Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Witness Testimonial from First OLOA Pilgrimage on July 14, 2006

The following letter was cleared for submission after months of long and careful consideration by this person's spiritual director. It had been originally sent to two Bishops, who are on the record as being supportive of Our Lady of America, for their own discernment. This is something everyone needs to know.

As if to add a forceful punctuation to this person's personal testimony, Our Lady of America is credited with the instantaneous healing of another man within minutes of this apparition occurring.

The man who was healed during this event has continued to keep us informed of his condition and is also working to inform the Bishops of his special healing through the intercession of Our Lady of America. We give thanks for his continued good health. His original letter was posted here on January 3, 2007.


On July 14, 2006, during the first pilgrimage ever held at Sylvan Springs in Rome City, Indiana, I received a vision of Our Lady of America. This vision was in the same chapel where Our Lady is said to have appeared for the very first time as “Our Lady of America” to Sister Mary Ephrem, (Mildred Neuzil) on September 26, 1956.

I received this personal vision and interior locution from Our Lady during the evening prayer of the 15 decade rosary, following with the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I was sitting in the chapel in front of the location thought to have been originally our Blessed Mother’s altar upon which a statue of her may have stood when it was a convent in the 1950’s and also where the original vision is thought to have occurred. Now standing in that particular spot is a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. (This is important to note for future reference regarding my vision.) As you know, Our Lady appeared to Sister Mary Ephrem, (Mildred Neuzil) on September 26, 1956, in this chapel. During the apparitions of Sister Mary Ephrem, Our Lady promised her many things including that the United States would be protected against the coming tribulations, and that the United States of America, would lead other countries to peace, if her requests were met. One of the most important conditions, is for a statue in the likeness of Our Lady of America, as she appeared to Sister Mary Ephrem, to be taken in solemn procession into the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. and put into a place of honor.

I will now do my best to describe my experience of that evening. We were half way into the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, and I had been praying with the group. I then found myself no longer being part of the group prayer and being led to look up at the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and went into some type of “state” where I no longer was aware of anything around me except the statue. As I prayed with my lips moving, but in silence, I soon saw a vision of Our Lady of America. I could not hear my own voice or the words of others; just what appeared to be mumbling to me in the background. I knew I was praying the rosary, but saw nothing but the statue and the Vision, while I continued in prayer. I continued with the rosary, never concerning my self with the order in which I was now saying it as the prayers just automatically appeared to flow from my lips. In my vision Our Lady of America was to the left and slightly behind the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. She would have been to my right as looking up at her. She also appeared slightly above the statue; at least her crown did. She appeared more one dimensional than three dimensional in comparison to the statue. I never saw her complete full body though I know it was life size. What I saw as I continued praying was in my peripheral vision the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and in my direct sight the vision of Our Lady of America. I have no doubt, that the only vision was that of Our Lady of America and the other was just the actual statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady of America’s crown was a brilliant deep gold but the jewels were of blue, green, red and yellow, rather than red and blue as depicted in the original painting from the vision of Sister Mary Ephrem. That appeared to be the only difference I noticed. I was able to see clearly the texture of the crown and it appeared to be of a metal, but I am not certain. I saw each point on the crown and actually found myself stopping to pray to count the points, which were seven, as are in the painting. The crown was sitting on top of her head with what appeared to look like a white short veil draping from each side of the crown at an approximate 45 degree angle. What was unusual is that a misty gold hue covered her body, face and hair, and also covered what appeared to be the whitish veil. I saw absolutely NO detail of the face, which I thought was unusual at the time. I just saw the shape of the face, what appeared to be a veil, some hair and what looked to be her neck. The misty gold hue seemed to be a reflection off of her crown. Nothing was in exact true color except for the deep gold crown and the jewels in the crown. The rest of her body down from her neck was hazy and seemed to diminish down from there to a light wispy white/gold mistiness.




At some point of observing her, while still being aware my lips were moving in prayer, I heard her say to me very, very clearly in an almost desperately, pleading yet gentle voice, “Get Me There.” I knew she was speaking directly to me. The helplessness in her plea and the tone of her voice was very unsettling. If I had to emphasize what she sounded like, it was ----“Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease Get Me There!!” ----This was a cry for assistance, not a command----. I remember answering almost immediately in as desperate of a voice as hers ----“How?’’ I actually remember moving my lips when saying the word, though it did not sound audible to me. I then said it to her two more times in my mind--- “How?-- How?’” Unfortunately I never received an answer, but I could feel such deep concern from her it caused me to gasp within and I knew immediately she was speaking of the Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. I just knew it!! I did not need to ask her where. I knew if it were a different place she would have told me. She knew my thoughts! Her plea was said with such great urgency and concern! Up until that moment I had always thought she would get there in time; but now I myself was not so sure. I know she was, by her message, telling me not to take it for granted, but to really work at it NOW!! It was very unsettling for me because of the request and the helplessness I felt. I felt as a child disappointing her mother.

The vision disappeared after that and I found myself slowly coming back into the group prayer which by then was well into the Divine Mercy Chaplet. When I realized how far along the group was by the time I became a part of them again I knew I must have been in this “state” 15 to 20 minutes.

Through much contemplative prayer I have since been given the inner knowledge from Our Lady of America that the reason her facial features were not there was because she is not being “Recognized.”

T.W. in South Bend, In.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Balls of Light

The following photos were taken on a rather dreary day during a private Holy Hour in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel in Rome City, IN. Notice the cloudy aura near the statue along with the balls of light. Several other photos in this particular sequence turned out normally, but these did not.




The third photo was taken on the same day in the small Adoration chapel at the other end of the building. There are balls of light near the back wall of this chapel too.


There have been several times over the past 6 years when children were staying over with their parents on retreats and the kids would come running into the lounge area looking for "the ball of blue light" they had been chasing down the long corridors. Could it have been something like these balls of light they were trying to catch? If they were, what exactly was it? If it wasn't this, then what could it have been?

There is another great story regarding an overnight guest who worked at CNN as a producer and her experience with the blue lights that will be shared later on. It will take some time to tell properly, so it will have to be its own post.


Monday, January 29, 2007

The Face of Jesus In The Tree

The next photo comes from back in 1960. This was probably one of the most-photographed items on the property ever. If you look under the little A-frame roof, you might just see the image of a face looking right back at you.


This was a big attraction for visitors for over 50 years until the tree was felled by a windstorm in the early 70's. This tree was directly behind the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes which was at the base of what is now called Holy Family Hill. There was a big bench at the base of the tree and people would sit there for hours praying the rosary and reading.

Even though the tree is gone, people still come to sit and pray. Some things never change.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Archbishop John Noll Memorial Procession at Kneipp Springs

These photos, taken on September 16, 1956, show a solemn procession of faithful guests and visitors to Kneipp Springs leading to the outdoor Adoration altar and Benediction on a warm September day (9 days before the Our Lady of America apparitions began). This procession and Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction was held after a special Holy Mass in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel in memory of Archbishop John Noll who had passed away just six weeks previous to this event .




Notice the heavy black habits worn by the sisters...can you see Sr. Neuzil in this photo?




Solemn processions were held quite regularly on the grounds for the benefit of the faithful visitors and parishioners. Many times they would lead down to the grotto area and around the magnificent stations of the cross that wrapped around what is now referred to as Holy Family Hill. Typically, there would be a few hundred people attending these services. The guests would hail from all over the country and usually stay for a week or two.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Comment of the Week

So many good comments are being submitted by visitors to this Blog that it seems only fitting that an attempt be made to give attention to the most outstanding comments by posting them on the front page so they are not missed by the casual passersby.

Submitted January 26, 2007 1:38 PM by Jon B., Buffalo, NY

The following is being offered for your discernment on the advice of my pastor and after careful study and conference with my spiritual director.

It was one week ago today and I was at weekly Adoration when I heard a voice speak to me. It was a woman's voice and she was pleading with me to help her to be honored as she has requested in the National Shrine. She said a terrible tragedy was about to be unleashed and that many people will suffer during this event. I was told that she had places of safety already waiting to help the faithful. She told me not to worry but to follow the path that was put before me.

Now, I am not one to ordinarily believe in these types of things. I am more of a faithful skeptic when it comes to "messages" and the like. But this happened and I need to let people know in all the ways I can.

I had never heard of Our Lady of America before but my pastor had and he and I both feel this is where this request is coming from.

Whatever it is we have to do, we must do it.

I have been reading the comments on this website and I can tell you that I feel time is getting short. I think some people are getting the message and others are not.

I cannot be absolutely certain, but I feel that this place is one of the places I was being told about. At least I sure hope it is.

