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Apparitions of Mother Mary

Apparitions of Mother Mary

Why has Mary appeared in the last 50 years more frequently than in the last 2000 years?

While the Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared to individuals and groups since 40 A.D., now we are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number, frequency and scope of these events.

Mary as the archetypal Mother of God, Mother of All, seems anxious to deliver a plea for prayer that contains a message for all mankind, not just for Christians and Catholics.

Where Have Apparitions of Mother Mary Been Seen?

Our Lady of the Pillar – Saragossa, Spain (ca. 40 AD)

It is said that the Blessed Mother appeared to the apostle, James, while travelling in Saragossa, Spain. Discouraged by the apparent failure of his mission, he was deep in prayer when the Blessed Mother appeared to him. She gave him a small wooden statue of herself and a column of jasper wood and instructed him to build a church in her honor: Some time after the apparition James arranged to build a small chapel in Mary’s honor, the first Church ever dedicated to the honor of the Virgin Mary.

Our Lady of the Rosary – Prouille, France (1208)

In 1208 Mary appeared to Domingo de Guzman, a Spanish preacher who was travelling through France speaking against a rapidly growing heresy. While he was praying at a chapel in Prouille, Mary gave him the Rosary. She is said to have urged him to preach that praying the Rosary could counteract and eliminate heresy and sin. While the facts behind this story may be questionable, Domingo (Dominic) founded an order of friars, the Dominicans, who established monasteries around the world and who still promote praying the Rosary.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel – Aylesford, England (1251)

During Mary’s appearance to Simon Stock, a member of the religous order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, she entrusted him with the brown scapular (a traditional scapular is made of two pieces of brown woolen cloth, usually embroidered with an outline of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, tied together by string and worn over the shoulders) : “My beloved son receive this scapular for your Order. It is the special sign of a privilege which I have obtained for you and for all God’s children who honor me as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Those who die devotedly clothed with this scapular shall be preserved from eternal fire. The brown scapular is a badge of salvation. The brown scapular is a shield in time of danger. The brown scapular is a pledge of peace and special protection, until the end of time.” The brown scapular was considered to be one of the most widely used religious symbols of personal dedication to the mission of Mary.

The Black Madonna – Czestochowa, Poland (1382)

The Lady of Czestochowa, the Black Madonna, became the symbol of Polish national unity because of the number of times her portrait seemed to be instrumental in protecting the land surrounding it from invaders. As a result of her apparent intervention, The King of Poland placed the country under the protection of the Blessed Mother. This protection appears to have continued even until recent times. In 1920, it is said that when the Russian army was seen massing on the banks of the Vistula, threatening Warsaw, an image of the Virgin was seen in the clouds over the city causing the superstitious Russian troops to withdraw. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of healings among the pilgrims to the portrait of the Black Madonna.

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Guadalupe, Mexico (1531)

Mary is said to have appeared to one of the converts in the New World, Juan Diego, a poor Aztec. On the way to chapel one evening, he came upon a beautiful woman surrounded by a light as bright as the sun. Speaking in his native tongue, she asked for a church and sent him to speak with the Bishop. It took many encounters between Mary and Juan and Juan and the Bishop before Mary arranged the miracle of the roses and impressed her image on the inside of Juan’s tilma. The Bishop was immediately convinced that a church dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe must be built. Within six years of this apparition, six million Aztecs had converted to Catholicism. The tilma shows Mary pregnant with her Divine Son. In 1921, a bomb was planted on an altar under it. There was also a cast-iron cross next to the tilma and when the bomb exploded, the cross was twisted out of shape, the marble altar rail was heavily damaged yet the tilma was unharmed! In fact, no one was injured despite extensive damage to the altar structure.

Our Lady of Lavang – La’Vang, Vietnam (1798)

The Lady of Lavang came to the people of Vietnam in the midst of great suffering . In 1798, when Vietnamese Catholics were being persecuted Our Blessed Mother is said to have appeared to a group who had gathered in the Lavang forest to pray the rosary. There they were visited by an apparition of a beautiful Lady in a long cape, holding a child in her arms, with two angels at her sides. She comforted them instructed them on the boiling of leaves from nearby trees to use as medicine. She told them that from that time on, all those who prayed in this place, would be heard and answered. The Blessed Mother continued to appear in this same place during nearly one hundred years of religious persecution.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – Paris, France (1830)

In 1830, Mary appeared to Catherine Laboure, a 24 year old novice of the Sisters of Charity. She warned of dire times ahead for France and entrusted Catherine with an image of what has become known as the Miraculous Medal, charging her also with the responsibility of having it made and spreading the word that it should be worn. During the apparition an oval shape formed around the Blessed Virgin, and on it were written these words in gold: `O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.’ Upon seeing this vision, Catherine heard a voice say: “Have a medal struck after this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces; abundant graces will be given to those who have confidence.” At this point, the oval seemed to turn and Catherine saw the reverse of the medal: the letter M surmounted by a cross, and below it two hearts, one crowned with a crown of thorns, and the other pierced by a sword. Soon after Catherine fulfilled her commitment, there were a flood of reported cures and spiritual conversions attributed to the medal; so much so that it came to be called the Miraculous Medal. To this day Miraculous Medals are being worn by devout Catholics all over the world.

Our Lady of Lourdes – Lourdes, France (1858)

In a small grotto in France, Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a very poor fourteen year old girl. Together, they prayed the Rosary and then the Lady slowly withdrew into the grotto and disappeared. Over a six month period, Mary appeared eighteen times. In her visits, Mary told Bernadette to dig a hole in the ground and then to drink and bathe in the spring whose waters, Mary promised, would bring healing. Now a clinic supports the millions of pilgrims who come to Lourdes to this day.

