Friday, June 27, 2008

Good News For OLA

Today brings the confirmation of the long-rumored appointment of Archbishop Burke to be the head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.

This position ordinarily carries a promotion to Cardinal as well, which is of some solace to those His Grace leaves behind in St. Louis.

It is certainly a bittersweet announcement for those in St. Louis and around the world who have rejoiced in the Archbishop's stalwart defense of orthodoxy, his courage, his perseverance, and his wise and faithful pastoral care. He has been a shining example of how a Bishop should guide and govern.

Of course, this promotion will almost certainly obtain for him the Cardinal's red hat, and thus a seat at any conclave that may occur for the next twenty years. His Grace turns 60 at the end of the month. May it be in the plans of Almighty God that someday Cardinal Burke appears on the balcony in St. Peter's Square; whatever may come for him, however, we can be assured that His Grace will fulfill his duties with the same zeal he has shown in St. Louis and in the past.

This is VERY GOOD NEWS for the Our Lady of America devotion.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


By Cal Thomas, Tribune Media Services

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign plans to strike at the heart of the Republican base by attempting to woo Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics to his side.

The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody first broke the story on his blog “The Brody File.” Obama’s campaign for the conservative Christian vote, which has largely gone to the Republican presidential candidate in recent elections, has been dubbed the “Joshua Generation Project.” Joshua, Moses’ successor, led the Israelites into the Promised Land. It wasn’t the group that fled Egypt in the Exodus, though. They died in the wilderness, lacking faith in God’s promise. It was the next generation that Joshua led into Canaan. Apparently, if we have enough faith in Obama, he will lead us all into a new America, but if we vote for John McCain, we will demonstrate a lack of faith (in Obama) and die in the political badlands.

Obama is better at biblical language and imagery than any Democrat in modern times. He certainly beats Howard Dean, now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who once offered Job as his favorite New Testament book. This is cynical manipulation of the devout and it is no better when Democrats do it than when Republicans use religious language for partisan advantage.
Obama has declared himself a committed Christian. He can call himself anything he likes, but there are certain markers among the evangelicals he is courting that one must meet in order to qualify for that label.

Some insight into Obama’s “Christianity” comes from an interview he gave in 2004 to Chicago Sun-Times religion editor Cathleen Falsani for her book, “The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People.”

“I’m rooted in the Christian tradition,” said Obama. He then adds something most Christians will see as universalism: “I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

Falsani correctly brings up John 14:6 (and how many journalists would know such a verse, much less ask a question based on it?) in which Jesus says of Himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That sounds exclusive, but Obama says it depends on how this verse is heard. According to Falsani, Obama thinks that “all people of faith — Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone — know the same God.” (Her words.)

Evangelicals and serious Catholics might ask if this is so, why did Jesus waste His time coming to Earth, suffering pain, rejection and crucifixion? If there are many ways to God, He might have sent down a spiritual version of table manners and avoided the rest.

Here’s Obama telling Falsani, “The difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they’re going to hell.” Falsani adds, “Obama doesn’t believe he, or anyone else, will go to hell. But he’s not sure he’ll be going to heaven, either.” Again, that is contrary to what Evangelicals and most Catholics believe.

Here’s Obama again: “I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.”

Any first-year seminary student could deconstruct such “works salvation” and wishful thinking. Obama either hasn’t read the Bible, or if he has, doesn’t believe it if he embraces such thin theological wisps.

Obama can call himself anything he likes, but there is a clear requirement for one to qualify as a Christian and Obama doesn’t meet that requirement. One cannot deny central tenets of the Christian faith, including the deity and uniqueness of Christ as the sole mediator between God and Man and be a Christian. Such people do have a label applied to them in Scripture. They are called “false prophets.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thinking About A Trip To Sylvan Springs?

Bring Me My Children. Bring Me ALL of My Children!

Please call ahead to schedule your tours 260-854-3525 and bring plenty of empty jugs if you want water.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Help Needed To Restore Tabernacle

This is the original tabernacle from Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel. It was while Sr. Mildred was praying before this same tabernacle that she experienced the apparitions of Our Lady of America and was given the central messages by Our Blessed Mother for America to return to purity.

