Ja e publica a capa da edicao norte-americana de dezembro de 2015 da National Geographic, uma revista que nao pode ser catalogada precisamente como “amistosa” para com a Igreja catolica. A edicao tera na capa aquela que a revista chama de “mulher mais poderosa do mundo”: Nossa Senhora, a Virgem Maria. A materia de Maureen Orth percorre algumas das aparicoes marianas mais conhecidas no mundo todo, incluindo as aparicoes de Medjugorje, e, ao mesmo tempo, relata historias de pessoas que receberam gracas por intercessao da Virgem Maria. Pilgrims in Kalwaria Paclawska, Poland, showed their devotion to Mary with a procession in 2010.
Orth, a practicing Catholic who certainly knew about Mary before this assignment, said she learned a great deal from talking with scholarly experts and reading mystics who wrote about the life of Mary, but whose observations didn’t make it into the article. She also witnessed the deep faith of many who have traveled great distances to be where apparitions of Mary are said to have taken place such as Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where six village children said they first saw Mary in 1981 and continue to see apparitions there.
In the small village, Orth met four stage-4 cancer victims last November: Two have since died, one is under treatment and another shows no signs of the disease. A 59-year-old hockey dad from Boston told Orth that in 2000, one of the Medjugorje visionaries prayed with him for a cure of the cancer that riddled his body, giving him only months left to live.
One of Orth’s most inspiring stops for the story, primarily because she had not been unaware of it, was the small village of Kibeho, Rwanda, described as the place where Mary appeared to three young girls in the 1980s and foretold the genocide that took place in that country in 1994. The girls, Orth writes, “said they spent countless hours in conversations with the Virgin, who called herself Nyina wa Jambo, Mother of the Word. But even though Mary is said to have spoken of the love of Jesus and gave these girls motherly advice, she is also said to have shown them images of heaven, hell, and purgatory along with horrific images of genocide that she warned could happen if Rwandans did not renew their hearts and dispel evil. Orth pointed out that very little is known about Mary from the Bible, but as her story reveals, the lack of details about Mary has not stopped people from reaching out to her in prayer and devotion as a way to better understand and approach God.
One of the most hot-button topics has been whether a "genocide" declaration could lead to the US opening its doors to many thousands of refugees. The Legislature has approved versions of a question that would allow the use of public money or property for the support or benefit of religion.
She's inspired countless works of art, millions visit her shrines every year, and National Geographic has named her the most powerful woman in the world. How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful WomanMary barely speaks in the New Testament, but her image and legacy are found and celebrated around the world. As the sun sets in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina—a hot spot for Virgin Mary sightings—devotees of diverse faiths and nationalities gather to pray.
Dragicevic was one of six poor shepherd children who first reported visions of the Virgin Mary in 1981. I’m in Medjugorje with a group of Americans, mostly hockey dads from the Boston area, plus two men and two women with stage 4 cancer. 5 Things to Know Marian Apparitions Researcher Michael O’Neill relays some fascinating facts about Virgin Mary apparitions.
The next morning, with his friends Rob and Kevin, he met another of the “visionaries,” Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic, in a jewelry shop and asked for her help.
Back in Boston a week later, a CT scan at Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that his tumors had shrunk to almost nothing. Praying for the Virgin Mary’s intercession and being devoted to her are a global phenomenon. Her reported appearances, visions experienced often by very poor children living in remote or conflict-wracked areas, have intensified her mystery and aura. Muslims as well as Christians consider her to be holy above all women, and her name “Maryam” appears more often in the Koran than “Mary” does in the Bible.
Anna Pidlisna, 32, of Ukraine, says she came to Medjugorje—where plaster statues can fetch about 30 euros apiece—after receiving a vision of Mary. The Evangelists were writing 40 to 65 years after Christ’s death and were not biographers, says Father Bertrand Buby, the author of a three-volume study, Mary of Galilee, and a distinguished member of the faculty in the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, in Ohio. During the first millennium, as Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire and began spreading into Europe, Mary typically was portrayed as an imperial figure, the equal of emperors, dressed in royal purple and gold. Because so little is known of Mary from Scripture, “you can project on her whatever cultural values you have,” says Amy-Jill Levine, a professor of New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University. During the Reformation (1517-1648), the idea of Mary as intercessor fell out of favor with Protestants, who advocated going straight to God in prayer.
Sister Marzena Michalczyck, 31, a nun from Krakow, Poland, pauses to pray during her weeklong walk to Czestochowa.
