Spiritual  Motherhood~The Nun and the Bishop 

Each of us owes gratitude for our lives and our vocations to the prayers and sacrifices of others.One of the leading gures of the German episcopacy of the 19th century,and among the founders of Catholic sociology, Bishop Ketteler owed his gratitude to a simple nun, the least and poorest lay sister of her convent.

in 1869, a German diocesan bishop was sitting  together with his guest, Bishop Ket-teler from Mainz. During the course of their conversation, the diocesan bishop brought up his guest’s extremely blessed apostolate.Bishop Ketteler explained to his host, “I owe thanks for everything that I have accom-plished with God’s help, to the prayer and sacrifice of someone I do not even know. I can only say that I know somebody has offered his or her whole life to our loving God for me,and I have this sacrafice to thank that I even became a priest.”

He continued, “Originally, I wasn’t plan-ning on becoming a priest. I had already finished my law degree and thought only about finding an important place in the world to begin acquiring honour, prestige and wealth.An extraordinary experience held me back and directed my life down a different path.

“One evening I was alone in my room, con-sidering my future plans of fame and fortune,when something happened which I cannot ex-plain. Was I awake or asleep? Did I really see it or was it just a dream? One thing I do know, it brought about a change in my life. I saw Jesus very clearly and distinctly standing over me in a radiant cloud, showing me his Sacred Heart.A nun was kneeling before him, her hands raised up in prayer. From his mouth, I heard the words, ‘She prays unremittingly for you!’“I distinctly saw the appearance of the sister, and her traits made such an impression on me that she has remained in my memory to this day. She seemed to be quite an ordi-nary lay sister. Her clothing was very poor and rough. Her hands were red and calloused from hard work. Whatever it was, a dream or not, it was extraordinary. It shook me to the depths of my being so that from that moment on, I decided to consecrate myself to God in the service of the priesthood.


“I withdrew to a monastery for a retreat,and I talked about everything with my confes-sor. Then, at the age of 30, I began studying theology. You know the rest of the story. So, if you think that I have done something admi-rable, now you know who really deserves the credit—a religious sister who prayed for me,maybe without even knowing who I was. I am convinced, I was prayed for and I will contin-ue to be prayed for in secret and that without these prayers, I could never have reached the goal that God has destined for me.”

“Do you have any idea of the wherea-bouts or the identity of who has prayed for you?” asked the diocesan bishop.

No, I can only ask God each day that, while she is still on earth, he bless and repay her a thousand-fold for what she has done for me.”
The next day, Bishop Ketteler visited a convent of sisters in a nearby city and cele-brated Holy Mass in their chapel. He was dis-tributing Holy Communion to the last row of sisters when one of them suddenly caught his eye. His face grew pale, and he stood there,motionless. Finally regaining his composure,he gave Holy Communion to the sister who was kneeling in recollection unaware of his hesitation. He then concluded the liturgy.

The bishop who had invited him the pre-vious day came and joined him at the convent for breakfast. When they had finished, Bishop Ketteler asked the Mother Superior to present to him all the sisters in the house. Before long she had gathered all the sisters together, and both bishops went to meet them. Bishop Ket-teler greeted them, but it was apparent that he did not find the one he was looking for.

He quietly asked the Mother Superior,

“Are all the sisters really here?”

She looked over the group of sisters and then said, “Your Excellency, I called them all,but, in fact, one of them is not here.”

“Why didn’t she come?”

“She works in the barn,” answered the superior, “and in such a commendable way that, in her enthusiasm, she sometimes for-gets other things.”

“I would like to see that sister,” requested the Bishop.


A little while later, the sister who had been summoned stepped into the room. Again bishop Ketteler turned pale, and after a few words to all the sisters, he asked if he could be alone with the sister who had just come in.

“Do you know me?” he asked her.

“I have never seen Your Excellency before.”

“Have you ever prayed for me or offered up a good deed for me?” he wanted to know.“I do not recall that I have ever heard of Your Excellency.”

The Bishop was silent for a few moments and then he asked, “Do you have a particular devotion that you like?”

“The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Je-sus,” was the response.

“You have, it seems, the most difficult task in the convent,” he continued.

“Oh no, Your Excellency” the sister coun-tered, “but I cannot lie, it is unpleasant for me.”

“And what do you do when you have such temptations against your work?”

“For things that cost me greatly, I grew ac-customed to facing them with joy and enthusi-asm out of love for God, and then I offer them up for one soul on earth. To whom God chooses to be gracious as a result, I have left completely up to him and I do not need to know who he chooses..I also offer up my time of Eucharistic adoration every evening from 8 to 9 for this intention.”

“Where did you get the idea to offer up all your merits for someone totally unknown to you?”

“I learned it while I was still out in the world,” she replied. “At school our teacher,the parish priest, taught us how we can pray and offer our merits for our relatives. Besides that, he said that we should pray much for those who are in danger of being lost. Sinceonly God knows who really needs prayer, it is best to put your merits at the disposition of the sacred Heart of Jesus trusting in his wisdom and omnipotence. That is what I have done,”she concluded, “and I always believed that God would find the right soul.”

“How old are you?” Ketteler asked.

“Thirty-three, Your Excellency,” she answered.

The Bishop paused a moment. Then he asked her, “When were you born?” The sister stated her day of birth. The Bishop gasped; her birth-day was the day of his conversion! Back then he saw her exactly as she was before him now. “And have you any idea whether your prayers and sacrifices have been successful?” he asked her further.

“No, Your Excellency.”

“Don’t you want to know?”

“Our dear God knows when something good happens, and that is enough,” was the simple answer.

The Bishop was shaken. “So continue this work in the name of the Lord,” he said. The sister knelt down immediately at his feet and asked for his blessing. The Bishop solemnly raised his hands and said with great emotion, “With the power entrusted to me as a bishop, I bless your soul, I bless your hands and their work, I bless your prayers sacrifices, your self-renunciation and your obedience. I bless especial-ly your final hour and ask God to assist you with all his consolation.”“Amen,” the sister answered calmly, then stood up and left.


The Bishop, profoundly moved, stepped over to the window inorder to compose himself. Some time later, he said good-bye to the  mother  Superior and returned to the apartment of his bishop friend. He confided to him, “Now I found the one I have to thank for my vocation.It is the lowest and poorest lay sister of that convent. I cannot thank God enough for his mercy because this sister has prayed for me for almost 20 years. On the day she first saw the light of the world, God worked my conversion accepting in advance her future prayers and works.

“What a lesson and a reminder for me! Should I become tempted to vanity by a certain amount of success or by my good works, then I can affirm in truth: You have the prayer and sacrifice  of a poor maid in a convent stall to thank. And when a small and lowly task appears of lit-tle value to me, then I will also remember the fact: what this maid does in humble obedience to God, making a sacrifice  by overcoming herself,is so valuable before the Lord Our God that her merits have given rise to a bishop for the Church.”

St.Louis de Montfort~Apostle of Mary

Between the years 1399 and 1419, a holy Dominican missionary from Brittany traveled throughout western Europe on foot, converting souls to the Faith and teaching the necessity of penance. This was the great “Apostle of the Last Judgment,” Saint Vincent Ferrer. Once, while preaching at La Cheze in France, he came upon the old chapel of Our Lady of Pity that had long since fallen into ruin through total disuse and neglect. Saddened by the pitiful sight and the thought of the heartless disregard that had caused it, Saint Vincent foretold that the chapel “will be restored by a man whom the Almighty will bring into the world at a distant date. He will appear as a stranger, will be insulted and balked, but he will achieve his purpose.”

That man did come to La Cheze, almost exactly three hundred years later. He too was a Breton who, like his early herald, tirelessly traveled on foot. And like another saint, Alexis, he lived as a beggar, sleeping under staircases or in open fields. Like Saint Bernardine of Siena, he was a powerfully compelling preacher; like Saint Bonaventure, a brilliant theologian; like Saint Vincent de Paul, he loved God’s poor; and like Saint Francis of Assisi, nursed the diseased. He was, in fact, so much like many of the great saints in their special virtues that he indeed was a very special saint himself. He was Saint Louis Marie de Montfort.

The Early Years

The name Jean Baptiste Grignion was well respected in his community. He was Crown lawyer of Montfort and the Parliament, as well as treasurer to the factory of St. Jean. Typical of country gentlemen of the time, Monsieur Grignion was a man of recognized position and no money. But he and his wife, Jeanne Robert, were rich in other treasures, for as many as eleven of their eighteen children became saints. Ten were taken into Heaven in infancy. The other, the greatest of the Grignion saints, was born on January 31, 1673. On the following day he was baptized and given the name Louis Marie.

Monsieur Grignion was known for his fiery temper which, with the hardships of raising a large family in near poverty, found frequent occasions to be vented. Young Louis, we are told, not only was often the victim of his father’s explosiveness, but also inherited the trait. In fact, he confessed in later years that his most difficult struggle against passions of the flesh was in subduing his violent temper.

Be that as it may, those who knew him in life only witnessed remarkable docility in his nature. Rather than human weaknesses, Louis Marie displayed extraordinary qualities of virtue, even from the early age of four years. “This angelic boy,” Pere de Cloriviere recalled, would console his mother “by words so full of unction and so beyond all material knowledge he would have, that it seemed as if the Spirit of God Himself gave them to him.” Apostolic zeal also was fully evident in his childhood, by his teaching catechism to other children and encouraging their devotion to the Blessed Virgin. For he himself had such strong devotion to his “good Mother” that he would spend hours at a time in the chapel praying to her. In childlike simplicity, he would lay before her all his spiritual and temporal needs, confident that he then had done everything necessary to obtain them.

The boy’s maternal uncle was the Abbe Robert, who said of him, “He showed such a horror of vice and such an inclination to virtue, that you would have thought him immune from Adam’s sin.” Indeed, a close friend of Louis Marie de Montfort, Jean Baptiste Blain, relates this example: “His whole childhood was spent in the most wonderful innocence. He knew so little of what may tarnish purity that when I was speaking to him one day of temptations against that virtue, he told me that he did not know what they were.” But he did know what would violate purity. He once found in his father’s library a book containing what he considered to be indecent illustrations. Monsieur Montfort saw nothing wrong with the pictures, for he did not have the boy’s sensitive conscience. Louis threw the book into the fire, knowing full well that his father would be outraged.

An exceptionally brilliant student, Louis was twelve when he entered St. Thomas’s, a Jesuit college in Rennes where schooling was given free to an enrollment of some three thousand students. The devout Jesuits at the college exercised an edifying influence on their pious student. After their example, and out of his own unbounded charity, he eagerly denoted himself to the care of the poor and the infirm. It was here also that he began his lifelong practice of rigorous penance and mortification with scourges, chains, hairshirts, and fastings. And it was here too that he received his vocation to the priesthood.


But to Louis Marie Grignion the priesthood meant much more than a vocation; it was to be total servitude and self-sacrifice to God. So in his priestly calling, he gave himself entirely to Jesus through Mary, vowing never to hold any personal possessions. Upon setting out for the Seminary of Saint Sulpice at Paris, for example, he promptly gave to some needy soul the ten crowns provided him for the trip and traded his new suit for a beggar’s rags. Moreover, he chose to make the seven-hundred-mile journey on foot, begging for his food along the way. So complete was his abandonment of worldly attachments that he even gave up his family name, to be known simply as Louis Marie of Montfort.

Since he was never one to voice even the slightest complaint, we learn only from classmates that Louis Marie’s attendance at Saint Sulpice was a punishing experience. For while he performed brilliantly in his studies, the young saint continually found his pious exercises under suspicion and criticism. Such practices as his visits to the chapel before and after every class, his spontaneous conversations with the Blessed Virgin wherever he came upon one of her statues, his acts of grueling mortification, and his forming an “absurd” association called “Slaves of Jesus in Mary” — all were jeered at and treated with scorn. Even his confessor and the superior suspected Louis of spiritual pride and tried, by every conceivable kind of humiliation, to break him down, but with no success.



His Works

In the year 1700, when Father de Montfort was ordained, the Church in France never seemed healthier, by physical appearances. There were over 100,000 ecclesiastics in the country, 130 bishops, more than l,000 abbeys, and “a veritable galaxy” of lesser monasteries. All the great Orders, as well as forty-two new religious congregations founded in the previous century, were flourishing there. Paris alone, whose population was just half a million, boasted forty six parishes, ten seminaries, eleven abbeys, one hundred religious communities, and twenty-six Catholic hospitals. All of which prosperity certainly would indicate that the Faith in France was vigorously alive and well. So often it is found, however, that the Church outwardly may never look healthier as an institution than when she is being ravaged internally by the malignant growth of error and heresy. And we usually discover in those instances that the root cause of the contradiction is a disproportionate attention having been placed on material endowment, to the tragic neglect of spiritual growth.

In this case, the body of the French Church had become critically undernourished through the spiritual ignorance of both the people and much of the clergy. Thus she was rendered dangerously susceptible to the three-fold disease that attacked her, in the forms of Protestantism, Gallicanism, and Jansenism. By far the most contagious and destructive of the three was Jansenism, a condemned heresy which not only refused to acknowledge its separation from the Holy Church, but maintained an audacious pretension of rigid Catholic orthodoxy. Though anything but orthodox, its doctrines certainly were rigid. In general, they placed Divine mercy and grace so far from the reach of all but the holiest souls that even the most ordinary human frailties were cause to despair of hope for forgiveness and salvation. With the extensive but subtle spread of this cold poison, vast multitudes were encouraged to withdraw from the Communion rail, believing their confessed unworthiness to receive Our Lord was a greater act of Christian humility. Hence they denied themselves of the most magnificent Gift that God, in His sublime condescension, so eagerly offered to mankind for its salvation — Himself. Many priests would even allow the faithful to die without the Sacraments. And, of course, devotion to the Merciful Heart of Jesus was considered to be a sin of presumption. To the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a sin of idolatry.

Meanwhile, with the Church in France now functioning in a spirit of political ambition instead of filial submission, many bishops demanded to be recognized as having an authority equal to that of the Bishop of Rome — which is the essence of Gallicanism. To defend their brazen defiance of the Pope, therefore, they sought refuge in an alliance with Jansenism, and thus heresy, being an expedient to personal power, gained protection and momentum from the ambitions of the hierarchy.

Small wonder, then, that Montfort, the obedient slave and champion of the Sovereign Queen of Heaven, found little favor in his native country. On the contrary, Jansenism had become so widespread that this holy priest, for the sixteen years from his ordination to his death, was to enjoy a life whose most conspicuous routine was enduring ridicule, humiliation, slander, threats, contradiction, interdiction, and ostracism. And we do mean “enjoy.” Saint Louis Marie loved nothing more than to suffer calumnies and persecution for his Master Who said: “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” He prayed constantly for such crosses, in fact, and accordingly was blessed with an abundance of them. For he was repetitiously driven by his enemies from one diocese to another — from Nantes to Poitiers, to Angers, to Orleans, to Tours, to Paris, to Rennes, to Rouen, and back, again and again — in triumphant persecution.

Temporal enemies were not the only antagonists of the holy man. In Poitiers, cries and sounds of desperate struggles were heard coming from his room on several occasions. Once he had been seen dragging himself on his hands and knees, pleading, “O Mother of God, help me!” His assailant was Satan, as was confirmed in a letter written by Saint Louis Marie From Paris, saying, “Men and devils make war on me in this great city….”

But aside from sufferings, there are volumes of other details that comprise the monumental story of this remarkable man. An imposing figure of amazing strength and limitless energy, Saint Louis Marie de Montfort performed a variety of outstanding works that would stagger a hundred other men of zeal, as may be discerned from the following selective and extremely condensed accounts.

After ordination, it was a year before Louis finally obtained permission to preach. Conducting his first missions at Poitiers (where he also performed his first miracle by curing a blind man) his efforts were eminently successful, producing countless moral conversions. So completely had he captured the affections of the poor that they begged the bishop to give “kind Father de Montfort” a more definite assignment amongst them. Consequently, he was made chaplain of a local hospital — a poorhouse governed in chaos, abuse, and neglect. Animated as Louis was by great love for the poor, he labored tirelessly to comfort the wretchedly afflicted inmates, denying his own needs to allow better portions for the patients.


Trouble, as usual, was not long catching up to Louis Marie. Revolutionary reforms he had instituted at the hospital disgruntled certain staff workers who had an aversion to doing honest work, but none to misrepresenting their saintly chaplain as a tyrannical madman. Added to this, his habit of living and dressing like a beggar made him the subject of incessant community gossip. Then too, there was the “scandalous” incident concerning Marie Louise Trichet, daughter of a prominent and wealthy Crown lawyer. Under Montfort’s spiritual direction, she too took to a life of poverty, devoting herself, as Saint Louis’ first Daughter of Wisdom, to caring for the poor. Both the community and the family of this holy girl were shocked. Other unjust complaints continued to mount against the poor priest, until the bishop at last forbade him to say Mass. Louis then moved on.

The Poitiers affair typifies so many in Montfort’s life that it establishes the routine: always inflamed with dedication to his priestly duty, and always rewarded in the same cruel way — ostracism. Wherever he went he found that only his undeserved reputation had preceded him, so that invariably he was greeted with suspicion and contempt. But unfailingly he would leave behind him miracles, conversions, and fervent devotions which remained for generations as living landmarks of the route he had taken.

Journeying on foot to Paris, he arrived in 1704 at another hospital where he found that spiritual formation of most of the five thousand impoverished inmates had never progressed beyond the baptismal font — this, despite the presence of twenty-three priests attending them. Entering as an assistant chaplain, Father de Montfort, through his Christ-like manner of tenderly treating both the physical and spiritual afflictions of his poor patients, portrayed a compelling day-to-day sermon. He would cleanse their wounds at the same time that he washed the defilements of their souls with absolution, like Him Who said: “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but they who are sick. For I have not come to call the just, but sinners.” Such eloquence of mercy, however, was certain to excite Jansenist retaliation. Coming to dinner one evening, the saint found a note of dismissal on his plate.

Montfort returned to the hospital at Poitiers and remained there a year before difficulties again forced his departure. He was, however, permitted to preach in outlying towns — filthy slums of degeneracy where the sight of a priest aroused bitter hatred. In time he worked so complete a conversion of these villages that evening Rosary devotions and processions became a way of life for all. Chapels were restored; saloons were converted into Rosary shrines; bonfires were built for burning impure books and pictures, confessions were heard in unending numbers; miracles were performed; people’s courts were convened under “Magistrate” Montfort for resolving disputes; and a hospital for incurables was begun. But, as always, someone in a position of power resented these spectacular achievements, and the missioner of mercy was summarily expelled from the diocese.

Apostle of France



Several years now had passed and Saint Louis still had no more idea of what his specific service to God was to be than he had on the day he was ordained. At least three times he had tried to devote his life to the poor and had met obstacles. Then too, he had always wanted to work in foreign missions, while at the same time he confessed an attraction to the contemplative life. Since his only reply from hierarchical superiors was hindrance rather than help, he decided to seek the counsel of the Pope. Walking a thousand miles to Rome, resting only at the Holy House of Loreto, he was granted an audience with His Holiness on June 6, 1706. Clement XI intuitively sensed beyond the humble appearance of the beggar priest before him that here was a man of extraordinary sanctity. The Pope, assuring Louis Marie that there was more than enough work for him in France, appointed him as Apostolic Missioner.

Returning home now fully confident that God’s Will had been revealed to him through the Vicar of Christ, Montfort joined the famous missionary company of Father Leuduger and spent eight months with him evangelizing the northeast provinces of France. It was during this time that the indefatigable slave of Our Lady fulfilled Saint Vincent’s prophecy, rebuilding the ruined church at La Cheze while somehow continuing uninterruptedly to conduct a major mission. His miracles throughout this period were numerous and included, besides many cures, several instances of his multiplying fragments of food during a time of famine to feed the throngs of beggars that regularly surrounded him. But these and countless other spectacular blessings disturbed the humble priest, inasmuch as they were not balanced with the usual measure of crosses. Fearing that spiritual pride might overtake him, he greatly intensified his acts of mortification — so much so that his confessor had to intervene and order that he lighten the terrible sufferings he inflicted on himself.

Difficulties did not long fail to arise, however, for some misunderstanding provoked the dismissal of Saint Louis by Father Leuduger, who later was to regret the decision. Montfort hereafter was on his own as the Pope’s Apostolic Missioner, joined only by religious brothers recruited for his small Company of Mary and occasionally assisted by other missionary priests. His successful work continued in the northern diocese of Saint Malo until its heretical bishop drove him away to Nantes, a seething cauldron of Jansenism. One of the more extraordinary phenomena associated with Saint Louis Marie de Montfort occurred here. A young girl, later to become the superior of a hospital, daily had been traveling a great distance to attend one of his missions. She arrived one day only to realize that she had forgotten to bring food for her return trip. As she sat tearfully on the church steps, exhausted, hungry, and too shy to ask for help, there suddenly appeared “a beautiful lady who, with an indescribably graceful gesture, offered her a piece of bread, saying gently, ‘Take this, my child, and eat it.’ A moment later she disappeared.”

It was here also that a group of about a dozen thugs brutally attacked Montfort, intending to beat him to death. This was the second attempt on his life, and like the first it was unsuccessful. Underestimating the humble saint’s might, the assailants soon found themselves in fear for their own lives and quickly retreated.

His work in Nantes continued, bringing with it many conversions and effectively dispersing much of the stifling atmosphere of Jansenism. Miracles abounded as well. For example, barren soil where his foot had trod, soon issued healthy harvests. And there were several reported apparitions of Our Lady to simple peasants following his missions. But again his accomplishments thus far were devoid of the crosses desired by Louis Marie — an “oversight” soon to be corrected.

The saint long since had adopted the practice of erecting impressively large Calvary scenes at the close of his missions. The grandest that he had ever undertaken was the Calvary at Pontchateau, thirty miles distant from Nantes. Though work on it had already begun, Louis remained doubtful about the site chosen for it and interrupted construction long enough to assemble his crew in the chapel to pray for Our Lady’s guidance. When work resumed, two doves were observed gathering dirt in their bills, flying away, and returning repeatedly for more. Discovering that the destination of the winged excavators was the highest point in Pontchateau, Montfort immediately recognized this sign from the Blessed Mother and relocated his operation. (Thirty-six years earlier, crosses were seen to descend from heaven amidst a great noise and singing and to suspend over this very spot — on the same day that Saint Louis Marie was born.) Before long, news of the tremendous project had traveled so far that pilgrimages of men and women of every station in life came from all over Europe to lend their generous help in hauling an estimated 300,000 cubic feet of earth which was to constitute the sprawling seventy-foot-high mount. The undertaking continued through a hard winter for fifteen months, during which time not only did many miracles of the usual variety occur, but “a woman of unearthly beauty” was seen appearing to Montfort on several occasions. Surmounted with three huge crosses — one fifty feet tall — and surrounded by an elaborate Rosary and gardens representing Eden and Gethsemane, the Calvary of Pontchateau was completed in 1710. Then came what had to be the most bitter heartbreak in the life of Saint Louis Marie.

One of his enemies, wielding considerable influence among government authorities, seeded the suspicion that the enormous shrine, which was to be solemnly blessed on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, could be used as a military stronghold by foreign powers warring on France. On the eve of the Feast, Father de Montfort received orders from the bishop prohibiting the blessing. Shortly afterwards the Calvary masterpiece, hill and all, was completely leveled. True, Saint Louis had prophesied that his beautiful Passion site, which had been so clearly blessed by Our Lady, would be destroyed and rebuilt twice before it would survive for the ages. But he had no idea that the first demolition would come so soon. His response, however, shows with what incomparable confidence this magnificent soul was resigned to God’s Will in that bitter trial: “Blessed be God! It was His glory I sought, not mine. I hope He will accept the gift I intended for Him, as though I had had it to give.”

