Marian apparitions are supernatural appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary with messages for the World. Marian apparitions had led to conversions to Catholicism, a spread of devotions to Mary and Worldwide trips by millions of Pilgrims to holy sites.
1. OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE. (1531 A.D. Mexico City, Mexico)
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to a Native American man, St Juan Diego in December 1531. She requested that an Altar be built at the spot of her apparition on the outskirts of Mexico. Willing to obey, Juan Diego went to the local Bishop. Meanwhile the Bishop didn’t believe him and requested for a sign to know if the apparition was real.
Upon his return, Mary told Juan Diego to gather the flowers at the top of the hill and take them to the Bishop. He did as instructed by our Lady. Returning to the Bishop, he released the flowers to the floor, revealing a beautiful image of Mary impressed upon his tilma.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is both the patroness of Mexico and all of the Americas. Her intercession continues to power the Catholic faith in Latin America and beyond. Before a crowd of twelve million, St John Paul II canonized Juan Diego as a Saint in 2002.
2. OUR LADY OF LAUS. (1664-1718 A.D. Laus, France)
Our Lady of Laus first appeared to a poor, uneducated shepherdess named Benoite Rencurel in May 1664. For the next four months this mysterious Lady educated Benoite about Catholicism, strengthening her spiritual life.
Finally, on August 29th, the Lady revealed her identity: “MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD”. After an absence for a month, Mary appeared to her once more. She asked Benoite to go to the neighbouring village of Laus to find a chapel with a sweet odour. After she found the chapel at Bon-Rencontre in Laus the next day, Mary appeared on the altar asking that a church be built there for the conversion of sinners.
Between 1666 and 1669, the new church was built on top of the chapel. From 1665 onwards, tens of thousands of Pilgrims flocked to Laus. The new altar led to numerous healings and conversions. Mary continued to appear to Benoite for the next 54 years.
In addition, she saw angels, saints and even visions of Jesus crucified on the cross. She was declared venerable in 2009 by pope Benedict XVI, a step towards canonized sainthood. The apparitions were approved by the Catholic Church in 2008.
3. OUR LADY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. (1830 A.D. Rue de Bac, Paris, France)
On the night of July 18th 1830, Sister Catherine Laboure lying on her bed heard a voice of a child saying “COME TO THE CHAPEL, THE BLESSED VIRGIN AWAITS YOU”. Heading to the convent’s chapel, she sat down and waited anxiously. Suddenly Mary appeared and said to her “MY CHILD, THE GOOD GOD WISHES TO CHARGE YOU WITH A MISSION.”
She explained to Catherine that Catherine would be tormented and contradicted. Evil and sorrows would overcome France, with the whole world being overcome by miseries. But, there was still hope.
Forty years later, her prediction would come true with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War leaving France destroyed.
Four months later, the Blessed Virgin returned in the image of a Miraculous Medal. Mary began to explain the meaning. Standing in an oval frame, she wore rings of different colors, shining rays that represent her graces for those who ask. The frame revealed a phrase in French: “O MARY, CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE.” Mary continued saying: “Have a Medal struck after this model, all who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.” The scene rotated, revealing the back. A large M, topped with a cross adorns the image. Below show the hearts of Jesus and Mary, one with crowns and the other pierced by a sword.
Many Catholics continue to wear the Miraculous Medal in devotion to Mary, desiring her special Grace and intercession.
4. OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE. (1846 A.D. La Salette, France)
On September 19th, 1848, 11 year old Maximin Giraud and 14 year old Mélanie Calvat were minding cows in a small village in Southeast France. While returning home, they encountered a bright light. In the light was a sitting woman, weeping into her hands. The children approached. The unknown Lady, while still crying, told the children about the trials of Her Son. She explained that she and her Son are weary from the sufferings they have endured for humanity.
She lamented for those who work on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, rather than resting and praying. In addition, the cart drivers continued to swear with Her Son’s name. In the winter people attended Mass just to scoff at religion and in the summer ignored Mass altogether.