Now, we need your help to restore this beautiful and IMPORTANT relic for Our Lady of America.

After the Sisters of The Precious Blood sold the property in 1977, members of The Way International desecrated this tabernacle and attempted to destroy it by intentionally breaking the key in the lock and ripping away the interior. They also broke off the cross at the top. It was found stashed in the basement of the property filled with caustic cleaning supplies. Perhaps someone from The Way had felt this was a means of attacking Catholic believers?

Please help us with your tax-deductible contribution so we may restore this beautiful relic and honor Our Lord in the most fitting way possible.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do you know the Preamble for your state?

Alabama 1901, Preamble

We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and
guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following

Alaska 1956, Preamble We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and
to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

Arizona 1911, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arizona ,
grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this

Arkansas 1874, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arkansas ,
grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of

California 1879, Preamble We, the People of the State of California ,
grateful to Almighty God for our freedom...

Colorado 1876, Preamble We, the people of Colorado , with profound
reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe...

Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging
with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Delaware 1897, Preamble Through Divine Goodness all men have, by
nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according
to the dictates of their consciences.

Florida 1885, Preamble We, the people of the State of Florida ,
grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish
this Constitution...

Georgia 1777, Preamble We, the people of Georgia , relying upon
protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this

Hawaii 1959, Preamble We , the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine
Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful
to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

Illinois 1870, Preamble We, the people of the State of Illinois,
grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious
liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him
for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble We, the People of the State of Indiana ,
grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose
our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to
the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our
dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish
this Constitution.

Kansas 1859, Preamble We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty
God for our civil and religious privileges establish this

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are
grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious

Louisiana 1921, Preamble We, the people of the State of Louisiana ,
grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious
liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble We the People of Maine acknowledging with
grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in
affording us an opportunity .. And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland ,
grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble We...the people of Massachusetts,
acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great
Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an
opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction .

Michigan 1908, Preamble le. We, the people of the State of Michigan ,
grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this

Minnesota, 1857, Preamble We, the people of the State of Minnesota ,
grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to
perpetuate its blessings:

Mississippi 1890, Preamble We, the people of Mississippi in convention
assembled, grateful to Al mighty God, and invoking His blessing on our

Missouri 1845, Preamble We, the people of Missouri , with profound
reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His
goodness . Establish this Constitution...

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to
Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution

Nebraska 1875, Preamble We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for
our freedom . Establish this Constitution.

Nevada 1864, Preamble We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful
to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution...

New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V Every individual has a
natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates
of his own conscience.

New Jersey 1844, Preamble We, the people of the State of New Jersey,
grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath
so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on
our endeavors.

New Mexico 1911, Preamble We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to
Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..

New York 1846, Preamble We, the people of the State of New York ,
grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its

North Carolina 1868, Preamble We the people of the State of North
Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations,
for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging
our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those...

North Dakota 1889, Preamble We , the people of North Dakota , grateful
to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do

Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to
Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote
our common...

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in
order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be
secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the
dictates of their consciences

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania , grateful
to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and
humbly invoking His guidance...

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode
Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty
which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble We, the people of he State of South
Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish
this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of South Dakota , grateful
to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties .

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and
indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates
of their conscience...

Texas 1845, Preamble We the People of the Republic of Texas ,
acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we
establish this Constitution.

Vermont 1777, Preamble Whereas all government ought to enable the
individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other
blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man .

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe
our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual
duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity
towards each other

Washington 1889, Preamble We the People of the State of Washington ,
grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do
ordain this Constitution

West Virginia 1872, Preamble Since through Divine Providence we enjoy
the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the
people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance
upon God ...

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble We, the people of Wisconsin , grateful to
Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility...

Wyoming 1890, Preamble We, the people of the State of Wyoming ,
grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties,
establish this Constitution..