Once again, I am not a seer or prophet or anything like that. I am just a regular person who is trying to follow the path before me as best I can.

I ask that you do the same and take a moment to forward this message on to everyone in your mailing list and anyone you meet. Learn all that you can about Our Lady of America and the messages.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Our Lady of America The Immaculate Virgin Part IV

In case you had not read this next item on the Our Lady of America website, this is the final posting of a four day post devoted to presenting what we feel is one of the most thorough explanations of the Our Lady of America apparitions and messages that has been presented so far.

It is the homily given by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I. on August 5, 2006 at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of The Angels Monastery in Hanceville, AL. You can download the complete document at www.ourladyofamerica.com.


Text of Homily
Presented by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I.
Feast of The Dedication of The Basilica of Saint Mary Major
August 5th, 2006
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament,
Our Lady of The Angels Monastery
Hanceville, AL – USA

Part III

Throughout the rest of 1958 and 1959 Our Lady continued to exhort and warn about the urgency of her requests. “See, I weep, but my children show me no compassion. They behold the sword in my heart, but will make no move to withdraw it. I give them love, they give me 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.”

The third group of messages (1960-1964) begins with the request of Our Lady, 4 April, 1960, that Sister Mary Ephrem write the then Archbishop of Cincinnati, Karl Alter, that he strike the medal of Our Lady of America. This request of Our Lady was only carried out by his successor as Archbishop, Paul Leibold (1969-1972).

Our Lady insisted upon this first step, most probably because of the symbolism of the medal. One side bears the image of Our Lady of America, viz., of the Immaculate Virgin Coredemptrix, Patroness of America. Around the image are the words: “By your Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil,”, an aspiration profoundly expressive of the mystery of the Immaculate Coredemptrix whose preservative redemption is the means of our liberative or deliverative redemption.

On the other side is the Coat of Arms of the Christian Family. The divine indwelling is represented by the Triangle and the Eye on the red shield of the Precious Blood through which sanctifying grace was made possible to fallen man. The sanctification of the family through the imitation of the Holy Family is represented by the Cross and two lilies, on each of which is depicted a burning heart. The flaming sword is a symbol of Divine Love so necessary to attain union with God, while the Rosary indicates a most profitable means of drawing closer to the Holy Family, through devout meditation on the various Mysteries. The scroll above bears the inscription: “Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto” and the one below: “Jesu, Maria, Joseph.” These aspirations are simply explanations of the whole theme and are also acts of praise to the Trinity and the Holy Family.

This medal is to be worn with great faith and fervent devotion to Our Lady for the grace of intense purity of heart and for the particular love of the Holy Virgin and her divine Son.

With the death of Archbishop Leibold in 1972, and the subsequent suppression of contemplative branch of the Precious Blood Sisters, all promotion of the messages so profoundly and simply synthesized in the Medal effectively ceased. Between 1980 and Jan. 3, 1984, date of the final message, Our Lady often spoke with Sister Mary Ephrem, lamenting the fact that nothing was being done to renew that faith so precisely described by the Medal and for the sake of which the Medal is to be worn. The Virgin Mother further warned that the time remaining to do penance for world peace and to avoid a nuclear holocaust was very short, that her efforts to avert human catastrophe were being frustrated by teachers of false doctrine, by persons in high places in the Church disobeying the Pope, by those promoting false spirits rather than the Spirit of Jesus.

During the final appearance of Our Lady Sr. Mary Ephrem asked her whether there would be a nuclear war. The question no doubt was prompted by earlier warnings concerning the role expected of America in the plans of the Immaculate Coredemptrix for peace. She had more than once pointed our that the role of America was precisely that of leading the nations in the restoration of family life based on the purity of Mary and Joseph. If America cooperated wholeheartedly as a consequence of the initiative of the American Bishops taken to promote devotion to the Immaculate Coredemptrix under the title Our Lady of America, and the rest of the world accepted this, no nuclear holocaust would occur. If America did its part, but the world failed to respond, America at least would be spared. But if Mary’s love for America continued to be met with ingratitude and refusal on the part of the majority to do penance and reform, particularly on the part of the clergy, then America would suffer more than others.

Here is how Our Lady replied in 1984:

My faithful one, if my warnings are taken seriously and enough of my children strive constantly and faithfully to renew and reform themselves in their inward and outward lives, then there will be no nuclear war. What happens to the world depends upon those who live 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, even should such a destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took my warning 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 will renew the earth in the power and light of the Holy Spirit. These faithful ones of my children 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 children know this, precious daughter, so that they will have no excuse if they fail to heed my warnings.

Sister Mary Ephrem writes, “From this final message I received the very strong impression that Our Lady was telling us that She had done everything She could do to help and warn us. Now it was up to us. Whatever happens we will have brought on ourselves, so whatever we decide and do now is our responsibility.”

In the face of the worldwide disaster which could be the first and immediate result of a nuclear conflict between two forms of tyranny: Islam and the secularized western nations, the relevance of the messages of Our Lady of America , the Immaculate Coredemptrix, are perfectly evident. These messages concern renewal of family life based on the purity of Mary and Joseph and on their love for Jesus, a renewal effected through a loving embrace of the Cross. That the world as a whole, including large numbers of Catholics and other Christians, has neither accepted or acted on these messages, or knows nothing of them because they have not been proclaimed from the rooftops, is a tragic fact, a further reason for doing as soon as possible all that Our Lady asked, beginning with the reconsecration of America to the Immaculate under the title Our Lady of America, the wearing of the Medal, to be followed by a genuine life in the Spirit of Jesus after the example of the Holy Family, and in a sense as part of the Holy Family.

Let this renewal include first of all a repudiation of contraception and the contraceptive mentality, abortion, euthanasia, same sex marriage and all that directly attacks and undermines the sanctity of the family, the dignity of fatherhood, the exalted vocation of motherhood and sanctification and salvation of every child conceived of woman. Only such a program can eradicate the root of that inhuman terrorism overtaking the world and bring that much yearned for peace. Let all pray that our Bishops will take the lead in this as the Immaculate so much desires.

Fr. Peter M. Fehlner, F.I.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Our Lady of America The Immaculate Virgin Part III

In case you had not read this next item on the Our Lady of America website, these next two days will continue to be devoted to presenting what we feel is one of the most thorough explanations of the Our Lady of America apparitions and messages that has been presented so far.

It is the homily given by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I. on August 5, 2006 at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of The Angels Monastery in Hanceville, AL. You can download the complete document at www.ourladyofamerica.com.


Text of Homily
Presented by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I.
Feast of The Dedication of The Basilica of Saint Mary Major
August 5th, 2006
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament,
Our Lady of The Angels Monastery
Hanceville, AL – USA

Part III

The next day Our Lady appeared with tears in her eyes, because of the ingratitude of so many sinful men, and asking that her children in America comply with her requests to cleanse their hearts in the Precious Blood of her Son and to live in His Heart, and to take her that she might teach them to live in purity of heart. She concluded thus:

I desire to make the whole of America my shrine by making every heart accessible to the love of my Son.

Shortly after, in early October, 1956, St. Joseph also appeared to Sister Mary Ephrem and in illustrating how he participated the mystery of the Immaculate Coredemptrix confirmed the meaning of the above.

It is true, my daughter, that immediately after my conception, I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future Virgin-Father, cleansed from the stain of original sin.

I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men.

My pure heart also was from the first moment of existence inflamed with love for God. Immediately, at the moment when 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.

My heart suffered with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men.

The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them.

Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross. I became, in union with my holy spouse, co-redemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary I cooperated, as no other, in the salvation of the world.

It is perfectly clear here the link between purity of heart or sanctity and fruitful participation in the passion and Cross of the Savior, and that this link is concretely established through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate Coredemptrix.

In this context Sister Mary Ephrem was inspired to compose the prayer to Our Lady, Patroness of our land, to be found on the last pages of the booklet Our Lady of America.

The following month Our Lady taught Sister this prayer: “By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil.” Our Lady then asked Sister to draw a picture of her first appearance and have a statue made according to its likeness, to be placed after being carried in solemn procession in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., there to be honored in a special way as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.

During 1957 Our Lady made many warnings about the urgency of carrying out her requests, noting that the time was short, but persecution and punishment would be long for lack of compliance, and for some eternal. The Bishops in particular were to be informed of her desires and urged to carry these out. In particular Our Lady stressed the need of prayer and penance on the part of all. Peace will come as promised, but not until the children are purified and cleansed of defilement, their lives reformed and clothed with the garment of grace. The Rosary is to be a family prayer, but prayed devoutly and with meditation on each mystery. In this context, on Nov. 22-23, 1957, Our Lady identified herself as “Our Lady of the Divine Indwelling, handmaid of Him Who dwells within.”

