Dear Friends in Christ,
Our Easter Season now enters the beautiful month of May, the month dedicated to Our Lady, “Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May”, as the song reminds us. There are two Marian feasts this month. On May 13 we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima and on May 31 the feast of the Visitation.
We could say that Our Mother has been very attentive to her children over the centuries. Her first “visitation” was to her cousin Elizabeth, which brought joy both to Elizabeth and the unborn John the Baptist. That was the first of many visits. Since the time of her assumption into heaven, Our Lady has visited many places throughout the world. Each visit has been the occasion of important messages rooted in the Gospel. Those approved apparitions have resulted in the erection of beautiful Marian shrines on all five principal continents. Here are 5 examples:
Our Lady of Kibeho, Africa.
During the years 1981-1983 Our Lady appeared to three high school girls of the Kibeho High School in Rwanda, Alphonsine Mumureke, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and Marie Claire Mukangango. In summary, the messages focused on Christian service, true repentance, and the recitation of the Rosary and the Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows for the conversion of sinners. They also included the prediction of the terrible civil war in Rwanda which took place in 1994. The apparitions were given Vatican approval in 2001.
Our Lady of Akita, Japan
In 1973 Our Lady spoke several times to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa. Her message was a call to repentance. She also warned of a terrible chastisement if people failed to heed her call to prayer and repentance.
Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal
This well-known apparition which occurred from May to October 1917 is a call to frequent prayer of the Rosary and the devotion to the Brown Scapular. Our Lady also predicted the spreading of errors from Russia (including Communism) and the Second World War. Both of these predictions came true. Finally, Our Lady promised a great sign, which was the “miracle of the sun”, which occurred at the last apparition in October.
Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil
In 1717 some Brazilian fishermen were casting their nets into a river and retrieved a broken statue of Our Lady. They immediately cast their nets again and they retrieved a huge number of fish. Further miracles brought about a popular devotion to Our Lady and a chapel was built near the river. In 1846 in response to the numerous pilgrims a larger church was built. And in 1930 Pope Pius XI named Our Lady of Aparecida patroness of Brazil. Pope Francis visited the shrine several years ago during his visit to South America.
Our Lady of Champion (Our Lady of Good Help), Wisconsin USA
The only approved apparition of Our Lady in the United States, Our Lady of Champion (a town in northern Wisconsin) is a shrine that marks the site of two apparitions of the Virgin Mary to a young Belgian native, Adele Brise. The message was similar to other apparitions, but Our Lady emphasized the need to teach children their catechism. The apparitions were officially approved by Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin in 2009.
Space does not permit further examples, but several other officially approved Marian apparitions throughout the world are witness to Our Lady’s many “visitations” in order to lead many peoples to her Son and repentance. Let us continue to heed Our Lady’s call to prayer and penance that we may be instruments in her hands for the salvation of the world.
Kind regards in the Lord,
Fr. Hildebrand Garceau, O. Praem.
“Before all else, dear brothers, love God and then your neighbor, because these are the chief commandments given to us”
(Rule of St. Augustine)
Monthly Meeting – Sunday, May 21
12:30 p.m. – Potluck lunch honoring priests leaving for the Midwest
1:30 p.m. – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Rosary
2:00 p.m. – Affiliate Meeting – “True Devotion II”
3:00 p.m. – Novitiate Meeting – “Rule of Life”
3:00 p.m. – Professed Meeting
For information or if you have questions, please email LayOrder@StMichaelsAbbey.com