After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state
constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, the ACLU and
the out-of-control federal courts are wrong!

Please note that at no time is anyone told that they MUST worship God.

'Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by
tyrants.' - William Penn

GOD BLESS AMERICA and protect us from our own selfishness.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BO Stinks On Baby Rights

By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2008 ( - Barack Obama, the presumptive pro-abortion nominee of the Democratic Party, has plans to reward the allies that helped him topple Hillary Clinton from her throne by making total unrestricted abortion in the United States his number one priority as president.

In light of Obama's recently achieved status as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Focus on the Family's CitizenLink has decided to remind its supporters that almost one year has passed since Obama made his vows to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that abortion would be the first priority of his administration.

"The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," Obama said in his July speech to abortion advocates worried about the increase of pro-life legislation at the state level.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is legislation Obama has co-sponsored along with 18 other senators that would annihilate every single state law limiting or regulating abortion, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion.

The 2007 version of FOCA proposed: "It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman."

Obama made his remarks in a question-and-answer session after delivering a speech crystallizing for abortion advocates his deep-seated abortion philosophy and his belief that federal legislation will break pro-life resistance and end the national debate on abortion. (see transcript:

"I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are so nineties; their days are growing dark, it is time to turn the page," Obama said in July. "We want a new day here in America. We're tired about arguing about the same ole' stuff. And I am convinced we can win that argument."

Besides making abortion on demand a "fundamental right" throughout the United States, FOCA would effectively nullify informed consent laws, waiting periods, health safety regulations for abortion clinics, etc.

Furthermore, medical professionals and institutions that refused abortions also would lose legal protections. FOCA would expose individuals, organizations, and governments - including federal, state, and local government agencies - to costly civil actions for purported violations of the act.

"Thirty-five years after Roe, abortion supporters, like Senator Obama, are dismayed that abortion remains a divisive issue and that their radical agenda has not been submissively accepted by the American public," states Denise M. Burke, vice president of Americans United for Life.

"Rather than confronting legitimate issues concerning the availability and safety of abortion, they choose to blatantly ignore the concerns and interests of everyday Americans, as well as the growing evidence that abortion hurts women."

Obama has won the crucial endorsement of abortion activist Frances Kissling, who broke from the ranks of other radical feminist leaders earlier this year to endorse Obama, saying Obama, not Clinton, would better use the bully pulpit of the presidency to accomplish their aims and end the culture wars over abortion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Want To Teach the World To WHAT!!!???

According to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171, During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the
right hand over the heart.

"As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides, "Obama said.
"There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You
know, the bombs bursting in air and all.
It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose.
I like the song 'I'd Like to Teach the World to sing.' If that were our anthem, then I might salute it."

Sorry Barry, but that duck don't fly. Any Catholic who votes for you will be committing a mortal sin and anybody else who votes for you will get what they asked for...or at least what the current polls say they want.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Turn Up The Volume!

Everybody wants to know that somebody believes in them.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

D.C. Police to Check Drivers In Violence-Plagued Trinidad Neighborhood

This article was in the Washington Post today. The Trinidad neighborhood is just blocks away from the National Basilica to The Immaculate Conception. Be VERY careful if you are visiting this summer.

Maybe this is why Our Lady has asked that Her children come to Rome City?


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spiritual help and healing?

By Kevin Kilbane
of The News-Sentinel

She wore a robe of pure white and a white veil reaching almost to her waist. On her head rested a brilliant, gold crown.

Then she is reported to have spoken these words: “I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives.”

That vision of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, reportedly occurred slightly more than 50 years ago at what today is commonly known as Sylvan Springs in Rome City, about an hour north of Fort Wayne.

Whether Mary appeared there continues to prompt debate today. But its also has been drawing people to Sylvan Springs to pray, and some visitors report experiencing spiritual or physical healings.

“This is holy ground,” said Irvin Kloska, an Elkhart resident who comes to Sylvan Springs frequently to pray and to pray over people seeking healing.

The evaluation of claims

The Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is aware of the situation at Sylvan Springs but does not believe it warrants investigation at this time, Bishop John M. D'Arcy said.

