The month of May is a special time honor our Mother Mary, but every day of every month is an appropriate time to be thankful and mindful of her tender care for us. Today we would like to celebrate all that she does by presenting a brief gallery that shows us how great is the love of a mother. She comes to the aid and comfort of her children, even those in the most remote places of the world.
Mary our mother, model to follow, reminds us in each of her names that she is watching over us, caring for us, advising us and interceding for our salvation.
We invite you to live this Marian month (and all others) with special thanksgiving for Mary’s acceptance and care.
1. Lady of Kibeho – Africa
This was the first appearance of the Virgin Mary in Africa approved by the Church. The Virgin Mary appears in the poorest area of Rwanda; On November 28, 1981 in Kibeho. She appears to 3 visionaries and warns about the genocide that would happen a few years later in Rwanda. She asks for conversion, fasting, prayer and repentance. It was not just a call for Africa but for the whole world.
2. Virgin of Caacupé – Paraguay
The image dates from the 1600s, in which an Indian named Joseph promises to the Virgin make her an image of wood if she saves him from the enemy mbaya tribe. Legend has it that the very same Virgin appears and shows him the place where he should hide in safety. The Indian Joseph delivers on his promise and sculpts this beautiful image that is now patron of the Paraguayan people. Among the countless miracles attributed to her, one of the most remarkable was the preservation of the city of Caacupé amidst a great flood which produced the Ypacarai Lake.
3. Virgin of Chapi – Perú
The image is most venerated in the southern regions of Peru. The story of this lady and her sanctuary in the remote and inhospitable Valley of Chapi dates back to 1700. The priests entrusted with establishing a parish closer to the population gave orders to carry the Virgin to another place. It was said that the image became so heavy that it was impossible to move it from that place. Every May 1st, a pilgrimage is held to the sanctuary of Chapi.
4. Our Lady of Beauring – Belgium
Also known as Our Lady of the Golden Heart, it is the image that appeared 33 times to some Belgian children between the years 1932 and 1933 in the small village of Beauring. The apparitions were approved by the Holy see in 1949. The most important message of these appearances was: Do you love my son? –Yes – they said to her. –Do you love me? –Oh, Yes! -Then, sacrifice for me.
5. Our Lady of Czestochowa – Poland
The Black Virgin de Czestochowa is the oldest relic revered in Poland and is one of its national symbols. It is said that the wood on which the icon is painted came from a board of the house of the Holy Family, and that it was painted by none other than Saint Luke, himself. In this painting, the Virgin calls attention beyond herself, pointing to Jesus, who extends His right hand toward the viewer as a sign of blessing.
6. Our Lady of La Salette – France.
The Virgin of La Salette is another appearance of our Holy Mother to two little shepherds of the small village of Salette, France. In these apparitions the Virgin asks once again for prayers, especially for priests and religious.
7. Our Lady of China
It is located in the sanctuary of She Shan, the most important Catholic shrine in China and one of the largest pilgrimage sites in all of Asia. Built by Jesuit priests in 1863, the sanctuary was damaged during revolutions and Catholic persecutions, however Christians in Asia continue to trust the Virgin who kept them safe.
8. Our Lady of Akita – Japan
Also known as the Fátima of East. The local bishop approved the appearance for public veneration in 1988. The image is located in the community of Siervas of the Eucharist in Akita, Japan. The same Virgin healed the original visionary, Sister Agnes of Deafness. In June 1988, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave definitive judgment on the events and messages of Akita, judging them reliable and worthy of faith. The cardinal noted that Akita is a continuation of the message of Fatima.
9. Our Lady of La Vang – Vietnam
The first appearance of Our Lady of La Vang was in 1798. There had been Catholic persecutions throughout the country. Many Catholics took refuge in the forest of La Vang, and in the evenings they would gather to pray the Rosary and talk to God. One night, a beautiful lady visited them with a child in her arms. She brought them solace and taught them to boil leaves of trees for use as medicine. The persecutions against Catholics did not cease and many times the town shrine was destroyed. It would eventually become designated the Basilica of La Vang, and would finally be completed and blessed by Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly in the year 2000.
10. Our Lady of Sufanieh – Syria
The Catholic Church and Orthodox alike approved this apparition. It so happened that a young, newly married 17-yr old Catholic who, along with her husband, was not very religious, received this vision of Mary. There was an image that the couple had next to their bed that began to drip with oil. Soon oil began to drip from the hands of the young bride Myrna. Numerous apparitions and healings ensued. The Virgin’s message was that we are instruments of unity through conversion and love. As a result of this apparition, Catholic priests, Orthodox and Muslims all began to gather at the site to pray to the Virgin.
11. Our Lady of Velankanni – India
Also known as the Lourdes of the East. The story recounts the apparition of the Virgin to a Hindu boy carrying milk to a wealthy prince. The Virgin appeared, carrying the Child Jesus, and asked milk for him. Later, when the boy arrived at his destination, he recounted the story and apologized for having no milk to deliver. The prince saw that the milk was not missing, and asked the child to take him to the place of the apparition where he could also see the Virgin. She appeared numerous times in the same way, but there is no official historical record of these, only the oral tradition and the countless miracles in the area that have been attributed to her. Ecclesiastical recognition elevated the shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni to the designation of basilica on November 3, 1962. The last attributed miracle was in 2004 during the tsunami of December 26; the basilica, which was visited by 2000 pilgrims, was the only building that remained standing, and not one of the visiting pilgrims was injured.