Our Lady of Knock – Knock, Ireland (1879)

In August of 1879 two young girls and thirteen others saw Mary appear as a beautiful woman, clothed in white garments, wearing a large brilliant crown. Her hands were raised in prayer. All who saw her immediately understood this image to be Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Queen of the Angels. On her right stood St.Joseph and on her left stood St. John the Evangelist, dressed as a bishop. To the left of St. John was an altar on which was a lamb and a cross surrounded by angels. All of this was seen on the church wall in a cloud of light. Others not present reported seeing a very bright light illuminating the area around the church.

Fatima, Portugal, 1917

In the summer of 1917, began a series of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three peasant children in a field called the Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a small village in central Portugal. Our Lady conveyed to the children messages from Heaven of vital importance, indeed an Apocalyptic urgent message not only to the Catholic Church but to the entire world!

Zeitun, Egypt, 1968

Mary’s appearances as the Mother of God at Zeitun were seen by more than a million people when the apparitions were broadcast by Egyptian TV, photographed by hundreds of professional photographers and personally witnessed by Egyptian President Abdul Nasser. The apparitions lasted for three years with numerous unaccountable healings recorded by various medical professionals. Yet very few outside of Egypt learned of her astonishing appearances there until well after they had ended. More recently, the appearance of a woman clothed in light has been observed above the roof of the Church of St. Damian in Shoubra, Egypt, a suburb of Cairo. Starting in 1983 and seen with increasing frequency in the mid-1980’s, the woman was seen by thousands walking above the church bathed in light in apparitions lasting up to five hours.

Akita, Japan, 1969

In 1969, an angelic being appeared to Sister Agnes Sasagawa while she was praying the Rosary and asked her to say one of same prayers given at Fatima some than sixty years earlier. At the end of each decade of the Rosary the apparition requested the little nun to say: “O My Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need.” In 1973, while praying about the mysterious bleeding Sister Agnes was experiencing from her hands, there began a series of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. Mary repeatedly requested prayer, sacrifice and abandonment to God. Mary’s voice was perceived as coming from a wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin that was in the chapel. During the apparitions, the statue appeared to be in a brilliant light. In the last Marian apparition at Akita, the Virgin Mary predicted conflicts in the Church and a serious moral breakdown. Almost from the first, the wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin appeared to cry, tears dropped from the eyes. This was reported some one hundred and one times, once before a Japanese TV crew. In Akita, Mary became known as the Lady of Sorrows. In one of her apparitions, she said that her tears are shed today, “Because so many souls are lost!”

Betania, 1976

In 1976, began a series of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Betania. By 1984, Mary explained her appearances at Betania in this message: “I come to reconcile them, to seek them out, to give them faith, which has disappeared in the noise and din of an atomic awakening which is at the point of bursting out. My message is of faith, love and hope. The visits in Betania contained a number of warning, and again her continued plea for prayers.

Garabandal, 1961

Events of 1961 at Garabandal have been questioned by the Church, yet there is sufficient substance to these stories that many consider the apparitions to have been real. That year, four young Spanish reported a series of visions of St. Michael the Archangel and the Blessed Virgin. In some 2000 apparitions over five year s, the girls said that the Blessed Virgin asked them to plead with humanity to return to God through prayer, fasting, frequent confession and reception of the Eucharist and acts of mercy. Apparently, Mary gave the girls four predictions: A world-wide warning to be experienced by everyone on earth. Its purpose will be to call humanity to amend its behavior and return to God. A great miracle that will occur in the late winter or early spring within one year after the warning. A permanent “sign” that will remain for all time at Garabandal and other selected locations where Mary has appeared. A terrible chastisement during which many will die. Other prophecies indicate that the chastisement will eliminate up to 2/3 of humanity. The chastisement is conditioned upon the response of humanity to the warning and the miracle.

Medjugorje, 1981

The warnings said to have been given at Garabandal came into focus in Yugoslavia in 1981 when six young people reported encountering Mary near the top of a small mountain. There began a series of apparitions that still continues, although with much less frequency. Through the many apparitions at Medjugorje, it is said that Mary pleads with the world to return to Christ; to notice how Satan plays in the modern world and to protect ourselves against Satan’s work. At Medjugorje, Mary asks for frequent, fervent prayer to Jesus, and also, for twice weekly fasting, frequent partaking in the sacraments -particularly the Eucharist – and surrendering to the will of God. Mary is said to have transmitted ten secrets at Medjugorje which appear to be a continuation of the Fatima Secrets and are similar in general character to the secrets described at Garabandal. Overall, Mary’s message at Medjugorje is of peace and acceptance – acceptance of the will of God, acceptance of whatever suffering that may come as humanity moves closer to a self-induced catastrophe, acceptance of Mary’s role as our loving Mother, and acceptance of God’s desire for us to renew our faith in Him through prayer, conversion, fasting and love.


In the last decades, there have been numerous other reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, and the events of Sept 11, 2001 certainly seem to underline the sense of warning and the need for prayer that comes with each appearance. Mary is reaching out, in a big way… with purpose.

Perhaps the more interesting story of these appearances has never been reported. Our research indicates that at this time in our history, individuals everywhere are encountering private visions of the Blessed Mother. Mary is appearing to one and all, sometimes in our dreams, sometimes during our prayers, sometimes while we’re just driving along… it seems that Mary is particularly active at this time, reaching out as never before, doing what she can to awaken us and alert us to the urgency of these times, and the need to pray.

Have you said your Rosary lately?

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