Kibeho, a small town in southern Rwanda, is remembered as the place where -->the Virgin Mary appeared to three young girls--> and foretold of the blood and horror of the genocide that would traumatize the country in 1994, when the majority Hutu attacked the minority Tutsi and in three months more than 800,000 people were slaughtered. In March 1982 the local bishop asked Venant Ntabomvura, a doctor, to go to a girls boarding school on a hillside in Kibeho. Mary appeared first to Alphonsine, then to Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, followed by Marie Claire Mukangango. I found Anathalie at dusk one evening in her modest home near her old school, surrounded by rosaries and statues of the Virgin. Mary’s dire prophecy came on a day in 1982 everyone expected to be especially happy: August 15, the Feast of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Anathalie said that what Mary predicted “is exactly what I saw” during the genocide 12 years later.
In Rutka, Poland, Anna Bondaruk, 84, prays with Marek Wlodzimirow, 38, who has come to her for spiritual healing. Michael O’Neill, 39, a Stanford University graduate in mechanical engineering and product design, is the Virgin Mary’s big data numbers cruncher. O’Neill, in his newly published book, Exploring the Miraculous, details the Vatican’s painstaking process when deciding whether to endorse an apparition as miraculous—“truly extraordinary.” The “authenticity” and mental stability of the seer are prime, and anyone suspected of trying to gain fame or riches from contact with the Virgin Mary is ignored or condemned. The Vatican would never approve an alleged apparition whose message contradicted church teachings, and the faithful aren’t required to believe in apparitions. Starting in the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church instituted a strict vetting process for miracles like the 2,000 sightings of the Virgin Mary claimed since A.D.
Nonetheless, over the years, as part of the church’s investigative process, seers have been subjected to batteries of tests. In the medical profession what you and I might call a miracle is often referred to as “spontaneous remission” or “regression to mean.” Frank McGovern, the Boston urologic surgeon who had done all he could for Arthur Boyle, told me that the cancer’s virtual disappearance was a “rare” but statistically possible happening. Did the intense heat Boyle experienced when Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic held his head in her hand play a part in his healing?
Her image was what Mexicans carried into their war against Spain for independence in 1810 and their internal revolution in 1910.
At dawn on December 11, the day before the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I drove southeast from Mexico City toward Puebla. I pulled off the highway at a camp in the woods where pilgrims sleep at night on the cold ground. The next morning when I arrived at the plaza in front of the basilica, a steady stream of people of all ages—including Alejandra Anai Hernan de Romero, an 18-year-old mother clutching her sick seven-week-old baby, Dieguito, born with a kidney malfunction—were shuffling on their knees across the square, standing only when they entered the basilica.
In the basilica, behind the main altar, protected by glass, hung the original cloth image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, focusing the rapt attention of the faithful passing by on a moving walkway. Many art historians see this as a standard European depiction of Mary, typical of the 16th century. Remarkably, the image hasn’t deteriorated, according to the church, even though the cloth hung in the basilica for more than a century without protection, vulnerable to dirt and smoke.
As the only woman to have her own sura, or chapter, in the Koran, Mary was chosen by God “above all other women of the world,” for her chastity and obedience. In Egypt I talked with devout Muslims who, because of their reverence for the Virgin Mary, had no qualms about visiting Christian churches and praying to her in church as well as mosque. I met Nabila Badr, 53, at a Coptic church along the Nile in a part of Cairo called Al Adaweya—one of the many places in Egypt where the Holy Family is said to have stopped. In Lourdes, a small town in France with an outsize reputation for miracles and Marian signs, volunteers push the wheelchairs of terminally or chronically ill pilgrims. Like many Egyptians, Badr also believes in jinn, or spirits, who influence life for good or bad, although she claims only to have her own angel.