Most of the reported healings have come in the last few years, said D'Arcy and Brian MacMichael, the director of the diocese's Office of Worship. The church moves slowly in evaluating such claims, in part to see if the site has staying power, MacMichael said.

D'Arcy also has concerns about people solely seeking out miracles.

“God comes to us through the ordinary, through the bread and wine (of Communion) and through the pastor as shepherd,” D'Arcy said. “As a pastor, I would say people should seek (the) ordinary means Christ has given to the church and not seek signs and wonders.”

A grassroots effort led largely by lay people, however, continues to lobby U.S. Catholic bishops to approve recognizing Mary as Our Lady of America.

Mary, a mother of many titles

While the Catholic Church recognizes there is only one Mary, Catholics honor her with many different titles, said the Rev. Thomas A. Thompson of the Marian Library at the University of Dayton, a Catholic university in Dayton, Ohio. The titles express the closeness of Mary, especially to a geographic area.

The church leaves it to the local bishop to decide whether an appearance, or apparition, actually has taken place, Thompson said.

Local bishops have ruled Mary has appeared at least nine times on Earth since her death, including as Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531 near Mexico City; as Our Lady of Lourdes in 1858 in southern France; as Our Lady of Knock in 1879 in Knock, Ireland; and as Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 at Fatima in Portugal, according to the University of Dayton's “The Mary Page” Web site.

The appearance at Sylvan Springs

The first reported apparition at Sylvan Springs took place on Sept. 25, 1956.

At the time, the property — originally known as Kneipp Springs or Kneipp Sanitarium — was operated by the Sisters of the Precious Blood, a Catholic religious congregation of women based then and now in Dayton, Ohio.

The sisters, who had staffed the site since 1901, provided people with a place to relax, refresh themselves and get “treatments” in the natural spring water that still flows on the grounds, the booklet “Kneipp Sanitarium, Rome City, Ind. 1930” said.

On that day in 1956, Precious Blood member Sister Mary Ephrem said Mary appeared to her during evening prayer. The next morning, Ephrem said Mary appeared to her again after the morning Mass.

Ephrem later said, in 1954 and 1955 at other locations, she had received messages from an unseen Jesus Christ and Mary, and as well as from St. Michael and the angel Gabriel.

During Mary's first reported appearance at Sylvan Springs, Ephrem said Mary looked like the description of Our Lady of Lourdes. The next morning and thereafter, Mary appeared in white robes as Our Lady of America, Ephrem wrote later while putting on paper her experiences and the messages she reportedly received from Mary.

The second day — Sept. 26, 1956 — Ephrem said Mary urged her to convey a message to “my children in America”: “I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be wonders of the soul. … I desire, through my children in America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations.”

Ephrem, who died in January 2000, previously said Mary continued to appear to her after she left Rome City to serve in other locations. Among the messages she reportedly received, Ephrem said Mary said the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., should be “a place of special pilgrimage.” Mary also requested she be honored there as “Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.” (To read the messages in full, go to

Some Our Lady of America supporters cite the link to the National Shrine as the reason Mary reportedly appeared at Rome City.

Archbishop John F. Noll, who led what is now the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese from 1925 until his death in 1956, helped lead efforts to raise money for and to complete construction of the National Shrine. Noll, who founded the national Our Sunday Visitor Catholic newspaper and publishing house in Huntington, also spent part of his summers at Sylvan Lake and what is now Sylvan Springs.

Mary as Our Lady of America

Ephrem discussed the apparitions and messages with a priest who was her spiritual adviser, the Rev. Paul F. Leibold.

Leibold became auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati in 1958, Bishop of Evansville in 1966 and Archbishop of Cincinnati in 1969. He died in 1972.

After Ephrem recorded her experiences and Mary's messages in writing, Leibold reviewed the report and issued a finding that nothing in the writings contradicted Catholic Church beliefs and teaching.

Leibold later had a medallion made containing the image of Our Lady of America, as it was described by Ephrem.