Clouds of ecclesiastical censure finally parted in 1711 for the Breton priest. He was invited to work in the diocese of La Rochelle and from then on was able to preach an almost unbroken succession of missions with the wholehearted support of Bishop Champflour, a determined foe of heresy. Henceforth we find that his ordinary month-to-month activities — if we dare speak of miracles, mass conversions, and all other remarkable works performed by him as being “ordinary” — were redundantly routine right up to the time of his early death.

Yet while assured of the bishop’s staunch backing, Saint Louis had no relief from the hateful torments to which he had become so well accustomed. Much to the contrary, both Jansenism and Calvinism proved mighty forces to be contended with in the La Rochelle district. To illustrate, several attempts on his life by now already had been made, and fortunately — sometimes miraculously — he had escaped them all. But when he converted two of this city’s most prominent and vocal Protestants — one of whom entered a convent of Poor Clares — Calvinist rage could not be quieted. Threats were made against both the converts and Louis Marie. Frequently the great priest was greeted with a hail of stones, and more frequently with cries of “Kill Montfort!” One evening a powerful dose of poison was administered to his broth. Though he swallowed but a mouthful before noticing the deadly presence, the wicked deed was accomplished. Saint Louis did not die immediately from the poison, but the solution was so concentrated that even the small amount of a spoonful ravaged and gravely undermined his once robust health, and the slow, agonizing process of death was begun.

The usual suspicions were awaiting the saint in every new town along his path, and of course he won out over them in his usual fashion. A good example is his mission work at La Garnache. Montfort gained so many ardent followers there that a procession consisting of almost the entire village escorted him on to Sallertaine, the next stop on his crowded itinerary, where in contrast only a wary and hostile mob awaited him. But upon his approach to the church its doors, which had been barred against him, miraculously burst open. Needless to say, the inhabitants of Sallertaine in turn were hastily converted to deep admiration of the saint.

Though most of the time in the few years left for him was spent in the diocese of La Rochelle, Saint Louis Marie continued to make excursions to whatever places in France poor souls could be found. But then not always in such places was there even that token of good will by which the residents could benefit from his presence. On his third and final visit to Rennes, for example, his evangelizing was met only with stubborn obstinacy. Heart broken, he wrote in a farewell poem that a curse was upon the city and warned of its destruction. Five years later, most of Rennes was razed by a fire which raged for ten days.

Nothing could discourage him. He was asked to preach a mission on the Island of Yeu. England and France at the time were at war, and the waters he would have to cross were thick with English pirates. Warned of this, Montfort responded: “By all means, let us go. If the martyrs had been as timid as we are, they never would have received their palms.” While making passage, a miracle saved him and his company only a moment before two English warships could overtake them. Today a large boulder at the base of a steep hill gives testimony to the great saint’s arrival on the Island of Yeu. It had once been at the top of that hill, occupying the spot where Saint Louis decided to erect a Calvary cross. Several men had tried unsuccessfully to budge what the Breton priest dislodged with a touch.

The years of endless work and rigorous mortifications, combined with the severe effects of the poison, ultimately reduced his once strong frame to a pitifully gaunt and badly suffering hulk. It was the year 1716 and his end now was visibly in sight. By this time he already had founded his religious congregations, the Daughters of Wisdom and the Company of Mary. Moreover, he had left a legacy of devotion to the Blessed Virgin that was to survive, and in fact to help defeat, the Satanic Terror of the French Revolution — that evil precursor of Communist barbarity. What more could be asked of him? In his own mind, much. This incredible slave redoubled his labors, hoping to regain all the more souls for his “good Mother” and Her Divine Son right up to the moment he drew his last breath.

Somehow Saint Louis managed a new burst of energy from that wretched body which already looked fit for the grave. On Palm Sunday he began a mission at St. Laurent-sur-Sevre; it was to be his last. Leaving the pulpit one day, he was at the point of collapsing and had to take to his bed. His confessor ordered that the straw and the rock-pillow on which the holy man normally slept be replaced with a mattress. Louis reluctantly but obediently submitted and was given the Last Rites. Yet he insisted on receiving the many followers who wanted one last blessing from their beloved saint.

For several days he lay there dying with a statue of the Blessed Virgin in one arm and the indulgenced crucifix given him by Pope Clement XI in the other. He gave his last will and testament, asking that his heart be buried “under the steps of the altar of the Blessed Virgin.” On the following day, April 28, 1716, Satan made a final desperate bid, to which Saint Louis retorted loudly, “You attack me in vain; I stand between Jesus and Mary. I have finished my course. I shall sin no more.” With that the soul of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort was taken into Heaven. And his entire body was laid to rest beneath the altar of the Queen he loved so much.

His Teachings


There is a dual aspect to the glorious career of every saint. One, the most obvious, is that of the achievements realized in his own time, and the other is that of the benefits with which later ages have been abundantly blessed as the result of his holy works. But it is from the illustrious saint from Montfort that we see these characteristics beam forth most luminously. In fact, it well may be said that Louis Marie is even more a saint for our age than for his own. As he was an apostle to an unfaithful France of the eighteenth century, through his preaching and his works of mercy, so he is all the more the Apostle to a faithless world of the latter times, through his writings and his prophecies.

As a preacher he taught a simple people with simple lessons. Since the poor of France could not read, he gave them a treasure of humble yet beautiful poems and hymns by which they learned and long sustained their childlike faith. But as the Apostle of all later ages he presents a striking contrast in his teaching facilities.

Biographers, being mindful of his spiritual appetite for humiliation, affectionately describe Saint Louis Marie de Montfort as a holy “fool.” Fitting as the description may seem to be in that sense, it is in no way meant to imply that his mental faculties were deficient. On the contrary, he was a brilliant theologian. Indeed, we dare say that Holy Mother may one day confer upon him the honored title of Church Doctor, owing to the outstanding theological expositions given in his flawless writings.

Saint Louis Marie wrote five significant compositions, all of which are still in wide circulation even today. They are Love Of The Eternal Wisdom, Friends Of The Cross, True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin, The Secret Of Mary, and The Secret Of The Rosary. Georges Rigault aptly summarizes these works, observing, “Three words cover the gist of his teaching: Wisdom, the Cross, the Virgin — words which belong to each other: No Wisdom outside the Cross and without the aid of the Virgin.”

Wisdom here does not mean sagacity in the natural sense. Rather, it means “Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary.” Saint Louis Marie writes, “To know Jesus Christ, the Eternal Wisdom, is to know enough. To know everything and not know Him is to know nothing. . . . A thousand times happier is the man into whose soul Wisdom has come to dwell. . . . To acquire Wisdom we must seek Him ardently, that is, we must be willing to abandon all, to suffer all, and to undertake all things in order to possess Him. There are but few who find Him because there are but few who seek Him in a manner worthy of Him.”

Hence he teaches the necessity of the Cross: “Born in the sorrowful Heart of the Saviour, [a friend of the Cross] comes into the world through His right side, stained with His Blood; he never forgets his birth and crosses, death to the world, the flesh, and sin are all he lives for, that even in this world he may be hid with Christ in God. . . . [He] triumphs over the devil, the world, and the flesh and their three-fold concupiscence. He overthrows the pride of Satan by his love for humiliation, he triumphs over the world’s greed by his love for poverty, and he restrains the sensuality of the flesh by his love for suffering.”

But the surest, the easiest, the happiest, the most perfect way to Jesus Christ is through Mary. And this brings us to the great genius of Saint Louis Marie in explaining Our Lady’s role in the redemption of mankind. In his treatise on True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin, he wrote, “It is through the most holy Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he has to reign in the world. . . . It was through Mary that the salvation of the world was begun, and it is through Mary that it must be consummated. . . . Devotion to Our Blessed Lady is necessary for salvation. . . . He who has not Mary for his Mother has not God for his Father.

“It is necessary for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known. . . . Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might, and in grace in these later times: 1 in mercy to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church; in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mahometans, Jews, and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God. . .; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ who shall battle for His interests.

“But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem . . . and persecuted as the heel is by other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly.”

Who shall these servants, slaves, and children of Mary be? The saint answers himself: “They shall be the ministers of the Lord who, like a burning fire, shall kindle the fire of divine love everywhere.” And “they shall be ‘like sharp arrows in the hand of the powerful’ Mary to pierce her enemies.”

How does one become a slave of the Blessed Virgin? The easiest way is by first carefully studying True Devotion, for which Pope Saint Pius X granted an Apostolic Benediction. (The original English translation by Father Frederick W. Faber is the best.) Then by confidently making, and faithfully living by, the following Act of Consecration to the Mother of God, composed by Saint Louis Marie de Montfort:In the presence of all the Heavenly Court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, to the greatest glory of God, in time and in eternity.

Source:catholicism.org

Quotes of St.Louis de Montfort



“Have you strayed from the path leading to heaven? Then call on Mary, for her name means “Star of the Sea, the North Star which guides the ships of our souls during the voyage of this life,” and she will guide you to the harbor of eternal salvation.”

“God the Father has communicated to Mary His fruitfulness, as far as a mere creature was capable of it, in order that He might give her the power to produce His Son, and all the members of His mystical body.”

“The works of Jesus and Mary can also be called wonderful flowers; but their perfume and beauty can only be appreciated by those who study them carefully—and who open them and drink in their scent by diligent and sincere meditation.”


“If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ. If devotion to Our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ, we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil; but so far from this being the case, devotion to Our Lady is, on the contrary, necessary for us—as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter—as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, of serving Him faithfully.”

“In order to rid ourselves of self, we must die ourselves daily. That is to say, we must renounce the operations of the powers of our soul and the senses of our body. We must see as if we saw not, understand as if we understood not, and make use of the things of this world as if we made no use of them at all (1 Cor. 7:29-31). This is what St. Paul calls dying daily (1 Cor. 15:31). “Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone,” and bringeth forth no good fruit (Jn. 12:24-25).”

“three steps to climb to go to God: the first, which is the nearest to us, and the most suited to our capacity, is Mary; the second is Jesus Christ; and the third is God the Father. To go to Jesus, we must go to Mary; she is our mediatrix of intercession.”


“There have been some saints, but they have been in small numbers, who have walked upon this sweet path to go to Jesus, because the Holy Ghost, faithful Spouse of Mary, by a singular grace disclosed it to them. Such were St. Ephrem, St. John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis de Sales, and others. But the rest of the saints, who are the greater number, although hall all had devotion to our Blessed Lady, nevertheless have either not at all, or at least very little, entered upon this way. That is why they have had to pass through ruder and more dangerous trials.”

“Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be—a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.”


“Both Saint Bernard and Saint Bonaventure say that the Queen of Heaven is certainly no less grateful and conscientious than gracious and well-mannered people of this world. Just as she excels in all other perfections, she surpasses us all in the virtue of gratitude; so she would never let us honor her with love and respect without repaying us one hundred fold. Saint Bonaventure says that Mary will greet us with grace if we greet her with the Hail Mary.”

“One and the same mother does not bring forth into the world the head without the members, nor the members without the head; for this would be a monster of nature. So in like manner, in the order of grace, the Head and the members are born of one and the same Mother; and if a member of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ—that is to say, one of the predestinate—was born of any other mother than Mary, who has produced the Head, he would not be one of the predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but simply a monster in the order of grace.”


“Saint Dominic has divided up the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady into fifteen mysteries which stand for their virtues and their most important actions. These are the fifteen tableaux ; or pictures whose every detail must rule and inspire our lives.”

“O sweet Jesus, may every good feeling that is fitted for Thy praise, love Thee, delight in Thee, admire Thee. God of my heart and my Portion, Christ Jesus, may my heart faint away in spirit and mayest Thou be my life within me! may the live coal of Thy love grow hot within my spirit, and break forth into a perfect fire; may it burn incessantly on the altar of my heart; may it glow in my innermost being; may it blaze in hidden recesses of my soul; and in the day of my consummation, may I be found consummated with Thee. Amen.”


“By the word Ave (which is the name Eve, Eva), I learned that in His infinite power God had preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery which the first woman had been subject to. “The name Mary which means ‘lady of light’ shows that God has filled me with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up Heaven and earth. “The words full of grace remind me that the Holy Spirit has showered so many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to those who ask for them through me as Mediatrix. “When people say The Lord is with thee they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb. “When you say to me blessed art thou among women I praise Almighty God’s Divine mercy which lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness. “And at the words blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of Heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified for having saved mankind.”

“Now, if the Councils, the Fathers, and even experience show us that the best means of remedying the irregularities of Christians is by making them call to mind the obligations of their Baptism, and persuading them to renew the vows they made then, is it not only right that we should do it in a perfect manner, by this devotion and consecration of ourselves to Our Lord through His holy Mother? I say “in a perfect manner,” because in thus consecrating ourselves to Him, we make use of the most perfect of all means, namely, the Blessed Virgin.”

“To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin.”


“I have just said that to say the Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace “or at least be fully determined to give up mortal sin;” first of all, because, if it were true that God only heard the prayers of those in a state of grace it would follow that people in a state of mortal sin should not pray at all. This is an erroneous teaching which has been condemned by Holy Mother Church, because of course sinners need to pray far more than good people do. Were this horrible doctrine true it would then be useless and futile to tell a sinner to say all, or even part of his Rosary, because it would never help him.”

“TO pray well, it is not enough to give expression to our petitions by means of that most excellent of all prayers, the Rosary, but we must also pray with real concentration for God listens more to the voice of the heart than that of the mouth. To be guilty of willful distractions during prayer would show a great lack of respect and reverence; it would make our Rosaries fruitless and would make us guilty of sin. How can we expect God to listen to us if we ourselves do not pay attention to what we are saying? How can we expect Him to be pleased if, while in the presence of His tremendous Majesty, we give in to distractions just as children run after butterflies? People who do this forfeit Almighty God’s blessings which are then changed into curses because they have been praying disrespectfully. “Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord”

“Among Catholics those who bear the mark of God’s reprobation think but little of the rosary (whether that of five decades of fifteen). They either fail to say it or only say it very quickly and in a lukewarm manner.”

“Let us recall here, as a proof of the dependence we ought to have on our Blessed Lady, what I have said above in bringing forward the example which the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost give of this dependence. The Father has not given, and does not give, His Son, except by her; He has no children but by here, and communicates no graces but through her. The Son has not been formed for the whole world in general, except by her; and He merits and His virtues except through her.”


“All the gifts, virtues and graces of the Holy Ghost are distributed by Mary, to whom she wishes, when she wishes, the way wishes and as much as she wishes.”

“She embellishes our works, adorning them with her own merits and virtues. It is as if a peasant, wishing to gain the friendship and benevolence of the king, went to the queen and presented her with a fruit which was his whole revenue, in order that she might present it to the king. The queen, having accepted the poor little offering from the peasant, would place the fruit on a large and beautiful dish of gold, and so, on the peasant’s behalf, would present it to the king. Then the fruit, however unworthy in itself to be a king’s present, would become worthy of his majesty because of the dish of gold on which it rested and the person who presented it.”

“It is an easy way. It is the way which Jesus Christ Himself trod in coming to us, and in which there is no obstacle in reaching Him. It is true that we can attain divine union by other roads; but it is by many more crosses and strange deaths, and with many more difficulties, which we shall find it hard to overcome. We must pass through obscure nights, through combats, through strange agonies, over craggy mountains, through cruel thorns and over frightful deserts. But by the path of Mary we pass more gently and more tranquilly.”


“At this point, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, accompanied by three Angels of heaven, and she said: “My dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity has used to reform the world?” “My Lady,” replied St. Dominic, “you know better than I because next to your Son Jesus Christ you were the chief instrument of our salvation.” Our Lady added: “I want you to know that the principal means has been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation of the New Testament. That is why, if you want to win these hardened hearts for God, preach my Psalter.” The Saint arose, comforted. Filled”

“Vatican Council II (1962–1965): ‘The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. All her saving influence on men originates not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it.’ . . . ‘The practices and exercises of devotion to her recommended by the Church in the course of the centuries [are to] be treasured.’ (Lumen Gentium: 60, 67).”

“God the Father made an assemblage of all the waters and He named it the sea (mare). He made an assemblage of all His graces and he called it Mary (Maria). This great God has a most rich treasury in which He has laid up all that He has of beauty and splendour, or rarity and preciousness, including even His own Son: and this immense treasury is none other than Mary, whom the saints have named the Treasure of the Lord, out of whose plenitude all men are made rich.”

“It is by her that He applies His merits to His members, and that He communicates His virtues, and distributes His graces. She is His Mysterious canal; she is His aqueduct, through which He makes His mercies flow gently and abundantly.”


“When we read then in the writings of Sts. Bernard, Bernadine, Bonaventure and others that in Heaven and on earth everything, even God Himself, is subject to the Blessed Virgin, they mean that the authority which God has been well pleased to give her is so great that it seems as if she had the same power as God; and that her prayers and petitions are so powerful with God that they always pass for commandments with His Majesty, who never resists the prayer of His dear Mother, because she is always humble and conformed to His will.”

“In a word, we know that they shall be true disciples of Jesus Christ, walking in the footsteps of His poverty, humility, contempt of the world, charity; teaching the narrow way of God in pure truth, according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world; troubling themselves about nothing; not accepting persons; sparing, fearing and listening to no mortal, however influential he may be. They shall have in their mouths the two-edged sword of the Word of God. They shall carry on their shoulders the bloody standard of the Cross, the Crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, the sacred Names of Jesus and Mary in their hearts, and the modesty and mortification of Jesus Christ in their own behavior.”

“infallible mark of reprobation to have no esteem and love for the holy Virgin;”

“She is so intimately united with Thee that it were easier to separate the light from the sun, the heat from the fire; nay, it were easier to separate from Thee all the angels and the saints than the divine Mary, because she loves Thee more ardently and glorifies Thee more perfectly than all the other creatures put together.”

“All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father.”

“Mary is the fruitful Virgin, and in all the souls in which she comes to dwell she causes to flourish purity of heart and body, rightness of intention and abundance of good works. Do not imagine that Mary, the most fruitful of creatures who gave birth to a God, remains barren in a faithful soul. It will be she who makes the soul live incessantly for Jesus Christ, and will make Jesus live in the soul”


If we do not risk anything for God we will never do anything great for Him.”

Mary alone gives to the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain which gushes forth in such abundance.

If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children.

Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.

The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth. There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus. If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry with you.

She [Mother Mary] is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say “Mary” she says ‘God’.

We fasten our souls to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor!

How different are theirs from ours! Their roses are pleasures of the flesh, worldly honours and passing riches which wilt and decay in no time, but ours, which are the Our Father and Hail Mary which we have said devoutly over and over again, and to which we have added good penitential acts, will never wilt or die, and they will be just as exquisite thousands of years from now as they are today.’

‘You must expect then to be shaped, cut and chiseled under the hammer of the Cross, otherwise you would remain unpolished stone, of no value at all, to be disregarded and cast aside. Do not cause the hammer to recoil when it strikes you. Yield to the chisel that is carving you and the hand that is shaping you.’


Prayers of St.Louis de Montfort


St. Louis De Montfort’s Prayer to Mary


Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father! Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son! Hail Mary, faithful spouse of the Holy Ghost! Hail Mary, my dear Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sovereign! Hail my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul! Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am all thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently thine. I now give myself wholly to thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If thou still seest in me anything which does not belong to thee, I beseech thee to take it and to make thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine. Destroy in me all that may be displeasing to God, root it up and bring it to nought; place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee.

May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind; may thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination; may thy continuous sight of God fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine; may thy virtues take the place of my sins; may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine to know Jesusand His divine will; that I may have no other soul but thine to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but thine to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotion or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privilege to see God clearly; it is thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the righthand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons; it is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as thou willest.

Such is, O heavenly Mary, the “best part,” which the Lord has given thee and which shall never be taken away from thee–and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was thine: to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures; to suffer joyfully without human consolation; to die continually to myself without respite; and to work zealously and unselfishly for thee until death as the humblest of thy servants. The only grace I beg thee to obtain for me is that every day and every moment of my life I may say: Amen, So be it–to all that thou didst do while on earth; Amen, so be it–to all that thou art now doing in Heaven; Amen, so be it–to all that thou art doing in my soul, so that thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity. Amen.

St.Louis de Montfort’s Prayer to Jesus


O most loving Jesus, deign to let me pour forth my gratitude before Thee, for the grace Thou hast bestowed upon me in giving me to Thy holy Mother through the devotion of Holy Bondage, that she may be my advocate in the presence of Thy majesty and my support in my extreme misery. Alas, O Lord! I am so wretched that without this dear Mother I should be certainly lost. Yes, Mary is necessary for me at Thy side and everywhere that she may appease Thy just wrath, because I have so often offended Thee; that she may save me from the eternal punishment of Thy justice, which I deserve; that she may contemplate Thee, speak to Thee, pray to Thee, approach Thee and please Thee; that she may help me to save my soul and the souls of others; in short, Mary is necessary for me that I may always do Thy holy will and seek Thy greater glory in all things. Ah, would that I could proclaim throughout the whole world the mercy that Thou hast shown to me ! Would that everyone might know I should be already damned, were it not for Mary! Would that I might offer worthy thanksgiving for so great a blessing! Mary is in me. Oh, what a treasure! Oh, what a consolation! And shall I not be entirely hers? Oh, what ingratitude! My dear Saviour, send me death rather than such a calamity, for I would rather die than live without belonging entirely to Mary. With St. John the Evangelist at the foot of the Cross, I have taken her a thousand times for my own and as many times have given myself to her; but if I have not yet done it as Thou, dear Jesus, dost wish, I now renew this offering as Thou dost desire me to renew it. And if Thou seest in my soul or my body anything that does not belong to this august princess, I pray Thee to take it and cast it far from me, for whatever in me does not belong to Mary is unworthy of Thee.
O Holy Spirit, grant me all these graces. Plant in my soul the Tree of true Life, which is Mary; cultivate it and tend it so that it may grow and blossom and bring forth the fruit of life in abundance. O Holy Spirit, give me great devotion to Mary, Thy faithful spouse; give me great confidence in her maternal heart and an abiding refuge in her mercy, so that by her Thou mayest truly form in me Jesus Christ, great and mighty, unto the fullness of His perfect age. Amen.

Sr.Mary Neuzil and Our Lady of America 


Born on the feast of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels

On August 2, 1916, Mildred Marie Neuzil was born of Austrian parents, John and Anna (Smerda) Neuzil. Born in Brooklyn, NY, baptized at Most Holy Trinity, and shortly after moved to Cleveland Ohio. In Austria, her father had been a gardener to Johann Strauss (a renowned Austrian composer), and in America he was a homebuilder.

At the age of 14, Mildred Neuzil entered the active religious congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, a papal community, in Dayton Ohio. Three years later Mildred made her first vows as a professed religious. She received the name Sister Mary Ephrem, a name that means “doubly fruitful”. She carried out her duties mostly in domestic work and as a kindergarten teacher. Her first mission of activity included multiple diocesan jurisdictions in Washington, DC, where she remained until 1937, when she was sent to the Chancery in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was here that God gives her a holy man, priest and later Archbishop to guide her.

By 1940, Our Lord revealed to Sr. Mary Ephrem that her mission was to converge on the sanctification of the family.

”My daughter, I am not loved in the homes of men. And because I am not loved, the Divine Trinity refuses to dwell therein. Children are not taught to love Me, because those who have charge over them have no time or patience to do so.”

Our Lord confides in Sr. Mary His sorrow over sinful man

“My Heart beats with compassion for the sorrows of man. Oh how gladly would I help him bear the weight of his terrible cross, fashioned, for the most part by his own guilt! But alas, he will have none of My help.”

“Pray, pray, pray, oh My Little White Dove pray and sacrifice yourself for the souls of poor sinners. How many are lost because there are no prayers said for them, no sacrifices made for them.”

Sister began to share these experiences with her confessor Rev. Paul Leibold. He would remain her spiritual director for 32 years, from 1940-1972, when he died.