Following the many paths of Mary, I learned that she has often appeared to people in crisis zones, such as Kibeho and Bosnia and Herzegovina, seeking to warn of danger or to serve as a symbol of healing. Everything at Lourdes is about scale: more than a hundred acres, six million visitors a year, space for 25,000 worshippers in the giant underground basilica. Lourdes is the Virgin’s miracle factory, with more than 7,000 miraculous cures claimed since the mid-1800s. Shortly after World War II, members of the French and German militaries met at Lourdes to reconcile and heal the wounds of war; now every spring veterans groups are among the hordes of pilgrims. Perkins grew up a poor white girl in a mostly black, inner-city neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington, with nominal support from her mother and alcoholic stepfather. In the Deir al Adra monastery, in Minya, Egypt, Muslims and Christians alike light candles to commemorate the Holy Family’s stay during their biblical flight into Egypt. Perkins attended the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit school, for 12 years but left a few credits short and graduated from SUNY, Albany. During the closing ceremonies at a giant Mass in the basilica, one of the European bishops, preaching in French, said, “World War III is already under way in the Middle East and Africa.” He praised the military there for focusing “on peace, justice, and human rights. I thought of the indelible scene of the candlelight procession the night before—thousands of pilgrims, from places ranging from Argentina to Zambia, silently lifting their candles in prayer.


Award-winning journalist Maureen Orth, also a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, has been wandering the world and telling unexpected stories since her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960s.Tune in Sunday, December 13, to National Geographic Channel’s Explorer series episode The Cult of Mary.
The author of National Geographica€™s story about the a€?most powerful woman in the worlda€? bears witness to a dying mana€™s courage and grace. Worshippers pray around the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Apparition Hill outside the holy site of Medjugorje, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of the four stage 4 cancer victims I met last November when starting my reporting for the December National Geographic cover story about the Virgin Mary, Gregg Laskoski, 37, was the sickest.
His mom, JoAnna€”who accompanied him to the village of Medjugorje, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the Virgin Mary allegedly has appeared to six poor shepherd children beginning in 1981a€”told me that Laskoski was a€?end stage.a€? He had pancreatic cancer that had spread throughout his body.
After learning his diagnosis, Laskoski had one goal: To have his two-year-old daughter, Evelyn, remember him.
He had decided to go to Medjugorje, which offers hope of healing for throngs of pilgrims every year, at the urging of a friend who was supposed to go with him but dropped out at the last minute. Devotion to the mother of Jesus is a daily practice for many of the worlda€™s 1.2 billion Catholics, but obsession with Mary can also be taken to extremes. We were there at the invitation of Arthur Boyle (no relation), who in 2000 experienced in Medjugorje what he considers a miraculous cure from stage 4 kidney cancer and now leads annual trips to the site.
By the time hea€™d gotten to Medjugorje, Laskoski had already experienced a miracle of sorts. After learning his diagnosis, Laskoski had one goal: to have his two-year-old daughter, Evelyn, remember him. Although Laskoski had lost his Catholic faith in college, he immediately asked his mother to summon a priest, telling her, a€?Mom, I remember nothing, but when I woke up, I felt the Holy Ghost sitting on my heart.a€? He also wanted his daughter baptized. He also made it in the rain up slippery Cross Mountain, where a giant crucifix had been erected. At a wedding ceremony in Boston on October 3, Gregg and Loren Laskoski renewed their vows from eight years earlier. I saw Laskoski in July at a barbecue and Mass at the Cohasset, Massachusetts, home of Michael Hughes, 51, a doctor who had stage 4 prostate cancer. In August, JoAnn phoned Greg Boyle to say her son was not doing well and was in a hospice center. We all got an invitation to his church wedding in Boston on October 3a€”a€?a humble affair,a€? Laskoski said it would be.
Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic, one of the six visionaries the Virgin Mary appeared to in 1981 in Medjugorje, prays over a kneeling Gregg Laskoski and his mother last year. She knows she will never see her daddy again, but she has the stuffed animal they made together. National Geographic's December 2015 cover story features someone they've deemed "the most important woman in the world": The Virgin Mary. The article examines the history of Marian devotion and her importance in cultures that are otherwise drastically different. The profile then delves into various Marian apparitions that have occurred around the world. The piece also examined how Mary is treated in the Islamic faith--Mary is the only woman to have a sura (chapter) dedicated to her in the Koran.
It's cool to see such a major magazine focus on religious beliefs in a respectful, reverential manner, and to acknowledge that for millions of people around the world, faith is a key part of their life and being.
O texto aborda ainda o processo que a Igreja segue para reconhecer ou nao o carater sobrenatural das aparicoes. One had been killed in the genocide, one became a monastic sister in Italy, and the third fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then Kenya during the three-month onslaught when the majority Hutu attacked the minority Tutsi and more than 800,000 people were killed. Yet from the rhapsodic language of saints and mystics to the less grandiose words of those of us just starting on the spiritual path, we’re all trying to describe the same thing.
She's the Virgin Mary.In its December cover story, the magazine explores the influence of Mary, including the apparitions she is said to have appeared in and the miracles she is said to have bestowed.