Our Lady explained that the potato famine across Europe the year before was a warning. If the people did not convert their hearts, more famine awaited them. If they do, then there will be an abundance of food. The famine never came, as many Catholics changed their ways after hearing of the apparition.
Our Lady of Salette’s message is for everyone, not just the townsfolk of La Salette. She makes it clear that she intercedes for us more than we could ever repay. Her words are a message of conversion to Jesus.
5. OUR LADY OF LOURDES. (1858 A.D. Lourdes, France)
On February 11th 1858, A 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous went out with her sister to fetch some firewood. After separating, she took her socks off to cross the stream. Suddenly she heard a sound like a gust of wind and looked up towards a grotto and saw a lady dressed in white, wearing a white dress, an equally white veil, a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot.
Bernadette prayed with her, and then the mysterious lady vanished. The next day, Bernadette returned and prayed. The lady appeared once again. Bernadette, wanting to make sure it was not a demon, sprinkled holy water on the apparition. The lady bent her head, smiled, and vanished at the end of the prayer.
After more days and apparitions, the lady began to speak to Bernadette. The lady demanded repentance for the sins of humanity. The crowd of witnesses grew by the hundreds, as Bernadette obeyed the lady by drinking muddy water and eating bitter herbs from the ground. She continued to kneel, pray, and kiss the ground out of humility while the crowds ridiculed her.
A girl named Catherine Latapie dipped her injured arm in the spring that Bernadette dug for the lady by the grotto. Her arm was instantly healed, the first of many miraculous healings to come. The lady requested that a church be built on the spot along with a prayer procession. A priest seeking to test Bernadette desired the lady’s name as proof.
23 days later the lady appeared and revealed her identity to Bernadette as “THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION”.
Bernadette had no idea what it meant, but she proclaimed it to all. The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary’s conception without original sin. The Immaculate Conception was declared dogma by the Pope only four years earlier. A poor, uneducated girl in Southwest France could not know about this concept.
After rigorous examination by the Catholic Church and the French government, the apparitions received approval and a church was built on top of the grotto. Bernadette’s spring continues to be a source of healing.
Millions of Catholics visit on pilgrimage each year, asking for Mary’s intercession for healing.
6. OUR LADY OF HOPE OF PONTMAIN. (1871 A.D. Pontmain, France)
As predicted by Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, France fell into turmoil because of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). In 1871, the German states occupied two thirds of France and continued their surge. The small town of Pontmain in northwest France was next on the warpath.
Toward evening on January 17, People are anxious, but everybody is going about work as usual. In a barn in the middle of town two boys, Eugene and Joseph Barbedette, are helping their father pound stalks to feed to the horses. Some minutes before six o’clock in the evening, taking advantage of a break from work, Eugene leaves the barn and sees in the sky a Lady dressed in a dark-blue robe sprinkled with stars. She spreads her lowered hands in a gesture of welcome and smiles on him. Joseph comes along a few moments later and also sees the Lady. But the father of the boys sees nothing. Undaunted, they call their mother, who also fails to see anything. After a quick meal, the boys still see the beautiful Lady, so the local teacher was called and she came with two children (two little girls) to see the beautiful Lady and describe the star-studded blue robe, the dark veil, and the crown of gold.
The town now gathers around the two small boys. Father Guérin, pastor of Pontmain for 35 years, is called and there, in the snow, a vigil of prayer ensues, a veritable dialogue with the Virgin. While the people are praying, the apparition grows and is covered and surrounded with stars. A large blue oval with four candles attached encloses it. The Lady becomes more beautiful and increases in size along with the elements surrounding her as prayer continues.
After recitation of the Rosary, the people sing the Magnificat. A white banner then appears on which large letters of gold slowly form reading thus “PRAY, MY CHILDREN. GOD WILL ANSWER BEFORE LONG. MY SON LET HIMSELF BE MOVED.”
As they prayed, sadness overcame the Lady. A red crucifix appeared in her hands and she sorrowfully contemplated her Son’s sacrifice. As the prayers came to a close, the Lady vanished. The Prussian forces inexplicably never came. Six days later an armistice was signed, ending the war.