Sr. Mildred Mary Ephrem Neuzil on August 15, 1964

“My little white dove tell your spiritual father- him whom I have placed over you- to guide and direct you. Tell him that My Heart is pleased with his efforts to make Me loved. I will bless him and make his work fruitful in behalf of all the souls entrusted to his care and priestly ministrations. Tell him if he would please Me more to double his efforts in making known the love of My Heart for poor sinners…As a priest after My own Heart I will be with him in all his trials and sorrows. Tell him not to become discouraged at the crosses awaiting him, for I the great High-Priest go before him carrying the heaviest part of his cross...I seek always the humble and lowly of heart.”

Then Our Lord goes on to tell Sister Mary:

“…And since I have found two such souls, I have entrusted to them a great mission.”

In the winter of 1954, Our Lord warns her not become vain for He has chosen them out of their unworthiness and lack of virtue,

“Let this thought be with you always that you may remember that it is I working through you , who sanctify you for His glory and the salvation of souls…through you a great work will be accomplished. I am the Great Sculptor of souls. With hammer and chisel I form them that they may glorify My Father by their beauty and perfection. Be pliant in My Hands, oh My two lowly ones, My priest and My little white dove, and then will you be formed into My likeness and through you, I will be formed in souls.”

Our Lord not only expressed His sorrow at the loss of faith in the world, but those of chosen souls:

“Where are your prayers, oh My priests and religious? Where are your sacrifices? Do you not know that sinners will not be converted unless prayer and sacrifices call down the grace of God upon them? My chosen ones you in particular are responsible for the souls of poor sinners. It is to you I have entrusted them. You their spiritual fathers and mothers you must care for them and by your unceasing prayers on their behalf ,lead them safely to My Father’s House.”

For Sister Mary Ephrem her humility and simplicity would draw her ever closer to her suffering Savior. Our Lord would call her to cooperate in the salvation of souls by allowing her to share in His Passion. During a night vigil on the Feast of the Sacred Heart 1956 He reveals the sorrow of His Heart over the ingratitude and indifference shown to Him in the Sacrament of His love.

“Jesus came to me holding a large cross and a crown of thorns. He said to me:

‘So I come with My cross and My crown of thorns. Will you accept Me, My spouse?’

Of course I accepted,who could refuse Jesus anything?”

On the anniversary of my perpetual union with Jesus, He asked me again:

”Bride of My Heart do you still wish to suffer all things to give me to souls?”

I answered, “Yes! Yes, dear Lord, I am poor and wretched and unworthy but you know what is in my heart.”

As Sister Mary’s spiritual life progressed the messages became more pressing. She began to write them down more diligently. Sharing them with other priests and religious who found nothing adverse to faith or morals in their content. In fact they concluded the great emphasis on the Indwelling of the Blessed Trinity showed a theological understanding beyond what this sister had been able to obtain in her regular religious studies.

Her confessor, Father Paul Leibold, also progressed in his priesthood. From 1948-1949 he studied Canon Law at the Angelicum University in Rome, there he received Doctor of Canon Law Degree. In 1948 he became Chancellor Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Papal Chamberlain by Holy Father, 1950 Diocesan Consultor and Domestic Prelate by Holy Father, 1951 appointed Archdiocesan Administrative Council 1958 he was promoted to Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1966 he became the Bishop of Evansville,Indiana. On October 2, 1969 he was made Archbishop of Cincinnati.

In the fall of 1954 Our Lord’s words to Sister Mary Ephrem emphasized the great renewal needed for His people:

“My children every home and every soul is My Father’s house, for He made them and they are His, But many of them are no longer sanctified by His presence. Thieves have entered in and stolen from Him, His temples of prayer…If, My children, you will cleanse your temples My Father will return and We will come and make our abode with you.”

Our Lord prepares her for this great renewal by first sending her St. Michael, the Angel of Peace


“It was like a light in the midst of darkness. The whiteness of his robe stood out against the darkness about him. He was holding a green palm and a drawn sword in his left hand, the tips of both palm and sword resting against his left shoulder. The angel said to me:

‘Receive the palm of victory.’

I became suspicious. I could not think of any victory of mine that deserved such a reward. Besides it sounded a bit like flattery to me. I have always been wary of words of praise they put me on my guard…So I shook my head and resolutely went back to my prayers. But the angel would not go away:

‘You do not believe me. Will you accept the cross?’

For me this struck more nearly home. I said “Yes I will accept the cross.” To this he replied:

‘Then you will accept the palm and sword. With the sword the saints conquered themselves, the world, and the devil. I am the Angel of Peace. I come to those whose hearts are attuned to the Voice of God. To such as these I remain a perpetual light through blinding darkness, I was sent by Him who said,”I am the light of the world.”

A short time after the visit of St. Michael the Blessed Virgin Mary speaks to Sr. Mary about Her holy life at Nazareth

“It is the wish of My Son that fathers and mothers strive to imitate me and my chaste spouse in our holy life at Nazareth. We practiced the simple virtues of family life, Jesus our Son being the center of all our love and activity. The Holy Trinity dwelt with us in a manner far surpassing anything that can ever be imagined. For ours was the earthly paradise where God walked among me…The Divine Trinity will dwell in your midst only if you are faithful in practicing the virtues of our life at Nazareth. Then, you also my children, you also will become another paradise. God will then walk among you and you will have peace.”

Our Lady reveals to Sr. Mary that she would like her help to bring peace into the world

This plan of the Virgin Mary will begin to unfold in a series of apparitions of Our Lady and St. Joseph. Sister Mary Ephrem had just recently been transferred to the “water cure” staffed by her order of nuns in Rome City, Indiana, to wait on tables. She was not very happy about the move. When she got to her room she felt, as she said later, ‘…like jumping out of the window.’

She left her room that night and went to the chapel, but the feeling did not leave her. ‘It seemed to me,’ she said, ‘like I was in a ring of evil. I couldn’t get out of it, and it was telling me to get out of there.’

One night she awoke with the sense that something was perched on her pillow a little behind her head. Before she could discern just what it was, she felt it grab her face across the eyes and pull down on them. She found no marks on her face afterward though. The next day she went to her superior and asked to be transferred back to Ligonier, Indiana. She could have gone if she had found someone to wait on tables in her stead, but she was unable to.

The apparitions of Our Lady of America


And on the eve of the feast of North American Martyrs, that is September 25,1956 while making a holy hour she once again becomes conscious of the presence of Our Lady. Though she did not see Her, Sr. Mary did see a part of Her white gown and blue sash. She was under the impression that Our Lady came as Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady stood near her and spoke:

“I am pleased my child with the love and honor my children in America give to me especially through my glorious and unique privilege of The Immaculate Conception. I promise to reward their love by working miracles of grace among them through the power of My Son’s Heart, and My Immaculate Heart. I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul.”

It is believed that greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima could be granted here in America–The United States in particular–if we do as She desires.

The following day after mass and the community thanksgiving Our Lady appears to her again enveloped in a soft glow of light. Sister notices the smile on Our Lady’s beautiful countenance and the lily she held in her right hand. She wore a white veil reaching almost to the waist and a mantle and robe of pure white with not a single decoration of any kind. An oblong shaped clasp or brooch held the ends of the mantle together at the top. It was all gold as was the tall and brilliant crown she wore. Her hair and eyes seemed of medium brown. Her feet were bare, but not always visible as they were sometimes covered by the moving clouds on which Our Lady stood. Then she saw her heart appear encircled with red roses the symbol of suffering as it was revealed to me, and sending forth flames of fire. With her left hand Our Lady seemed to be holding up slightly the upper part of Her mantle so that Her Immaculate Heart could be seen. Then solemnly and distinctly in calm yet majestic tones I heard these words:

“I am Our Lady of America, I desire my children honor me by the purity of their lives.”

Sister Mary Ephrem longed to stay with Our Lady but obedience called her, and so she left the chapel with the other sisters to begin her daily duties. Our Lady understood and left her free for the moment, but later that day during the holy hour She spoke to Sr. Mary again:

“My child; I entrust you with this message that you must make known to My children in America. I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders that I will work will be the wonders of the soul….I desire, through My children in America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations…”

Later, in a letter written to the archbishop, Sister Mary Ephrem outlines Our Lady’s wishes:

“It is to the Hierarchy, especially of the United States, that Our Lady is making her plea. They are her favorite sons, placed in high offices in order that they might do the most good. She herself has spoken thus to me.”

“Our Lady has made know to me how pleasing to her has been the devoted service with which the hierarchy has so ardently loved and honored Her, especially in this country. So she is making Her fond appearance to them for the carrying out of of this need of spiritual reform. God, dwelling in the soul through grace will sanctify, if if the individual makes the right use of His presence. This is Our Lady’s concern, souls redeemed by the Precious Blood of Her Son, must become holy through living with Him who dwells within them. In order for this to grow and become more and more fruitful of course there is the necessity of frequent and devout attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the reception of the Sacraments….Peace will not be given until we have purified ourselves enough to receive it. If we fail to do this, God Himself will be obliged to do so in His justice and mercy, but the purifying punishment that He will send will be most terrible. It is from this Our Lady wishes to save us.”

She continues:

“Our Lady has asked that a statue be made as she appeared on Sept. 26th, 1956. After being solemnly carried in procession to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. She desires that there it be enshrined in a place of honor and venerated in a special way as ‘Our Lady of America’, the Immaculate Virgin. She desires also that a small statue or picture of the same likeness be honored in every home.”

The apparitions of Our Lady become more frequent. Our Lady was anxious to impress upon sister the importance of the message. Many times sister would tell Our Lady how unworthy she felt and that Our Lady could certainly find someone more fitted for so great a work. With deep compunction she tells Our Lady, “Oh Mother I am not worthy.”

To this Our Lady replied,

“I do not come to the worthy, my child, but to the lowly and humble of heart.”

An appearance of St Joseph

Shortly after Our Lady’s appearance to sister she began to have interior locutions of St. Joseph. He reveals to her that immediately after his conception, through the merits of Jesus and because of his exceptional role of Virgin-Father, he was cleansed from the stain of original sin:

“My pure heart was from the first moment of existence was inflamed with the love for God. Immediately at the moment my soul was cleansed from original sin, grace was infused into it in such abundance that excluding my holy spouse I surpassed the holiness of the highest angel in the angelic choir.”

St. Joseph revealed to Sister Mary Ephrem that his heart suffered with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, for he knew beforehand of their passion yet would not be there to console them. He became in union with his holy spouse co-redemptor of the human race.

Sister writes that on October 13, 1956 the Holy Virgin appeared to her as she was working in her room. Our Lady was very beautiful and was smiling at her in her heavenly way. She held with both hands a small replica of a finished Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“This is my shrine, my daughter, and I am very pleased with it. Tell my children that I thank them. Let them finish it quickly, and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this. I will bless all those who, either by prayers, labor or material aid, help to erect this shrine.”

From January 1957 on Our Lady’s warnings come to sister more often, stating that the hour grows late, and that Her Son’s patience will not last forever:

“It is now the darkest hour…but if men will come to Me, my Immaculate Heart will make it bright again with the mercy with which my Son will rain down through My hands. Tell the Bishops of the United States, My loyal sons, of My desires, and how I wish them to be carried out. Through him who is head over you, make known the longings of my Immaculate Heart to establish the reign of my Divine Son in the hearts of men, and thus save them from the scourge of heaven, both now and in the future.”

Our Lady asks Sr. Mary Ephrem for prayer and penance, to love and trust Her, and not to forget our poor Mother who weeps over the loss of so many of Her children.

“Sweet child, spouse of my Son, console my Immaculate Heart by many acts of self-denial. Tell my faithful sons that I ask this of them also. Let these acts, furthermore be presented to me with many acts of love,because it is these (acts of love) that make them most acceptable to me and my Son… Tell my dear and favored sons that I rely upon them to help me hasten the day when I shall be able freely and without reserve to work my miracles of grace in souls”,

And She requests an ever greater and consuming love for her Son, Jesus. A love which, unable to contain itself, will inflame those around us:

“It is love that counts, for without love there is no fire, and without fire there are only dying embers.”

On the feast of the Immaculate Heart, August 22, 1957, Our Lady reveals more parts of Her plan on how this great renewal will be accomplished:

“I wish to gather about Me, my tender child, soldiers and valiant bearers of the torch, an army of brave lovers who, as My torch-bearers, will rekindle the fire of Divine Love in the souls of men. Only those who are strong in love can become my soldiers to bear aloft, not the sword of destruction, but the sword of fire–the flaming torch of Divine Charity.”

Sr. Mary Ephrem longs to be hidden from the world and suffers for the Divine Mandate given to our country.

It was the will of God that Sister Mary Ephrem suffer for the loss of purity in the souls of men.

For Her part, Our Lady comforts sister and asks her to be patient, that the will of the Father must be dearer to her than all else, and that soon a haven of rest would be given to her–not a refuge from suffering and pain, but a nest of solitude for the little white dove. Most of all, the will of God must be paramount: “This is the lesson that every soul desiring intimate union with my Son must strive to learn.”

On many occasions the evil one is permitted to attack sister. He tempts her into thinking that she is being deceived. This fear causes her much suffering. For this reason St. Michael will be near her in a special way. He speaks to her often, encouraging her to spread the messages from heaven. St. Michael tells her that He has come to announce the coming of the kingdom , the kingdom of peace, exclaiming:

“Repent and rouse yourselves, O’ sons of men! Repent and make ready your hearts, that the King may establish His kingdom within you.”

And on February 3, 1957, Our Lady speaks on true peace and love:

Our Lady declares that peace must come from within, that to make our hearts more pleasing to her Son we must go to Her, His Mother. She asks for a reform of life as proof of our love for Her. She says: “The Holy Trinity looks down with infinite delight upon such souls [who seek to reform themselves] and makes them Their heaven upon earth.”

March, 1957: Our Lady pleads:

“O’ my sweet child, when will My desires be realized?…O’ my little one, daughter of my Pure Heart, you must pray with greater fervor, and offer yourself with greater love to the Heart of my Son.”

April, 1957: Our Lady continues Her warnings:

“My sweet child, unless my children reform their lives, they will suffer great persecution. If man himself will not take upon himself the penance necessary to atone for his sins and those of others, God in his justice will have to send upon him punishment necessary to atone for his transgressions.”

May 8, 1957: Archangel Michael appears again:

“Do not delay or the time of grace will pass and with it the peace you seek. … My little sister, the message is a dear one, there is no doubt. Make it known; do not hesitate. I, Michael, have made this request.”

July 1, 1957: Our Lady of the Nativity Cloister is established:

At the urging of Archbishop Karl J. Alter, the Precious Blood Sisters’ Chapter of 1954 voted to establish a cloister within its active community, an effort Sister Mary Florecita Bidart had worked toward for 20 years. In December of 1954, Bishop George J. Rehring gave permission for the cloister to be established in the Our Lady of Nativity Convent in New Riegel, Ohio, the Toledo diocese. The cloister gate was closed in the ceremony presided over by Bishop Rehring on July 1, 1957, the feast of the Most Precious Blood, establishing it as a truly Benedictine papal enclosure. At that time the cloister consisted of Sr. Mary Florecita Bidart, Foundress, and Sister Mary Leo (Louise) Voisard. The cloister was completely self supporting, mainly with its printing press. By April 1, 1965, the sisters had obtained canonical approval for their Constitution and by September of that year, the Holy See granted permission to erect a Novitiate within the Cloister, allowing women to enter from outside the active congregation in order to increase their membership.


August 5, 1957: Feast of Our Lady of Snows and the Divine Indwelling

Sr Mary writes: “Our Lady spoke on the great gift of the Divine Indwelling, sanctification from within. This is what she means by reformation and renewal. As Our Lady spoke this, she seemed at the time to be deeply occupied. Though the serenity of her countenance never left her, she spoke with a gravity that made her words all the more solemn. She seemed anxious to impress me with some idea of the greatness of this gift of God to us, namely, His Divine Presence within our souls through sanctifying grace.”

August 22, 1957: Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

Our Lady intensifies Her plea for a reform of life:

“What I have asked and continue to ask is a reformation of one’s life. There must be sanctification from within.”

She also tells Sister Mary to “…go to the Bishop. Tell him of the desires of my Heart. He will help you.”

Our Lady of America speaks to priests

September, 16-27, 1957: Our Lady’s admonition to priests to live lives of penance and self-denial, upholding the sanctity and dignity of their calling:

“My dear daughter and sweet child, write my words carefully, because they are of the utmost importance. I address them to my beloved sons, the priests, dedicated to the most intense and extraordinary imitation of my Son in the perfect carrying on of His Eternal Priesthood.

Beloved sons, so cherished and greatly blessed among the sons of men, be careful to uphold the sanctity and dignity of your calling. Let the faithful see in you the favored and especially loved imitators of the Son of God. Be modest in your dress and speech as becomes those of so exalted a vocation. The apparel and manners of a man of the world is not for you, who, though living in the world, must not take on its ways.

Dear sons, I ask you to practice self-denial and penance in a special manner, because it is you who must lead my children in the way of peace. Yet this peace will come only by way of the sword, the flaming sword of love. If, therefore, you love my Son and wish to honor Me, heed My admonition and be the first to give the example of a life of penance and self-denial.”

November 22-23, 1957: Mary appears as Our Lady, the Immaculate Tabernacle of the Indwelling God

“Our Lady appeared, standing on a globe, her right foot resting on a crescent moon, the left on the snout of a small fire breathing dragon. She was dressed all in white and her hair could be seen through her transparent veil which was long enough to half envelope the globe. The veil was held about her head by a wreath of white roses, and a white rose rested on each foot. On her breast, the Triangle and the Eye, the symbol of the Divine Indwelling, could be visibly seen. A strong beam of light shown from the Divine Presence within Our Lady onto the globe at her feet. Then halfway around the figure of Our Lady above her head appeared a scroll on which were written in letters of gold the words: “All the glory of the King’s daughter is within.” Though it did not appear that her lips moved, I heard these words quite plainly:

‘I am Our Lady of the Divine Indwelling, handmaid of Him Who dwells within.’

February 11, 1958: Our Lady renews the Fatima promise, saying:

“My Immaculate Heart will win in the end, and the Spirit of Christ will dwell in the hearts of men. Those in whom this Spirit is not found will be condemned to eternal hell-fire.”

Also on this occasion Our Lady tells Sister that nothing is accomplished without pain and bids her prepare to suffer much because suffering completes the work of divine grace in the soul. Then Our Lady also spoke of her particular interest in the youth of our nation and called on them to be leaders in this movement of renewal on the face of the earth, sharing with her army of chaste soldiers the title ‘Torchbearers of the Queen.’

“They must be prepared with the knowledge of the Divine Indwelling. It is to the youth of America that she is holding out this challenge.”

“America, with the United States in particular, is being given the tremendous, yet privileged, opportunity to lead all nations in a spiritual renewal never before so necessary, so important, so vital.”

More appearences of St Joseph

March 19, 1958: St. Joseph appears on his feast day and speaks on spiritual fatherhood

St. Joseph spoke of his spiritual fatherhood, of his great privilege in being chosen to be the Virgin-Father of Jesus, and of his perfect obedience to the Divine Will. He spoke of his special protection of the Holy Father and of the Church:

“Fathers must come to me to learn obedience to authority: to the Church always, as the mouthpiece of God, and to the laws of the country in which they live, insofar as these do not go against God and their neighbors.

Mine was perfect obedience to the Divine Will, as it was shown and made known to me by the Jewish law and religion. To be careless in this is most displeasing to God and will be severely punished in the next world.

Fatherhood is from God, and it must take once again its rightful place among men.

My special protection of the Holy Father and the Church should be made known to him. God wishes to make this known to him that he may receive thereby renewed consolation and encouragement. During the war, little daughter, it was I who saved him [Pope Pius XII] from death at the hands of his enemies.”

(Editor’s Note: Late in World War II, Hitler issued a direct order to the chief of the German SS in Rome to assassinate Pope Pius XII. The SS officer chose not to carry it out.)

March 30, 1958: St. Joseph asks to be honored on the First Wednesday of each month

St Joseph:

“Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way. Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time, and each time I held Him in my arms. Those who honor me in this way will be consoled by my presence at their death, and I myself will conduct them safely into the presence of Jesus and Mary.”

May 1958: Sister Mary Ephrem enters Our Lady of Nativity Cloister to live a hidden life.

She writes:

“Several weeks after I had entered the Cloister in New Riegel, OH. and was overwhelmed with a sense of frustration and heaviness of heart, Our Lady suddenly appeared to me and said:

‘Do not be afraid! I will keep my promise and everything will be all right. Do not fear.’

These words consoled me very much, and I went to prayer with a peaceful heart.”

February 23, 1959: Sr. Mary places the message in the hands of the bishops:


Nine months before the National Shrine was finished, Our Lady admonished Sister “…to work on writing the message as soon as possible, so that it might be placed in the hands of the Bishops who will be responsible for its fulfillment.”

In a very serious manner, Our Lady warned sister that she must not delay any longer to do this [prepare the message] as the time is now. (Editor’s Note: Sister worked closely with Bishop Leibold and the bishops of the Toledo and Cincinnati dioceses.)

July 18, 1959: Jesus laments over His priests and religious:

Jesus: “Oh, the pride of souls! How they resist My grace! O My priests, My religious, what would I not do for you if you would only let me! I come daily laden with graces which you daily refuse. What am I to say to you, my best beloved? How long will you resist My love? It is from you I expect everything, and you give Me but the husks of your affections. How long will I bear with you, O My chosen ones? How long will you spurn My approaches?”

“My little white dove, it was this ingratitude on the part of My priests and My religious that caused Me so much sorrow in My passion. Oh, how they resist My grace! How they fight against My love! So fearful are they that I will deprive them of their tawdry trinkets that they turn their backs lest they see the reproach in My eyes.”

September, 1959: Pope John XXIII’s letter, given from Rome to the American Faithful on the dedication of the National Shrine: “It was an extremely gratifying and enduring joy that filled our hearts on receipt of news…that a shrine is to be dedicated to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God. There now rises up to heaven a shrine, high and massive, wondrously bright within…The Virgin Mother of God is our Mother, our Queen, the sure way by which we approach most speedily to Jesus Christ, Who was given to us by her. But a temple built of stones is of little significance unless there arises a temple mystically erected within our minds. Therefore…let an altar of the Most Blessed Virgin be set up in the heart of each one of the faithful; let families, held together by the sanctity of marriage, by mutual love, by moral integrity and a common spiritual life, reproduce her virtues and be fortified by her protection.”

November 20, 1959 was the day of dedication of the completed Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Exactly one month later, on December 20, 1959, Our Lady lamented the sin overwhelming the world:

“O my child, tell your spiritual father [Bishop Leibold] that I come again to warn and to plead. See, I weep, but My children show Me little compassion. They behold the sword in My heart, but they make little effort to withdraw it. I give them love; they give me only ingratitude. Weep, then, dear child, weep with your Mother over the sins of men. Intercede with Me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away

 Diary of Sr. Mary Ephrem

February 2, 1960: Bishop Leibold compiles the messages (handwritten/then later typed)

Bishop Paul Francis Leibold, V.G. of the Cincinnati Archdiocese where the Sisters of the Precious Blood’s Motherhouse is located, personally compiled the Diary “without direct references” to specific places in which apparitions or spiritual messages had occurred. He wrote the foreword and had Sister type the messages as a “private diary,” with the author remaining anonymous. To protect Sister Mary Ephrem’s identity and hidden life, she remained unnamed. In the Diary Sister Mary Ephrem is referred to as “a religious Sister,” the “Little White Dove,” or “this Sister.” This Diary existed in handwritten and/or typewritten form only at this time and was given only to some of the sisters internally and the necessary religious superiors and Church officials, not to the public.