In a small Roman Catholic chapel in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the village of Medjugorje, Ivan Dragicevic walks down the aisle, kneels in front of the altar, bows his head for a moment, and then, smiling, lifts his gaze heavenward.
She identified herself to the four girls and two boys as the “Queen of Peace” and handed down the first of thousands of messages admonishing the faithful to pray more often and asking sinners to repent. We’re led by 59-year-old Arthur Boyle, a father of 13, who first came here on Labor Day weekend in 2000, riddled with cancer and given months to live. On August 12, during a Mass celebrating her assumption into heaven, Roman Catholic youths guard a life-size figure in Kalwaria Paclawska, Poland. The notion of Mary as intercessor with Jesus begins with the miracle of the wine at the wedding at Cana, when, according to the Gospel of John, she tells him, “They have no wine,” thus prompting his first miracle. And when the children can’t be shaken from their stories—especially if the accounts are accompanied by inexplicable “signs” such as spinning suns or gushing springs—her wonder grows.
Scholars of Mary must take what they can from Hebrew Scriptures, first-century Mediterranean texts, the New Testament, and archaeological digs.
After Mary became pregnant, her betrothed, Joseph, a carpenter, considered quietly leaving her until an angel came to him in a dream and told him not to. Maria Enriqueta Garcia, in her sacred theology dissertation at the Marian Institute, explains that Mary brings us to Jesus, who is the light of the world, just as Jewish mothers light the Shabbat candles. In the second millennium, beginning in the 12th century, says medieval historian Miri Rubin of Queen Mary University of London, “she underwent a dramatic shift,” evolving into a more accessible, kinder, gentler maternal figure. But Mary gained millions of new Catholic followers with the Spanish conquest in the New World in the early 1500s—and, more recently, in Africa as Christianity has spread there. Millions of pilgrims trek there to see the Black Madonna, an icon believed to bestow miracles upon the faithful. He was to investigate three students who had reported visions and conversations with the Virgin Mary. The girls said they spent countless hours in conversations with the Virgin, who called herself Nyina wa Jambo, Mother of the Word. The Black Madonna—a revered painting of a dark-skinned Virgin Mary and Child Jesus, said to be the work of St.
The local bishops with authority over Medjugorje have never given credence to the apparitions and have been at odds with the Franciscan priests who run the parish and are staunch believers. There have been attempts to get the visionaries in Medjugorje to blink or react to loud noises while they experience apparitions. That’s the case with Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose image on the tilma, or cloak, of a poor Indian man gave rise, in 1531, to Mexican identity. Cesar Chavez marched with her banner in his fight to unionize farmworkers in California in the 1960s. Pilgrims were thronging in the opposite direction, toward the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the great shrine in the heart of the capital. According to legend, accepted by the church, it was in 1531 that the Virgin of Guadalupe spoke, in Nahuatl (the Aztec language), to Juan Diego, a baptized Indian canonized in 2002. But within the past several decades some church scholars have begun to interpret the visual imagery to be a combination of Catholic and what they consider to be Aztec iconography. Gold stars were added to the Virgin’s mantle, aligned, according to a Mexican study published in 1983, in their configuration at dawn on December 12, 1531, the day the image allegedly appeared on the tilma.
One day in Cairo I encountered two young Muslim women in head scarves standing in front of the old Coptic Abu Serga church, built over a cave that is said to have been used by the Holy Family. Badr is a married mother of three and an events organizer for the governor of a state near Cairo. Mary’s church in Zaytun, a neighborhood in Old Cairo, apparitions of a silent Madonna bathed in white light are said to have appeared at night above the domes of the church for three years, from 1968 to 1971. The Massabielle Grotto has been the font of Lourdes’s fame since 1858, when Mary is said to have appeared before a teenage girl and asked her to dig a spring in the hard earth.
In her aftermath come physical cures said to be miraculous, as at Medjugorje, and spiritual healings too numerous to count.
It was built in 1958 to commemorate the centennial of the Virgin Mary’s first appearance, in 1858, to Bernadette, an illiterate 14-year-old peasant girl.
There’s a strict protocol for how you disrobe and then tie a light linen cloth around your body for a quick, private dip, supported under each arm by a volunteer. While in San Francisco, she took a job at Macy’s, working her way up the corporate ladder to become a senior executive. It had ended with dozens of veterans in wheelchairs lining up in front, next to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, for songs and prayers.