On the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Feb. 11, 1958, Our Lady stressed in particular the centrality of the cross and the need to participate in the sufferings of Christ in order to contribute to that interior renewal of life and the purification of hearts so much desired by Jesus. Our Lady described herself as “the Mother of the sacred humanity, and it is my special work as Coredemptrix of the human race to help souls reach the sanctity of the Father in eternal union by showing them how to put on Christ, to imbibe His Spirit, and thus become one with Him.”

Our Lady then indicated that St. Joseph would come for his feast that year, and so he did, marvelously explaining the mystery of divine fatherhood represented by him in relation to Jesus and Mary, and so underscoring the link between the renewal of family life based on the mystery of Mary’s purity and the indwelling of the divine Trinity. On the evening of the feast (March 19, 1958) St. Joseph said: “The Holy Trinity desires to honor me that in my unique fatherhood all fatherhood might be honored.” Only by way of a reform of family life based on the immaculate purity of the Virgin Mother can the dignity and role of the man as head of the family be secured, particularly in an age where so much is calculated to degrade fatherhood and so destabilize the family and society.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Our Lady of America The Immaculate Virgin Part II

In case you had not read this next item on the Our Lady of America website, these next three days will continue to be devoted to presenting what we feel is one of the most thorough explanations of the Our Lady of America apparitions and messages that has been presented so far.

It is the homily given by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I. on August 5, 2006 at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of The Angels Monastery in Hanceville, AL. You can download the complete document at www.ourladyofamerica.com.


Text of Homily
Presented by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I.
Feast of The Dedication of The Basilica of Saint Mary Major
August 5th, 2006
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament,
Our Lady of The Angels Monastery
Hanceville, AL – USA

Part II

The revelations, locutions, messages fall naturally into three groups: those between 1938 and 1954; those from 1954 through 1959; and those thereafter to 1984, in particular between 1980 and early 1984, when the final message was given. During the first period from 1938 to 1954 it was chiefly Our Lord who spoke to Sr. Mary Ephrem. The content of his messages concerned primarily the personal life of Sister, her growth in holiness and especially in relation to the mystery of the indwelling Trinity above all in the soul of the Virgin Mother. All this, however, was her preparation for a special task for which Our Lord had chosen her. Sister tells us that “in the early 1940’s it was made known to me interiorly that my mission was to converge towards the sanctification of the family. I was not further enlightened at that time as to how this was
to be accomplished.”

What this mission would be and how it would be carried out, is the subject of many revelations and messages between May 22, 1954 and the end of 1959. These messages involve principally the active intervention of Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Joseph, with secondary apparitions of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, that is to say, those who make up the Holy Family, and those who in a particular way are assigned in heaven to serve that Family. The messages are many, but seen in this context they constitute a logical whole, whose central point of reference is the maternal mediation of Mary and the role which particular nations are to play in this for the eternal and temporal well-being of the entire human family.

Logically, Sr. Mary Ephrem tells us, Our Lord appeared first in 1954 to define the frame of reference for the key message of Our Lady concerning the spiritual renewal of souls and the establishment of true peace in the world with an attendant liberation from the threat of nuclear holocaust and the destruction of entire nations.

Our Lord’s first point is crucial: neither the source of life and peace nor the source of war and destruction is to be located in material or temporal things. If life is not sought in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, then only terror, war and destruction will be found. A second consideration is intimately linked to the first. Men “fear man-made destroyer of life, yet destruction is within themselves. Man destroys himself through the evil that is in himself.” Further, unless man comes into the light that is Christ, he remains in darkness forever. To come into the Light, one must listen to the voice of Christ which is the voice of mercy: “The voice of my heart is the voice of mercy.” If men will not believe and walk in the Light, there is nothing that can be done to escape destruction, though Christ’s heart beats with compassion for the sorrows of man and the weight of a contemporary cross, for the most part fashioned by man’s own guilt. That faith may once again find entrance into the hearts of men, prayer and sacrifice are necessary and indispensable. Later in 1954 the Angel of peace, or St. Michael, appeared to Sister offering her the palm of victory, viz., the Cross, with the request: “will you accept this?” Only the cross can secure the victory of faith. The request of St. Michael, prince of the heavenly host, is addressed to every American.

Our Lord’s second point is this: faith can only gain entrance into the hearts of men, if it gains entrance into the home. Every home must be modeled on the Holy Family, because every home is primarily a house of prayer, and only if it is a house of prayer will God dwell there. Where this is not the case, where parents have no time to teach their children to love Jesus, there they never learn to listen, not even to the voice of the Mother of Jesus. The breakdown of family life, indeed, the attempt at a radical redefinition of marriage not based on monogamy and purity, appears as a refusal to love Jesus and listen to his voice. Jesus calls this breakdown a conversion of the temple of God into a den of thieves. This is the root of the tragic nuclear holocaust threatening to overtake the entire world. Or in the simple, profound words of Jesus: the refusal to love Jesus in this way is the reason for the Father’s anger. Only with the return of God to his first home, the family, can the terrible destruction threatening the world be averted. Only through love of the heart of Jesus will this be accomplished.

Toward the end of 1954 (Nov. 20) Our Lady appeared to ask Sister’s help in bringing peace to the world, precisely by restoring the family as a dwelling place of the divine Trinity. Our Lady told Sr. Mary Ephrem it was Our Lord’s desire 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 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 once again God walked among men.” Characteristic of the Holy Family was the total absence of sin. So too must every family strive to be: holy and immaculate in the sight of God. Then peace will come.

Nearly two years later, on the eve of the feast of the North American Martyrs, 25 Sept., 1956, did what Sister calls the “official” visits of the Virgin Mother begin: official because they define quite precisely what is meant by the title Our Lady of America and what in assuming this title Our Lady asks of the American nation. According to Sister Our Lady came as Our Lady of Lourdes and promised to work more miracles in America, particularly in the United States, than worked either at Lourdes or Fatima, if Americans would do what she asked:

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 through the power of my Son’s Heart and my Immaculate Heart miracles of grace among them. I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul. [The emphasis here, according to Sister, is that of the Immaculate who is anxiously concerned about our inner life.] For it is mainly through these miracles of grace that the Holy Trinity is glorified among men and nations. Let America continue and grow in its love for me, and I in return, in union with the Heart of my Son, promise to work wonders in her. My child, I desire that this be known.

And the next morning, in a stupendous vision of the Immaculate during which Sister saw the heart of Mary appear “encircled with red roses, the symbol of suffering as it was revealed to me, and sending forth flames of fire,” Our Lady said: “I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives.”

Later, on the same day, Our Lady of America said:
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 I will work will be the wonders of the soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come to me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach peoples and nations. Let them come to me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.

Sisters adds, that though Mary came in this manner as a token of her love for Americans, nevertheless Our Lady of America welcomes her children of all nations to her feet, for there will be found true peace. Our Lady of America is such because she is Lady of all nations, the Queen of men and angels.

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Our Lady of America The Immaculate Virgin Part I

In case you had not read this next item on the Our Lady of America website, these next four days will be devoted to presenting what we feel is one of the most thorough explanations of the Our Lady of America apparitions and messages that has been presented so far.

It is the homily given by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I. on August 5, 2006 at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of The Angels Monastery in Hanceville, AL. You can download the complete document at www.ourladyofamerica.com.


Text of Homily
Presented by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I.
Feast of The Dedication of The Basilica of Saint Mary Major
August 5th, 2006
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament,
Our Lady of The Angels Monastery
Hanceville, AL – USA

OUR LADY OF AMERICA
This is the title by which the Virgin Mother, in a series of private revelations and apparitions to Sr. Mary Ephrem Neuzil (1916-2000) of the Congregation of Sisters the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, indicated how she wished to be known and honored in the United States, first of all in the Basilica-sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., national Shrine of Mary for the United States, and then in the entire American nation, as it were the connatural extension of this Marian sanctuary under this title.