7. OUR LADY OF KNOCK. (1879 A.D. Knock, Ireland)
On the evening of the 21st of August 1879, a heavenly Apparition occurred at the gable wall of the Parish Church when Our Lady appeared, in the company of St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist.
Unique to the Knock Apparition was the appearance of a Lamb standing before a Cross on a plain altar and surrounded by angels.
The Apparition lasted for about two hours and 15 official witnesses aged between 5 to 74 years gave their testimonies to a Commission of Enquiry in October of that year.
8. OUR LADY OF FATIMA. (1917 A.D. Fatima, Portugal)
On May 13th, 1917 three children were shepherding their flock: Lucia (10yrs)and her cousins Francisco (9yrs) and Jacinta (7yrs). Suddenly a bright light flashed in the area. Thinking it was lightning, the children headed home. Then on top of a holly oak, a Lady more brilliant than the sun appeared to the children.
On the day of the last apparition, October 13th, about 70,000 were present. The Lady had promised a great miracle. The Lady called herself “OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY” and asked that a chapel be built there in Fatima.
Then came the “MIRACLE OF THE SUN.”
The crowd witnessed the sun begin to change colors and spin like a wheel. They described the sun as dancing around beyond all laws of physics. People up to 40 kilometers away who had no knowledge of the miracle also saw the phenomenon.
Our Lady also gave the children secrets. The first secret was a brief, horrifying vision of hell. The second secret predicted the end of World War I, the beginning of World War II, and the emergence of the Soviet Union. The third and final secret predicted the assassination attempt on St. John Paul II’s life.
The altar of Our Lady of Fatima continues to receive millions of pilgrims every year.
9. OUR LADY OF BEAURAING. (1932 – 1933 A.D. Beauraing, Belgium)
On November 29th, 1932 five children ages 9-15 years witnessed a Lady dressed in a long white robe. Until January 3rd, 1933 the children would go on to see Our Lady 32 more times identifying herself as the “IMMACULATE VIRGIN”.
During the apparitions, Our Lady would open her arms exposing her Immaculate Heart, golden and radiating bright rays.
Our Lady requested goodness, continuous prayer, and that a chapel be built for the conversion of sinners. Talking to one of the children, Fernande, Our Lady asked: “Do you love My Son?”
“Do you love me?”
“Then, sacrifice yourself for me.”
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) a large crowd of about 15,000 gathered to witness the children. The five went into an ecstasy, only able to see and behold the glory of Our Lady. Doctors and psychologists examined the children, trying to get a reaction by pinching them, slapping them, and shining a flashlight in their eyes. They got no reaction. The children were wrapped up completely in the beauty of Our Lady.
Since the apparitions, many cures and conversions have taken place at Beauraing, leading to an official approval by the Vatican. Millions of pilgrims journey to Beauraing every year, asking for Our Lady’s prayers.
10. OUR LADY OF BANNEUX. (1933 A.D. Banneux, Belgium)
On January 15th, 1933, 11 year old Mariette Beco was in the kitchen when a Lady appeared in the garden, beckoning her to come outside. Her mother would not let her.
Three days later, after praying in the garden Mariette went up the road. She heard the Lady’s voice calling for her. Arriving at a pool of water from a spring, the Lady told her to dip her hands into the water. Then the Lady told her “This spring is reserved for me. Goodnight, goodbye.”
The next day, the weather was brutally cold as Mariette walked up the road. Our Lady appeared to her, identifying herself as “The Virgin of the Poor.” Again at the spring, the Virgin said, “This spring is reserved for all nations, for the sick.”
Over the next few weeks, Our Lady asked for a chapel to be built and told Mariette that she comes to relieve suffering, that people should believe in her, and that people should pray constantly.
Since the apparitions, many miraculous cures have been attributed to the spring.
Despite being ridiculed by even her aunt and grandmother, Mariette maintained her story about the apparitions. She passed away on December 2nd, 2011 at the age of 90. Her final words regarding the apparition: “I was no more than a postman who delivers the mail. Once this has been done, the postman is of no importance any more.”