The Virgin Mary’s message to the Archbishop requesting to have a medal struck

Our Lady of America, April 4, 1960:

 “Tell His Grace, my beloved son, that it is through the medal that he will receive the sign for which he asks. I ask him to have the medal struck and distributed everywhere and he will receive not only the one sign for which he has asked but so many, so many that he will have cause to be greatly astonished. My child, God works often through little and humble things and such instruments should never be despised but accepted and used with love and gratitude. It will be through the medal that God’s Will will be manifested and glorified and my desires carried out to the very end. I place my confidence in my faithful sons, the Bishops, who will not fail to take up my cause and make it bear much fruit for sanctification among so many and countless souls. Send this word then to my beloved son, the Archbishop, and have no fear sweet child for I will keep my promise for I am the ever faithful Virgin.

As Sister Mary Ephrem hesitated because of certain doubts and fears concerning the reception of this message, Our Lady appeared in the early morning hours of April 6, 1960 to gently reproach her for her lack of confidence. Our Lady told her not to delay in sending the bishop the words she had written. Our Lady encouraged her saying:

“My children must know my desires. If my desires are not fulfilled much suffering will come to this Land.”

May 1, 1961: Bishop Leibold puts his imprimatur on Sister Mary Ephrem’s sketch of the medal. Bishop Leibold then had the medal struck and personally paid for all medals until his death in 1972. (Note: Bishop Liebold became the Archbishop of Cincinnati in 1969). He designed the prayer pamphlet to go with the medal. It contained the Prayer to the Immaculate Conception and the Prayer to the Indwelling Most Holy Trinity, as well as the magnificent explanation of the medal itself. (See Pgs. 47-48 of the Diary for this pamphlet information.)

May 22, 1962: Bishop George Rehring of the Toledo diocese favors distribution of the medal by Bishop Leibold.

Sister Mary Florecita Bidart, foundress of the Our Lady of Nativity Cloister, wrote to Mother Aquinas of the Sisters of the Precious Blood informing her that Bishop Rehring was in favor of distributing the medal that symbolized so well the doctrine of the Divine Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, lived out so perfectly in the Holy Family, model for every family on earth and source of all true holiness. He gave suggestions for the promotion of the devotion. Mother Mary Aquinas wrote Sister Florecita on August 31, 1961:

“I was very happy to hear that Bishop Leibold will go ahead with the medal himself. It is a great relief to me to know that it is being made, and we hope it eventually will be circulated. I have great confidence in the message of our Blessed Lady.”

January 25, 1963: Imprimatur on the Prayer to the Indwelling Trinity Paul F. Leibold, V.G. of Cincinnati, OH gave his Imprimatur and Daniel Palarczyk, S.T.D., his Nihil Obstat to the Prayer to the Indwelling Most Holy Trinity.

July 1, 1963: Archbishop Leibold writes regarding the devotion:

“First I received the leaflets on our Lady of America. I will gradually drop them around places as the opportunity presents itself. I still think of it as a private devotion and await our Lady’s action to make the seeds you are planting grow and, as it were, cause a spontaneous demand for the object of devotion, rather than engaging in any high pressure pushing of it.”

September 3, 1971: Archbishop Leibold makes wooden plaques Archbishop Leibold made a series of wooden plaques of Our Lady of America. One hung in the Our Lady of the Nativity Convent in New Riegel and was used in processions at the convent. Another hung in his Chancery office in the Cincinnati, OH diocese. Later one was presented to the National Shrine by pilgrims from New Riegel, OH. In a letter to William Weberding of Weberding Woodworking Shop, the Archbishop made a proposal for the construction of a wooden or marble statue for an outdoor Shrine to Our Lady of America at the New Riegel Convent. He had a patron’s offer of $2000 for the statue which would aid in serving public devotions to Our Lady of America at the Convent where they were regularly celebrated. He also had 3 petite ivory statues made in India.Just before his death, Archbishop Leibold arranged a meeting with Luigi Riamondi, the Apostolic Delegate from Washington, DC, Msgr. Boffa, and his personal secretary, Fr. Francis Lammeier, to present a small ivory statuette to the Holy See and the Catholic Church. Posthumously, this statuette was presented to the Apostolic Delegate in August 1972 and is presumed to be in the Vatican Museum.

February 22, 1972: Our Lady’s image in the home:


“When a picture or statue of myself as Our Lady of America is placed in the home and honored there, then will my Son bless His people with peace. Believe in Me, dear child, believe in Me, for My love will never fail you.”

On June 1, 1972, Archbishop Paul F. Leibold died suddenly. Before his death, Archbishop Leibold had decided to build a large outdoor Shrine to Our Lady of America at the New Riegel, OH. cloister property. His letters indicate he would have officially approved this message had he lived long enough to do so. Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk succeeded Archbishop Leibold in the Cincinnati archdiocese. Paul F. Leibold was born on December 22, 1914 in Dayton, OH. He was educated at the Marianists’ Chaminade High School and the University of Dayton. On May 18, 1940 he was ordained at St. Peter’s in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati, OH. He was made Auxiliary Bishop in Cincinnati on April 10, 1958, Titular Bishop of Trebenna on June 17, 1958, Bishop of Evansville, IN on April 4, 1966 and Archbishop of Cincinnati on July 23, 1969 where he served his people well until his sudden, untimely death on June 1, 1972. The Archbishop was greatly loved and revered by his flock as evidenced by the overflowing crowd that attended his funeral. He is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cincinnati.

Thousands attend Archbishop Leibold’s funeral Mass. The Archbishop’s personal secretary, Father Francis G. Lammeier, wrote Sister Mary Ephrem on August 13, 1972:

“With things as busy as they are, I still do not have time to think. I still am not fully aware that the Archbishop died. I am no dreamer; I know he is dead and is enjoying his reward, but I just can not realize it or be aware of it. I still think often, he will come in the office or I will see him and he will give me that quiet and peaceful smile. I think of him so often. I said many times, I was privileged to be associated with him. He kept a tremendous schedule. If I had been Secretary and Master of Ceremonies with any other Bishop with this schedule, I would have been out of my tree. But with him, it was indeed a pleasure. Often I got tired and certainly he did, but there was no pressure of any kind. He was the kindly, understanding and humble priest. He did not stand on dignity or position but was just himself. He was the Archbishop and I most assuredly respected him for his position, but he was also a dear friend.”

In August, Father Lammeier sent the plaque of Our Lady of America that hung in the Cincinnati Chancery and a large collection of letters/ personal spiritual writings of the Archbishop’s to Sister Mary Ephrem for safe keeping and to be organized for future investigation and publication. He confirmed how deeply the Archbishop believed in this message. During these times Our Lady continued to appear to Sister Mary and continued to make known the longings of Her Immaculate Heart.

November 22, 1980: Message to the leadership of the United States:

Our Lady of America: “It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace. If the United States is faithful to this mandate from heaven, and yet fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept Its leadership or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment that will come.”

February 11, 1981: The shortness of time and a terrible purification that is to fall upon all nations:

Sister Mary Ephrem is told of the shortness of time allotted to us to pray and make the necessary sacrifices to bring about world peace. There is an urgency about Our Lady’s warnings of a terrible purification that is to fall upon all nations. She advises us to pray the family rosary with as many family members present as possible, and to pray the prayer to the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States, because the Forces of Evil are enveloping the world. Our Lady warns their hatred is now particularly focused on the United States because of the Divine Mandate given it to lead the world to peace.

April and July, 1981: Special warnings from Our Lady and Our Lord on the insidiousness of evil

Our Lady of America:

“Dear child, evil is so insidious that it often passes for good. The simple and pure of heart alone can detect the difference. Also, many good works are thwarted and destroyed by well intentioned people who are manipulated by the powers of evil because they do not possess that finer sense of being able to detect a false spirit from a true one.”

Our Lady of America’s final message to Sr. Mary

In the winter of 1984 Our Lady came to Sr.Mary Ephrem with this final message:

“What happens to the world depends upon those who are living in it. There must be much more good than evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching. Yet I tell you, My daughter, that even should such a destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took My warnings seriously, there will remain a remnant untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following Me and spreading My warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives. These souls will renew the earth in the power and light of the Holy Spirit, and these faithful children of Mine will be under My protection, and that of the Holy Angels, and they will partake of the life of the Divine Trinity in a most remarkable way. Let my dear children know this, precious daughter, so that the will have no excuse if they fail to heed my warnings.”

Sister Mary Neuzil’s final years

Sister Mildred Mary Ephrem led a life of hidden sufferings which she accepted with love and great patience. Given a haven of rest, but not from suffering as Our Lady said, she endured a broken hip in January 1994 which compounded her physical adversities. With crippling arthritis, a ruptured appendix and especially severe asthma, Sister’s distresses were, at times, life threatening. . Despite adversity Sister worked tirelessly for Our Lady of America and her cloistered family. With each step closer, and usually on the eve of each victory reported for Our Lady of America, Sister Mildred would suffer intense physical pains and many times battled spiritual attacks designed to discourage her from praying.

Attacks from the Devil

For example, just before World Youth Day 1993, one night she suffered from terrible abdominal pain and the “old Boy” (her name for Satan) suddenly appeared as his horrible real self, trying to entice her to “Just say that you made it all up and I promise you will not suffer anymore pain.”

She stated, “If God required her life or suffering, so be it.” She reported on the “old Boy’s” physical assaults and hateful glares. After World Youth Day her physical pain intensified with each victory; she was especially inflicted with the terrible crippling pain of osteoarthritis complicated by rheumatoid arthritis. Medical treatments to alleviate pain were negligible or made her suffering worse with the complications of side effects. She would hide her moans when people were near her. Certain points on her body radiated such excruciating pain that it was sometimes quietly wondered if she had the hidden stigmata.

Her deteriorating condition pained all who saw her gnarled hands and body contorted into a near 45-degree angle before she died. Especially tortured by the sight of Sister Mary Ephrem’s enduring pain was Sr. Joseph Therese, CIT, her long time companion, caregiver and cherished Sister, who broke down in tears several times, crying, “I can’t watch you suffer like this anymore.”

They were bonded by love and endured all for love of Jesus. They even shared August 2nd birthdays – the feast of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels! Sister Mary Ephrem was often seen surrounded by angels and loved to send people from her presence with “May the angels go with you!”

January 10, 2000: The death of Sr. Mary Ephrem Neuzil, the “little secretary of Jesus’ Heart” and the “little white dove”

Her Holy Death

On January 10, 2000, the first year of the New Millennium, this humble, holy soul, Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Marie) Neuzil, at age 83, was set free from the cross she had so willingly embraced for the cause of Our Lady of America. She was set free to receive her full communion with the Most Holy and Triune God that had dwelt so intimately within her while on earth. Her funeral Mass was celebrated at the Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, OH by nephew Fr. Gregory Neuzil from Tennessee. Friends from around the country, including niece Elaine Bratrovsky of Colorado, traveled to Carey that snowy winter day to bid her farewell, knowing they, too, had lived with and known another saint. Fifty white roses were brought for Sister Mary Ephrem by Ellis Maria Taylor of the Reparation Society in Baltimore, MD. Eulogies were delivered by Theresa Wukusick from Ohio, Anita Marovich from New Jersey, and Audrey Frank from California. The song to Our Lady of America, written by Sister Mary Ephrem and put to music by Richard Paul Rencher, was sung by Marty Rotella of the Divine Mercy and Life Foundation in New Jersey. Sister’s body, laid to rest in a handmade wood casket with Our Lady of America’s picture encased in the lid, is temporarily laid to rest in a vault at St. Wendolyn’s Cemetery, Fostoria, Ohio.

Sister Mary Ephrem Neuzil committed the completion of her work and the protection of the purity of the message of Our Lady of America to her only remaining companion in the Lord, Sister Joseph Therese (Patricia Ann) Fuller and trusted her to guard it against all contamination with her very life.

Overall, thus far the devotion and messages of Our Lady of America have been favorably received by the Church

On May 31, 2007, Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, then Archbishop of St. Louis, wrote a Letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops outlining the results of his review of the history and canonical status of devotion to Our Lady of America. Those interested can read the original document here.

Our Lady of America told Sr. Mary Neuzil that greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima will be granted here in America if Our Lady’s request are carried out by Her Bishops. Let us pray and make sacrifices that this may soon come to be.

Primary Source:mysticsofthechurch.com

~Our Lady of America and Sr Mary Neuzil, pray for us!

 

For more information on Our Lady of America and/or purchase statues,medals,pictures please visit:

Our Lady of America Apostolate

 

 

Sr.Benigna Consolata Ferrero~Apostle of Love

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“O my Benigna! Be the Apostle of my love! Cry aloud so that all the world may hear, that I hunger, I thirst, I die to be received by My creatures.” – Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata

Her Early Years

Maria Consolata was born in Turin on August 6, 1885, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. At Baptism, her pious parents, Signor Sebastiano Ferrero and Signora Carolina Pansa, gave their little one the names Maria, Consolata, Rosalia, Theresa, Philomena, and Gaetano. Like St. Therese of Lisieux and Sr. Maria Consolata Betrone (d. 1946), Maria was a “little soul”. This fact is reflected in her life and in the revelations she received from Our Lord, which can be found in her biography, “The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul” (a title suggested by Jesus).
Suffering entered the life of this “little one” at an early age. As an infant, her afflictions grew daily. Her health continued to decline until Signora Ferrero, perceiving this sad turn of events, took her child to the Church of St. Dalmazzo, where she knelt before an altar of Our Lady and invoked the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Virgin for the welfare of her beloved daughter. Not long afterwards, little Maria was restored to full health.
At the age of five, Maria began to attend school by herself. In her second year of school, she was accompanied by her younger sister, Adeline, who, being withdrawn from the maternal caresses of her mother could not hold back her tears. Only Maria Consolata was able to console her. This fact seems to prefigure the later years in Maria’s life, as Our Lord would call her, His “Benjamin”, to console His aching Heart, which is so wounded by the ingratitude and coldness of sinners.
Three years later, Maria’s mother placed her children in a boarding-school of the Sisters of St. Joseph. In the words of the Reverend Antonio Piccinelli (Maria’s chaplain in later years), little Maria “imbibed their spirit so abundantly” that her “virile and punctilious” nature was completely transformed by grace. She “overcame her natural tendencies so far, even while in the family circle, as to effect a total and visible change in her temperament.” Furthermore, she “manifested an eagerness to please others without any regard to the sacrifice it might entail upon such a disposition as hers.”
From an early age, Maria exhibited clear signs of a great love for God. She was always willing to help her neighbour, and while she was indulgent with others, always seeking to excuse their faults, she never let herself become attached to the complements that she received.
Maria’s great pleasure as a child was to spend time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. On one occasion, her family passed their summer holiday in the country-side, far from any Catholic Church. During this time, Maria had to content herself with frequent acts of spiritual communion, which Our Lord would later encourage, with the words: “I am in the Sacrament of My love for My creatures, and they make so little account of it! O do thou at least, My Benigna, make as many spiritual communions as possible to supply for the Sacramental Communions which are not made. One every quarter of an hour is not enough. Make them shorter, but more numerous. If a wife saw her spouse dying of hunger, she would go from door to door to beg for Him. My Benigna, seek to draw souls to receive Me in Holy Communion.”

The Stirrings of a Vocation


In one of her early manuscripts, Maria writes, “One day, my soul felt sweetly attracted and I heard the voice of my God; it was so sweet that I scarcely dared to make a movement for fear of hearing it no longer, and while listening I wept with emotion. Jesus told me that He would give Himself to me, that He would be to me as a mother to a child, and that He would furnish me occasions of suffering for Him.” Though these words were penned at the age of seventeen, it is possible that Maria heard Our Lord’s call prior to this time.
While still living in the world, Our Lord manifested to Maria His will that she live as though she were already in the convent. He revealed to her his insatiable thirst for souls, and promised to grant her a great thirst for the conversion of sinners. Maria expressed the desires of her heart in the following words: “O Jesus, do with me all that Thou wilt; I place in Thee all my confidence and I abandon myself to Thy loving cares; henceforth I wish to serve Thee in peace, joy and love, as Thou Thyself hast taught me; but let me implore Thee to grant me the grace of knowing Thee that I may love Thee with all my heart, and of knowing myself that I may humble myself profoundly.” Our Lord responded graciously to Maria’s firm resolution to become a saint. He said to her: “Thou hast taken the resolution to become holy: this is well and thou must not fail; but it is not to an ordinary sanctity thou art called; thou must aim at the most sublime perfection.”
Maria certainly reached a sublime degree of sanctity, but not without the cross. Maria Consolata suffered particular torments at the thought of having consented to sin. Her conscience was very delicate and at times she succumbed to scruples; however, her resolute desire to please God- a desire that He alone implanted in her soul- ensured her victory over the Devil, of whom Our Lord said, “The infernal enemy conquers religious souls more easily by discouragement than by any other temptation.” To these words, Jesus adjoined a spiritual counsel that will be appreciated particularly by those tried by temptations to discouragement: “He (the Devil) is overcome by unlimited confidence in Jesus; the more frequent the falls, the more should confidence grow in the divine Mercy.” “Our miseries entitle us to God’s mercy”, says Bl. Dom Columba Marmion.
“Involuntary imperfections cannot displease Me, unless the soul loves them”, said Our Lord to Sr. Benigna; “I love men so much! Yes, they have too narrow an idea of the goodness of God, of His mercy, of His love for His creatures. They measure God by creatures, and God has no limits; His goodness is without bounds. Surely these words should encourage us to confide in God’s mercy. We can rest assured that a firm resolution to love God, combined with a humble gratitude and trust in His mercy, will keep us firmly fixed on the path to eternal life. Our Lord confirmed this to Sr. Benigna on March 15, 1905: “Knowest thou the shortest way to arrive at Heaven? It is that of confidence in My merits and fidelity to grace.” Furthermore, Our Lord imparted a valuable lesson regarding the necessity, excellence and means of growing in humility: “There is no way that conducts more directly, more securely, more swiftly, and more sweetly to God than humility. But it is the humility studied in the Gospel, humility learned in My life, humility profoundly taught in the Holy Eucharist. If thou seek humility in these three sources, thou wilt ever find it… When there is humility, I give; when I find more, I give more…”


Like many Saints and victim souls, Sr. Benigna was chosen, not because of her strength or virtue, but because of her weakness and misery: “I have chosen thee because thou art wretched and miserable, in order that thou mayst attribute nothing to thyself and know that all good comes from God.” None need ever fear to approach Our Merciful Saviour, Who has said: “Even sinners can love Me and become saints” (revelation to Bl. Alexandrina). On September 12, 1915, Jesus dictated the “Decalogue of Mercy” to Sr. Benigna, which contain perhaps some of the most tender and encouraging words ever recorded: “(8) The more evil the state to which the soul is reduced by the sins of the past, by her disorders and passions, so much the more pleased is Love to have so much to accomplish in her. (9) Souls the most miserable, the most weak, the most infirm, are the best clients of Love, the most desired by the divine Mercy. (10) These souls, thus become, as it were, the predilette [favourite] of God, will, like so many living monuments, exalt and magnify the multitude of His mercies, sending up to God the reflections of living light, His own light, which they have received from Him during their mortal life- the multitude of kindnesses God has made use of to conduct them to eternal salvation. These souls will shine like previous gems, and will form the crown of the Divine Mercy.”
Sr. Benigna Consolata knew well her own misery; the “Decalogue of Humility” helped to ensure that; but this did not halt her on the path to God. Her love was too great to settle for anything less than constant sacrifice and perfect fidelity to God’s grace, which is the essence of sanctity. She possessed an insatiable desire to be united to Jesus in Holy Communion, and ultimately in Heaven. How consoling and joyous, then, must have been the sublime occasion on which Our Lord spoke thus to Sr. Benigna: “Thou art the Apostle of My Love; but when thy body shall be under the earth, and thy soul in Heaven like a little atom in My Heart for all eternity.” This is one of many intimate colloquies that occurred between Sr. Benigna and her divine Spouse, Who frequently addressed her as “My Nigna”, “Nigna of gold”, “My joy”, “My lily”, “My queen”, “My Benjamin”, and “the apple of My eye”.
Maria Consolata, the seraphic spouse of Our Lord, had a heart aflame for God and for souls. In relation to her vow to love God with her whole heart, Our Lord assured Maria: “Thou doest this already, but I wish to oblige thee to do it ever more and more perfectly… I want thee to lend Me thy mind, thy life, thy faculties, which are My gifts, that thou mayst become wholly the instrument of My mercy. The desire of seeing My Adorable Heart ever more known and loved ought to move thee to receive this mission with docility. Accept it, then, through the love thou hast for My Sacred Heart.”
On October 23, 1903, Our Lord sent Maria, who was then 18 years of age, to address a discouraged stranger with the following words: “Have confidence, Jesus loves you.” Maria overcame her “embarrassment”, having never before seen this particular person. Maria would write that “the enemy… was trying to cause the loss of this soul by distrust.” Jesus would frequently encourage Maria to intercede for sinners, for whom she suffered, like Our Savior, with such constant and intense love.
To add to her sufferings, Maria’s brother, John, fell ill. She tenderly nursed him, so that he would say to her: “O you are more necessary to me than food!” John’s health continued to decline until the day he received the Last Sacraments and died peacefully in his sister’s arms. Later, while in the Monastery, Maria would reflect on these events with a humble gratitude, acknowledging the wise designs of providence: “Our Lord wished to detach me from everything, that I might be His alone. In taking away from me that brother so beloved, He began to dig in my heart a void which He alone could fill.”
On one occasion, while she was suffering great desolation, Jesus consoled her thus: “Know that in those painful moments in which it seems as if the demon is about to tear thee from my Heart, thou art more closely united to Me by the strong bonds of love. Art thou not the happy prey of Love? How canst thou be afraid of the demon when the Almighty is with thee? I am the cuirass of thy soul; then fear not the blows destined for thee; a soldier fears not the snares of the enemy when he knows he is powerfully defended. And what I say to thee is not for thyself alone, but also for so many souls who are in the same state. I repeat it; I wish thee to make known to souls what I teach thee; CONFIDENCE IS THE KEY THAT OPENS THE TREASURES OF MY MERCY.”


On September 11, 1915, Our Lord dictated to his “Apostle of Mercy” the “Decalogue of Confidence.” The most beautiful doctrines are expressed through this Decalogue; for example, “(6) This God of love wishes to be to me a brother, friend and consoler. (7) This God of love carries His tenderness so far as to wish to be my physician, my medicine, and more than all, my spouse. (8) This God of love wishes to be despoiled of His gifts, as a tree is stripped of its fruits, which in no wise complains, but rather produces more fruit. The tree must wait another year, but I produce fruit at once. (9) This God of love seeks only miseries to consume, imperfections to destroy, weak wills to fortify, and good resolutions to strengthen.”
The confidence that Maria Consolata possessed was extraordinary. In her writings we find these words: “Jesus compares my soul to a ball, which when thrown violently to the ground, rises much higher than its point of departure; so my soul humbled by aridity rises again, by the grace of God, to the practice of pure love. He constantly predicts to me new sufferings, and does not fear to frighten me, assuring me that Crosses are most precious caresses which He reserves for privileged souls. He shows me the state of victim as a sublime state. At another time I heard from my Beloved a dolorous plaint. He revealed to me the sorrow of His Heart at being robbed of the love which is due to Him, while souls are making so bad a use of it everywhere. He compared Himself to a beggar who sees food thrown away and spoiled right before his eyes, food which would prevent him from dying of starvation.”