Leibold also commissioned creation of a wooden plaque and a statue in the image of Our Lady of America. He presented them to the convent in New Riegel, Ohio, near Fostoria, where Ephrem and several other sisters settled to lead a cloistered, or secluded and contemplative, life.

Ephrem withdrew from the Sisters of the Precious Blood in 1981 and was released from her religious vows, the order's archivist said. The records don't say why Ephrem left. The Precious Blood order has not lobbied for recognition of Mary as Our Lady of America.

Bishop D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese said he accepts Leibold's ruling that nothing in Ephrem's reports contradicts Catholic teaching.

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, who was asked to review the matter by Our Lady of America supporters, also sent U.S. bishops a letter in May 2007, stating Leibold had approved recognizing Mary as Our Lady of America.

Leibold's opinion opens the way for people to pray privately to Mary as Our Lady of America, D'Arcy said, but the decision isn't an official declaration an apparition took place.

Promoting recognition

Recently, two unrelated factors have combined to revive interest in Ephrem's visions at Rome City.

About three years ago, Al Langsenkamp of Indianapolis was on a pilgrimage trip to Italy when he heard about Our Lady of America.

“I asked myself , ‘Why do I have to travel to holy sites in Italy when Mary appeared in Indiana?'” Langsenkamp, the CEO of a computer software company, recalled in an interview a few months ago. He then got involved in promoting church recognition of Mary as Our Lady of America, as well as having a shrine to her established in the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

“Our Lady comes to a people at a time and place,” Langsenkamp said. “These messages are for the United States of America at this time in our history. … She is asking that we reform our lives and to live the life of the Holy Family (Mary, her husband, Joseph, and the child, Jesus).”

Langsenkamp and others working to promote recognition of Mary as Our Lady of America have been lobbying Catholic bishops and speaking at Catholic parishes around the country. They operate a Web site,, and arranged for creation of a 9-foot-tall statue in the image of Our Lady of America, which has been trucked to various dioceses for display and prayer. The statue recently was put on display for the summer at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.

New owner, new meaning

At the same time as Langsenkamp and others began promoting recognition of Mary as Our Lady of America, Larry Young, the current owner of the Sylvan Springs property, began serving people coming there for spiritual help and healing.

A Fort Wayne native who worked in the bankruptcy auction and liquidation business in Chicago, Young bought the Sylvan Springs property in November 2000.

The Sisters of the Precious Blood had sold the property in 1976.

It then had been owned by The Way religious group and a Noble County nonprofit organization before being purchased by Young.

He planned to turn the 197-acre site into a team sports-training facility. But more people showed up for prayer and contemplation rather than sports, he said. He began accommodating them, opening for prayer of the Rosary at 6:30 p.m. Fridays from spring to December.

Most of the people who attend drive in from the Fort Wayne and South Bend areas, but some have come from as far away as the East Coast, Young said.

After prayer, people have reported going outside and seeing the sun spin, Young said. They also have reported capturing images of strange, spherical orbs in photos taken in the main chapel. After visiting Sylvan Springs, Irv Kloska of Elkhart — the man who comes frequently to pray with and over people — said he received five dreams telling how to carve a statue of a woman out of alabaster stone. Kloska, who said he had done only a little woodworking previously, later realized the 26-pound figure he carved looks much like Sister Mary Ephrem's descriptions of Mary as Our Lady of America.

“Spiritual two-by-fours”

Other people have reported experiencing physical, spiritual or emotional healings.

After praying the Rosary on a Friday evening in July 2006, and hearing Kloska recount the story of carving the statue, Christian Weber of Elkhart said he asked in prayer for Mary to ask God to heal him.

Weber had been suffering from a tingling sensation and numbness in his feet and hands. Medical tests had not determined the cause, Weber said in an e-mail.

Weber later went up to Kloska's statue, which Kloska often brings to Friday prayer there, and rubbed the statue's back with his left hand while praying for healing.

A couple of minutes later, Weber noticed the tingling and numbness had disappeared in that left hand, he said. He then went up and rubbed the statue's back with his right hand while also praying for healing. A short time later, he felt the tingling and numbness leave his right hand as well.