These revelations, locutions and apparitions began about 1938 and ended in 1984. The central ones, however, which concern the title Our Lady of America and the request that the Virgin Coredemptrix made of the Catholic bishops and of the entire nation, occurred over a six year period about a half-century ago, from 1954 through 1959. From their inception these messages, in particular the central ones, were given a certain approval, not only by the seer’s religious superiors, but also by Sr. Mary Ephrem’s spiritual director of many years prior to his death in 1972, the then Vicar General and later Archbishop of Cincinnati, Paul F. Leibold, regarded by many as a very holy prelate. The last of these revelations took place in the early 80’s of the last century, just after the suppression (1979) of contemplative branch of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. With the permission of Archbishop Leibold (Auxiliary and Vicar General of Cincinnati, 1958; Bishop of Evansville, 1966-1969, Archbishop of Cincinnati 1969-1972) these revelations were published in a small brochure, first in 1960, subsequently in 1971 (both editions with the approval of Archbishop Leibold), with a final edition of 48 pages in 1989 (with approximately 10 pages of material not in the earlier editions), copyrighted by Sr. Mary Mildred Neuzil as she was known after the demise of her contemplative monastery. Place of publication was Fostoria, Ohio, in the Diocese of Toledo, where the contemplative sisters had retired after their suppression and where the last living member of the community still resides. [All quotations are from this booklet.]

The prayers composed by the visionary either under the direction or dictation of the Blessed Mother received the Imprimatur of Bishop Leibold in 1963 (the signature for the Nihil Obstat of the Censor librorum being that of the Rev. Daniel Pilarczyk, STD, present Archbishop of Cincinnati). In late 1965 Auxiliary Bishop Leibold of Cincinnati carried out the first of Our Lady’s requests, viz., to strike the medal of Our Lady of America with her picture on one side and the coat of arms of the Christian family on the other. This medal is a kind of synthesis of the message of Our Lady to America and of the place assigned that nation in her maternal mediation for all mankind.

At no time can it be said that these messages were greeted with much enthusiasm by those to whom they were primarily directed by Our Lady, the Bishops and priests of the Catholic Church in the USA. With the exception of groups of Marian devotees, mostly pious laity and religious, educated Catholics as a class were either indifferent or strongly opposed to their authenticity, despite their approbation by Archbishop Leibold and his implementation of the first of Our Lady’s requests. And in fact by 1980 the message request, as well as Sr. Mary Ephrem, had been mostly forgotten, until in the last few years interest in them and her has revived. Why such a renewal should have occurred will become clear when the content of the messages is set forth in the context of contemporary events.

Evidently not all private revelations and apparitions are authentic. Many are plainly not what they claim to be, supernatural in origin. But many are genuine. Unfortunately the contemporary secular mentality in the western world often concludes that no such revelations are genuine, that they are a kind of epi-phenomenon in the life of the Church supplying for the religious needs of the less intelligent believers what more mature persons attain by more rational or scientific methods.

Usum non tollit abusus (abuse of a good thing does not invalidate its use). The old Latin axiom underscores the logical mistake of the modern skeptic: an illation from a particular instance of fraudulent claims to a generalization that all such claims are false. The fact is, the value and importance of private revelations in the life of the Church is directly proportionate, not to the religious-emotional needs of this or that group, but to the reality, value and importance of the maternal mediation or ministry of Our Lady in the Church for the good of all souls since Pentecost.

How seriously must we take the mystery of Mary as Mater et Magistra Apostolorum (Mother and teacher of the Apostles and of all the faithful), that is, her maternal mediation of all graces distributed by way of hierarchical and charismatic ministries? According to Pope John Paul II and now according to Pope Benedict XVI the ministry of maternal mediation confided to the Mother of Jesus in the Church, the “Marian principle of the Church”, is more central that even that of St. Peter and of his successors. Mary’s presence in the Church is precisely that of her continuous maternal mediation, above all in the hearts of those who are members of the Body of Christ, when they receive the Sacraments worthily.

Because this presence of Mary is so crucial and vital, those extraordinary manifestations of her dynamic presence take on exceptional importance, particularly in directing the attention of all believers and potential believers to questions and issues of fundamental importance for the salvation and well-being of all mankind. Nor are these extraordinary interventions of the Mother of the Church unrelated to one another. We shall see that the messages confided by Mary to Sr. Mary Ephrem are linked very much to those given at Fatima and also to some of those given between 1945-1959 to Ida Peerdeman of Amsterdam (died 1996).

Over the centuries the seers involved in such extraordinary interventions of Mary have been with a few exceptions persons not noted for scholarly attainments, but neither have they been persons lacking in common sense and basic virtue. Sr. Mary Ephrem was no exception to this norm. This norm in its own way clarifies how the supernatural origin of the messages and their reliability rests on something other than the natural gifts of the seer.

Sr. Mary Ephrem was professed a religious at the age of 17 in 1933. From then until 1951 her assignments were those concerned with domestic work. From 1951-1954 she taught kindergarten classes in a parochial school, and later in 1958 was permitted to enter the newly established and semi-autonomous contemplative wing of her community. In no way during the many years in which she enjoyed special extraordinary graces did she appear exteriorly as any different from a religious striving to grow in perfection and remain faithful to all she had promised at profession. That such a person should be able to write accurately and profoundly of the highest mysteries of faith, such as the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity, and that these writings were never found by the official censors to contain anything contrary to faith or morals, or indicating mental debility, is surely a sign of supernatural origin and the workings of the Holy Spirit through the mediation of Mary Immaculate.

To be continued….

Monday, January 22, 2007

Retreat Information

*ATTENTION***ATTENTION***ATTENTION*

You will soon have access to online registration for the upcoming Spring '07 Pilgrimage Retreats at Sylvan Springs in Rome City, IN.

Prayer and reflection on the messages of Our Lady of America along with guided tours of the facility and historical aspects of the property's legacy will be discussed throughout the stay.

The Spring schedule will begin on April 11-13 and continue every Wed-Fri through mid June.

There will be daily Mass, prayer, and topical speakers at each event. Adoration and Reconciliation services will be determined by schedule and availability of priests.

If you are looking to bring a group and would like to schedule your own retreat, and you are able to schedule your own priest, we can help you with a Friday-Sunday schedule.

Rates for the two night stay are $195/room single occupancy and $260/room double occupancy. ALL ROOMS HAVE 1 FULL SIZE BED AND SHARE A BATH/SHOWER. Refrigerators are available in each housing unit.

ALL MEALS AND STUDY MATERIALS ARE PROVIDED. Please notify us during registration if you have any food allergies.

If you would like immediate information or would prefer to register by mail, please email us at info@oltiv.org.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Comment of The Week

So many good comments are being submitted by visitors to this Blog that it seems only fitting that an attempt be made to give attention to the most outstanding comments by posting them on the front page so they are not missed by the casual passersby.

Submitted Jan 17, 2006 @ 2:56 p.m. by E.B., Seymour, IN

I have been holding onto something for a few years now and I feel it is time that I share my story.

I was ashamed of myself for so long that I tried to keep it from everyone but now I know I have to tell about my experience with Sylvan Springs and how my life was spared by a divine intervention.

I was in a troubled marriage and I had given birth to our third child just a few months before I learned of a series of cheating episodes involving my husband and two of my friends in the neighborhood.

I was devastated and depserate. I grabbed a small handgun and drove away. At first I wanted to kill him and then myself. Then I just wanted to kill myself because I thought I was the problem.

I kept driving and went to West lafayette where I met my husband 9 years before. I thought this would be a good place and it would make him remember what he did to me forever.

I sat in a parking lot by the stadium and tried to work up the courage. I asked for forgiveness and suddenly I felt like driving again. I started driving with no particular destination in mind and a few hours later I ended up in the parking lot of this big place across from a beautiful lake in a small town called Rome City.

I sat there for quite a while. I didn't think anybody was around and after some time had passed a man came up and knocked on my window. He gave me a bottle of water and asked if he could help me. I looked at him and was about to say no but for some reason I told him I needed to talk.

He was very kind and listened to me talk about all sorts of things. I never told him what I was up to. He told me why he was there and that he thought this place was a special place and had some important work ahead of it. He talked about how much he missed his wife because of this work and that he hoped it would completed soon so he could be with her again.
We had been walking and we ended up on this big hill with the most beautiful statue on it of Jesus Mary and Joseph. That made me think about my situation and about my kids and husband and I felt I could go back and get things straightened out.

We walked back to my car and I asked the gentleman to get rid of my gun. He was so shocked when I handed it to him I thought he was going to drop. He told me he would handle it.

I had no idea where I was so he gave me directions to the highway and I was able to find my way home.
I was a long way from home. I had driven almost clear across the state.

I'm happy to say I made it home and my husband and I got back into church and our pastor has been a great counselor to us. We have been doing great and I am happy.

I got to thinking about this place and told my pastor. He told me about Our Lady of America and that I must have ended up there. This was the place for sure. I recognize it from the pictures.