Maria Consolata is called to the Order of the Visitation

In order to fulfil the designs of Providence, Maria was beckoned by Our Lord to “enter into the Order of the Visitation”, of which He said: “The Monastery will be the pulpit in which thou shalt make Me known. Having no need of strength, I shall lean upon thy weakness. I use the ignorant to confound the strong.” Maria’s parents conducted their daughter to the Monastery of Pozzo Strada; the answer was not favourable, but in March of 1906, she was accepted by the Sisters of Pignerol. The biography of Sr. Benigna Consolata elaborates on this event: “Now it happened that while the venerated Mother of Pignerol was still in a state of indecision, our young Postulant was taken with a slight indisposition. This was at once made a pretext to restore her to her family; thus painful explanations were avoided; and her relatives were overjoyed at the final determination. Maria obeyed without a word. But who could reveal her martyrdom? Her heart was crushed. She repressed silently her bitter tears. Was this blessed Cloister, the object of her sighs, to be forever closed against her? Yet had not Jesus told her a thousand times He wished her to be a Visitine? The fear of illusion, of having deceived herself and others, returned to torture her; and the enemy on his side tormented her incessantly, laying snares upon snares for her.”
What relief must Maria must have felt when Our Lord communicated to her interiorly His desire that she enter the Visitation of Como, which she was unaware existed. Again, we read in her biography: “Such were the ways of Providence over this soul, and the hidden and admirable designs by means of which Jesus introduced her into the “place of her repose.” The Most Honored Mother Maria Louisa Sobrero, whom our dear Turin with incomparable kindness had lent us, was then Superior. She knew the Ferrero family and held them in high esteem. Having made inquiries at Pignerol as to the dismissal of Maria Consolata from that Monastery, and having been apprized that the only obstacle to her admission was the extraordinary way by which she seemed to be led, Mother Maria Louisa hastened to open her arms and her heart to the dear aspirant.”
“Maria Consolata arrived among us on December 30, 1907, accompanied by her venerable father and her dear aunt; she was then twenty-two years old. Matured, purified by suffering, enriched by the virtues she had so long practiced in the shadow of the Cross, she seemed already formed to the religious life.”
As a religious, Maria took the name Sister Benigna Consolata. She spent eleven months as a Postulant, before making her profession of the simple vows on November 23, 1909. On November, 1912, Sr. Benigna Consolata made her solemn profession. What incomparable joy must have been hers on this special day. In the words of a fellow Sister, when speaking of her Beloved Spouse, Sr. Benigna’s eyes “appeared beautiful and luminous; one could read in them the virginal purity of her soul and the divine love which devoured her.” Furthermore, “she always spoke sweetly, peacefully”, and she only spoke after having consulted Our Lord.
Although she was a model religious, Jesus, in order to preserve her humility, granted a special grace whereby others would perceive only her involuntary imperfections and defects. The Mother Superior made it known to several of the Sisters that it caused her suffering when she was required to give a reprimand; however, “when there was question of Sister Benigna Consolata, He gave her a special grace, for she humbled her severely and fearlessly.”
Knowing her misery, Sr. Benigna possessed “not only a real contempt for herself, but she desired that everyone else should despise her.” Speaking of such a humble disposition, which can in no way be compared with despondency or self-loathing, Our Lord said: “My Benigna, the purity of love consists in the perfection of sacrifice; and there is no sacrifice which pleases me so much as that of one’s honor and reputation. When a soul has attained to the love of contempt in order that God may be glorified in her, I look upon her with so much love that if she could see Me she would die of joy.”
Combined with her profound humility was perfect obedience. Her fidelity to the Rule was a source of edification to her fellow Religious. “One day”, recalls a Sister of the Novitiate, “having gone with my Sister Benigna Consolata to the garden to gather the dry leaves, I observed that since there were so few, it would be a loss of time to carry them to the place assigned; but she answered with her ordinary sweetness: ‘My Sister, our Mother desires we should carry them there; we ought to obey although we had to pick up only a single leaf.’ I was greatly edified, and I saw that until then I had not understood obedience.”
On another occasion, Sr. Benigna Consolata and the other Sisters were asked by the Mother Superior to find a turtle that had been presented as a gift to the Monastery. After a brief period, all of the Sisters but Sr. Benigna Consolata discontinued their search. “My Jesus,” she said, “obedience works miracles; help me to do our Mother’s will.” Her humble obedience was rewarded by God: she soon returned with the turtle. No sacrifice was too insignificant for Sr. Benigna.


The life of Sr. Benigna was marked with heroic sacrifice. Not only was she ever attentive and docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, but she furnished every moment with mortification, so as to arrive more speedily at that “sublime perfection” which Our Lord had called her to. “Act in such a way”, said Jesus, “that wherever the body can find relief, it may meet, on the contrary, only constraint and suffering; refuse it even the least pleasure.”
Speaking of her sufferings, Sr. Benigna said: “I am sometimes so oppressed with sorrow, so troubled through the fear of not corresponding with God’s grace, that I can scarcely trust in His goodness- It is principally in prayer that my sufferings are augmented: while there I ought not and wish not to be mindful of aught but God; but alas! all sorts of thoughts present themselves to my mind. The demon, delighted, takes hold of the occasion to torment me. Overwhelmed, I am tempted to leave off prayer through dread of making it badly; but I do not yield, and continue in spite of suffering. If I could tell my sufferings to someone it seems to me I should be relieved; but God alone knows these interior pains. When I would manifest my state to my Director, I have so slight a remembrance of it that I cannot find terms to express myself; for these are spiritual sufferings that at times I myself cannot comprehend.”
Although this dear spouse of Jesus suffered greatly, she was encouraged frequently by Our Lord, Who assured her that her sufferings would not go unrewarded: “Cast a glance upon Jesus on the Cross, and thou wilt see thy program of mortification. Spiritual consolations will be thy recompense.” These words are reminiscent of the words that Jesus addressed to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida: “Penance is a great virtue… and receives in Heaven a most sublime recompense.”
One can imagine with what confidence Sr. Benigna, when afflicted by untold sufferings and temptations, must have hastened to find refuge in the Sacred Heart of her Beloved, Which ever seeks to comfort and bless His dear creatures: “Thou canst not imagine, O my spouse, the pleasure I experience in remaining with My creatures! I am always in search of hearts that love Me, and I find only a small number. I lavish upon them the plenitude of My graces; I have so great a love for the souls who are faithful to Me and let Me do what I please with them, that I am as ready to gratify them as if it were a law to Me.” Such tender words are addressed to all souls: “I have immense treasures of grace for all: and whoever comes to Me shall be overwhelmed with them… I love men so much! … I love poor sinners so much! … Write, My Benigna, that all may know this: It is certain that a hundred sins offend Me more than one alone; but if this single sin is distrust of Me, it wounds My Heart more than the hundred others, because distrust wounds My Heart to Its innermost core.”
Jesus often complained to Sr. Benigna of the unfathomable sorrow of His Sacred Heart. “Behold”, said Jesus; “I beg the love of My creatures, who refuse it to Me and squander it upon things which pass away. They do not even think of giving it to Me- if thou knewest, Maria, how painful it is to love so much and not to be loved! I do not grow weary, I am always seeking love and no one gives it to me; not only they will not love Me, but they hate Me. Dost thou know what hinders Me from striking sinners? It is the prayers of the just; they disarm My divine Justice.”
If Our Lord complained of His sufferings, He also begged for the love of souls, including those who wound Him most. Even the most shameful sinners should be inspired with confidence in God’s mercy after reading the tender revelations given to Sr. Benigna Consolata. Jesus continually made known to her that He yearns to save even the most sordid sinners. He invites all sinners to bathe their souls in His Precious Blood, which was shed for our salvation: “Provided I find good will in a soul, I am never weary of looking upon its miseries- My love is fed by consuming miseries; the soul that brings Me the most, if the heart is contrite and humble, is the one that pleases Me most, because she gives Me an opportunity of exercising more fully My office of Saviour. But what I wish particularly to say to thee, My Benigna, is that the soul ought never to be afraid of God, because God is all-merciful; the greatest pleasure of the Sacred Heart of thy Jesus is to lead to His Father numerous sinners; they are My glory and My jewels… Sins may be enormous and numerous; but provided that the soul returns to Me, I am always ready to pardon all, to forget all.”

Her Final Conflict and Entrance into Eternal Life

 

Towards the end of 1916, Sr. Benigna was invited by Jesus to enter into solitude, in preparation for her death. “Ask permission of thy Mother,” He said, “to withdraw into solitude from the eve of the 20th of June to July 2 inclusively… Twelve days are not too much to prepare thee for death.” She returned from this treat with a glowing countenance, but this happiness was to be followed by great trials.
On the 28th of August, Sr. Benigna was plunged into an ocean of sadness. At about four o’clock in the afternoon, a great interior struggle commenced. Her countenance was transformed from one of great serenity into one of immense agitation. She was frequently heard to repeat, “I am lost”, and other terrible words that reveal the extent of her interior martyrdom. The Monsignor was called on to administer the holy exorcisms, which successfully drove Satan away from his victim. As midnight drew near, Sr. Benigna Consolata’s usual, sweet appearance returned. Her Confessor consoled her, instructing her to consider herself, at such painful moments, as “the prisoner of the Heart of Jesus”. Joyously, she exclaimed: “Benigna, prisoner of Jesus!”
On Friday the 1st of September, 1916, Sr. Benigna Consolata received the Holy Viaticum for the last time, after which her health continued to decline, though without affecting her consciousness, which she preserved. Her biography describes the touching account of her passing into eternal life as follows: “Frequently with great fervor she murmured the sacred names of Jesus and Mary. Toward half past one she recited with pain, but intelligibly, the act of contrition. At half past two our Confessor entered to renew the holy Absolution and recite the prayers for the Recommendation of the Departing Soul- At three o’clock, while she rested peacefully in the arms of our Mother, Sister Benigna Consolata opened her eyes suddenly, appeared to fix them on a distant and luminous point, and expired sweetly. The Confidant of Jesus had gone to be united to the Heart of her God!”

Words of Sr.Consolata

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“I will send you treasures of happiness from Heaven.” – Sr. Benigna Consolata
Words of Sr. Benigna Consolata
“If souls knew what it means to suffer, and suffer for God, not a soul would be found who would not be willing to suffer for Him.”
‘O my Mother, how I suffer! but I am happy.”
“I weep because I see Jesus, who is doing Himself violence to make me suffer; He is forced to it, having chosen me for a victim; but it costs Him to hide from me His love.”
“My Jesus, one would say that Thou canst not live without me. What is it that attracts Thee to my soul? Then hast Thou not the Angels? Dost Thou not find Thy happiness in Thyself?” “My Benigna,” He answered, “it is true, all this is true; but it is also true that I have a human Heart, and that I love Men I have told thee this already, but I tell thee again that thou mayst write it, my little Secretary of Love; then I will cause it to be read, that souls may believe in My excessive love; men are my brothers.”
“The enemy tried to tempt me to pride by making me out a saint: I complained to Jesus, who told me to answer him: ‘With the aid of my God I will be one, because of a sinner He can make a great saint.”
“He said to me in a sweet, sad tone: ‘My Benigna, give me souls!’ The plaintive words of my Adorable Master moved me profoundly. ‘How shall I give Thee souls, my Jesus?’ ‘By sacrifices’, He responded.” (June 13, 1915, the Feast of the Sacred Heart)
Words of Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata

“The attraction of the most sweet Heart of Jesus is to console those who suffer, to compassionate the miseries of His poor creatures, and ever to show them mercy. It will be thy mission to console the infinite love of God, which seeks solace from its little creature.”
“Let all thy actions bear the impress of Reparation and thou wilt console My Heart.”
“Finally, to attain more speedily to perfection, she should have God alone in view in all things, His glory, His good pleasure; doing this, she will always be at peace.”
”Maria, no longer go begging the love of creatures; were they to give themselves entirely to thee thou wouldst not be satisfied. God alone can suffice for thee. Maria, thou hast need of a heart which loves thee, which understands thee; it is the Heart of God thou needest. Speak to Me as thou wouldst to an earthly friend, to whom one tells everything. I know thee, I share thy sufferings, I offer Myself to be thy Model and on this thou must carefully form thyself.”
“Benigna, the more a soul humbles herself, the more she approaches to Me.”
“I wish thee to be faithfully faithful, my Benigna. A little act of fidelity may be the principle of great graces. Exact observance is, as it were, a perpetual Communion for the faithful soul; for with each point of the Rule well observed, she receives an increase of grace; and when the soul receives an increase of grace, I communicate Myself to her.”
“My Benigna, if souls had more faith, they would live on mortification as they live on bread, whereas they fly it as they would the plague.”
“Benigna, few souls walk with a rapid step in the way of love, because there are very few who enter generously into the way of sacrifice. If one is constant in sacrifice, she is constant in love: if she falters in sacrifice, she falters in love.”
“When I permit temptation, it is not through cruelty, but to give the soul an opportunity of merit.”

“What is here written in My Heart? Love Me! If thou lovest Me, thou wilt repair; if thou repairest, thou wilt console Me; and then thou wilt be a faithful spouse: Love, Reparation, Consolation, Fidelity.”
“Nigna of gold, goodnight, adieu!”

Some Comparisons between Sr. Benigna Consolata’s Revelations and those of other Victim Souls

The inspiring revelations given to Sr. Benigna Consolata share much in common with the spirituality of St. Faustina, Sr. Josefa Menendez, Bl. Dina Belanger, Sr. Consolata Betrone, St. Therese of Lisieux, and other holy “little souls.” Our Lord frequently manifested to Sr. Benigna Consolata the tender mercy of His Sacred Heart- especially towards little souls, of whom He said: “The little ones are my weakness.” To each of the aforementioned individuals, God has entrusted the message of His merciful love. The following themes are common to each of these holy women: confidence in the mercy of God, knowledge of our misery, childlike simplicity and humility, and the value of love, which transforms even the most trivial acts into something sublime.


Here are but a few examples of the similarities between Sr. Benigna Consolata’s writings and those of the aforementioned saints and mystics:
1. + “Thou art the Apostle of My Love.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Apostle of My mercy.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
+ “Apostle of Love.” (Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger)
+ “Apostle of My love.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
2. + “Thou shalt make thy Purgatory in the flames of My pure love-“ (Jesus to Sr. Benigna, July 14, 1903)
+ “… the Fire of Love is more sanctifying than is the fire of Purgatory.” (St. Therese)
3. + “Even the single little prayer, ‘I trust in Thee’, ravishes My Heart, because Faith, Love and Humility are comprised in this short prayer.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Words repeated throughout Sr. Consolata Betrone’s diary)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Prayer dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina)
+ “How easy it is to please Jesus, to ravish His Heart. We have merely to love Him, while, at the same time, forgetting ourselves.” (St. Therese)
4. + “To exercise Justice is for Me to go against the current; it does violence to Me.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna)
+ “If only you knew how I suffer when I must dispense justice. You see, My Heart needs to be comforted; It wishes to dispense mercy, not justice!” (Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone)
+ “I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
5. “Little things are little things, but fidelity in little things is a great thing.” (Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ.” (St. Therese)
+ “Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions.” (St. Faustina)
+ “The smallest act, if done out of love, acquires such merit that it gives Me immense consolation.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
6. + “One act of love alone will repair a thousand blasphemies.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “One ‘Jesus, Mary! I love You! Save souls!’ repairs a thousand blasphemies!” (Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone)
7. + “Souls are not saved if nothing is done for them. I died on the Cross to save them—I ask of thee no great thing—only a word withheld, a look repressed, a pleasant thought banished, in a word all that restrains and mortifies nature. These little things, united to My infinite merits, acquire a great value.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “One faithful soul can repair and obtain mercy for many ungrateful ones… Every soul can be instrumental in this sublime work [saving souls]… Nothing great is required, the smallest acts suffice: a step taken, a straw picked up, a glance restrained, a service rendered, a cordial smile… all these offered to Love are in reality of great profit to souls and draw down floods of grace on them.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
+ “If only you knew how many souls can be saved by those little acts!” (Our Lady to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
+ “To pick up a pin for Love can convert a soul. It is Jesus alone who can give such value to our actions. Let us then love Him with all our heart.” (St. Therese)
8. + “As the fire is fed with combustibles, and increases according as they are supplied, so My mercy is nourished with the miseries it consumes, and the more it receives the more it increases.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted- it increases.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
Many more comparisons could be made, but these few are sufficient to give us some idea of the importance of this message for mankind. Jesus wants each of us to love and console Him. To do this we must remain little, have great confidence in His mercy, and have a firm resolution to become holy. To do this, we may profit by keeping in mind the words dictated by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna in the “Decalogue of Confidence”: “(1) I have a God who is all mine. (2) This God, all mine, is my Father. (3) This God, all mine, wishes that I should be all His forever. (4) This God of love came down from Heaven to earth on purpose to seek me. (5) This God of love asks me for my heart… (10) This God of love goes in search of those whom the world despises, abhors and abandons, that is, of poor sinners; and after having converted them through the delicacies of His charity and the attractions of His mercy, if He meets with the correspondence He seeks, He makes them masterpieces of holiness.” At another time, Our Lord said: “And why should you become a saint except to please your Jesus ever more and more.”
———————————————

Prayer written by the Servant of God Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero:

O’ Jesus, True Charity and God of Love, Goodness without limits: I, a miserable sinner, in order to honor Thy incomparable mercy, offer, give and abandon myself forever to the love of Thy most amiable and tender Heart.
Source:mysticsofthechurh.com

Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli and the Holy Face of Jesus Devotion

“No one gives me a kiss of love on My face to make amends for the kiss of Judas”
“I firmly wish that My face reflecting the intimate pains of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more honoured! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me.” -Our Lord Jesus to Sister Maria Pierina

Maria Pierina de Micheli was born on September 11 1890, in Milan, Italy and she was baptized at St. Peter in Sala’s church on the same day, with the name of Giuseppina.

Suffering came early for Maria Pierina as she had not yet turned two when her father died, leaving the family without his fatherly love and affection along with the sufferings of losing their main breadwinner.

Early visions of Jesus

At age 7 on May 3, 1898 she received Jesus in her First Communion. Recalling that day with holy joy many years later in 1943 she wrote- “I saw the baby Jesus in the host. Heaven on earth! Today, only by faith, I know he loves me.”
Then began a lifetime of heavenly graces and visions, along with many sufferings in union with Jesus. One day while she was praying in St. Peter in Sala’s church (her local parish), Jesus on the Crucifix came alive and spoke to her. On another occasion at the age of twelve, when she was again in her Parish Church during the 3pm Good Friday service, she heard a Voice saying quite distinctly:
“No one gives me a kiss of love on My Face to make amends for the Kiss of Judas.” 

In her childlike simplicity, she believed that the voice was heard by everyone and was pained to see that only the wounds were kissed but not the face. In her heart exclaiming, “Have patience, dear Jesus, I will give you a kiss of love”, and when her turn came she lovingly and devoutly imprinted a kiss on His Face. And later as a novice, she was permitted to do night adoration and on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and while she was praying before Jesus upon the Crucifix, she heard Him say: “Kiss Me.”

Sister Maria Pierina immediately obeyed and her lips felt not the contact with the plaster figure but contact with the living flesh of the Face of Jesus.
Becomes a religious sister as a Daughter of the Immaculate Conception of Buenos Aires

From a young age Giuseppina (Maria Pierina) felt called to be a religious Sister—a bride of Christ. In 1912, the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception came from Buenos Aires, Argentina and settled in Milan, not far from the house of the De Micheli’s family. On October 15, 1913, at the age of 23, Giuseppina was accepted by the founder of the Congregation, Servant of God Mother Mary Euphrasia laconis, and joined the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception as a Novice. On May 16, 1916 she made her profession and was clothed in the habit, taking the name of Sister Maria Pierina.
In 1919 Sister Maria Pierina was sent to the Mother House in Buenos Aires. On April 12 1920, when she was complaining to Jesus of one of her sorrows, He appeared to her covered with bloodstains and with a sorrowful and affectionate expression (which I shall never forget – she writes) telling her:

“And what have I done?” 

Sister Maria Pierina understood and from that time the Holy Face of Jesus became her meditation book and the door to His Heart. She returned to Milan in 1921 and Jesus continued to grant her many favors, along with various sufferings that are always the lot of true Mystics.
In 1928, Mother Estanislada Tognoni was elected Superior General, but had to return to Buenos Aires. In the same year, Mother Pierina was appointed Superior of the Community of Milan, and then she was later re-elected in 1932 and 1936, and in September 1939, she was elected Superior of the Community of Rome.

Pierina recieves visions of Jesus requesting devotion to His Holy Face


As years went by, Jesus often showed Himself to her sometimes sad and other times bleeding, asking her for reparation, thus increasing her desire to suffer and to sacrifice herself for the salvation of souls. During the night adoration of the First Friday in Lent in 1936, Jesus, after letting her share in His spiritual sorrow of the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, with His Face covered with blood and profoundly sad, Jesus told her:
“I wish that my Face, which reflects the intimate sorrow of my soul, and the suffering and love of my Heart, be better honoured. He who contemplates me consoles me.”
On the Tuesday following Passion Sunday, Jesus returned to her and said:
“Each time my Face is contemplated I will pour my love into hearts and through my Holy Face the salvation of many souls will be obtained.”
On the first Tuesday of 1937, while she was at prayer, the Lord Jesus instructed her on the devotion to His Holy Face and, in the end, told her:
“Perhaps some souls fear that the devotion to my Holy Face may diminish that to my Sacred Heart. Tell them that, on the contrary, it will complete and increase it. Contemplating my Face, souls will share my sorrows and will feel the need for love and reparation. Is this not the true devotion to my Heart?”.



The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to Pierina requesting the Scapular-Medal of the Holy Face

These manifestations became more and more frequent and in May 1938, while Pierina was at prayer in the Community Chapel, a beautiful Lady, which she knew to be the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the altar step in a beam of light, holding a Scapular made of two small pieces of flannel joined by a cord. One of these pieces bore the image of the Holy Face of Jesus with the words “Iliumina Domine Vultum Tuum Super Nos” (May the light of Thy Face, 0 Lord, shine upon us) and the other, a Host surrounded by rays and the words “Mane Nobiscum Domine” (Stay with us, 0 Lord).
Gently the Lady approached and said:
Listen carefully and refer everything to Father (her priest confessor); This Scapular is an armour of defence, a shield of strength, a pledge of mercy which Jesus wishes to give to the world in these times of lust and hatred against God and His Church. There are very few true apostles. A divine remedy is necessary, and this remedy is the Holy Face of Jesus. All who shall wear a Scapular like this and make, if possible, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday in reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion and is still receiving in the Holy Eucharist every day,

– will be strengthened in the Faith, and will be made ready to defend it,

– will overcome all difficulties, internal and external

– and they will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son”.

The request of Our Lady was increasingly pressing but Mother Pierina replied that it was not in her power to put it into execution. The permission of the one who guided her spiritual life and funds were necessary. The same year Jesus appeared again covered with blood and very sadly said to her:
“Do you see how I suffer? Yet, very few understand me. Those who say they love me are very ungrateful! I have given my heart as the sensible object of my great love to men and I give My Face as the sensible object of my sorrow for all the sins of men. I wish that it be venerated by a special feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the feast be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with me, joining together and sharing in my sorrow.”
In 1939 Jesus said again:
“I wish that My Holy Face be honored in a particular manner on Tuesdays”.
Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli felt the desire of Our Blessed Lady more and more fervent. She obtained permission from her spiritual Director and although she did not have any financial means, she set about the task, as requested by Jesus and Mary. She obtained the permission of the photographer Bruner to take copies of the Holy Shroud as reproduced by him, and she received the permission to do so by the Archdiocese of Milan on the August 9, 1940.
Attacks by the Devil

Financial means were still wanting, but the faith of the Reverend Mother made up for it. One morning she saw on a little table an envelope: she opened it to find 11,200 Italian liras. Our Blessed Lady had seen to it. The devil, maddened at this, fell upon this soul to frighten it and prevent the distribution of the medals: he threw her down in the corridor and down the steps, he tore the images and pictures of the Holy Face, but she bore up everything. She tolerated and sacrificed all so that the Holy Face may be honored.
In the beginnning she was worried because she got medals made instead of the cloth scapulars because she felt called to do so. She turned to Our Blessed Lady to obtain peace of mind in the matter. On April 17, 1943 the Blessed Virgin appeared to her and said:
“My daughter, rest assured, the Scapular is replaced by the medal with the same promises and favours – it only has to be spread widely Now my heart is on the feast of the Face of my Divine Son. Tell the Pope that I desire this.”
She blessed her and then departed.

