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We did a retreat in the Boston area last weekend (4/26/15), and it was a delight to be back to a terrific retreat center now known as "Betania II."

The place has quite a history, there in Medway, Massachusetts.

It started when the Venezuelan mystic Maria Esperanza of Caracas (of the original Betania apparition site, near Caracas, which is a Church-approved apparition and declared officially as "sacred ground") had a vision of a place where the Blessed Mother would appear. This indeed happened at Betania in the 1970s and again in the 1980s, in front of hundreds of witnesses, which led to the bishop's approval. Many years later, visiting the U.S., in 1993, Maria had another vision, this time of a second piece of land where she told a friend of hers, Sister Margaret Sims, a Saint Joseph religious in Framingham, to build a center promoting the spirituality of Betania for those who could not get to Venezuela. Maria had "seen" a building of a specific shape and color near Boston as well as other attributes that Sister Sims then spotted, remarkably enough, along a nearby suburban road, just up from a small shrine dedicated to Fatima.

And set in motion was this retreat center, which has a beautiful main building with a gorgeous church and huge photos of the Virgin of Betania and the Blessed Mother of Medjugorje, plus a number of truly special statues (the one at the right side of the altar is Saint Joseph with Child, perhaps the best such statue we have ever seen).

There is also a tremendous Adoration chapel, powerful enough, with His Presence, to have brought our retreat coordinator to tears. There are also new rooms for retreatants or pilgrims to stay over. It is flourishing due to the skills and generosity of Rose Patek of Texas [left]. Delightful people work here, true servants of the Lord, for sure.

Visit if you can. Do some solid praying (and intercession) here.

There's a splendid, large photograph of Esperanza at the entrance, as well as one of Sister Sims, who is now in a nursing home run by her order, where we visited her. It was so good to see this soldier for the Blessed Mother (she personally led 75 trips to Medjugorje, plus others to Betania) again.

We have many special friends in the area, and were happy to greet a good number of them at our retreat, about four hundred people, with Mass by Father Tom Reilly. A great day.

It brought back memories of Maria, a personal friend of this website. (Author Michael Brown testified at the diocesan tribunal considering her cause.)

And so we discussed her life, as well as some of her prophecies.

What did Maria see for the future?

Well, she once told us, in Morristown, New Jersey, that she felt a "rumbling," the earth shaking there, and "a lot of water." She felt the core of the earth was not in balance. "It will start here," she said at another time, referring to her homeland of Venezuela. She saw natural disasters for the U.S., including quakes, but called what was coming a "good test," something that will lead to a new illumination of hearts. "A great day of light," she said, "is coming."

She felt the future bore gravity. And some of what she said was ominous. In 2004 (just before her death) Maria predicted that events would occur in "ten to twenty years" -- her "guesstimation" (it was not a revelation). She foresaw a "difficult moment" for humanity, a "very serious moment," and said the current time is "the hour of decision for humanity." She saw societal upheaval, wars, and disease. This is a woman who without question foresaw September 11 (she described an explosion at two towers in New York in 1993, got more detailed about it later, and told us on three different occasions that hostile foreign agents were on our soil and ready to attack -- asking her people to reiterate the warning On August 25, 2001, just seventeen days before 9/11, saying the event she had spoken about (since the previous December, when we first headlined with it on Spirit Daily) was about to occur. These prophecies were among our first headlines.

When it occurred, the great mystic, currently up for canonization, happened to be in Manhattan. And afterward she circled around Saint Patrick's Cathedral, the Mother Cabrini Shrine, and Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church in New York, praying for their protection, or asking for intercession at the holy spots.

Jesus, she felt, is going to manifest. More on this in the book, The Bridge To Heaven. Disasters? She still thought the U.S. had a chance -- but that time was running short. She felt that we had entered the "beginning of something new and important," a new beginning of "something special in the world." God will shake the whole globe, she prophesied, but not so much violently as spiritually, to make us aware of His Presence. A "spark to awaken our consciences," was another way she phrased it. For our discernment.

The hour of decision....

Our next retreat is in Vancouver, British Columbia, God willing. At it we will ask: what decisions are we as a society making? What decisions have we already made? How will events unfold?

[resources: The Bridge To Heaven and What You Take To Heaven]

[see also: Betania II]

[See also: Announcing a retreat in Vancouver, Canada]

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