DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 28, 1998     vol. 9, no. 211


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
          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 four

Our Lady Manifests Herself to Many

          One of the more extraordinary phenomena at Betania occurred again on the feast of the Annunciation, this time in 1984. Our Lady had foretold this would happen when she appeared to Maria Esperanza de Bianchini on November 27th, 1978:
      "For the year 1983 you will be able to start with great clearness of labor of the land movement, and then in 1984 the Great Event of my Presence in the Place, and there…conversions, healings of body and soul, priestly and religious vocations, unity in the marriages, regenerated families in the faith, charisma of the Holy Spirit performing in all that come near with humility. Those who (are) repentant and crying (over) their misdeeds turn their eyes to the Grotto of my Apparition asking for forgiveness, will receive an abundance of graces; all will be well received, their souls will become pure and clean as the day they were purified by the saintly baptism, all will resurrect with my Son. The 25th of March of that year (1984), a very special grace I will give you…and on the 13th of May all those present there, some will feel me, others will see me, that Great Day is arriving."

          True to her words, six years later at approximately the great hour of mercy (3 pm) the crowd which had gathered heard a child among them cry out that the Blessed Mother was visible at the top of the spring's grotto. Everyone raced to the foot of the grotto in awe as they gazed upon the beautiful vision of Our Lady. She appeared and disappeared seven times that afternoon. Some could see her as far away as 500 feet. Her image, like a dense mist, was clear and perfect amidst the background of the dark verdant foliage. One hundred and fifty people saw her that day and many saw her as Our Lady of Lourdes; some as Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, others as Our Lady of Guadalupe, a few as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and a smattering saw her as the Mother of Sorrows, among other visages. During the last apparition, which lasted a half hour in the early evening she appeared with the Christ in her right arm Who blessed all in attendance.

          Since that time, countless pilgrims have testified to seeing her image in the trees, near the Tarma river which flows at the entrance to the farm, coming out of the flower-covered grotto, or in the sky. Others claim she has walked among them, touching them in a mystical way, while others point to miraculous pictures revealing the Blessed Mother's image in either a white smoke or mist or a "holographic" likeness that appears on the photo. Many, many have experienced the beautiful smell of roses coming from the grotto, others hear the invisible choir of angels singing, others inhale the sweet perfume of incense, while others have seen heavenly lights and colors as well as the cool breezes and pulsating of the sun. All have no explanation for these supernatural phenomena except that they are Heaven-sent.

          Throughout history events such as these have a way of manifesting God's hand in everything and proving they are from Him. That was evident in Betania as we shall see in the fifth installment when we cover Approval of the Apparitions.

October 28, 1998       volume 9, no. 211


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