Thus began the spread of the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and also the spread of the medal in its honor. Since then the devotion and the medal have been spread worldwide with much enthusiasm, accompanied all the while by wonderful graces, conversions and cures as a testament and heavenly sign of God’s institution and approval of both.

Her holy death


Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli’s motto was: “Give to Jesus; give everything; give always.”

Having given herself and her life completely to Jesus, at the age of 54 surrounded by her spiritual daughters, Mother Pierina joined the One Whom she loved on July 26, 1945, at Centonara d’ Arto (Verbania) at the house of the Holy Face.

“I felt a deep longing to live always united with Jesus; to love Him intensely because my death can only be a transport of love with my Spouse, Jesus.” -Words from the diary of Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli on July 19, 1941.
Sister Pierina was beatified on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome- the first beatification ever held within its walls.



-Blessed Maria Pierina Di Micheli, pray for us
!

Invocation-Prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus:
Oh Holy Face of my sweet Jesus, by that tenderness of love and unspeakable grief with which the Blessed Virgin Mary beheld Thee in Thy painful Passion, grant that our souls may share in that great love and great sorrow, and fulfill more perfectly the Holy Will of God. Amen.

-Imprimatur in Curia Arch. Mediolani on Jan. 25, 1941 -Mons. Cavezzali Pro Vic. Gen
More from her Diary: Her words, and some of Jesus replies:

“Do not deny anything to Jesus.”

“I want what God wants.”

‘Jesus I am yours, do what you want of me.”

Jesus said to me: “Only a few souls let me act with full freedom, so I cannot grant many graces.”

“This morning I asked Jesus His Heart to love it of His own love, and Jesus told me: “If you knew how I love you, you would die from joy.”

I said to Jesus: “Do you believe, oh Jesus, that I love you?” And Jesus replied: “Yes, I do. And do you know when I believe it the most? When you think I have abandoned you, because it is then that you most show your loyalty.”

“O, my sweet Jesus, for your Holy Face bathed with tears, may your Eucharistic Reign triumphs in the sanctity of your priests.”

“O, my sweet Jesus, for the divine light emanating from your Holy Face, dispel the darkness of ignorance and mistake and be the light of sanctity for your priests.”

“O my sweet Jesus, for your Divine Face bathed in a sweat of blood in the agony of Gethsemane, enlighten and strengthen the souls consecrated to you.”

“What matters is to love Jesus” -Words of Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli

Sr.Mary of the Crown of Thorns


The remarkable true story of Sr. Mary of the Crown of Thorns (born Margaret Reilly, 1884-1937), -if authentic, she would be one of the first reported stigmatics in America.

Those who study the lives of mystics and visionaries soon discover that while often a “cult” of avid followers develop around such persons, on the other hand some of their contemporaries often view such persons with excessive skepticism and doubt. For the disciple is not above the Master, one could surmise. And this writer has yet to find a mystic that did not have at least some controversy surrounding them. And so it is also in the life of Margaret Reilly (Sr. Mary of the Crown of Thorns) that we find a life story full of mystical and supernatural mystery, surrounded by strong supporters, including two prominent bishops and a number of priests and religious, yet at the same time also a number of noteworthy detractors.

One thing is for certain: during her lifetime she gained the attention of quite a few people outside of her convent in Peekskill, NY., and after her death in 1937 there was a significant movement pushing for her canonization. Eventually however the cause stalled in the 1960’s, lacking the support of the local Archbishop, and also the financial backing and support of her religious Community, the Good Shepherd Sisters. And so it is that today she is almost completely unknown, her life being nearly forgotten.

What precisely happened in the life of this Manhattan Irish woman from a modest family concerning the remarkable mystical gifts purportedly given to her is very much a intriguing mystery to this day. For she was reported to have received the stigmata (the bleeding wounds of Christ), and also a indelible, raised image of a crucifix on her breast, directly over her heart, which reportedly also manifested itself on her bedroom wall in the convent, along with extensive physical torments that seemed to mirror much of the passion of Jesus. These mystical graces and sufferings drew the attention, admiration and cynicism of many persons in New York, and around the country, and her notoriety spanned from 1921 to 1937. This article will attempt to shed some light on her life and the reported supernatural graces given to her.

Early life and first mystical experiences -A raised crucifix on her chest

Margaret Reilly was born in Manhattan, New York on on July 25, 1884, the youngest of 7 children into a poor, Irish family. Her father, Patrick Reilly, was a construction contractor, and her mother, Mary McLoughlin Reilly was a homemaker. Stories of Margaret’s childhood reveal a early and intense devotion to Jesus. Margaret preferred her crucifix to a doll and she treated the crucifix like a doll, taking it for walks in her doll buggy, wrapping it to keep Jesus warm, and hugging it close to her at night. When her daughter required discipline, Mrs. Reilly threatened to take away the crucifix as punishment. She preferred being alone instead of playing with other children. As a youngster, Margaret learned of penitential practices, such as putting pebbles in her shoes as a form of sacrifice and self-mortification, which she learned from the Sisters of Charity who staffed her parochial school. Later as a teenager she took to wearing a hair shirt underneath her clothing, as a form or reparation and penance. Eventually however her spiritual director requested that she stop that particular practice.

After making her First Communion, Margaret also secured special permission to receive Communion daily (an exception for young children at that time). This special grace represented some hardship however, as it obliged her to walk ten blocks before breakfast to attend Mass, and then return home for a quick meal before walking to school.Margaret also developed a fondness for the Stations of the Cross, reportedly praying the stations three times in one day, until one of her older sisters told her to stop.

The first evidence of mysticism is reported in November 1913, when at age 29 she states that a two-inch-long red cross had appeared on her breast. On that day, she recalled:

“It pleased our dear Lord to send me a very severe illness for which He prepared me in a most extraordinary way. In my illness, I beheld our dear L. (Lord) nailed to the Cross and covered with Wounds…. ‘Thorn,’ He called me; ‘upon thy breast I place a Cross.’

My eyes raised above. He smiled and spoke: ‘Take thou this Cross because ’tis Thorn I love.’

Then a sharp pain … when suddenly my eyes closed to all around me. My very soul became entirely rapt and absorbed in the contemplation of the Most Holy Trinity.”

And four years later in 1917 she reports another mystical grace. She relates that while stooping over the oven to prepare a fish supper with her mother, she felt a sharp pain over her heart, and saw a three-dimensional crucifix emerging in blood. Her mother quickly put her to bed and immediately telephoned their pastor. The crucifix reportedly remained visible until December 8, 1917. In a friend’s recollection, the mark resembled a “raised, sunburned area,” red in color, approximately two inches long. At times the three-dimensional corpus even changed color, for according to one chronicler, “Sometimes it was red, sometimes purple, sometimes livid.” Jesus reportedly revealed to Margaret whom He called “Little Thorn” the meaning of the changing of colors; they meant to reveal the sufferings of His Church in various ways.

First report of the stigmata and the crown of thorns, along with a second appearance of the the raised crucifix over her heart. She becomes a religious sister.


In September of 1921, Margaret made a extended spiritual retreat at Mount St. Florence convent in Peekskill, NY. It appears that this retreat was actually more of a postulancy for her to see if she was called to the religious life of the Good Shepherd sisters. On the fourth morning of the retreat, Margaret took a stroll to view a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the convent grounds. As she returned to her room to lie down, she claims to have had a vision of Jesus standing at the foot of the bed.

He reportedly said, “I give you my cross upon your breast, because I love you very much; and you are to suffer for My very own.”

And Jesus explained that “my very own” in this case referred to priests and nuns.

At this time, the same image from her chest was miraculously duplicated on the wall of the room that she was staying in. About three inches in length, it was first documented by the superior of the convent, Mother Raymond (Born Bridget Cahill in Worcester, Massachusetts) who was further surprised to find that Margaret’s left side and feet were now bleeding. Mother Raymond reported to one of Margaret’s cousins, who was also a nun:

Even before Margaret’s arrival at Peekskill, Mother Raymond claimed to have witnessed (although she does not specify where) the perfectly formed cross and corpus with its feet resting on Margaret’s heart, “at times diffused with blood.”

For the next 33 days—each day, as the superior believed, symbolizing a year of Jesus’s life—Margaret remained bedridden at the convent in acute pain and bleeding profusely from four wound sites in her hands and feet. Jesus told Margaret that the foot wounds were the beginning of her complete stigmatization. Puncture wounds appeared around her forehead as well, as though from a wreath of thorns. In a vision, Jesus told her that she would now be named “Thorn.” reportedly stating:

“Now you are my Thorn, but soon you shall be my Lily of Delight.”

Later, the stigmata would intensify from Wednesday through Friday each week. Returning to the story of her visit and entering the convent, on November 11, 1921 her face was said to be marked as though by whips. Margaret said she could feel the separate lashes as they were given on her face, also when they were given on her whole body. These lashes were reportedly sometimes inflicted by our Lord Himself, or by St. Michael or by her Guardian Angel. Margaret could even see this instrument: the discipline contained 48 strips of fine steel with thorn-like projections. There was also a piece of lead 2¾ inches long attached to the center ring.

Mother Raymond reported that among Margaret’s wounds, the scourge marks were “more painful than the wounds of the hands and feet and side. The pain in the chest is as if an army of people were kneeling on the chest.”

The cross impressed on the skin over Margaret’s heart that began this chain of events disappeared entirely from her body around December 15, 1921.

Except for a couple of visits to relatives, Margaret remained in the convent during her “probationary” or discernment period, and on December 8, 1923, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, was finally able to make her preliminary vows as a Good Shepherd sister, taking the name “Sister Mary of the Crown of Thorns”, a name which was reportedly given to her by Jesus. It should be noted here however that she was delayed in making this religious profession due to the fact that a few of the Good Shepherd nuns in the Community had doubts concerning her purported mystical gifts.

A description of the crucifix imprinted upon the wall in Sr. Thorn’s room

Sr. Thorn had a cousin named Sr. Sebastian, a Dominican nun living in Ohio. On August 25, 1922, Sister Sebastian traveled to Peekskill to observe things firsthand, accompanied by Sr. Thorn’s brother Tom. Prior to this visit Sr. Catherine had already received some photographs or drawings of the mark on her cousin’s skin from Mother Raymond, who concluded her letter with the entreaty: “Trusting, dear Sister, this will somewhat satisfy your interest, asking a little prayer, and begging to accept the enclosed pictures which are a true copy of the Cross and position on her breast.”

Normally visitors were forbidden to see her bedroom with the alleged miraculous cross on the wall under orders from the congregation’s appointed confessor, Father John F. Brady, but on this occasion permission was given. Sr Sebastian found the room “…small and very plain. I first looked at the miraculous Crucifix (on the wall). It is much like the one on the picture, and about that size. I could see the Face of our Lord, and the lettering is also very plain. We used a magnifying glass. From where I stood I kissed the feet, but would have to stand on something to reach the Face.”

Of this particular visit Sr Sebastian stated that the crucifix was not apparent on her cousin’s chest at that time, but that she experienced the pain of invisible stigmata there and in her hands, feet, and side. Sr Sebastian’s impression of Margaret was of “…the dearest, sweetest soul, and heavenly in appearance, but as simple and as natural as a child.”

But going back to the crucifix imprinted upon the wall in her bedroom, Paula M. Kane notes in her book that “All accounts agreed that efforts to remove the image from the wall proved to be futile, even when scraped.” 

Sr Mary of the Crown of Thorns (Margaret Reilly)


Sr Thorn is confined to a wheelchair

On the very day that the provincial was to accompany Margaret from Peekskill to Manhattan to begin her official novitiate, Margaret suddenly lost the use of her legs, and never walked again. As Mother Raymond recorded, Margaret had returned to her cell after Mass in the morning and sat down. Her limbs grew stiff and she became unable to walk. She was carried to her bed. Mother Raymond later stated that God had forewarned Margaret that she was to remain there because “..the novitiate would come to Peekskill to her.” 

Along with Sr. Thorn’s recent immobility there was also added the special care required by her stigmata. Benedict Bradley, a Benedictine monk in New Jersey who visited Peekskill in November and December 1922, verified that Margaret was mostly bedridden. When she left her bed for chapel and meals, she moved about by crawling on her hands and knees. Her spiritual director forbade her from doing even this after she reported that Satan had thrown her down the stairs repeatedly, and he purportedly filled her tunic with pins to prevent her from climbing the stairs on her knees. Thus the sisters were now required to lift Margaret out of her wheelchair and carry her up and down stairs. This partial paralysis also prevented Margaret from performing the usual convent chores undertaken by every sister. Consequently, when she was permitted to remain at Peekskill, she was assigned to work the telephone switchboard.

Attacks from the demons

On December 9,1921, the day after she received her first veil as a postulant, Sr. Thorn faced a demonic attack. “As she was eating her supper,” wrote a sister named Carmelita, “her plate was broken, coffee spilt on the bed and she was pulled and dragged around for sometime.” Later that night, (Dec. 9), Sr. Thorn asked Mother Raymond to stay with her and not let the “evil one” tempt her “..with some evil suggestions he was making.”

Sr. Carmelita also wrote “Margaret had complained of noises in her room at night, but it was attributed to other causes.” Early on, most of the unusual activity continued to involve ordinary household objects: the turpentine bottle left in Margaret’s cell by Dr. McParlan was broken, flower vases were overturned, liquids were spilled, china was cracked, a holy-water font was broken, embroidery was burned, dress buttons were removed, and the glass on a picture of the Infant Jesus was shattered. “For some days,” Mother Raymond also recalled, “the whole house smelt of sulfur.”

Margaret often endured taunts from the demons, who showed her “awful pictures” and “impure sights” that she declared were “far more painful to her than the beatings.” Add to this, Satan often assumed the appearance of Jesus in an attempt to fool Margaret.

Mother Raymond left numerous notes stating: “One attack at Holy Communion as usual.” On another occasion she wrote: “Margaret sustained an awful attack after holy Communion near the confessional. Satan threw her down, tore off her postulant’s cuffs, threw her shawl over the head of Sr. Mary of St. Luthgarde, seemingly to blind them so they could not protect Margaret; pulled feet to break them; slapped her face so it could be heard; jerked her and dragged her, then left her.”

According to Sr. Thorn, the demons took on the forms of a black cat, a rat, a seal, slime, and both handsome and ugly men. During the summer of 1922, Mother Raymond temporarily left Margaret, and when she returned, she found Margaret on the floor next to the telephone switchboard. The switchboard had been overturned on St Thorn’s head, leaving a lump over her eye and knocking plaster out of the wall. Mother Raymond was so embarrassed when the electrician commented on the extensive damage that when another incident smashed windowpanes and bookcase glass, she was reluctant to contact a repairman for fear that outsiders would think that the convent was a “roughhouse.”

Yet another violent episode reportedly occurred during Mass on November 21,1923, while the sisters were listening to the final portion of the Eucharistic prayer, Sr Thorn was thrown from her wheelchair to the floor and her head was jammed under the radiator. Yet, for all of its strangeness, this diabolical activity had usefulness beyond their convent in redeeming sinners, for even as Margaret struggled with a demon who knocked her down and twisted her leg around a chair, Saint Colette allegedly appeared to her and reassured her in a vision that “a certain soul has been saved through your struggles.”

Visiting Peekskill from Missouri, Sister Carmelita Quinn recorded an episode on February 17, 1922:

“Breakfast and dinner were spoiled, it meant that Margaret Reilly thought the food had a bad taste and smell. Often, Margaret envisioned little black bugs on the food and bread that repelled her from eating.”

In a vision years later, the Virgin Mary comforted Sister Thorn and told her that the evil spirits would no longer be permitted to assault her.

More notes on her alleged stigmata


Sr. Thorn believed that she suffered as a victim soul for the conversion and salvation of souls. She attributed the pain in the location of her stigmatic wounds with specific intentions: pain in her left foot indicated prayers for Archbishop Hayes and the pope; pain in her right foot meant prayers for priests; her left hand was dedicated to laypeople praying to her; and her right hand was to atone for nuns seeking higher education who forgot their duty by seeking worldly advantages. Finally, Margaret’s heart symbolized the Good Shepherds and “another convent dear to Jesus.” Sister Thorn claimed that the scourge marks on her thighs and the crown of thorns on her forehead were offered for priests who were offending Jesus. She endured these torments to fulfill God’s special mission for her to obtain grace for others, especially for priests and religious.

Add to this the fact that some of Sr. Thorn’s devotees spent their time trying to ascertain the meaning of the changing colors of the corpus on the crucifix upon her chest and also her bedroom wall, revealing a obvious determination to affirm the bond between suffering and the possible sanctity in her life.

It is interesting to note also that in her book “Sister Thorn and Catholic Mysticism in Modern America” Paula M Kane points out that it seems that Sr. Thorn’s stigmata were mostly invisible in nature. According to her readings, Sr. Thorn’s visible, bloodied stigmata seemingly lasted only ten weeks, from September 4 to November 18, 1921.

Fame and opposition

Those outside of the convent first learned of “the bleeding nun at Peekskill” through a letter written by a Passionist priest named Father Bertrand Barry who composed a sort of “spiritual chain letter” in early 1922 that he sent to numerous friends. It became an embarrassment to the Good Shepherd Sisters because it contained many errors, and drew unwanted attention to the religious order, but its odd details excited the public and drew fervent crowds to the convent.

Stories and rumors concerning Sr. Thorn abounded amongst both religious and laity. Many who knew her either as a child or young adult were positive towards her. The superior of the Community, Mother Raymond, who spent the most time each day with Sr Thorn, was a strong supporter. Yet she became aware that at least a few of the Sisters in the Community were displeased with Sr. Thorn, so as time progressed, Mother Raymond decided to have a private written census of each of the Sisters in the convent. The record shows that the majority of them were supportive of Sr. Thorn, but several were in opposition, for various reasons. Of the approximately 50 professed and “lay” Sisters associated with the convent, there were six Sisters who were either “not satisfied” or “not contented” with Sr. Thorn. As side note, interestingly it seems that most of the Sisters in the convent at this point had not actually seen Sr. Thorns stigmata, which leads one to conclude that they likely were only visible for a short period(s) of time, and like other stigmatics it is quite possible that they came and went and/or were not visible at times.

Archbishop Patrick Hayes of New York oversaw the official investigation of Sister Thorn, which began some three years before he was named a cardinal. The medical part of the investigation consisted of evaluations from three separate physicians–together Dr. James J. Walsh, and Dr John B. Lynch felt that Margaret’s “medical symptoms” were attributed to a “nervous condition” and possible “hysteria.” On the other hand, Dr. Thomas F. McParlan became convinced that her various medical conditions were not attributable to natural origins or any ordinary means, and he eventually became one of Sr. Thorns prominent supporters.

For his part, over the years he was publicly cautious concerning Sr. Thorn, and until his death which occurred one year after hers he remained essentially neutral concerning her. One could assume that if his investigation had found anything significantly wrong he presumably would have sanctioned Sr. Thorn in various ways.

As for religious outside the convent, there was a New York Jesuit, Fr. James McGivney, who wrote a private letter to another Jesuit, Fr. Herbert Thurston, expressing his deep concern regarding St Thorn. Fr. James McGivney had given a couple of retreats at the Peeskill convent, where he presumably obtained various information concerning Sr Thorn.

For his part, Fr. Herbert Thurston SJ, a very popular scholar known for his books on mysticism, occult phenomena, and parapsychology, was a significant supporter of Sr. Thorn. In 1925 he published a study of Margaret Reilly, whom he concealed as “Kate Ryan,” for an article in the British Catholic journal “The Month.” Also around that time, Fr. Thurston was rumored to be one of four Vatican consultors for the Reilly case. Father Lucas Etlin was another priest who was very supportive of Sr. Thorn.

However, As Paula M. Kane points out in her excellent book, regardless of what those in favor of Sr. Thorn believed, certain pieces of evidence point to her purported stigmata as possibly being a fraudulent: from her sudden paralysis on the very day she was being asked to leave the convent; the short duration of the bleeding wounds and the lack of witnesses to and physical evidence of their onset; the controversial crucifix image on her chest and wall that closely resembled a commercial stamp at that time; the confusion in the written record regarding the timing, location, and appearance of her various physical markings; and the many poltergeist incidents at the convent that she herself could have performed.

On the other hand, testimonies supporting her authenticity came from trustworthy eyewitnesses who beheld and nursed her wounds, along with from the affirmations of Sister Carmelita Quinn, Dr. McParlan and Cardinal James McIntyre, the longtime conservative Archbishop of Los Angeles. The latter’s association with Sr. Margaret can be understood when looking at the historical record. James McIntyre was ordained by Archbishop Patrick Hayes of New York (Sr. Thorn’s bishop) in 1921, and two years later he was appointed chancellor of the Archdiocese–a position he held for 11 years until 1934–and it was in this position that he was able to keep very close tabs on the situation concerning Sr. Thorn.

In 1940, McIntyre was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York and it is during this time in particular that he became known for his support for Sr. Thorn. Later, when he became archbishop of Los Angeles, he continued to campaign on behalf of Sister Thorn. He gave the Good Shepherds in California his only photograph of her in order to convince them “that while the religious of her own Congregation did not all approve or believe in her saintliness, that there were others who did.”. He also gave a rosary to the superior, telling her: “Do not let anyone deprive you of the privilege of having a Saint in your congregation.”

Her numerous illnesses and death

Starting with the critical moments in December 1923 when a weakened Margaret was suffering intensely, the sisters had everything in readiness for what they thought might be her death bed Profession. Yet, she clung to life. In January 1924 Margaret was about to receive the last rites, yet she rallied once more. In February Archbishop Patrick Hayes visited the convent, reporting that he scarcely recognized her since “she looks so very frail as if the lamp was nearly burned out.” At the close of 1924, she was still “suffering greatly and growing weaker.” In May 1925 she was frailer still and “suffering very much,” and by December she seemed “supremely happy” although in great pain. In 1926 Margaret “suffered a great deal during Lent” and during that summer was disturbed by constant vomiting. “There are days when one wonders how she lives,” remarked Mother St. Francis Xavier Hickey. In 1927 it was noted that her “spine was attacked now as well as the pancreas. The pain in her head is awful at times.” That year, Dr. Thomas McParlan reported on Margaret’s new set of ailments: “Yesterday I saw Sister Thorn. The mass in her abdomen which includes the pancreas is greatly enlarged and her sufferings are terrible. There is no position that gives her the faintest relief and she looks very badly. I am greatly worried over her condition and feel so powerless to anything for her.” By August, Mother Hickey (who by that time had replaced Mother Raymond) feared “poor little Sister cannot last much longer. She is suffering so much, but always so sweetly and patiently.”

Nevertheless, despite her declining health, Margaret survived for another decade. Most of those associated wither her believed that her illnesses were primarily supernaturally induced, meaning that her suffering was God’s will in that it was for reparation and for the conversion of sinners.

 “Our Lord is going to give us an Irish American saint!” her bishop, Archbishop Patrick Hayes, reportedly said with enthusiasm to Father Lucas Etlin, an avid supporter of Sr. Thorn.

Yet the archbishop and many others closely connected to Sister Thorn refused to give her case any significant public support, and after her death her cause for beatification eventually faltered in the 1960’s.

After a life of suffering and sacrifice, Sr. Mary Crown of Thorns (Margaret Reilly) died at age 52 in May 18, 1937. When Sister Thorn finally died, she was attended by the two women closest to her, Mother Raymond and Sister Carmelita. Mother Raymond had left Sr. Thorn’s room for two minutes to fetch a drink of water; when she returned, she found Margaret vomiting blood into the basin on her table. Sister Thorn died soon afterward.

Mother Raymond was crushed by the loss of her dearest friend. She wrote a letter in her own hand to Mother Dolorosa at the Benedictine convent in Clyde, Missouri, describing how Sr. Thorn had suffered heroically “…thru her ulcers, pancreas and other ills. Then the attacks of the evil one, her sweet pains ( her stigmata). Some tests confirmed cancer of all the left side, also the bladder; she refused opiates, wanting to be coherent to make a good confession before communion. I will miss her yes more than I can say but I am grateful He took her first.Memories crowd in daily and I thank Him for all He did for her and for me.”