After returning home, and after Communion at Sunday Mass, Weber thanked Mary again for his healing and asked, if possible, if his feet also could be healed.

“Shortly thereafter, the feeling of numbness and tingling of the toes in my feet was no more, and they felt normal again, which I haven't experienced for more than two years,” he said.

Kloska describes the healings and mystical events at Sylvan Springs as “spiritual two-by-fours.”

“They bring you to her, and she brings you to her son,” he said. “That's what it is all about.”

Facing uncertain times

But Young, who now believes in Our Lady of America, said maintaining the Sylvan Springs property has become a crushing financial burden, and he has the property up for sale.

“This effort has not only drained family resources, it has taken a significant toll on our overall physical health,” he said.

He and his wife and family have invested “several million dollars” in buying and renovating the property, he said, and he needs to get that money back. He hopes Catholic investors will form a nonprofit organization to buy the site and operate it as a religious shrine.

Catholic Church law defines a shrine as a church or other sacred place, which people visit as pilgrims for special prayer and devotion to God.

The local bishop decides whether a location should be recognized as a religious shrine, said Bishop D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese.

All U.S. bishops would have to approve a location being a national shrine, and the Vatican must approve places considered international shrines.

D'Arcy said he has no plans at this time to approve the Sylvan Springs site as a shrine.

The reported apparitions were private revelations that followed Sister Mary Ephrem as she transferred to serve in other locations, said MacMichael, the diocese's Office of Worship director.

In addition, Pope John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of the Americas — North, Central and South, D'Arcy said. It seems more faithful to the pope's declaration, he said, to decline to respond to those seeking recognition of Mary as Our Lady of America.

The future

That decision has left Young and Our Lady of America supporters uncertain about the future.

Young still hopes Catholic investors will step forward and keep the property in religious hands. If that doesn't happen, he said he could be forced to sell the property to a buyer seeking to use it for commercial purposes.

In the meantime, people who believe Mary appeared at Sylvan Springs continue to return there to pray and meditate.

Regardless of what the official church does, for them, the site remains holy ground.
Discuss this article! Add Your Comments

Keeping the faith: A family journey

The Fean Family believes a strong faith and divine intervention helped keep them together
By Kevin Kilbane
of The News-Sentinel

Tom and Kathy Fean of Fort Wayne believe divine intervention following prayer at Sylvan Springs resulted in their son's healing from cancer.

In June 2001, their son, Greg, then age 5, began having pains in his legs and chest.

“It would come and go,” Kathy Fean recalled.

A blood test showed no problem. A visit to a chiropractor didn't help. A September visit to a local hospital for arm pain resulted in a diagnosis of overextended elbow.

Right after they returned from a family vacation, however, Greg laid on the couch and couldn't move, his parents said. They took him back to the hospital Sept. 18, 2001.

“We got the call at 4:30 in the afternoon,” Tom said. “There were ‘blast' cells in his blood.”

The diagnosis: acute lymphocytic leukemia — cancer of the blood.

The local hospital referred Greg immediately to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. There, doctors started chemotherapy Sept. 19, and 90 percent of the “blast” cancer cells in his blood had been destroyed when Greg was discharged from Riley Sept. 23.

Greg was due back at Riley on Sept. 28 for a follow-up check, the Feans said. Typically, blast cells continue to show up in a patient's blood off and on for the first 28 days after the initial chemotherapy treatment, Kathy said.

The trip to Sylvan Springs

Right after Greg's diagnosis with leukemia, Kathy had called friends to ask them to pray for Greg. One of them recommended she call Irv Kloska of Elkhart. Kloska is a layman who often prays with and over people in need of spiritual or physical healing. Tom Fean had met Kloska briefly once previously at a presentation.

Kloska believes Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, continues to have a presence at the Sylvan Springs property in Rome City, and that she intercedes with God to bring about people's healing or spiritual conversion.

After talking with Kathy Fean and learning more about Greg's situation, Kloska asked the Feans to meet him Sept. 27 at Sylvan Springs, which is about halfway between Fort Wayne and Elkhart.