I believe it was the Blessed Mother who brought me there that day. I thank God this man was there and that I was saved by the Holy Spirit.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Miraculous Photo Taken at Holy Family Hill



This photo was taken from the top of Holy Family Hill looking down over the meadow. There is an obvious diamond-shaped image with a very bright light emanating from its center.

If you zoom in on it, you can see what appears to be a likeness of someone with outstretched arms curving downward and a colorful spectrum of light around the heart of the object.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mystical City of God Part II

Recently I visited The National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. This is the site Our Lady of America is to be honored by “her Son Bishops of The United States.” The Shrine hosts many Nations that honor her as She appeared to them in the time of their need. The Shrine has yet to honor her as “Our Lady of America”. We pray God’s will be done.

As I walked thru the National Shrine, I happened on a bust of a Bishop being honored for his work in supporting the National Shrine. It is my understanding that along with other fund raising activities, in his final years, he sent a large portion of his family’s fortune to the shrine thus saving it from a financial crisis. The name inscribed on that bust was Archbishop John Francis Noll, Archbishop of Fort Wayne.

Again we ask the question, how do we discern Gods purpose for Rome City and Sylvan Springs? Does history give us some indication of Gods Will? Has this site been linked and is it to continue to serve Gods purpose of Redemption?

One of the most beautiful and treasured mysteries that Jesus reveals in The Mystical City of God; Volume III page 765- “ Just as I have told you that he who knows ME knows also my FATHER – so I now tell you that he who knows my MOTHER knows ME.

Five years ago I learned some of the story of Sister Mildred Neuzil and researched the photos and phenomena that had been shared by recent visitors to this facility. I spoke with several people who credited their own spiritual conversions or strengthenings to their experiences at this place in Rome City and the direct influence of Our Lady. Fully aware of The Mystical City of God and its intimate connection to Rome City I began to understand the events that were occurring there were, in my estimation, of Biblical Proportion. Have we entered the period of the Great Enlightenment and are we just witnessing the dawn’s early rays? Are we going to be prepared for high noon?

From my chair, Sylvan Springs is in part Gods answer to the third Secret of Fatima. It is a port hole of Gods mercy and grace for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls. It appears that Our Lord is very protective of this site, not having wanted a large influx of people up until this time. The property had to first be returned, after a long period of non-christian possession, to the hands of a good Catholic man who would, unwittingly, undertake this dubious task for what is evidently Our Lady’s mission. The seeds of this tree that were sown in 1956 needed to take firm root and it appears that now this tree is beginning to bloom with an overabundance of blossoms. We need to nourish it and protect it with all our hearts and prayers. Its branches are now strong enough to hold us all.

Sister Mildred reported Our Lady as saying “that the miracles granted will be greater than that of Fatima, not so much physical healings but healings of the soul.” These are the fruits of which I spoke earlier. Father Solanus Casey expressed before he died “I wish I could have lived long enough to see the conversion of the world.” Did Father Solanus indicate that Our Lord was preparing, on a grand scale, worldwide conversion similar to that of the 1532 Guadalupe conversion of Mexico?, and if so is there a role to be played by Sylvan Springs?

The Father Solanus Knights of Columbus involvement in Sylvan Springs, has to do with publications emanating out of Agreda Spain and their link to three Fort Wayne Bishops with Rome City and the Mystical City of God. The Mystical City of God is a metaphor describing Our Lady “for all intent and purpose when Christ was in her womb, She was his dwelling place, She was this Mystical City, The City in which God resided”

The first administrator of Kneipp Springs from the Sisters of The Precious Blood was Sister M. Agreda. It appears that this gifted sister of the same order of Sister Mildred, had read the Mystical City of God in German and adopted the Venerable Mary of Agredas’ name sake for her religious name.

The import of Our Lords use of which is now called Sylvan Springs, in His mission of Salvation exceeds all our understanding. Sylvan Springs appears to be a place that has been supported by many good religious men and women thru the 19th and 20th century.

Six months prior to Bishop Alerding signing his imprimatur, I quote from a letter from Bishop H.J. Alerding to Sister M. Agreda of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. February 26, 1912 “I am very glad to learn from you that your Sanitarium is prospering. This fact proves that those who were originally in favor of enlarging the building (Fr. John Noll) were correct in their estimate of the future usefulness of the institution. I can assure you that I am grateful for the very kind remembrance on the part of the good sisters in my behalf, and I feel that whatever success has been attained is greatly due to special help from above in response to these prayers. With every good wish and blessing so that the usefulness of the sanitarium may extend farther and farther. I remain Devotedly yours in Christ + H.J. Alerding Bishop of Fort Wayne, Rome City Indiana.”

The Father Solanus Knights have presented their Holy Shroud of Turin replica at the Springs with great success and it encourages us to continue with our goal of placing in every Country in the World a replica exhibit of The Holy Shroud of Turin. As past Grand Knight of The Father Solanus Knights of Columbus Council 11276 I have complete confidence in the goodness that has come from which is now called Sylvan Springs.

Father James Mary Keane, OSM posed this question: “Strangers might well inquire: Why are Mary of A’greda’s four great volumes entitled “The City of God”? St. Louis de Monfort gives a perfect answer: “The city which men shall find at the end of the world to convert themselves in, and to satisfy the hunger they have for justice, is the most Holy Virgin, who is called by the Holy Ghost the City of God”. May Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Mother Mary help us to discern for the Glory of The Father and the salvation of souls.

I appeal to all of you who visit this web site and who are able to visit Sylvan Springs to please help shoulder the enormous expense in gratitude for this beautiful gift God has given to humanity.

Alexander J. Fiato

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mystical City of God Part I

This letter was received on January 16, 2007 from the former Grand Knight of the Fr. Solanus Casey Knights of Columbus

My interest in Sylvan Springs began in 1988 when I learned that the imprimatur for The Mystical City of God by Mary of Agreda bore the name of Bishop H.J. Alerding Bishop of Fort Wayne Rome City Indiana. This 16th century document was translated between 1902-1912 from Spanish into English. As you may know, The Mystical City of God is the Blessed Mothers account of her life and Love of the Holy Trinity. In a larger sense, it is the literary Arc of the Covenant, the fine print unveiling Gods relationship to Our Lady and mankind. This is an epic love story of Gods greatest creation, that being Our Blessed Mother Mary.

For reasons of mercy Our Lord presents his Mother in these documents to articulate and instruct the faithful and unveil the mysteries of the Holy Bible. These books proceed beyond the usual glimpse of other private revelations in that God intends them in part as a corrective measure for the confusion in the world today.

We are moved here to mention the namesake of our Knights of Columbus Council 11276. Father Solanus Casey was made Venerable by Pope John Paul II on July 11, 1995. Venerable Solanus Casey was also a devotee of Blessed Mothers Mystical City and read it on his knees for 53 years. He always encouraged with deep humility to pray to the Holy Spirit before reading it, never read it with criticism and if all possible, read it on your knees.

Father Solanus lived a ministry of Gods miracles and many refer to him as the St. Francis of Assisi of the 20th century. Father Solanus spent the last 10 years of his life at St. Felix Friary in Huntington, Indiana and he would occasionally join other priests for a short retreat in Rome City. He died on July the 31 1957, one year following the death of Archbishop Noll, with his last prayer “I give my soul to Jesus Christ.”

What has this to do to do with Rome City and Our Lady of America? Most of our experiences of Gods Love in our lives and how he reveals himself to us is quite personal. What are the links that make so much sense to us, that we know God is speaking clearly to us? It is often difficult to express to others the force and significance of this relationship.

How can we discern Sylvan Springs and the importance it has in Gods plan of redemption? These are difficult and complex questions to answer. Many of us attempt to review the historical links and discern in prayer to the Holy Spirit what Our Lords plan is for this place. I hope to provide some information that may shed some light on this question.

Let us start with Bishop H.J. Alerding’s imprimatur of the Mystical City of God by Mary of Agreda. Bishop Alerding resided in Rome City at the time of this momentous event. On August the 24th of 1912 in the very building that Sister Mildred Neuzil received her apparitions in 1956 he issued this statement: “Rome City Indiana August 24, 1912 The Rev. George J. Blatter Dear Rev. Father: My Imprimatur is herewith granted to the English translation of the work entitled ‘ Ciduad de Dios ‘wishing you every Blessing I remain, Devotedly in Domino H.J. Alerding Bishop of Fort Wayne.
We are also quite fortunate in the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend Indiana that two other Bishops have embraced our Blessed Mothers history. Bishop John F. Noll on December 8, 1950 extended his imprimatur to “Wisdom The Woman According to Agreda by James A. Carrico and Bishop Leo A. Pursley on March 10, 1959 extended his imprimatur to “The Life of Venerable Mary of Agreda by the same author. The full force of three Fort Wayne Bishops proclaim in their imprimaturs “ Let it be read by the faithful, that there is nothing contrary in the teaching of the Holy Mother Church as regards to faith and morals.