-Sr. Margaret Reilly, pray for us!

“We cannot change the world, taking out all its thorns, making its tasks easy and its burden light; changing all its discord into harmonies, transforming its ugliness into beauty. But we can have our own heart renewed by the grace of God, and thus the world will be made over for us. . . . A soul of song will find sweet music everywhere.” — Message from Jesus to Sr. Mary Crown of Thorns

Extraordinary little known revelations of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich 


Anne Catherine Emmerich was told by Our Lord that her gift of seeing the past, present, and future in mystic vision was greater than that possessed by anyone else in history. Born at Flamske in Westphalia, Germany, on September 8, 1774, she became a nun of the Augustinian Order at Dulmen. She had the use of reason from her birth and could understand liturgical Latin from her first time at Mass. During the last 12 years of her life, she could eat no food except Holy Communion, nor take any drink except water, subsisting entirely on the Holy Eucharist. From 1802 until her death, she bore the wounds of the Crown of Thorns, and from 1812, the full stigmata of Our Lord, including a cross over her heart and the wound from the lance.Anne Catherine Emmerich possessed the gift of reading hearts, and she saw, in actual, visual detail, the facts of Catholic belief which most of us simply have to accept on faith. The basic truths of the catechism–angels, devils, Purgatory, the life of Our Lord and the Blessed Mother, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the grace of the Sacraments–all these truths were as real to her as the material world. Her revelations make the hidden, supernatural world come alive. Below are some of the most enthralling of these revelations:

~She saw that each parish and diocese, each city and country has its own particular and powerful guardian angel.

~She saw that the Church never has allowed children of Catholics to be raised outside her fold.

~She saw how the various indulgences we gain actually remit specific punishments which otherwise would await us in Purgatory.

~She revealed that to gain an indulgence we must approach the Sacraments with true repentance and a firm purpose of amendment–or we do not gain it.

She deposes that it is more holy to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory than for sinners who are still alive.

~She describes the nature, extent and power of victim souls, and their role in the life of the Church. She describes the condition of St. Lydwine of Schiedam, a victim soul during the time of “three popes,” and how her body came apart into three pieces, joined only by the slenderest of sinews. She saw only 6 victim souls in her time working like herself on behalf of the Universal Church, and about 100,000 Catholic people worldwide who were great in their faith.

~She revealed that saints are particularly powerful on their feast days and should be invoked then.

~She saw that many saints come from the same families, the antiquity of which often extends far back into the Old Testament.

~She saw the strong link–even long after their deaths–between holy souls in Heaven and their descendants here on earth, lasting even centuries.

~She saw that the Garden of Eden, with all it contained, was a perfect picture of the Kingdom of God.

~She revealed that Enoch and Elias are in Paradise where they await their return to the world to preach at the End of Time.

~She revealed that Our Lord suffered from the wound in His shoulder more than from any other.

~She continually saw a false church, and wicked men scheming against the Catholic Church and doing much harm–both in her own time and in the future.

~She saw in a vision the enemies of the Church tearing it down and trying to build a new one on strictly human plans–but none of the saints would lend a hand. Later, this church of men is destroyed and the saints of God join in to rebuild the true Church of God, which becomes more glorious than ever before.

~She saw the revival of the priesthood and the religious orders after a period of great decadence.

~She describes in detail her visions of heaven, which she saw as “the Heavenly Jerusalem.”

Powerful Quotes from Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich:




“The Church is the only one, the Roman Catholic! And if there were left upon earth but one Catholic, he would be the one, universal Church, the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail.”

“Then I had the sweet assurance that Mary is the Church; the Church, our mother; God, our father; and Jesus, our brother.”

“O who can tell the beauty, the purity, the innocence of Mary! She knows everything, and yet she seems to know nothing, so childlike is she. She lowers her eyes and, when she looks up, her glance penetrates like a ray, like a pure beam of light, like truth itself! It is because she is perfectly innocent, full of God, and without returns upon self. None can resist her grace.”

“All over the world I saw numberless infusions of the Spirit; sometimes, like a lightning-stroke, falling on a congregation in church, and I could tell who among them had received the grace; or again, I beheld individuals praying in their homes, suddenly endowed with light and strength. The sight awoke in me great joy and confidence that the Church, amid her ever-increasing tribulations, will not succumb; for in all parts of the world I saw defenders raised up to her by the Holy Ghost. Yes, I felt that the oppression of the powers of this world serves but to increase her strength.”

“There is no created good so lightly esteemed, so carelessly trifled away by an immense majority of human beings as the fugitive moments of this short life so rapidly flying toward eternity.”

“Man’s value before God is estimated by the dispositions of his heart, its uprightness, its good-will, its charity, and not by keenness of intellect or extent of knowledge.”

“If the Church is true, all in her is true; he who admits not the one, believes not the other.”

“I was again told [by Our Lord] that no one has ever seen all that I have seen or in the same way.”

“From the lips of those that pray I see a chain of words issuing like a fiery stream and mounting up to God, and in them I see the disposition of the one who prays, I read everything. The writing is as varied as the individuals themselves.”

“I saw Adam’s bones reposing in a cavern under Mt. Calvary deep down, almost to water level, and in a straight line beneath the spot on which Jesus Christ was crucified.”

“Mass badly celebrated is an enormous evil. Ah! it is not a matter of indifference how it is said! . . . I have had a great vision on the mystery of Holy Mass and I have seen that whatever good has existed since creation is owing to it.”

“Were man and the earth in perfect harmony, there would be paradise here below. Prayer governs the weather . . . I see the life of nature intimately connected with that of the soul.”

“She said what is most painful for me to repeat, that if only one priest offered the Unbloody Sacrifice as worthily and with the same sentiments as the Apostles, he could ward off all calamities from the Church.”

“I can never grieve for a person who dies resignedly, nor for a child suffering patiently; for patient suffering is the most enviable state of man.”

“Now, for all who are not in living union with Jesus Christ by faith and grace, nature is full of Satan’s influence.”

Owing to the spirit of the world and tepidity, if the Savior returned to earth today to announce His doctrine in person, He would find as many opponents as He did among the Jews.”

“Now I saw clearly by this that the dear God looks only at the heart in time of prayer.”

“No grace, no degree of sanctity surpasses in intrinsic dignity and grandeur the sacerdotal [priestly] character.”

“The poor souls suffer inexpressibly.”

“Many stay a long time in purgatory who, although not great sinners, have lived tepidly.”

“The prayer most pleasing to God is that made for others and particularly for the poor souls. Pray for them, if you want your prayers to bring high interest.”


Sr.Magdalena of the Cross~The Nun who made a pact with the devil

Sister Magdalena of the Cross -The devil’s saint for 40 years & her escape from an evil pact through extraordinary repentance.

The renowned Franciscan nun who made a pact with Satan

Sister Magdalena of the Cross (Magdalena de la Cruz) was born in Córdoba (Cordova) in Andalusia, Spain in 1487. Named after the mystic St. Mary Magdalene, the one whom Church tradition remembers as the great “..sinner from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons.” (Mark 16:9), and who was also known for her extraordinary repentance. As for herself, Magdalena of the Cross too would one day become an extraordinary mystic, and later a repentant sinner, doing severe penances for her sins. Not even the great Saint Teresa of Avila would ever have as much prestige across Spain in her lifetime as Sr. Magdalena of the Cross! Her (apparent) outstanding piety and the miracles that she performed were known throughout Spain, and even much of Europe. So much so, that even the Emperor Charles V, the sovereign ruler of the Roman and Spanish Empire asked for a piece of the habit of Magdalena of the Cross to wrap around the future Prince Philip II at his birth, to give his royal son the “assistance of a living saint from birth, to envelop him in Divine grace.” Incidentally, prince Phillip II later became the King of Spain in 1556.

Little Magdalena’s first vision

But for now, little Magdalena is just 5 years old, and she is already known in town for her remarkable devotion, which is out of the ordinary for a girl of her age. Not long after her fifth birthday, she is praying in Church when she hears music of remarkable sweetness. Then a beautiful young man, with thick, black hair appears to her, wearing a mantle so brilliant that she has to close her eyes. Hearing the story, some believe it to be Jesus. News of this event spreads throughout Córdoba, and many want to see little Magdalena.

Sorting out the heavenly apparitions from the demonic ones

The difficulty that we will now have in sorting out Magdalena’s early life story is that as with all the mystics and their mystical graces, there is often the influence and appearence of the demonic along with the heavenly apparitions. Like in the case of the Biblical Job, God allows the devil to tempt and even attack the mystics, to test their faith, love and devotion. This is the case with most every mystic. And with Magdalena, the task of discernement of her obvious mystical gifts and graces is even more difficult in her early years, because there definitely was a period where Magdalena demonstrated authentic piety and deep devotion, with the sincerity and simplicity of a child. But we know that she made a pact with the devil, so there must have been a point where the heavenly apparitions slowed or even ceased altogether, and the diabolic apparitions took over.

But for now, little Magdalena is living a simple life with her family who were poor artisans, and while Magdalena remains of exemplary modesty and conduct, the visions continue, one after another, and as time goes on this attracts the attention of many; so much so that one day she flees her home to take refuge in a nearby cave, where she once again falls into ecstasy. When she awakens, she discovers that she has been miraculously transported back to her bed by her guardian angel.

Miraculous cures

Soon, a person whom she believes to be Jesus appears to her and asks her to somewhat moderate her asceticism, so as not to compromise her fragile childhood health. He informs her that a great destiny awaits her, and that she will need her strength. She flies to the church to thank Jesus and on the way meets a man with a severe limp who asks her to lend him her hand to climb the Church steps. He has hardly climbed a few steps when he stands erect and with great surprise and excitement he dashes through the whole town crying out that he is healed!

Magdalena herself goes into Church then falls into a deep ecstasy. Soon, someone comes in looking for her and realises that she is seeing a vision. Looking closely at her eyes, she sees in the reflection in her eyes the heavens and what seems to be the Holy Trinity surrounded by the Communion of Saints. Soon afterwards, like Jesus after the cure of the blind man, Magdalena is subjected to all sorts of interrogations to discover any subterfuge, none of which can apparently be found. Not long afterwards, a mute person also allegedly receives his speech through her intercession.

Magdalena attempts to crucify herself

In 1497 at the age of ten, Magdalena is already quite beautiful, and in her purity she is very cautious to hide herself under long black dresses and skirts. Even so, she still finds herself too beautiful, and one day for penance she tries to crucify herself on the wall of her bedroom. She starts by nailing her two feet, then her left hand. Blood flows, and she faints from the atrocious pain. Her flesh tears and, falling heavily onto a chest, she breaks two ribs. Her parents call the doctor and he bandages all of her nail wounds, yet she is burning with desire to suffer terribly for the reparation of sins, and she repeatedly takes off the bandages, so as to suffer more. But this soon makes her very ill.

On Easter Saturday, 1497, Magdalena is bedridden and seems to be dying, probaly because of infection from the wounds of her failed crucifixion. At midnight, she lets out a great scream, sits up on her bed, once more rips off her dressings, saying that she is healed. She says that it is Jesus himself, who has just appeared to her and has cured her.

A prolonged fast and her first Holy Communion

Three months before her First Holy Communion, Magdalena seemingly stops eating. The pleadings of her poor parents make no difference; she fasts right up until the Sunday of her first Holy Communion, surprisingly without losing her healthy appearance. On the day of the ceremony, at the precise moment of consecration, she lets out another cry and prostrates herself for a long time. When she exits the church, she explains that the Lord Himself put the Eucharist in her mouth, without her needing to approach the priest.

Wounds seemingly heal overnight and the story of two stubby fingers

At sixteen, Magdalena contunes to astound many with her apparent extraordinary devotion and her remarkable desire to make reparation for sin. Many see her as a living saint- for who else but a saint could do such extraordinary penances? When she whips herself to bleeding point while doing penance, her wounds are miraculously healed the next day to everyones great surprise. She is healthy, and everything about her seems wholesome, except two fingers which have not grown like the others: at sixteen, they are no larger than the size of a child’s pinky. Some say that these two fingers are those that Christ touched one night in her childhood, during an apparition.

Magdalena becomes a Franciscan nun

In 1504, at age 17, Magdalena at last obtains what seems to be the great desire of her life: to become a Franciscan nun- a spiritual daughter of St. Francis and St. Clare. Because of her reputation for holiness, she is joyfully admitted to the Franciscan convent of Saint Elizabeth of the Angels in Cordova (Convento de Santa Isabel de los Ángeles), and she soon edifies and inspires the admiration of many of the nuns.

There are however some “red flags” though. She is seemingly not too discrete about her spiritual life and merits; she inflicts severe mortifications upon herself, carries a heavy cross all around the convent, kisses her companions’ feet, and she seemingly stops eating completely, apparently living only on Holy Communion. All of these facts are cause for some concern, but she does seem very devout and is willing to do even the most menial and unwanted tasks, so her “extravagances” are for the most part downplayed, at least for now.


After a few years as a postulant, in 1509, at age 22, she already has a reputation for sainthood, and because of this it is thought prudent to let her take her vows alone. The event is greatly anticipated and well prepared. All of the nobles seek to obtain a good place in the church and to add even more glory to the great day, the Archbishop himself has his throne covered by a dais of richly embroidered velvet.

At last, the day of the ceremony arrives. Magdalena will now be known as Sister Magdalene of the Cross, in memory of the heroic crucifixion of her youth. The ceremony begins and she comes forward and kneels outside the sanctuary, and waits to hear the Cardinal’s speech. But rather than exhort the novice to the practice of christian virtue and piety, as is usual, he publicly asks her for her prayers and protection in support of himself and the diocese.

The miraculous dove

Afterwards at the Kyrie Eleison, something very remarkable happens: a dove, which seems to descend straight from the high catherdral ceiling, catches the eye of everyone. The dove lands on Magdalena’s shoulder, and seems to speak into her ear. Afterwards it ascends up to a parapet, and remains there as if watching until the end of the ceremony. Afterwards it flies outside of the Church and those who run out to follow it see it rise almost striaght up, and for so long, that the sky finally seems to close over it. The news of these events spread like wildfire across the country and even spills outside its borders.

As the weeks and months progress after her solemn profession, Sr. Magdalene de la Cruz (as she is know known as) soon exhibits extraordinary faculties. Without ever going outside the walls, she seemingly knows many things that happens in Cordoba and elsewhere, particularly in the neighbouring Franciscan convent, and also in the aristocratic and noble homes in Cordoba. As in the past she continues to go into ecstasy often, and if she happens to be out of her cell while doing so, her companions carry her to her cell then withdraw discretely. Sometimes their curiosity gets the better of them and they listen not far away and often hear a gentle muttering of unknown words and also moans of suffering too.

Her fame continues to spreads across Spain and abroad

As can be expected, the gossip around all of these remarkable events swells and continues to spill outside of Spain. Correspondence floods the convent; people from all over petitioning Magdalena of the Cross for her prayers and spiritual help. Generous donations pour in also, and Magdalena’s convent is buzzing like a beehive with activity.

Magdalena’s prophesies

It is at this time that another prodigious mystical gift of Sr. Magdalena appears: she can seemingly predict the future. In 1515, she announces the death of King Ferdinand for the following year, which comes to pass as foretold, and also the regency of Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros over the kingdom of Castile. In sign of gratitude, Cardinal Jiménez has a beautiful vermilion ostensory given to her, which increases the admiration and devotion of her fellow sisters and others even more.

A unexpected and remarkable pregnancy on the day of the Annunciation
On March 25, 1518, the day of the Feast of the Annunciation, Magdalena discreetly tells her Abbess some news which fills the pious woman with great confusion and perplexity–Magdalena states that on the preceding night, that is, the solemn Vigil of the Annunciation, she had conceived the child Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus Magdalene of the Cross, the shining light of the convent of Saint Elizabeth of the Angels, is pregnant.

Forseeing the enormous scandal that such news would inevitably provoke, the Abbess orders Magdalena to keep absolutely quiet about it for now, while she prays for guidence as to how to proceed. As the days pass, the Abbess discretely watches Magdalena and, after a few weeks, she is obliged to bow to the obvious evidence, for Magdalena’s abdomen is noticeably rounding out, and the moment is going to come when they will no longer be able to hide this “work” of the Holy Spirit….or of nature?

The nuns are divided concerning Magdalena’s alleged miraculous pregnancy


The nuns are all informed of the situation, and soon the convent is divided into two camps. On the one side, there are those who doubt the miraculous conception, some perhaps because they feel a hidden envy for Magdalena. Others because it is such a extraordinary thing that has never happened outside of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and there is nothing in Sacred Scripture that would point to such a second birth of Jesus into this world.

At this point most do not yet actually doubt her sainthood, however all these extraordinary things are without a doubt cause for careful discernment. And then there is all the generous donations that have been flowing in in honor of the “living saint”, and the countless individuals who request her intercession and prayers…all of this tends to relegate the other sisters to a lesser position in the convent, and causes them to feel somewhat inadequate in their spirituality and the practice of virtue. Certainly many of them accuse themselves of jealousy to their confessor, and must have harbored some envy towards her. And so to some, for various reasons this supernatural pregnancy appears inconceivable, most importantly because such a miracle is not announced in the Holy Scriptures.

On the other side, there are those, also numerous, who say that God works in mysterious ways, and that the Most High has been pouring all sorts of extraordinary graces on his humble servant for many years. Understandably they cannot fathom how she could have possibly stained her purity; she who is so seemingly devout and pious, and besides she never leaves the convent grounds. To that, the doubters reply that she receives her confessor alone, and also that the bars on the convent fence are so widely spaced as to allow the passage of a much more cumbersome being than the Holy Spirit.

However, a vow of silence is agreed upon by both camps, however some cannot help themselves and soon the extraordinary news is spreading through all of Cordova and abroad. But how does Magdalena respond? She treats all of the news and insinuations with absolute and complete indifference.

Seemingly even more devout in the practice of virtue, she redoubles the severity of her penances, walking barefoot on pieces of broken glass and lashing her back and shoulders with instruments of severe mortification, along with wearing a rough cilice discipline.

The Archbishop orders a medical examination of Sr. Magdalena

Hearing the news, the Archbishop of Seville sends three experienced matron “midwives” to examine Magdalena. Having very carefully examined her, they announce that while it is indeed true that the nun is pregnant, it is also very much a fact that her virginity is completely intact and unquestionable. Prayers of thanksgiving explode in all the churches and throughout the land, and inside the convent the doubters and gossipers are reduced to utter silence and penances for their apparent doubts .

On Christmas Eve, 1518, Magdalena confirms that she will very soon give birth. A little house at the end of the garden is prepared for her, for in a vision her guardian angel recommends that she give birth alone, so as to suffer more without any human assistance. Magdalena remains locked up in the little house for three days, during which time the whole community remains in prayer. The story that Magdalena tells when she comes out is absolutely prodigious.

She relates that during Christmas night, at midnight, she gives birth to a magnificent baby who radiates so much light that she can see as if it were high noon. The cold air of her chamber is suddenly miraculously heated and the divine child doesn’t suffer at all from the cold.

During this time, strangely Magdalena’s hair begins to grow very fast and, from crow black that it was, it changes to the brightest blond, with its long length allowing her to swaddle the infant child in it, and keep him warm in the softest of tunics.

As proof of the miracle, she cuts a few of her blond curls before her hair turns back to normal. The nuns then compete for a few of the miraculous hairs to keep as precious relics.

Continuing with the story of the remarkable birth, Sr. Magdalene de la Cruz states that on the morning after Christmas she found herself alone, the beautiful little child gone, but with her breast chapped from suckling him, along with all of the stigmata of recent delivery still on her body. Soon the matron midwives are sent again to check on the veracity of these facts and to verify that Magdalena’s virginity has not suffered from the event. A solemn ‘Te Deum’ is then sung in the cathedral and donations flow in like never before. But in truth this entire event was orchestrated and perpetrated by the devil, in particular by two demons named Balban and Patorrio, as we will soon discover……

A few people continue to gossip, however, so in an attempt to put a definitive end to the calumnies an exorcist monk arrives at the convent one morning, while the nun is in ecstasy. He approaches her and pushes two long needles in her body, one into her foot, and the other into her hand. The needles penetrate deeply, yet Magdalena remains perfectly insensitive to them, without any reaction whatsoever, which confirms in the minds of many that her ecstasies are authentic. When the needles are are withdrawn, a little stream of blood flows from the wounds.

Her fast from food is subjected to a stringent test

In spite of this proof, Sr. Magdalena is subjected to another test, this time concerning her abstinence from food; a fast which she allegedly has been carrying out for eleven years. For, it was being insinuated that certain novices were secretly bringing her food.

So the Abbess then requests that a vigilant guard of two monks from the nearby Franciscan monastery be positioned at the entrance to Magdalena’s cell with a 24 hour watch; the two monks taking turns with others in a rotating schedule. Additionally, she even orders that the window shutters of the chamber be nailed shut. After a few days, it is discovered that Magdalena has suddenly disappeared. They look for her everywhere, and soon find her in the completely opposite part of the garden, asleep near a fountain. The monks assure the abbess that they have not relaxed their surveillance for an instant. For her part, Sr. Magdalena reveals that it is Saint Francis himself who transported her to this place. Of course nobody is able to give any explanation for this prodigy, and it is concluded that this is but another miracle in the extraordinary life of Sister Magdalena of the Cross.

A Cathederal is built in greater part through the donations given to Sister Magdalena
At this point, Sr. Magdalena now has a greater prestige than the Abbess herself. She is consulted for all the major decisions that need to be taken by the community. Her advice is even sought from outside, by great and small alke, and soon Magdalena and the other nuns who have befriended her are better informed of what is happening in the city than the Archbishop himself.

In 1523, the Archbishop is in need of a new Cathederal, and because of the abundant donations sent to Sr. Magdalena her convent of Saint Elizabeth of the Angels is the richest in Spain, and is able to furnish by far the greatest part of the money needed for its construction. Because of this, Sr. Magdalena is consulted on the new cathedral’s appearance.

Sr. Magdalena de la Cruz is elected Abbess

And so it is that for twenty-nine years Magdalena’s notoriety has grown in proportion to her alleged virtues, and she has led an existence which, although full of sometimes astounding events, has contributed for the most part in a positive way to the convent’s enrichment through her practice of virtue and the apparent signs from heaven which inspire the faithful. Always seemingly pious and disposed to sacrifice, she inspires and fascinates the Spanish high clergy, and many feel that she should have a higher position in the convent more suited to her merits. It is suggested that she should become the Abbess, since as time passes the current Abbess is becoming infirm. In a show of alleged humility, Magdalena protests and she uses her poor administrative abilities as a reason, stating:
“Let them elect Sister Isabella of the Holy Trinity instead.”

However, many of her fellow nuns want her as abbess so much that, on February 17, 1533 Magdalena is elected Abbess, in presence of the Order’s Superior, by forty-four votes as opposed to the seven given to Isabella of the Holy Trinity.

The new abbess Magdalena encourages severe mortifications and penances
With Magdalena now in charge, in the beginning life in the convent hardly changes, except Mother Magdalena seems to have a strong penchant for the practice of severe penances, and she exhorts her religious sisters to do likewise. In doing so, the new Abbess sometimes provokes very difficult scenes.

And so it is that during Confession the sisters, by hypocrisy or fear of too difficult penances, now usually only accuse themselves of small faults. Hearing of this, Mother Magdalena enters into holy wrath which soon causes unspeakable fear into her sisters. She orders them to admit to more severe sins, and the poor nuns become frightened by the severity of the abbess. Some burst into tears, and there are a couple of others who astonishingly go into a sort of semi-possession, rolling on the floor and arching their bodies, before slowly returning back to normal.

To reprimand the more guilty ones for their alleged spiritual weaknesses, the Abbess orders some to crawl on their knees in the refectory and make the sign of the cross with their tongues on the shoes of all the assembled nuns.

