A Marian apparition is a reported supernatural appearance by Mary, the mother of Jesusor a series of related such appearances over a period of time. In order to be classified as a Marian apparition, the person or persons who claim to see Mary the "seers" must claim that they see her visually located in their environment. Also excluded from the category of apparitions are dreamsvisions experienced in the imagination, the claimed perception of Mary in ordinarily-explainable natural phenomenaand miracles associated with Marian artwork, such as weeping statues.
Believers consider such apparitions to be real and objective interventions of divine power, rather than subjective experiences generated by the perceiving individuals, even in cases where the apparition is reportedly seen by only some, not all, of the people present at the event's location. Marian apparitions are considered expressions of Mary's ongoing motherly care for the Church. The understood purpose of each apparition is to draw attention to some aspect of the Christian message, given the needs of a particular time and place.
Apparitions are often accompanied by other alleged supernatural phenomena, such as medical cures.
However, such miraculous events are not considered the purpose of Marian apparitions, but exist primarily to validate and draw attention to the message. Each Marian apparition is often associated with one or more titles given to Maryoften based on the location of the apparition, such as Our Lady of Pontmain in PontmainFrance. Others are named using a title which Mary applies to herself during the alleged apparition, as in the case of The Lady of All Nations.
Some Marian apparitions have only one purported seer, such as Our Lady of Lourdes. Other apparitions have multiple seers; in the case of Our Lady of Fatimathere were only three seers of the apparition itself, but miraculous phenomena was reported by a crowd of approximately 70, people, and even by others located miles away. Some modern mass apparitions, witnessed by hundreds of thousands, have also been photographed, such as Our Lady of Zeitoun.
Most alleged apparitions involve the verbal communication of messages, but others are silent, such as the apparition of Our Lady of Knock. Some apparitions are one-time events, such as Our Lady of La Salette. Others recur over an extended period of time, such as Our Lady of Lauswhose seer claimed 54 years of appearances. Public, serial apparitions in which a seer not only says that they have experienced a vision, but that they expect it will reoccur, causing people to gather to observe appear to be a relatively recent phenomenon; up until about the seventeenth century, most reported apparitions happened when the individual was alone, or at least no one else was aware of its occurrence.
Physical contact is hardly ever reported as part of Marian apparitions. In rare cases, a physical artifact is reportedly left behind, such as the image of Our Lady of Guadalupewhich is said to have been miraculously imprinted on the cloak of St. Juan Diego. The Catholic Church believes that it is possible for actually-supernatural Marian apparitions to occur, but also believes that many claimed apparitions are fabricated by the seer or the result of something other than divine intervention.
For this reason, the Catholic Church has a formal evaluation process established for assessing claimed apparitions. Inthe Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith promulgated the currently-used investigation guidelines in a document entitled "Norms of the Congregation for Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations," better known as Normae Congregationisa shortening of its Latin title.
Investigations into alleged apparitions can be carried out by the local ordinary i. Apparitions are evaluated on multiple criteria, including the sincerity and moral uprightness of the seers, the theological accuracy of the messages, and positive spiritual fruits resulting from the apparition event.
Occasionally, an ecclesial authority will decide not to investigate the veracity of an apparition in itself, but will approve the religious practices that have grown around the alleged apparition, such as by authorizing public veneration connected with the apparition, or by granting a request contained in the apparition messages.
Pope Leo XIIIfor example, authorized the use of a scapular described in the messages of Our Lady of Pellevoisin but did not pass judgment on the supernatural character of the apparition itself.
Even if a Catholic bishop approves an apparition, belief in the apparition is never required of the Catholic faithful.
A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions
A Marian apparition, on the other hand, is considered private revelationwhich may emphasize some facet of the received public revelation for a specific purpose, but can never add anything new to the deposit of faith. In the Catholic Church, approval of a Marian apparition is relatively rare. The majority of investigated apparitions are rejected as fraudulent or otherwise false. Marian apparitions, particularly those that are officially approved, often have a widespread impact on Christian piety and on the broader culture.
Apparitions can become an engrained part of national identity, as Our Lady of Guadalupe is for the majority-Catholic population of Mexico. In many cases, apparition seers report a request from Mary for the construction of a shrine on the spot of the apparition.Historically, Europe is the continent where most apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been reported. The divine is supernatural, but religion is very much of this world. The way people worship even has an impact on their physical surroundings.
Here's a telltale sign that you're in Catholic country: chapels, shrines and grottoes dot the roadside. The latter are replicas of the cave in southern France where the Virgin Mary appeared to a local peasant girl in the early 19th century.
Those Marian apparitions themselves are another peculiar point of contact between faith and the world. Typically, they happen in times of crisis to young children from a humble background. They are often the only ones able to see the apparition.
The visitations sometimes reoccur over a prolonged period. Witnesses are often able to report in great detail on the dress and attributes of the apparition, but mostly there is no direct contact between the Virgin and the observers.
