DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 21, 1998     vol. 9, no. 206

THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
    INTRODUCTION
          In the lush South American country of Venezuela that the Blessed Virgin Mary calls her "land of grace," which is bordered by the Carribean Sea to the north, the Andes Mountains to the southwest and the Amazon Jungle in the south, Our Lady has been appearing for centuries. And ever since 1976, she has been coming to a tiny, remote, tropical farm in Betania, Venezuela to establish a special Refuge for all her children as the New Ark of Salvation under the special title "Mary, Virgin and Mother of Reconciliation for all people and nations." She calls Betania the "New Lourdes" offering the same healing waters to all who will take refuge in her Immaculate Heart. God has chosen Maria Esperanza de Bianchini as His special visionary with many mystical graces to convey His Mother's messages to all His children as she beckons us all to become her "Ambassadors of Reconciliation."

          No matter the age, Our Lady has been imparting the same message: "Pray! Pray! Pray!" It is only through constant prayer, taken as a bouquet in loving, motherly intercession before the Throne of God, that the hearts of mankind will eventually be softened and all her little ones brought into accord with the Will of God. This continuing in-depth series on the grace-filled mystical phenomena of Our Lady's appearances through the ages and the meaning of her messages will open eyes and hearts because she is the mother of us all and her words of wisdom and warnings must be taken seriously...very seriously!

The New Lourdes: Betania - Refuge of Reconciliation
part three

The Mission of the New Lourdes begins

          The Betania visionary Maria Esperanza de Bianchini travels globally bringing Our Lady's messages to all she can. She has carried the messages of Reconciliation to nearly every continent reaffirming to all that "If someone loves you deeply then it is important that they also love your children, therefore, if we love Jesus Christ then we must love His Mother Mary. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary brought Jesus to us in Bethlehem and today by the power of the Holy Spirit, she continues to bring Jesus into our lives.

          Geo, her loving husband of 42 years, concurs 100% with this and all that Maria is asked to do. He is a man of strong faith who, by his own admission, insists on being very realistic, "and at times this makes it difficult for me to get in touch with the Divine." He's seen many signs, but by and large goes on pure faith, totally trusting in God.

          Through the early years of their marriage, the Blessed Mother guided the family, slowly preparing both for the mission ahead. Through interior vision, Maria was shown the property where Our Lady would appear, describing every detail from the cascading water to the Grotto to the foliage and river flowing through the land. With the assistance of friends, they discovered this special acreage and purchased it during March 1974. Two years later on the feat of the Annunciation, Our Heavenly Mother appeared for the first time in Betania to Maria. No one else who was with her at the time saw Our Lady but felt the Virgin's presence and witnessed such supernatural phenomena as the pulsating of the sun, a mist covering the mountain behind the grotto, a bright light, a profusion of flowers where none had grown before and singing from an invisible choir of angels. These signs still transpire today.

          For Maria it was like déjà vu since she had experienced on August 22, 1954 as a postulant some of the phenomena that occurs in Betania: the Heavenly choir of angels and smell of roses. She experienced that which she described as "something like a star (that) fell from the roof and landed on my chest; it was like a dart that passed through my heart and I fell senseless to the floor, as if I was dead. At that moment I was in ecstasy and I had no idea what was happening…(Our Blessed Mother) was saying that in the future we would obtain a piece of property. Time had to elapse and during this time I would marry and be the mother of many children. When these children were finally grown up, she would appear in the "Promised Land." It was at this time that she said, "When you are on your way to the grotto with my image I shall appear as a blue butterfly."

          True to Our Lady's words, in this place of prophecy - Betania - twenty-two years later (when most of Maria's children were grown) the blue butterfly was seen as she and a small entourage of believers processed to the grotto with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. To this day, the blue butterfly is visible to the pilgrims as it flutters over the crowd when Our Lady is present. Our Lady has said the smaller azure butterflies are the angels who accompany her.

          In early 1977 Maria was told by the Mother of God to speak to then bishop of the diocese of Los Teques - Bishop Juan Jose Bernal about taking care of the spiritual needs of the people in the area, seeing that the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Communion, as well as Matrimony be administered to them. Maria was assured by Our Lady that she herself would touch the Bishop as well.

          On February 7 of the same year, after struggling with the message which Bishop Bernal had received (while in Rome) he contacted Maria and indicated to her that Our Lady of Lourdes had gotten through to him and he was willing to help.

          Maria's mission had barely begun for Our Lady had much more in store for her. Again, on the feast of the Annunciation in 1978, which in that year fell on Holy Saturday, Maria was given a special message from the Mother of God:

      "Little daughter, this is not a dream; my presence among you is real. Obey and follow faithfully this Mother (Our Lady) so that you may be happy for all eternity. Accept the arduous task of bringing my message of love and reconciliation to the peoples of all nations. You will suffer, but what joy and happiness it will be to see that you have been faithful to your Mother. I take you by the hand."

          It was an affirmation of Maria's role as ambassador of reconciliation and victim soul in reparation for the sins of others. But Maria was not the only one chosen to be an "Ambassador of Reconciliation" or that would see Our Lady as we shall see in the next installment entitled, Our Lady Manifests Herself to Many.


October 21, 1998       volume 9, no. 206
THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS

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