Countless pilgrims have come here seeking physical and spiritual healing, including Gregg Laskoski, an American with end-stage pancreatic cancer. He died on November 2, All Soulsa€™ Day, exactly one year to the day after we had randomly come together in Medjugorje.
Two nurses, named Angel and Hope, performed CPR on him for 55 minutes and brought him back to life in February 2014, when his wife, Loren, found him collapsed on the hospital floor after his first chemo treatment.
After previously spending most of his days sleeping, Laskoski managed to climb rocky Apparition Hill to the spot where the visionaries first reported the appearance of the Virgin Mary.
Boyle, who credits Medjugorje and Laskoski with making him a better husband and father, went to visit him with another Medjugorje alum. He later phoned to explain that at that very moment hea€™d been asking God for a sign that he was listening.


The doctors said he was in no condition to take a plane to Florida so that his mermaid-obsessed little girl could see the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids perform.
On Halloween, in a wheelchair pushed by his father, Laskoski went trick-or-treating with his precious curly-haired Evelyn dressed as Princess Leia. It also notes that even though she only speaks a few times in the Bible, her image has remained extremely important for over a millennium. Muslims believe that Mary was chosen by God over all other women due to her chastity and obedience and is therefore an important figure in their faith.
Orth visited several countries and interviewed dozens of people with strong devotional ties to Mary. When he went back to Boston a week later, a CT scan at Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that his tumors were almost gone. Their stories have been consistent throughout the years, and they also have undergone extensive questioning from Vatican officials.
Dragicevic was 16 years old, and Medjugorje, then in communist-controlled Yugoslavia, had yet to emerge as a hub of miracle cures and spiritual conversions, attracting 30 million pilgrims during the past three decades. He felt broken and dejected and wouldn’t have made the trip had not two friends forced him into it. The image in Mexico of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most reproduced female likenesses ever.
She served as a substitute mother in monasteries and convents, which novices often entered at a tender age.
Ntabomvura, a kindly ear, nose, and throat specialist who, at 89, is still practicing, says Alphonsine Mumureke had first told of visits by apparitions the previous November.
To be worthy of belief and church support, apparitions must be deemed miraculous with a high degree of certainty and in line with church doctrine, and found to have had a positive impact.
A fierce mother figure as well as a goddess, Ezili has been a revered Vodou spirit since the Haitian Revolution. Anyone witnessing the outpouring of love and devotion that pilgrims demonstrate for their beloved Madre on the days leading up to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe—broadcast live throughout the country on December 12—can see that the Virgin Mary is deeply embedded in Mexican hearts and souls. Our Lady of Guadalupe conferred instant benediction on the once despised mestizo children of Spaniards and Indians. Along the busy highway I saw people walking alone or in groups, packs of cyclists dressed alike, and numerous pickups flying by with flashing colored lights, artificial flowers, and statues of the Virgin wobbling in the back.
Most I talked to said they were coming to give thanks: They had made a promise to the Virgin, and she had answered their prayer. She urged him to tell the bishop that she wanted a church built on the site, Tepeyac Hill, which had been a place for worshipping Aztec earth goddesses. Flowers don’t bloom there in December, but Juan Diego gathered a bouquet of beautiful roses, which he folded into his tilma, believed to be woven from agave fibers. According to such recent interpretations, an illiterate Indian would instantly be able to read the symbols as a nonverbal catechism. The Aztec greatly revered the sun god, and glowing rays added behind Mary signify that she comes from heaven and that her god has divine power. Father Johann Roten, a Marian scholar, says Mary’s presence in the Caribbean can be traced to the merging of two cultures—Spanish Catholics and pre-Christian Africans—that began in the early 1500s. A small puddle soon grew into a pool; eventually it became this sacred water source, visited by some six million pilgrims every year. Lourdes, the Virgin’s most famous pilgrimage site, at the foot of the Pyrenees in southwestern France, is her miracle factory, with more than 7,000 miraculous cures claimed since the mid-1800s. Perkins, 60, an affable triathlete and mother of two who was commanding a battalion of 480 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, when the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001.
She learned German during a gap year between high school and college when she lived as an “indentured servant,” cleaning rooms in a family-owned hotel in the Bavarian Alps.
