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During the course of history, the Virgin Mary has visited humanity in certain special places throughout the world.
In most Marian apparitions, only one person or a small group, very often as children, have been informed of the vision of the Blessed Virgin, which, at first, is described only as “a Lady”. Although there have been exceptions, such as the appearance in Zeitun, Egypt, where his appearance was documented before thousands of people: Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims and non-believers.
According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, the era of “public revelation” ended with the death of the last Apostle. A Marian apparition, if judged authentic by a legitimate authority of the Church, is considered a “private” revelation. In relation to this type of revelations, we can read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Throughout the centuries there have been revelations called “private”, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. These, however, do not belong to the deposit of faith. Its function is not to “improve” or “complete” the definitive Revelation of Christ, but to help it live more fully in a certain epoch of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the senses of the faithful ( sensus fidelium ) know how to discern and welcome what in these revelations constitutes an authentic call of Christ or of his saints to the Church. (CIC, 67).
After a thorough investigation in accordance with the norms specifically described by the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church will confirm an authentic appearance as trustworthy.
The Holy See has officially approved at least 13 apparitions of the Virgin Mary, including those of Guadalupe (Mexico), Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, Paris (Rue du Bac, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal), La Salette (France) , Lourdes (France), Fátima (Portugal), Pontmain (France), Beauraing (Belgium) and Banneux (Belgium).
There are other apparitions that have been approved by the corresponding local bishop; for example, the approval in 2010 of the 19th century apparitions of “Our Lady of Good Help”, the first Marian apparition recognized in the United States.
Marian apparitions of the 20th century
The twentieth century is lavish in the documentation of apparitions of the Blessed Mother, from the famous apparition in Fatima, Portugal, to other less popular, but equally powerful ones, such as the apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda, or in Akita, Japan. Why has it been showing up so recently?
Fray René Laurentin, a world-renowned mariologist, born on October 19, 1917 – just six days after the last appearance of the Virgin Mary at Fatima – has traveled around the world investigating many of the reports of these events. A few years ago, he affirmed that he believes that the multitude of apparitions is an urgent call to a world destined to self-destruction.
“There are very serious and serious situations in the world today, so there are many reasons for the Virgin to appear to alert us. She speaks globally of moral risks, of liberal sexual immorality or of materialism. The world has rejected God and is slowly and patiently abandoning itself to sin. It is as if we were sitting on a branch while we cut it ourselves. So now we experience the consequences. The world self-destructs because of sin and we can not get ourselves out of that situation without help. So the Virgin calls us to return to the essential in our lives. It asks for prayer and conversion, it tells us that God exists and that we must return to Him. Only in Him will we find our freedom. “
What message does the Blessed Virgin want to communicate to us? In an interview in 2008, Fr Laurentin explained that the messages vary but that, at the same time, they are unanimous “insofar as they represent the simple echo of the Gospel and invite us to prayer, to conversion, to repentance, to fasting and to the reading of the Bible , in different ways according to the times and the prophetic relevance of each individual message, but always without going beyond the limits of the doctrine of the Church. “
Although miracles, cures and recoveries accompanying the Marian apparitions are reported, they are not the essential purpose. When the Blessed Virgin appears, her main purpose is to guide her children to Jesus Christ.
Here you have 7 occasions in which the Virgin Mary visited humanity.
1. Lourdes (Franca), 1858
The Virgin Mary appears to Bernadette Soubirous, aged 14, a total of 18 times in the grotto of Massabielle (“the rock”) . The Virgin told Bernadette that she should tell the priests to build a chapel in the place and showed her a fountain whose waters have been the cause of many miraculous cures. When Bernadette finally asked the Lady who she was, the Virgin answered: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”