Marian apparitions are generally associated with Catholicism, which has great devotion for Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Despite her being the mother of Christ, the church does not consider Mary to be divine herself. According to Catholic doctrine, the age of public revelation ended when John, the last apostle, died around the year AD. Marian apparitions therefore are 'private revelations', illuminating aspects of faith but never revealing new ones.
Apparitions often are the object of ridicule. Some may be fraudulent. Most do not get an official church approval, neither from the local bishop or from the Vatican. Unrecognized apparitions may thus lead to schisms with the official church. The visionary and their followers may decide to found their own independent movement or join existing sects. Either path is usually characterized by a traditionalist approach to the faith, often rejecting the innovations of the Second Vatican Council. Outside Europe, the U.
These maps, produced by National Geographicshow the geography of Marian visitations, in Europe and in the rest of the world. In Europe, the Virgin's favorite destinations appear to be Italy and France, followed by southern Germany i.
Considering the traditional hold of the faith on Spain and Poland, the number of Marian apparitions is relatively small. A fair number in western Ukraine, but none in eastern Germany. A handful in Hungary, almost none in the Balkans Medjugorje being the most notable exception. They were joined by other witnesses, who also saw a cross and a lamb on a small altar behind the three figures.
A witness further away described the scene as englobed in golden light. The apparition lasted for nearly two hours, during which the witnesses — standing in the pouring rain — recited the rosary. Meanwhile, the ground around the apparition remained entirely dry.
A church commission judged the apparition 'trustworthy'.Visions of Mary (Documentary)
Knock developed into a pilgrimage site. The apparition occurred at a time of agricultural strife and cultural crisis in Ireland, when the common language shifted from Gaelic to English. That may explain why the apparition remained silent: the oldest witness knew no English, while the youngest knew no Gaelic. On 13 Maythat youngest witness, John Curry, was reinterred in Old St Patrick's in Manhattan after his remains had been identified in an unmarked grave on Long Island.
His year-old brother also saw the apparition, but their parents, and other adults, saw nothing. Two other children described the apparition in the same detail as the two brothers.
Adults could only see a triangle of stars.This has allowed the Church the ability to properly discern which apparitions are supernatural in nature and worthy of belief. Even if the Church recognizes an apparition as worthy of belief, no Catholic is obligated to believe in any private revelation, such as an apparition.
The Church simply says that a person can find spiritual aid from an apparition, if he or she so chooses.
Furthermore, National Geographic created a legend for the map that explains which apparitions are approved by the Vatican. Interestingly, they also highlight the dramatic increase in reported apparitions that occurred during the past 60 years. The map is a useful guide for those interested in learning about the various locations of Marian apparitions and seeing how the Virgin Mary has appeared all over the world.
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Editor's choice. Toggle navigation. Kathleen N.Most people know the biblical account of how Mary, a young girl living in Nazareth in what is now Israel, was visited by angels who told her that she had been selected to bear the son of God, even though she was a virgin at the time.
The story of how she and her husband Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, how she delivered the baby Jesus in a manger, and how the infant was venerated by both local shepherds and visiting wise men from the east is the entirety of the Christmas story. Thousands of accounts exist dating back centuries of apparitions of Mary 1 occurring, sometimes to one person or a small group, sometimes to crowds of literally thousands, according to the Miracle Hunter website 2.
The Roman Catholic Church takes these reports seriously and investigates them. Of the hundreds of Mary sightings that have been reported, only a few have received the stamp of approval by the church. The sites of these apparitions are places of pilgrimage and veneration in the Roman Catholic Church and are said to be the venues of miraculous healings. Mary visitations are not confined to the Roman Catholic Church. The Egyptian Coptic Church has recognized a Mary apparition that is reported to have taken place in Zeitoun, part of Cairo, Egypt, that took place over a period of two to three years starting on April 2, The Anglican Church considers the event at Lourdes as being valid as well as a visitation that is said to have occurred in Yankalilla, South Australia in The apparitions can be strictly visual or, as in the case of the events of Fatima, allegedly accompanied by some kind of divine message in the form of prophecy.
The question as to whether any of these Mary apparition have any validity is a vexing one. A site on the phenomenon 3 sponsored by the Eastern Orthodox Church discusses the question of whether they constitute divine intervention or whether more secular explanations exist.
Infographic: Marian Apparitions Around The World
On the second side of the argument, explanations include children with overactive imaginations, delusional adults, solar phenomenon that have been misinterpreted, and even the nationalist will to be the venue of a miracle. Scientific research into the nature of Mary apparitions is scanty.
These events tend to take place in the absence of skeptical researchers who are prepared to bring to bear the tools of scientific research. The reported visitation at Medjugorje, Croatia, occurring in is a possible exception.