James Carrico was also a great promoter of The Mystical City of God. For a period of time, Father Solanus was his spiritual director, encouraging his publishing of the two books mentioned. Mr. Carrico along with Father Kean published the Age of Mary magazine including the exclusive Mystical City of God issue Jan./Feb 1958. Why has God blessed and entrusted this Diocese with presenting the life of His Mother and linked it directly to Rome City Indiana?

This website is currently featuring the Life of Bishop John Noll and his involvement in Rome City and Sylvan Springs. The language of “links” on the internet is the language of our time. The information “highway” links allows us to communicate to one another in seconds unlike, as the article indicated, took Father Noll days on horse back. Father Noll’s love for Our Blessed Mother and the mission of what is now called Sylvan Springs is self evident as you read the account.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Miraculous Photo Taken at Location of Apparition



This photo was taken on December 23, 2005 while several men stood praying The Divine Mercy Chaplet in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel at Sylvan Springs in Rome City, IN.

These men had come on this day to discuss the future use of the property with the owners and to bring the statue of Our Lady of America to the place where Our Lady first appeared to Sr. Neuzil as Our Lady of America. This event was just prior to the delivery of the statue to Bishop David Ricken in Cheyenne, Wyoming for enshrinement in February, 2006.


Monday, January 15, 2007

A Quick Recap of the OLOA Apparitions in Rome City, IN

Just outside of the small lake community of Rome City, Indiana, rises a picturesque campus facility built by the Sisters of The Precious Blood in the early 1900’s as a sanitarium. It was here that they practiced a form of medicine called “The Water Cure” based upon the teachings of Msgr. Sebastian Kneipp, a German priest, who had developed a large following in the late 19th century for his methods of using spring water and herbal compounds to aid in the treatment of a variety of maladies. Kneipp Springs, as this facility was named, was typically booked to its capacity during the summer months with visitors seeking the calm and restful spa-like treatments in a devoutly Roman Catholic setting. Holy Mass was said by a cadre’ of visiting priests throughout the day in its spacious church and solemn processions were held each week around the magnificently stone-carved stations of the cross and grotto areas that encircled what is commonly referred to by visitors as “Holy Family Hill”.

It was here that the only United States apparitions of the Virgin Mary to be granted any form of Episcopal approval began on September 25, 1956 when a young nun, Sr. Mildred Neuzil, was visited by the Virgin Mary, dressed as Our Lady of Lourdes, while she was praying in the chapel at Kneipp Springs. In her book of messages that were approved by Archbishop Paul F. Leibold, she wrote that "Our Lady promised greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima would be granted here in America, the United States in particular, if we would do as she desires." She asked that a statue be built and placed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. to honor her as "Our Lady of America, The Immaculate Virgin". She promised that if her instructions were heeded Our Lord would provide all the grace necessary for our country to return to purity of heart, and avoid the justice that mankind is bringing down upon himself.

During the ensuing weeks, Sr. Neuzil was visited again by The Virgin, these times appearing as “Our Lady of America” with repeated urgings to honor her with a special devotion to her Son, Jesus with “the purity of their souls”.

These apparitions are the only ones in the United States to have reached the second level of confirmation by the Catholic Church. The first level occurred in 1961 when Bishop Leibold approved a medal to be struck commemorating the events and the second was in 1963 when he gave his imprimatur to the prayer 'To the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States'. The third and final confirmation may be happening very soon in one of two ways: it can be approved by Pope Benedict XVI, or it can be approved by a vote of American Bishops.

Although there is growing belief and consensus among American Bishops that confirmation will happen someday, some American Catholics feel a greater sense of urgency to finalize the confirmation as quickly as possible. These people feel that America may be running out of time and that, as a nation, we could be at the threshold of a major catastrophic event that may forever change the way we live our lives. If they are correct, it will present this country with the greatest spiritual emergency it has ever experienced. Priests may become prisoners of the confessionals.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Comment of The Week

So many good comments are being submitted by visitors to this Blog that it seems only fitting that an attempt be made to give attention to the most outstanding comments by posting them on the front page so they are not missed by the casual passersby.

The following account was submitted by a writer named Margaret who blessed us with a wonderful story regarding her conversion and the events surrounding her coming to Jesus through Our Lady of America. It speaks volumes as to what the use of this Holy Ground is to be for future generations.


Submitted Jan 10, 2006 @ 2:43 p.m.

I will always remember my first visit to Rome City. It was just after I was divorced and I was in a very angry mood with everyone.

I was driving around one Sunday and I stopped in to this big place because I needed to use a restroom.
There were some people around and they directed me inside and I did my business. I came out and looked around a bit because it had a very comforting feel to it.

I got to talking with the owner and he said his name was Larry. He said he and his wife were trying to build this into a place that would help kids and their families and they would be doing sports events and family retreats.

I was kind of anti-family oriented at this time given the fact I had just gone through a bitter divorce and I told him I thought it was "nice" even though I was thinking "screw the kids and the families".

Larry picked up on my emotional state and asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about. For some reason I just unloaded 24 years of pent up rage at this guy and he took it without flinching a muscle. I mean I called my ex everything in the sailor's dictionary plus a few made up phrases that nobody should ever hear in their lifetime. And he just looked at me when I was done and asked me "now, aren't you glad you had to pee?"

We ended up taking a ride around the property and he told me about the apparitions that had happened there years before. He said he had no idea about them when he bought the place but that he was quite certain they had indeed happened because of all the people like me who end up there wondering why it was we stopped in the first place.

He told me I needed to learn to love myself more and that once I did, I would then allow others to love me too and that would complete the essence of Christ's image in all of us. I may be paraphrasing but I had never heard that before and it made so much sense. I have never forgotten that moment and I hope I never will. We were up on a hill looking over a meadow it was so peaceful.

He dropped me back at my car and I thanked him for showing me around but I really wanted to thank him for showing me the way out of my misery.

On a later visit, I met an old priest who was living there and he sat and talked with me in the lounge for a while. He was very inspiring and he listened to everything I said so completely. He prayed with me and gave me a blessing.

I have since come to know Jesus in a way I had never thought possible and I was introduced to him by the Blessed Mother and Our Lady of America. I completed my RCIA training and was baptized 3 years ago Easter.

I have to say "Yes, I am glad I had to pee".

Friday, January 12, 2007

The "Immaculate" Connection Part III

In the 1930’s, the advancement of the construction of the planned National Basilica of The Immaculate Conception had come to a complete stop. In the middle of the depression era, funds were terribly short for all projects such as this. The work that had already been done was in peril of being demolished and the project abandoned. Bishop Noll took it upon himself, with the co-sponsorship of Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle of Washington, to lead a fund-raising campaign to finish the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., through a campaign in Our Sunday Visitor.






He was also credited with numerous other great achievements, of such great import that if anyone else were to have accomplished any single one of them in their careers, they would be lauded with the highest laurels. For this man, however, it was just a testament to how prolific a thinker and visionary he was.

As a sign of Vatican esteem, Bishop Noll was given the honorary title of archbishop in 1953, even though his see was not an archdiocese.

In 1955, Archbishop Noll suffered a stroke that left him unable to communicate with anyone except his niece, Cecilia Fink, who had been his devoted secretary and had assisted him in his numerous writing projects. His last year of disability was difficult not only for him but for his devoted niece Cecilia. From time to time during his last year, they were able to get back to Rome City for a little R&R and the sisters would always welcome them with comforting care and a good meal of fresh-caught fish from Sylvan Lake. It is quite probable that Sr. Mildred Ephrem Neuzil, who worked in the dining room as a server, would actually have served many of these same fresh dinners to the Archbishop and his niece during their visits.

Archbishop Noll died on July 31, 1956. Our Lady of America appeared to Sr. Mildred Neuzil just 57 days later in Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel on Sept 26, 1956. Our Lady appeared again to Sr. Neuzil on October 13 of that same year and showed Sr. Neuzil a model of the completed National Basilica of The Immaculate Conception…a building which would not be completed for 3 more years in 1959.




The Immaculate Conception...Patroness of Our Beloved Land


The "Immaculate" Connection Part II

John Francis Noll (from Kneipp Springs History Jan. 7) was born Jan. 25, 1875, in Fort Wayne, one of 19 children. He was baptized at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and attended grade school in the building next door. He entered the preparatory seminary at St. Lawrence College, Mount Calvary, Wis. at the tender age of 13, and went on to Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Cincinnati for his theology and philosophy studies.