So many souls yearning to be witnesses for hope, so many souls imbued with the belief that the Virgin Mary was lighting their way. Laskoski died of cancer on November 2, a year to the day after author Maureen Orth joined him and a group of other Americans in Medjugorje. He endured a three-day induced coma amid his familya€™s fears he might never come out of it. They told me they were completely at peace with God and no matter their fate, what the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje had given them was this incredible support group of men they went to Mass and prayed witha€”guys who also took Laskoski to basketball and baseball games. He checked himself out anyway and went, his trip paid for by the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation, which grants wishes for families of the terminally ill. 431, at the Third Ecumenical Council, in Ephesus, that she was officially named Theotokos, Bearer of God. Mary draws millions each year to shrines such as Fatima, in Portugal, and Knock, in Ireland, sustaining religious tourism estimated to be worth billions of dollars a year and providing thousands of jobs. He remembers that Alphonsine “fell down many times, because what she watched was very terrible. All of this had been predicted.” Anathalie was able to flee Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then Kenya.
Systematic investigation and documentation of supernatural occurrences began with the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church’s ecumenical reaction to the Reformation, more than 450 years ago.
She is the symbol of la raza, the definition of what it means to be Mexican, and because of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexicans have always believed they’re special. A volunteer told me that leading up to the Feast of Guadalupe, they feed 5,000 pilgrims a day here. When he finally got to see the bishop and opened his cloak, the roses spilled out, revealing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The dusky woman’s dark hair is parted in the middle, possibly symbolizing that she’s a virgin, but she wears a black bow high around her waist, a sign that she’s pregnant. One theory holds that in Nahuatl, the word “Mexico” comes from three words that mean “in the center of the moon”—and Mary is standing in the center of a black crescent moon.
An affidavit from several decades later says that the spill left only a vague mark like a water stain.
In a small room in the back of the church Badr mingled with Coptic Christians praying there, lit candle after candle, bowed, and prayed to an icon of Mary on the wall that was claimed to have once wept tears of oil.
Bernadette was canonized on December 8, 1933.) The nearby Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, its stones worn by millions of feet, is where the Virgin is said to have commanded Bernadette to scoop up the mud with her hands to make a spring gurgle from the damp soil. They had come for the annual pilgrimage of militaries (from 35 nations this year) to celebrate peace.
Because hers was the only battalion whose soldiers had crucial counterintelligence and interrogation expertise, she oversaw the soldiers’ deployment to five countries, and she sent a group to Guantanamo Bay to set up facilities for POWs.
Her only recreation was to hike the mountain trails, where she encountered little shrines to Mary. After marrying a Green Beret, she signed up with the Army full-time and worked in counterintelligence.
Rooms for the family and a reception space were secured, as were a DJ, a photographer, a cake, a new suit for Laskoskia€”the works. She inspired the creation of many great works of art and architecture (Michelangelo’s “Pieta,” Notre Dame Cathedral), as well as poetry, liturgy, and music (Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin). Of the 2,000 apparitions reported since then, Miracle Hunter cites a mere 28 as approved by local bishops, who are the first to decide whether “seers” seem plausible.
Borne on the shoulders of an angel who, some say, has native features, she dominates both light and darkness. In 1921 Luciano Perez Carpio, who worked in an office of Mexico’s president tasked with weakening the grip of religion, placed a bomb in a bouquet of flowers below the image. Badr said she talks to Mary about her life and that Mary has answered her several times by showing her visions in dreams that later came true.
Mary’s since 1964, told me that often Muslim women who want to get pregnant come to his church to pray.
That miraculous water is the source for baths that attract thousands daily in wheelchairs, and thousands more on foot, to pray for cures.
For the rest of their lives, all these quietly brave men and women and those who support them must contend with debilitating injuries suffered sometimes during multiple deployments. With his whole extended family hugging one another and holding Evelyn, they surrounded Laskoski and Loren in a circle of love as they tearfully took their first dance. As a universal symbol of maternal love, as well as of suffering and sacrifice, Mary is often the touchstone of our longing for meaning, a more accessible link to the supernatural than formal church teachings.
And she is the spiritual confidante of billions of people, no matter how isolated or forgotten. Volunteers push les malades, the sick, in blue buggies in endless, snaking lines along Lourdes’s narrow streets, flanked by dozens of religious curio shops. On June 29, 2001, nearly 20 years after Alphonsine had first reported her apparition, Rwanda’s Bishop Augustin Misago and the Vatican declared that, yes, the Virgin Mary had appeared at Kibeho. The glyph of a four-petaled flower in the center of her rose-colored tunic supposedly means that she is the god bearer.



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