheeks as they, too, cried out, “Madre de Dios!” Their little arms reached up to a figure only they could see.

Mother of God
“Mother of God”

Some people claiming to see her were trying to take Polaroid pictures. Walking up to one woman, Janice asked to see her developing Polaroid photograph. In about three minutes the photo was fully developed, and there was a clear white image of the traditional figure of the Blessed Virgin!

A bird appeared to fly out of the sun and swooped down before them, hovering near the kneeling children. Then it ascended to high in the sky in front of them and became surrounded with and encased in pure white light. Then it seemed to fly back into the sun and disappeared from sight. It was then that the author realized that this day was Pentecost Sunday.

Sadie Jaramillo being interviewed on Christian television
Sadie Jaramillo being interviewed on Christian television

The messages that this housewife received are not yet approved despite many of them sounding quite familiar in theme and language. Some experts have picked them apart and cast serious doubts on her authenticity. The church has not ruled on this one yet. Nevertheless, 20,000 pilgrims had some amazing experiences that day in May – as did author Janice Connell.