The diocese had a great need for priests at this time, and his mentor, cathedral rector Fr. Joseph Brammer, was gravely ill and worried that he would not live to see the first boy from his parish ordained. Consequently, John Noll was ordained at the cathedral at the age of 23 on June 4, 1898 shortly before the passing of Fr. Brammer


John Noll as a seminarian

Within a year, Father Noll was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Ligonier, IN at age 24 (a few miles from Rome City). His parish was 30 square miles, which he covered on foot or horseback. He would occasionally make it by the newly established Kneipp Healing Center to visit with Dr. Geiermann and discuss the progress and relative success of this particular venture.

Fr. Noll was moved about the diocese in 1906 to the community of Besancon approximately 30 miles outside Fort Wayne. It was here that he percolated the idea for a parish newspaper whose aim was to spread Catholic doctrine and catechism to the members of his parish who he felt were lacking in these elements. Later on, convinced of this medium’s success and his desire to repel the influence of dispassionate newspapers like The Menace, a periodical devoted to propaganda against the Catholic Church, Fr. Noll started the first National Weekly Catholic Newspaper and called it “Our Sunday Visitor”. It was not long before Our Sunday Visitor Inc. would become one of the world’s largest Catholic publishers.

At the age of 46, the title of monsignor was conferred on Father Noll in 1921. He was named the fifth bishop of Fort Wayne in 1925, after the death of Bishop Herman Joseph Alerding (also a long-time advocate of Kneipp Springs, but he will be discussed in the coming months).


Bishop Noll

Bishop Noll immediately became an influential leader among U.S. prelates. He was named secretary of the fledgling National Catholic Welfare Conference (now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), and was a longtime member of that body's administrative committee. In his role with the bishops' conference, Bishop Noll demonstrated remarkable foresight about the coming information age, helping to launch Catholic News Service and the "Catholic Hour" on NBC radio. He would have been a big proponent of the internet and would undoubtedly have used it to great advantage in his work.

During the summer months and vacation get-aways, Bishop Noll would often retreat 35 miles north of Fort Wayne to his lake cottage on Bishop’s Island in the middle of Sylvan Lake which was directly across the road from Kneipp Springs. He would say Mass in the beautiful Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel and sometimes seek the benefit of the therapeutic treatments offered at the facility. It became a time and place of recreation and relaxation in his otherwise hectic work schedule.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The "Immaculate" Connection

Most Reverend John Carroll, of Baltimore, was America's first Roman Catholic Bishop. In 1792, he consecrated the newly-created nation of these United States under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the title of the “Immaculate Conception”.

On May 13, 1846, the U.S. Bishops proclaimed the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of “Immaculate Conception”, as the patroness of the United States of America. One year later, Pope Pius IX would finally recognize Bishop Carroll's original consecration of 1792 by proclaiming the “Immaculate Conception” as the “Patroness of the United States”. And, so it was until it was re-confirmed in 1959 when the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was dedicated in Washington, D.C. after facing so many obstacles to completion (the project was nearly abandoned entirely in the 1930’s until an unlikely figure emerged to help save it ).

These consecrations are not mere symbols taken lightly by the Holy men who conduct them but they are the product of deep thought and discerning wisdom. As the roots of Our Lady of America are deep within the walls of this fabulous property She chose to announce herself to a young nun, so is the thread that ties the Immaculate Conception, all the way back in 1792 with Bishop Carroll, to the Diocese of Fort Wayne and this property in Rome City, IN.


Let us go back to the Catholic Church’s beginnings on this continent, and in particular, the diocese where Rome City, IN is located.

What we would consider the Fort Wayne area was first placed under the care of the Bishop of Quebec from 1674 -1789.

Then, with the establishment of the Diocese of Baltimore, the Fort Wayne area was under the jurisdiction of Bishop Carroll from 1789 until 1810.

In 1810 it was under the Bishop Flaget, the Bishop of Bardstown, Kentucky.

From 1834 to 1857 the Fort Wayne area was governed as part of the Vincennes Diocese. Vincennes would later become the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

The earliest accounts of Catholic Mass being said in the Fort Wayne (called Miamitown at the time) area was on December 20, 1789 by a Fr. Louis Payet, a priest from Detroit conducted, "eight services of worship in as many days." At this time, Miamitown would have still been under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Quebec and there really were not that many settlers in the fort itself. The missionary priest only expected to say Mass a few days, gather provisions, and continue on his journey through the still-unsettled territory.

Word quickly spread throughout the area of the good priest's availability and many trappers and woodsmen made their way to the fledgling settlement area to attend Mass and receive Our Lord in The Eucharist. Times were harsh for these settlers and having a priest available to offer sacraments was not that common an event. These people dropped what projects they had in progress to journey to this settlement so that they could partake in the sacraments they sorely missed on the frontier (imagine your own life in their circumstances).

Shortly after these Masses were held, the Diocese of Baltimore was started and the Fort Wayne area (Miamitown) became part of Bishop Carroll’s jurisdiction. Three years later, in 1792, Bishop Carroll would issue his consecration of the United States under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the title of the “Immaculate Conception”.

In 1857, the northern half of Indiana was broken off from the Vincennes Diocese and the Cathedral in Fort Wayne, IN (established 1836) was consecrated as The Cathedral to The Immaculate Conception, thus placing this entire newly-formed diocesan area under the mantle of Our Lady’s protection.

To be continued…

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Our Lady Reaching Out To Us

Offered for your discernment:


This photo was taken by a pilgrim to the Rome City apparition site on August 14, 2001. In her signed affidavit, she said she believed the diamond-shaped figure which dropped down from the spinning sun is a spiritual silhouette of The Blessed Mother. This photo was taken with a basic 35 mm camera. The woman stated she had no photography skills beyond basic operational skills of any "point and shoot" operator.

This woman had just completed a rosary with her family on top of Holy Family Hill when she turned and noticed the sun was pulsing rapidly and was emitting a colorful array of light across the sky. It was a little after 3:00 pm and it was an otherwise bright blue sky with a few wispy clouds overhead. She pointed her camera at the spinning sun and this photo is what developed.

Please note the angle of the image and how it is slightly turned rather than square with the vantage point of the photographer. When shown to local professional photographers, they asserted this image is atypical of a distorted lens effect. Their consensus was that if someone actually had the skills to create this image with the most basic of cameras (inconceivable to our experts' knowledge) the resulting image would be squared to the focal point and not have this angular, slightly rotated position.

Possible Conclusion?

If one were to discern this to be a miraclous image of Our Lady, then you would see what obviously appears to be a diamond-shaped silhouette with a bright interior light at the "heart" of this image (Immaculate Heart of Mary). The rounded "shoulder" is suggestive of Our Lady's mantle draped across her outstretched arms as She is descending from the spinning sun.

Now, take a look at these images, captured with a similar camera from approximately the same vantage point, nearly 5 years later by one of the pilgrims attending the first Our Lady of America pilgrimage to Rome City, IN, on the afternoon of July 15, 2006. Do you doubt Our Lady is still reaching out to us?






We will have more photos for your discernment in the days and weeks ahead.



Sunday, January 7, 2007

Historic Kneipp Springs

In 1895 Dr. W.G. Geiermann purchased 80 acres of land on a hilltop in Rome City, at the behest of Fr. Dominick Duehmig with the intent of practicing the Kneipp Water Cure. Dr. Geiermann had spent time in Woerishofen, Germany learning the Kneipp healing methods. He soon erected a series of modest buildings near the therapeutic springs in Rome City.

At the original meetings was a young seminarian by the name of John Noll who was acting as an economic advisor to both Dr. Geiermann and Fr. Duehmig. Later on in life, this same young man would come to benefit of all the services provided at this facility by The Sisters of the Precious Blood, but he would be known as Bishop Noll (then Archbishop) to the sisters.

Bishop Noll became a regular visitor to the "Springs" as he had his summer house on Bishop's Island directly across the road on Sylvan Lake. He developed many friendships with staffers at the facility (one of his fishing buddies was a grounds maintenance man) and he said regular Mass and would hear the Sisters' confessions when asked. Bishop Noll had first-hand knowledge of the work done at the facility from its inception in 1895. He personally enjoyed the care and comfort provided there after his stroke in 1955 up until his death in July of 1956. The sisters took great pride in their relationship with Bishop Noll and he was obviously grateful for their work in God’s name and on his behalf. More on his involvement later...

