Surviving the Spanish Conquest of Mexico 1519-1521, a native Aztec Indian, Juan Diego converted to Catholicism by means of Franciscan missionaries. From this conversion Juan received a special gift from Heaven. Today the results of Juan apparitions has lead to a deep devotion, for countless millions of pilgrims, who have witnessed the miraculous sign left to the world as a witness to the event.
It happened on a 130 foot hilltop in a wasteland five miles north of Mexico City. There Juan Diego lived alone having lost his wife several years before. His only surviving relative was a uncle who had been like a foster father since his early childhood.
At the time of the apparition the parish of La Salette in the diocese of Gronoble consisted of a few tiny hamlets in the French Alps. Here Our Lady appeared to two young herders, Melanie Mathieu age 14, and Maximin Giraud, age 11, on September 19, 1846.
Throughout all France and the Western world was the coming of an age of new ideas. Revolution was in the air affecting not only political order but also religious orders. The concept of humanism was taking shape leaving the Sunday Mass with fewer and fewer attendance.
Melanie and Maximin were natives of Corps, a small town with fewer than one thousand inhabitants. Their families were extremely poor. Melanie was one of eight children, left to beg on the streets. She was silent child without gaiety, withdrawn and timid with no schooling. Maximin on the other hand was full of spirit. He spent much of his time roaming the streets. Like Melanie, Maximin was a stranger to school.
52th Apparition Anniversary February 11, 2010
Lourdes is a village in France where Our Blessed Mother appeared eighteen times to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Her messages to Bernadette are ageless and apply to all of us today.
Bernadette Soubirous was born on January 7, 1844. She was the first child of Francois Soubirous and Louise Soubirous (Casterot). Her father was a miller who provided a comfortable living for his family. Bernadette had six brothers and two sisters. Only three of her siblings lived beyond the age of ten. These loses bonded the family together in strength and love. Bernadette once said that she had never heard her parents quarrel. The family was always at peace. This solid family foundation left Bernadette emotionally balanced in times of trouble and when faced with poverty and illnesses which were to come.
Laboure was born on May 2, 1806 in the tiny village of Fain-les-moutiers, not far from Dijon, France. The apparitions that happened in her life would lead the Catholic population in the devotion and the wearing of the now well know Miraculous Medal.
Catherine was the ninth of ten children. At age nine her devoted mother passed away. In the mist of her mother's passing Catherine turned to Our Lady. Climbing up on a chair, she reached for a statue of the Blessed Virgin that stood high on a shelf in her mother's bedroom, clasping it to her breast she said out loud, "Now dear Blessed Mother, you will be my mother."
Our Lady appears to six visionaries, which can see her and talk with her during regular apparitions. During some of these apparitions, Our Lady gives messages. One of most frequented topics of these messages are appeals for prayers and love.
On June 24, 1981 at around 6pm six little children went outside of Medjugorje on a little hill named Podbrdo, or locally known as Crnica.
Those children were Ivanka Ivanković, Mirjana Dragičević, Vicka Ivanković, Ivan
Dragičević, Ivan Ivanković and Milka Pavlović. While there, they saw a beautiful, young woman holding a baby in her arms. She never said anything that day, but tried to show them with her hands to come closer to her. The children got very scared and ran away, although they all thought they saw Virgin Mary.
Supernatural signs are a method God has used throughout history to know Him and to bring His children to conversion. It is a way God speaks to us or to incite our hearts to believe and come to Him. Yet, Jesus once said:
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.”
Yet still, Our Lady says:
March 25, 1990
“…God wants to save you and sends you messages through men, nature, and so many things which can only help you to understand that you must change the direction of your life…”