Soon, the confessions of the nuns are more to Mother Magdalena’s liking, supposedly revelaing the sisters true state of sin. Penances are now measured to the alleged gravity of the faults, for according to Abbess Magdalena, it is necessary to totally expiate sins, and to succeed in this endeavor the common cord whip disciplines are replaced with iron tipped ones.

As for the manner and the times in which the discipline (ie- scourge or lash/whip) should be applied, the Abbess modernises it. Before, when the occasion came for extreme penance and use of the discipline (ie -scourge or lash/whip), the candles were extinguished, so that no one else could see the nuns who chose to use this form of severe mortification. It was the nuns own choice to do so, and it was done in darkness so that no one might know who is choosing to discipline themselves. This is to preserve the nuns humility.

But from now on, Mother Magdalena orers that the candles are to remain lit, and the nuns are given all the necessary time to openly whip themselves in the performance of bodily mortification and penance, in the full light and prescence of the other nuns. According to her, the sight of the self inflicted penance should be an encouragement for all of them to likewise do the same, or be exposed to the indignation of others, along with provoking interior feelings of inadequacy and spiritual weakness and discouragement amongst many of the nuns. Knowing that Mother Magdalena was being guided by the devil at this time (which we shall soon see), it is assumed that these exraordinary penances were an attempt by the devil to instill spiritual pride in some of the nuns, and discouragement and despair in others

Gone now are the “little penances” consisting of begging food from each table; for according to Mother Magdalena a soul with pride can submit to that easily enough. For acording to her it is severe mortification which is the salt of true penitence. The nuns are now encouraged to remain on their knees on boards garnished with rounded iron nailheads; they are encouraged to wear cilices or belts with small iron spikes pointing inwards and are encouraged to stretched out in doorways so that the others nuns can walk upon them and some wear a crown made of thorns. Yet these extreme severities seemingly do not harm the outward devotion of most of the community to their new Abbess. She is twice re-elected with the majority of the votes. No one dares, it seems, to question her authority and power within the community.

Mother Magdalena relaxes other rules of the Order

Yet, surprsingly, the abbess Magdalena of the Cross relaxes some long-standing rules of the Order that have exsisted for centuries. This of course causes concern first and foremost amongst the other Franciscan communities in her order, and also with the Archbishop and the priests within the local Church itself. Yet, as in the past, her reputation for holiness goes before her, and she is allowed to relax many rules of the Order within her own convent.

St Francis allegedly appears to her, and dispenses her from Confession

Not only does Magdalena on the one hand encourage severe penances and mortifications, and on the other hand she relaxes some of the rules of the Order, but now apparently because of her “saintliness” Saint Francis, the founder of her Order allegedly appears to her one night and dispenses her from having to go to Confession in the future.

And for the confessions of her fellow nuns, she explains that it is an insult to them to be separated from their confessor by a grille. In her opinion, they are to sit face to face with the confessor. This causes quite a stir amongst not only the sisters, but also with the priests themselves, as such a practice is unheard of throughout Catholic Spain at that time.

Additionally, Mother Magdalena of the Cross authorises the sisters to no longer fast on Fridays “so as to be able to support even greater mortifications”. It is the belief of many of her fellow sisters that this great reform of the Franciscan Order that she is undertaking will bring new prosperity to the convent, and to the Order itself. It is no wonder then that within a couple of decades the great Spanish reformer and mystic, the Carmelite St. Teresa of Avilia would face such heavy opposition to the reforms that she was endeavoring to instill within the Carmelite Order in Spain only a few short years later.

Soon afterwards, Mother Magdalena states that on the previous evening, a dead woman, (presumably a soul from purgatory?) had come to confess to her. She immediately wants the young nuns and novices to confess to her at night in her cell. This most recent innovation of course causes even more murmurs and doubts, particularly from Isabella of the Holy Trinity who still hasn’t forgotten being beaten by Magdalena in the 1533 elections, and on whom Magdalena (as Abbess) has inflicted the severest humiliations upon ever since.

Mother Magdalena receives the admiration of many top dignitaries

Yet, amidst these troubling new reforms and directives from Mother Magdalena, the admiration that she receives from the greats of her time seem to easily blunt any criticisms– for Queen Isabella of Spain herself sends Mother Magdalena her portrait and beseeches Magdalena for her prayers, and also the Archbishop of Seville often writes to her, and in his letters he calls her “the happiest creature in the world”, presumably because of all the alleged heavenly graces that she supposedly receives.

The noblest ladies, while pregnant and nearing their deliveries would send the layette to be blessed by her, as did the Empress Isabel before the birth of Philip II. When, in 1535, the Emperor Charles V was starting from Barcelona for the expedition to Tunis, he sent his banner to C6rdova that she might bestow on it her blessing. Cardinal Manrique, the inquisitor-general, and Giovanni di Reggio, the papal nuncio, made pilgrimages to visit her, and it is said that even the pope sent to ask her prayers for the Christian Republic, although it should be said that this was often a common practice of the time for prioresses such as Mother Magdalena who were considered devout, for since they were in charge of their respective convents, the pope and the high prelates would often request their prayers in union with the sisters in their convents, for the benefit of the Church or their local dioceses.

The doubts about Mother Magdalena begin to mount

And so it is that the revelations and prodigies that direct and guide Mother Magdalena seem to cause her to make decisions that are more and more contestable and disconcerting. And now once again she reveals more troubling revelations one morning:

“The Holy Virgin has appeared to me and led me about the corridors last night. She smiled at you, Sister” and then gazing at one of those who had been opposing her “but she only gave a long look of scorn to you.”

Understandably, these revelations strongly displease those who are the victims. Their protestations join those of the families who, outside, see their daughters refused entrance into the convent, because for example one of their ancestors were perhaps Jewish. Mother Magdalena of course receives her information from the Holy Virgin Herself, but in the families, indignation and anger provoke the growing attitude of doubt concerning the supposed heavenly guidance recieved by the abbess.

The 1542 elections bring a surprising result

During the next elections for abbess, Mother Magdalena receives only a handful of votes, and Isabella of the Holy Trinity is elected by a large margin. In reparation (and perhaps some retaliation for her own humiliations?) that same evening, she obliges Magdalena to make as many signs of the cross on the floor with her tongue as there are tiles in the refectory.

In the middle of this, Magdalena the former Abbess falls into ecstasy. Always when this would happen in the past, the sisters would carry her to her cell. Now, she is left where she is in the refectory for a good part of the night. After the “ecstasy” she finally returns to her cell on her own.

With doubts continuing to mount, Magdalena is again suspected of receiving food clandestinely, as she is still said to be fasting on a daily basis for over thirty years now.

Add to this, one day, a little iron box containing Communion wafers is brought to the Abbess. This box, found under Magdalena’s bed, seems to prove that the miracle of spontaneous Communion, repeated many times in the past, has been just a trick.

A demonic presence is detected

In 1543, she falls gravely ill. This seems a good occasion for the Abbess to oblige her to make a general confession of her entire life. But at the moment when the confessor puts his stole on in preparation for her confession, Magdalena immediately goes into convulsions. The priest suspects a demonic prescence, so he sends for a doctor whom he knows to be also well versed in the spiritual life. He examines Magdalena and notices that during one of her ecstasies, Magdalena’s eyes do not remained fixed, which is one of the distinctive marks of real ecstasies. However, he stabs her with a needle and obtains no reaction. But when he wisely dips the needle in holy water, Magdalena lets out a moan. This immediately draws suspicion and concern that Sr. Magdalena may be infested or even possessed by a demon.

As time progrsses, Magdalena’s illness continues to get worse. Seemingly out of character, she is now worried, and often asks the doctor to keep her informed on the evolution of her illness. One December day, she hears:

“You are dying. You will not see another Christmas.”

Greatly anguished, Magdalena suddenly twists on her bed and then rises up and lets out mysterious words:

“1544!…The forty years as announced!; I am a cursed dog! Take me to Hell!”

Then she falls back into her bed and begins uttering revolting blasphemies before suddenly being taken from her bed by an inisible force and held in mid-air. She then falls heavily onto the bed several times, but apparently without hurting herself.

After some reflection, the Abbess decides to have a very old and experienced priest, Rev. Don Juan of Cordova called in, and she asks him to examine, and if need be exorcise Magdalena immediately. Not long after visiting Magdalena the old man looks at her and orders:

“I order you in the Name of Jesus to leave this poor woman and dare to say your name!”

The demon first lets out a terrible cry in which the name “Balban” is recognised. Later during exorcisms it was discovered that another demon named “Patorrio” was also influencing her. The demonic laughing intensifies and the words uttered are horrible. The demon glories in all the disorder that he has been able to cause over so many years in the convent, and swears that he will return…

Thus the Rev. Don Juan of Cordova is able to establish at least a solid case of demonic infestation, and perhaps even possession, and the news spreads first among the nuns, and soon afterwards amongst the clergy and townsppeople of Cordova, and later throughout the whole of Spain. The following day however, the Provincial of the Franciscans goes in person to the dying nun’s bedside. He remains there for several hours and receives a complete confession, of which he says nothing.

Yet all those who meet him afterwards notice that he is carrying a very heavy burden, a frightful secret; a nightmare which has been a whole lifetime; the lifetime of the “saint” Magdalena of the Cross, the diabolic Abbess of Cordova.

Sister Magdalena of the Cross admits to a 40 year pact with the devil


Next, an Inquisitor is sent to investigate the thorny matter by the express order of Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera, the Primate of Spain. He is much younger than the Rev. Don Juan of Cordova and he inspires her with confidence. She reveals to him that the beautiful dark-haired young man who appeared to her at the age of five was in fact the devil. He had promised her fame and the respect of everyone, if she would consent to obey him always.

It is also satan who leaves his mark by touching her two fingers which from then forward stop growing. And it is also he who teaches her the subterfuge of the wafers, and he assists her with the simulation of ecstasies. Her cries in the night are in no way inspired by the ecstatic love that she has for the Creator, but by the demon’s evil caresses.

Upon hearing such disconcerting admissions, the Inquisitor is horrified and almost instictively he makes the sign of the Cross upon himself. Immediately, Sr. Magdalena starts to insult the priest with vile and abhorrent words. She then begins to roll around the floor in her cell, and bites anything she can, while striking indecent poses and mimicking the vile copulations that she has performed with Balban for nearly forty years.

Because he is an experienced Inquisitor, the good monk had asked the older, more experienced nuns to stay in the corridor to write down the fallen Magdalena’s words, so as to be able to document and later serve as witnesses. From here, Sr. Magdalena de la Cruz’ case is well documented and quickly prepared.

The Exorcisms of Sister Magdalena begin

During the extended course of interrogations that were part of the ongoing exorcism during which Balban is very reluctantly dislodged from Magdalena, it is discovered that the most wicked and hideous means were used to undermine Magdalena’s soul as a child. It was believed that he originally chose her because she was in fact very pious and devoted to God, and so in his terrible wickedness he earnestly sought to despoil God of one of His favorites. But, we shall soon see how God wins triumphantly in the end.

During the ongoing exorcisms it is learned that when Magdalena became a young adult, the demon Balban ceased to appear to her as a beautiful young man, as he had been doing since she was age five. One night, when the young girl was waiting for him as usual, he presented himself to her in the form of a schimmering mist which condenses and takes the form of a very tall man with long hair, who radiates a reddish light.

She cries out “Jesus”, but this, of course, greatly displeases Balban, who lifts her with his burning hand and drops her on the ground. She is then forced to contemplate this horrid creature who now rises before her in a horrible metamorphisis, from a man into a vile beast.

The infernal creature is repulsive and the possessed nun describes in horror his wide, flat nose, his twisted horns and his toothless mouth. He commanded her to immediately become his wife, and he assures her that she will not lose her virginity, and he promises that her apparent sainthood would only grow in measure with the supposed unimaginable pleasures that she would enjoy with him. Lacking in spiritual fortitude; vanquished, Magdalena then gives in, and it is again the dark-haired, and very attractive young man that she now receives in her.

Next she confesses that it was also the devil who came to feed her in secret, and that she had really been pregnant by him. She had been told by him that she risked nothing if she followed his instructions. It was to play a joke by troubling the minds of the nuns and the Spanish clergy and laity that he had made her pregnant with an montorous caterpillar, which escaped from her body with a loud wind that famous Christmas night, before changing into Balban, and re-possessing her with unprecedented vigor.

A few holy and well known individuals were not fooled

And so it is that the whole of Christendom discovers with horror that she of whom most everyone thought was God’s most-beloved, was in fact the most-beloved creature of the devil. Yet some of Sr. Magdalena’s contemporaries were not so easily fooled by her false mysticism, like the great St Ignatius Loyola who was incredulous and in 1541, it is said that he severely reproved Martin de la Santa Cruz, who endeavored to win him over towards Sr. Magdalena, for accepting exterior signs without seeking for the true interior ones; and the great St John of Avila (who is soon to be declared a Doctor of the Church) was also very sceptical and, when he was in Cordova, he was discreetly denied access to her.
Sr. Magdalena of the Cross becomes like her namesake, St. Mary Magdalene and deeply repents of the demons that were possessing her
As the Scriptures relate, Jesus had cast out seven horrible demons that were possessing St. Mary Magdalene,(Mark 16:9) and she became known as the great, repentant sinner. Tradition tells us that she spent the rest of her life in a cave making penance and reparation for her manifold sins, and she became a most extraordinary Saint. In fact, Jesus chose St Mary Magdalene to be one of the first witnesses to His glorious Resurrection, as Holy Scripture tells us.

The judgement of the Religious Tribunal

As for the once renowned Sr. Magdelena de la Cruz, now fully exorcised and free of the demons Balban and Patorrio who are forced to reveal that they are leaving forever the body and soul of the possessed woman, she is then judged by the religious tribunal on May 3, 1546.

The Grand Inquisitor of the religious tribunal is Cardinal Jimenez, now the Primate of Spain, appointed by Isabella of Castile herself, and it is because of this that Magdalena is transferred to the Alcazar prisons to be further interrogated.

The demons Balban and Patorrio receive the majority of the blame

Sr. Magdalena is now sixty-one years old and she is extraordinarily repentant for all that she has done and she begs the court to put a rapid end to her torments and deliver her to the purifying flames. The judges however decide otherwise. Because of her great age, her sincere confessions and the quality of her repentance her deserved sentence is greatly mitigated. And rightfully so, they consider her to be a pitiful victim of the demon and perhaps they remember well the days of her glory when they too had exalted in having what was belived to be such an extraordinary saint in their midst. And so the inquisitors place a large portion of the blame on the demons Balban and Patorrio, most especially Balban, and not so much on Magdalena herself, since she was just an inexperienced youth when the demon(s) began influencing her. In short, they feel that as a youth Magdalena was heavily intimidated by the demon, so they conclude that her culpability is greatly lessened because of her age at the time.

The Catholic church relies on the principle that divine works are eternal and infinite. Those of the demon, on the other hand, are always limited in time and space. If Magdalena confesses, it is because, in 1544, her pact with the devil has arrived at its end. It is fear of Hell, as she says herself, which precipitates her revelations. And it is also God who in His infinite love and mercy inspires all of her admissions, and inspires and guides her deep repentance. And it is God who assures her that she will live if she confesses. She would become even more a heroine in repentance than she was in false virtue and fame.

So the judges decide that Sr. Magdalena is to be led to the scaffold with a gag in her mouth, a Spartan cord around her neck, and a candle in her hand. She is to remain exposed there for all to see for the time period of a High Mass, and that she should then abjure her manifold errors. For three months, she must keep her face exposed and cannot wear the black veil, and she must always walk last in all of the movements of convent life.

She abjures and repents in tears, in front of the Cathedral that she had had raised thanks to her deceptions in union with the demons Balban and Patorrio. She is also ordered to go to a different Franciscan convent in Burgos, where she lives long years or repentance and expiation without ever falling again into the slightest error.

At a young age, Magdalena succumed to a great pride and a false demonic promise that offered her prestige and power. But the great and small of her time were all later sure that her final deep humility and repentance had made her quite worthy of Paradise. Sister Magdalena de la Cruz died in 1560 at the age of 74.

Today, the name of this Sister Magdalena of the Cross is all but forgotten and her remarkable story is practically unknown. However, the great lawyer and writer, Maurice Garcon, for whom Magdalena is an important historical figure, documents how she was in fact very well-known throughout Christendom in the 16th and 17th centuries, and how many of the theological and demonological treatises make precise and detailed references to her case. In fact during this time period the many facts presented in theological books concerning demonic influences are illustrated by the statements and documents drawn from her trial.

And it is from the transcript of her trial that Maitre Maurice Garcon drew up his remarkable book on her life, using the transcript from her trial. Louis Pauwels used Maitre Garcon’s book (among other references) for his resume of Sr Magdalena’s life.

According to him there are only two copies of this very precious manuscript in the world, one in London and the other in Paris.

The important lessons learned through the extraordinary case of Magdalena of the Cross
Magdalena had arrived so high in her reputation for sainthood that she had been the counseller of kings, emperors, and above all, of the great Church dignitaries. Yet the trial’s conclusions about this are very interesting. The outcome of the long and detailed trial by the judges concludes that in the end the only real dupe in this affair is the devil, himself. His subterfuges have turned against him: by intimidating and perverting Magdalena, he has in the end only reinforced the faith of the people, and she who had been submissive to him for so long, gloriously escapes from his wicked rule in the end, through the power and mercy of God. And Truth overcomes the devils lies and the deceptions that he inspires through his demons.

For those who study the lives of visionaries and the mystics of the Church, Magdalena’s extraordinary yet fraudulent mystical life replete with numerous alleged supernatural and mystical gifts that almost perfectly mimic the ones given to authentic mystics should serve as a very grave warning of how the devil can ape and mimic God’s works, and can be exceedingly convincing while doing so. For as we see in the case of Sr. Magdalena, he was able to decieve even Cardinals, priests, theologians and others who were very experienced in the mystical life and spiritual matters.

The root cause of the ongoing deception: The necessity of spiritual direction and obedience

The important missing element which allowed for the ongoing demonic deceptions in the life of Sr. Magdalena was the absence of a priest spiritual director to guide and discern her alleged mystical gifts and supernatural graces. Obedience is the “litmus test” of the Church, and it seems that Sr. Magdalena was never subjected to obedience to a spiritual director. Had she been, the demonic deceptions would certainly have been detected much sooner. Mystics and visionaries should always be guided by a priest spiritual director, and it should always be the priest who directs the mystic, and NOT the mystic who directs the priest. A priest spiritual director represents Christ and His authority within the Church, and therefore mystical and supernatural graces should be subjected to this authority to help discern their authenticity.

For sure another one of the spiritual lessons is that all that glitters is not necessarily gold, and the devil does not counterfeit tin or copper, or even silver—he seeks to counterfeit gold. So we need to be very careful, with the help of God, not to be misled by his phony deceptions.

-May Jesus inspire, guide and protect us, and may the Blessed Virgin Mary cover us under Her mantle. St Michael the archangel, defend us in this battle.

Source:mysticsofthechurch.com

The End Times according to the prophesies of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

~Revelation from Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich concerning the End Times~
March 22, 1820
“I saw very clearly the errors the aberrations an the countless sins of men. I saw the folly and the wickedness of their actions, against all truth and all reason. Priests were among them, and I gladly endured my suffering so that they may return to a better mind.”
 April 12, 1820
“I had another vision of the great tribulation. It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy which could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping. But others, and the lukewarm among them, readily did what was demanded. It was as if people were splitting into two camps…”
May 13, 1820
“I saw also the relationship between the two popes. . . 
I saw how baleful (harmful) would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness…”
“Then the vision seemed to extend on every side. Whole Catholic communities were being oppressed, harassed, confined, and deprived of their freedom. I saw many churches closed down, great miseries everywhere, wars and bloodshed. A wild and ignorant mob took violent action. But it did not last long…”
“Once more I saw that the Church of Peter was undermined by a plan evolved by the secret sect [Freemasons], while storms were damaging it. But I saw also that help was coming when distress had reached its peak. I saw again the Blessed Virgin ascend on the Church and spread her mantle [over it].”
July, 1820
“I saw the Holy Father surrounded by traitors and in great distress about the Church. He had visions and apparitions in his hour of greatest need. I saw many good pious Bishops; but they were weak and wavering, their cowardice often got the upper hand…Then I saw darkness spreading around and people no longer seeking the true Church.”  
“Then I saw an apparition of the Mother of God, and she said that the tribulation would be very great. She added that people must pray fervently with outstretched arms, be it only long enough to say three Our Fathers. This was the way her Son prayed for them on the Cross. They must rise at twelve at night, and pray in this manner; and they must keep coming to the Church. They must pray above all for the Church of Darkness to leave Rome…”
“She (the Holy Mother) said a great many others things that it pains me to relate: she said that if only one priest could offer the bloodless sacrifice as worthily and with the same disposition as the Apostles, he could avert all the disasters (that are to come). To my knowledge the people in the Church did not see the apparition, but they must have been stirred by something supernatural, because as soon as the Holy Virgin had said that they must pray God with outstretched arms, they all raised their arms. These were all good and devout people, and they did not know where help and guidance should be sought. There were no traitors and enemies among them, yet they were afraid of one another. Once can judge thereby what the situation was like.”
1820-1821
“I also saw the various regions of the earth. My Guide (Jesus) named Europe and pointing to a small and sandy region, He uttered these words: ‘Here is Prussia (East Germany), the enemy.’ Then He showed me another place, to the north, and He said: ‘This is Moskva, the land of Moscow, bringing many evils’.”  
“I see many excommunicated ecclesiastics who do not seem to be concerned about it, nor even aware of it. Yet, they are (ipso factor) excommunicated whenever they cooperated to [sic] enterprises, enter into associations, and embrace opinions on which an anathema has been cast[i.e. become Freemasons]. It can be seen thereby that God ratifies the decrees, orders, and interdictions issued by the Head of the Church, and that He keeps them in force even though men show no concern for them, reject them, or laugh them to scorn.”
April 22, 1823
“I saw that many pastors allowed themselves to be taken up with ideas that were dangerous to the Church. They were building a great, strange, and extravagant Church. Everyone was to be admitted in it in order to be united and have equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics sects of every description. Such was to be the new Church…But God had other designs…” 
“I see that when the Second Coming of Christ approaches, a bad priest will do much harm to the Church. When the time of the reign of Antichrist is near, a false religion will appear which will be opposed to the unity of God and His Church. This will cause the greatest schism the world has ever known. The nearer the time of the end, the more the darkness of Satan will spread on earth, the greater will be the number of the children of corruption, and the number of the just will correspondingly diminish…”  
“They built a large, singular, extravagant church which was to embrace all creeds with equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, and all denominations, a true communion of the unholy with one shepherd and one flock. There was to be a Pope, a salaried Pope, without possessions. All was made ready, many things finished; but, in place of an altar, were only abomination and desolation. Such was the new church to be, and it was for it that he had set fire to the old one; but God designed otherwise….”
“I came to the Church of Peter and Paul (Rome) and saw a dark world of distress, confusion, and corruption, through which shone countless graces from thousands of saints who there repose…”  
“I saw the fatal consequences of this counterfeit church: I saw it increase; I saw heretics of all kinds flocking to the city. I saw the ever-increasing tepidity of the clergy, the circle of darkness ever widening…”
“Again I saw in the midst of these disasters the twelve new Apostles laboring in different countries, unknown to one another, each receiving streams of living water from on high They all did the same work. They know not whence they received their tasks; but as soon as one was finished, another was ready for them…”  
“The Jews shall return to Palestine, and become Christians toward the end of the world.”
October 22, 1822
“Very bad times will come when non-Catholics will lead many people astray. A great confusion will result. I saw the battle also. The enemies were far more numerous, but the small army of the faithful cut down whole rows of enemy soldiers. During the battle, the Blessed Virgin stood on a hill, wearing a suit armor. It was a terrible war. At the end, only a few fighters for the just cause survived, but the victory was theirs…”