The night before, Kathy said she felt she received a message from Mary.

“I was awakened at night by the Blessed Mother,” Kathy recalled. “She said nothing. I smelled roses. She appeared as Queen, covered in regal jewels.”

Though she didn't hear anything, Kathy sensed a message from Mary: “This is my thing. You are going to be OK.”

A divine meeting

The next day at Sylvan Springs, they met Kloska and went to the main building's small chapel. There, they prayed the Rosary, a devotional series of prayers and meditations. Kloska then consecrated Greg to Mary.

During other prayers, he asked the late Sister Mary Ephrem — the religious sister who said Mary appeared to her at Sylvan Springs in the 1950s — to intercede with God for Greg's healing. Kloska also had Tom Fean lift up his son so Greg could touch the crucifix that once hung in the chapel room in Ephrem house in Fostoria, Ohio.

The next day, as they drove down to Riley Hospital, Greg asked his parents why they were going, Kathy recalled. He said he no longer had leukemia.

After they arrived at Riley and the staff ran some tests on Greg's blood, they didn't find any sign of blast cancer cells, Kathy Fean said. In addition, the platelet count in his blood had soared to 137,500. That number surprised doctors, Kathy said, because they thought Greg would need a blood transfusion to boost his platelet count, which had totaled 96,000 when he left Riley on Sept. 23.

Riley transferred coordination of Greg's care back to an oncologist in Fort Wayne. At that doctor's advice, the Feans continued chemotherapy treatment over the next three and half years — just as a precaution.

“We believe he's healed,” Kathy said.

The doctor who coordinated Greg's treatment, Dr. James Hill, attributes Greg's recovery to the medical care he received and to the Feans' strong faith. Hill formerly was part of the Pediatric Associates group in Fort Wayne and now practices at Riley.

The Feans believe other odd coincidences were intended as signs of divine intervention. They included: A book on consecrating families to Mary showed up at their house a couple of weeks before Greg's diagnosis, without any indication of who sent it or a return address. A star decoration on Greg's birthday cake bore the words, “You Have Been Chosen.” The day they prayed with Kloska at Sylvan Springs happened to be the 45th anniversary of one of Mary's reported appearances to Sister Mary Ephrem at Sylvan Springs.

The January after Greg was diagnosed with leukemia, the Feans also learned Kathy was pregnant. Their daughter, Mary, was born Sept. 3, 2002, the Catholic feast day commemorating St. Gregory the Great, Kathy said.

They stored Mary's cord blood in case it could be used if Greg ever needed a bone-marrow transplant, Tom said. A doctor called later to say it was a perfect match with Greg.

“This is just another indication they are taking care of us up there,” Kathy said.

Word of Greg's suffering, apparent healing and the family's faith also resulted in Greg receiving letters from about 100 people and many said his story strengthened or rekindled their faith.

“It wasn't until the end of chemo that we fully realized the Blessed Mother simply used us to help build an army for her son, Jesus,” Kathy Fean said.

“Yes, our son suffered through 80 chemotherapy treatments for three and a half years in order to do her work, but in some strange way that's OK with us,” she added. “We still have days that are emotionally painful from memories, or even fear of being summoned to such a quest again, but somehow Jesus and his mother calm us again.”


Now age 12, Greg has been treatment-free for more than three years.

He played in a local flag football league this past fall. He also started snow skiing.

A book Greg wrote three years ago about his experiences also has been published. Designed to help other children fighting cancer, “God Healed the Little Boy” (, $12.99), tells Greg's story in simple terms, accompanied by colorful illustrations created by Kathy's mother.

Greg's cancer and recovery also have changed his family.

“We learned a lot about faith,” Tom said.

The Feans volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and American Cancer Society, Kathy said. They also speak frequently to faith groups.

“We are much more content with family time,” Tom added, saying he used to be more focused on his job and career growth.

“I don't have to control everything,” he said. “You have to give up your life to God and let him lead you.”

Greetings From Rome City...Wish You Were Here!