A paper 4 published in in the Journal for Scientific Exploration, a periodical that often deals in fringe science such as parapsychology and UFOs, concluded that six people who claimed to witness the Medjugorje apparitions witnessed some kind of outside phenomenon and had not imagined them. The Medjugoje events have not been officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, not to mention more conventional scientists, as being supernatural.
Whether the Mary apparitions are authentic or whether they can all be explained away by science may be beside the point. Millions of people believe that they occurred and are authentic.
Arguments to the contrary will not move believers, nor will belief move the skeptics. Originally published on TopSecretWriters. It's touted as a "must-see" dance [ All Rights Reserved. No material may be reproduced or copied without written permission. Previous Article. Next Article.
Mark Whittington view more articles. The Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christoccupies a singular position in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic tradition. She is venerated as a figure less than a divinity, but someone definitively holier than an ordinary human being, or even a run of the mill saint.
Some scholars have wondered if the veneration of Mary verges on the pagan worship of a mother-goddess. Scientific Research Scientific research into the nature of Mary apparitions is scanty. Religion and Cults view all articles in this category. Search for:. Donate to Support TSW! He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.Traditionally Approved.
A Catholic Church official said they will follow the decision of the Vatican on the alleged Marian apparition which happened more than 60 years ago in Lipa City, Batangas. The case is closed. We all obey. And the designation is deeply significant, recognizing the messages of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas, which exhort peace and give dire warnings, one miracle researcher says. 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.
His daily conversation with the Virgin Mary has begun. Each day reveals beautiful artwork and a historical dscription that highlights a famous or unique title of Mary. With sufficient writing space to add your own prayer, reflection or events for that day, you will be able to live each day in the celebration of your own personal Marian Year. More information about each devotion can be found at the companion website DayswithMary. From: Catholic News Agency. Pope Francis: The problem of Medjugorje … Benedict XVI in his time created a commission presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini and there were other cardinals and theologians, specialists.
They made a study and Cardinal Ruini came to me and consigned the study to me after many years. Read the Catholic News Agency article. She is reportedly appearing visibly to the masses and her image is allegedly being captured on photographs. This is very similar to her approved appearances in Zeitun Egypt in Competent eyewitness What do these visions portend and why are they occurring now? But despite many anticipating a papal pronouncement on a five-year Vatican investigation into Marian apparitions alleged to have taken place at Medjugorje, the brevity of the trip will probably make even a short visit impossible.
Following his Angelus address on Sunday, the Pope revealed his plans to visit the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where ethnic and interreligious tensions persist after the Bosnian civil war, which ended 20 years ago this year. His visit will also fall less than a year since the July 28 centenary of the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that precipitated the outbreak of World War I. From: National Catholic Register The international Vatican commission investigating the events at Medjugorje has completed its work and will submit its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican confirmed today.
Federico Lombardi, confirmed on Saturday that the international commission investigating the events in Medjugorje held its last meeting on 17 January. The commission has reportedly completed its work and will submit the outcomes of its study to the Congregation.These are the nine major approved Marian apparitions of modern times, based on their acceptance by the Church and the importance they have assumed over time.
See, for example, the article "Apparitions" in Fr. She proclaimed herself the spiritual mother of all mankind and left her miraculous image on Juan Diego's outer garment, his tilma. To this day Mexicans have a great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Vincent de Paul, at Rue du Bac in Paris, three times in She showed her the design of the the medal of the Immaculate Conception, the "Miraculous Medal. The Apparition at La Salette, France. She appealed for penance and an end to Sabbath breaking and blasphemy in the region.
This apparition is credited with a major revival of Catholicism in the area. The Apparitions at Lourdes, France. Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, aged 14, a total of eighteen times at Lourdes in southern France, at the Grotto of Massabielle.
She asked for penance and prayer for the conversion of sinners, and described herself as the "the Immaculate Conception. The Apparition at Pontmain, France. Mary appeared in the sky over the small town of Pontmain in north-western France to a group of young children for about three hours in Januaryas the Franco-Prussian war was threatening the area. Her message appeared on a banner under her feet, and encouraged prayer while emphasising Jesus' love and concern.
The village was spared invasion. The Apparition at Knock, Ireland. A number of villagers of diverse ages saw a silent apparition, which lasted about three hours, outside the gable end of the local church. They saw three figures, Mary, Joseph, and St John the Apostle, as well as a lamb on an altar and angels. The Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. She described herself as "Our Lady of the Rosary," while urging prayer, and particularly the rosary, as well as penance for the conversion of sinners, and the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
The Apparitions at Beauraing, Belgium. Mary appeared thirty-three times to a group of children in the winter of at Beauraing in Belgium, in a convent garden near a hawthorn tree. She described herself as "the Immaculate Virgin" and "Mother of God, Queen of Heaven," while calling for prayer for the conversion of sinners. The Apparitions at Banneux, Belgium. Mary appeared eight times to Mariette Beco, aged 11, outside the family home at Banneux, a small village, in Belgium.Faith in God, Strength in Christ.
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