In 1901, the Sisters of Precious Blood began operating the property under the leadership of their own resident Kneipp expert, Sister Margaret Schalachter. From 1901 to 1977 the Sisters employed various Kneipp treatments and continued to develop the buildings and the grounds of the campus, adding accommodations for the greater number of guests the sanitarium was attracting. In 1956, Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil, a nun at the sanitarium who worked as a domestic, began recording what she described as visits from the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of America) -- who seemed concerned about the private lives of Americans as society was about to plummet into the Sixties. These apparitions are the only ones in the United States to have reached the second level of confirmation by the Catholic Church.

Kneipp Background

From 1901 through 1977, the Rome City campus was owned and operated by the Sisters of the Precious Blood, who ran an on-site Sanitarium that specialized in Kneipp therapy. Kneipp therapy is the product of the holistic thinking of Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian priest. During the course of his life (1821-1897), Sebastian Kneipp combined aspects of the baths of the Greek and Roman empires, the cures of the Far East, as well as the medicine of the European cloisters and developed them to meet the needs of modern man.

This formed the basis of his visionary lifestyle: one that asks people to regard their daily habits and natural environment as inseparable from one another. Kneipp therapy – especially Kneipp water therapy – is alive and well, and is practiced by millions of people around the world.

BASIC TENETS OF KNEIPP PRACTICE:

PLANTS

The theory of the healing effects of specially selected herbs and plants is the result of thousands of years of experience. It is asserted that plants can gently move the body into health without side effects posed by some synthetic chemicals in modern pharmaceuticals.

WATER

Water is an ideal conductor of heat and coolness as well as a stimulus to chemical and mechanical reactions. In the center of the so named “hydrotherapy,” also known,as the famous “Kneipp Cure,” are pleasant applications of warm and cold water which are believed to stimulate the circulation and improve the natural healing powers of the body.

EXERCISE

Regular physical activity, preferably out in the countryside, is an important aspect of Kneipp practice. Light physical activities like hiking, swimming and bike-riding as well as a moderate program of physical training, without the pressure of competition are integral to Kneipp.

NUTRITION

A varied and healthy diet is a key ingredient of the holistic approach. Sebastian Kneipp did not subscribe to the concept of strict diets, rather he encouraged frequent, balanced and nutritious but low-fat meals. Since food and beverage play a central role in controlling inner balance and joy of life, Kneipp practice dictates that meals should be a palatable and pleasant experience.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Part II Miraculous Healings, Through Our Lady's Intercession, Documented in 1915

When Sister Mary Reparata left the sanitarium (Rome City, Indiana) after her miraculous cure of paralysis by Our Lady of Lourdes, she returned to her convent at Grand Rapids, Michigan. From there she wrote to her new friend and guide, Fr. Max Walz, and told him that the Tabernacle of her convent chapel was her "resting place." She tells Father that she remembers his advice and and when working in a distant part of the convent she "calls up" the Savior in the Tabernacle saying "Hello, dear Jesus, are You thinking of Your child? She is thinking of You and loves You, but wants to love You much more. Bless her and draw her Heart to You alone." In another letter to Father Sister Mary Reparata wrote "The unknown and despised Love of the Eucharistic Heart!




The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rome City, IN where Sr. Reparata vowed that Our Lady of Lourdes had cured her paralysis in 1915.


Sister made her religious profession in August of 1916. Father Walz attended the ceremony. Sister related to Father an incident that occurred during her novitiate. One night, not able to contain the burning love in her soul for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament she went to the chapel door (which was locked) and spent part of the night prostrate on the floor in ardent prayer. Also in 1916 Sister Mary Reparata was sent to Holy Family School in Saginaw, Michigan. There she gave piano and violin lessons and also taught singing.

In December of 1918 Sister was so ill with tuberculosis that she was dying. Again she was miraculously cured. One of the sisters brought the dying nun a statue of Our Blessed Mother. She immediately opened her eyes and smiled. She was cured. It was 3:00 pm on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th).

Soon Sr. Mary Raparata was transferred to Holy Rosary Academy, Bay City, Michigan. There on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 1919 she met with Father Walz. During the visit she told him that Our Lady had appeared to her the night before her miraculous cure (Dec. 11th-12). The apparition occured at 2:00 am. Our Lady was dressed as Our Lady of Grace. Our lady's hands were folded before Her. She was smiling.

The next day (December 12th) at about 1:00 pm Our Lady appeared again. Sister asked Our Blessed Mother if she was going to die. Our Lady answered "No, you will have to suffer very much for the conversion of sinners. Pray much for my Son's ministers. His Heart is bleeding for them. What do you want My child?" Sister replied "I want to love Christ as much as I can, so much that I cannot love Him more, so that I may die of very love. I am willing to suffer, but You must help me." Our Lady responded "I am your Mother" and added "you will not stay here long." Our Lady referring to Fr. Walz, told Sister to "tell him all." Immediately Father wrote down everything he had heard from this saintly soul.


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Miraculous Healings, Through Our Lady's Intercession, Documented in 1915

There has been a long history of Our Lady’s healing presence at this particular site in Rome City, IN. The first documentation of a miraculous healing attributed to Our Lady occurred more than 50 years before Our Lady of America appeared to Sr. Mildred Ephrem Neuzil in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy chapel at Kneipp Springs.

In this reported healing, made by Fr. Max Walz, Our Lady of Lourdes intercedes on the behalf of a young woman afflicted with paralysis of the limbs and hearing loss. Hers appeared to be a desperate case. However, Our Lady obviously had a different perspective as She used the faith of this young woman and this devoted priest to not only cure the young woman of her physical maladies, She also found a way to perform an instant spiritual healing in another woman. The second woman was healed after hearing, first-hand, the account of the events surrounding the physical healing from the first young woman. This proves Our Lady is not only very generous in her gifts; She is also very efficient in Her work!

The following is offered for your discernment:

Reprinted From Tabernacle Magazine, Dec. 1991

A Grain of Mustard Seed

At a coffee plantation in southern Brazil on January 23, 1892, was born Marie, the daughter of Jean and Marie Gautier, exiles of Brittany, France, and, more sadly still, self-exiled from the Church to which they owed a good moral training.

Marie's mother taught her prayers, but no catechism. All that the mother ventured to tell her child was that the world was made by a good God Who would one day take her to Heaven, provided she was a good girl. She did, however, learn that she had a heavenly Mother who would take care of her if anything happened to her earthly mother. A holy card bearing the image of Mary Immaculate, which came to her providentially, was the occasion of a true consecration of the child's whole being to her Immaculate Mother.

In 1902 they moved to New Orleans. Three years later they moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. When the family moved to Grand Rapids it included a boy born in Brazil and the youngest, a girl, born in New Orleans. The mother's health was now succumbing to a fatal disease. Fourteen-year-old Marie had to care for her mother, the children, the house. One morning the family physician came to tell her that her father has fallen dead in the street and that her mother cannot live more than three months. The children were placed in the Dominican Orphanage and the mother in the hospital. Bishop Schrembs visited the lonely mother and gradually won her back to the faith she never quite ceased to believe. She died with Marie saying the Rosary beside her. Immediately thereafter the three orphans went to their mother's relatives in France.

In 1913, when Marie was 21 years old, she entered the Dominican Teaching Sisters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But in 1914 she became so ill that she was sent to Kneipp Sanitarium, Rome City, Indiana. She suffered from paralysis of the lower limbs that soon extended to the hands and affected her hearing. On the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1915 the chaplain, Fr. Max Walz C.P.P.S., blessed Sister with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and touched her with a rock from the Grotto at Lourdes. Immediately Sister was cured. She walked to the chapel and at the Lourdes Grotto vowed that Our Lady of Lourdes had cured her. Her cure was instantaneous and permanent. A few days after this miracle a lady who had repeatedly refused to go to confession went of her own accord after having spoken with Sister Reparata, Marie's religious name.


This statue of Our Lady of Lourdes stands waiting in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel in Rome City, IN. In this photo, taken February 23, 2006 during a private Holy Hour, there is a noticeable cloudy shroud to the statue's right.

Is this the actual spot where Our Lady of America first presented herself to Sr. Mildred Ephrem Neuzil on September 26, 1956?


While Sister Reparata was at the sanitarium Fr. Walz, a Precious Blood Father, became her friend and guide. Sister Reparata explained to Father Walz that Jesus was calling her to make a vow to share in His loneliness in the Blessed Sacrament. Sister made this vow and her spiritual life became that of a victim soul, sharing in the hiddenness and loneliness of Jesus.

To be continued….