DAILY CATHOLIC MONDAY July 6, 1998 vol. 9, no. 130
THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS
To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
The 16th Century: a method to her messages
In all of the previous apparitions in the first three chapters and in all that would follow right up to today, Our Lady appeared for a specific purpose, conveying a necessary message to whomever she appeared; a message that was meant to be spread to those who needed it. With almost every appearance she left a sign to be taken seriously. Many have been. But alas, there are far too many that have not been taken seriously enough. The times she has appeared the most have been when her children were in trouble, just as God sent great prophets in the Old Testament during the times of the greatest travail for His people. Today, we have Sacred Scripture and we have the wonderful Roman Catholic Teaching backed up by Dogma. We even have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church to guide us. Yet we still haven't learned. That's why, like a patient and loving Mother, the Queen of Heaven keeps coming back...over and over...until we get it right.
God's children have had more than enough chances as we'll see down the road in subsequent chapters on the pivotal 16th Century when the Protestant Reformation split the Church in the Old World while in the New World millions of converts were being added to Holy Mother Church through the fruits of one apparition - Our Lady of Guadalupe to Blessed Juan Diego down through the 17th and 18th Centuries when the Enlightenment and corruption threatened the faithful.
The 19th Century, when persecution forced many Catholics, ushered in more frequent apparitions of Blessed Mary beginning in 1830 when she appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure, requesting that the Miraculous Medal be struck. In into exile and Our Lady warned the world at Rue de Bac, LaSalette and Lourdes of the dangers ahead. At Lourdes the Blessed Mother announced her title "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Finally the 20th Century has seen an unprecedented number of appearances that have been registered - even more as we wind down to the next millennium especially here in our western hemisphere.
It was the western hemisphere that Our Lady turned her attention in the turbulent 16th Century, a century where the masses in Europe would abandon the one, true Church to follow their own wills and set up new watered-down sects under the guise of new enlightenment in what would come to be called the "Reformation." Of the 12 reported apparitions in the 1500's, 7 were in South and Central America, with the most famous and most results-oriented being at Guadalupe in 1531. In the next issue we will deal with this unique apparition in its entirety and the effects of her message. For this issue we will highlight the other eleven sites the Blessed Mother appeared.
The year 1506 was the Blessed Virgin's first appearance in the new world, this at Miquey near the city of Santa Domingo in the Caribbean. Ten years earlier this island had been founded by Bartholomew Columbus as the land of Hispaniola [today known as the Dominican Republic]. Whether this discoverer was a relative of Christopher Columbus and what relationship we do not, as of this writing, know for sure. However, we do know Our Lady appeared at Miquey as Our Lady of Altagracia. It was a fitting beginning to her countless appearances in the New World over the next five centuries.
In 1519, the Virgin Mary returned to France 100 years after her appearance to Dean Reginald in Orleans. This time Our Lady appeared to Jean de la Baume at Mont Vardaille.
It was twelve years later of the occasion at Guadalupe which, as we mentioned, we will cover in detail in the next issue. Now on to the other apparitions of the 16th Century.
Four years after Guadalupe the Blessed Mother appeared in Peru as Our Lady of the Rosary in 1535 and in 1544 in Chile as "Our Lady of Andacollo". Six years later in Lisbon, Portugal visionary Sebastian Baraddas was graced with a visit by Our Lady.
The Mother of God returned to South America in the mid 1550's with an appearance in Columbia as "Our Lady of Chiquinquira" in 1555 and one year later as "Our Lady of Copacabana" in Bolivia. Our Lady made her third and fourth visits to Russia in 1559 at Kazan bestowing a Miraculous Icon on eight year-old Matrona and 21 years later at Ziron to visionary Ambrose urging Capuchin vocations. The Blessed Virgin returned to South America, this time in Ecuador in the late 1500's with two appearances; the first in 1586 where she appeared as "Our Lady of Quinche" and again in 1594 in Quito, Ecuador where she saved the Ecuadorian Indians from famine. This was her last known apparition in the 16th Century, a century marked by tremendous Heavenly intervention in South and Central America in the face of great persecution and human sacrifice and a growing defection of the faithful in Europe.
One apparition stands out, one officially approved by the Church which was responsible then for nearly seven million conversions throughout Mexico and which today holds tremendous significance in the battle over abortion. This we shall see in the next installment when we treat the Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to visionary Blessed Juan Diego exclusively.
TOMORROW: the end of sacrifice signals the importance of sacrifice: Our Lady of Guadalupe
THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS