Seer Maria Esperanza Recovering After Serious Brush With Respiratory Failure
By Michael H. Brown
Seer Maria Esperanza de Bianchini, the famous Venezuelan mystic, is recovering from a close call last week with respiratory failure caused by an ongoing neurological condition. Esperanza, who has been suffering a mysterious Parkinson's-like disorder for years, was rushed to a hospital in southern New Jersey on April 18 after her lungs filled with fluids, leaving the level of oxygen in her blood at critically low levels. At first expressed as pneumonia, the ailment was later described as bronchitis-like. She has spent a week in intensive care units. "On the night of April 20, after two days in the hospital, she was rushed to the intensive care unit due to a severe respiratory condition," says her son-in-law, Carlos Marrero Bornn. "She was in really bad shape. Her blood oxygen levels dropped to the lowest level possible."
Esperanza's family members, here in the U.S. on an extended stay, expressed confidence in her recovery after Maria underwent surgery for a tracheotomy and a procedure for a feeding tube, both of which are believed temporary. Today (4/26) she was moved to a regular room. Maria was scheduled to make a rare appearance in Los Angeles last weekend after appearing at a basilica in Newark, New Jersey, several weeks ago -- her first forays into the public arena in several years. The stigmatic, whose site of apparitions near Caracas has official Church approval -- the strongest such approbation since Banneaux in Belgium during 1933 -- is no longer able to communicate in a normal fashion and requires assistance walking and eating, though she maintains an upbeat attitude toward her suffering and is fully cognitive. Continued prayers are appreciated.
Maria's family arrived in the U.S. last winter for what the seer has cryptically described as a "mission," without divulging further details, even to members of her family. Although seldom venturing out, she has requested several trips to New York City, where she prayed in a car as it circled St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Mother Cabrini shrine, and St. Ignatius of Loyola Church on Park Avenue.
Esperanza has been in the U.S. for other highly private, extended stays, including a journey here during September 11, which she warned about in several messages leading up to that attack. She is concerned that the current war in Iraq will lead to a "tragedy." She is expected to leave the U.S. by June and is currently at an undisclosed location. Last year when she returned to Venezuela, thousands of well-wishers were there to greet her.
"From the spiritual point of view we truly believe this could be the beginning of her total recovery, and according to a message in which Our Lord said that her total recovery will be a sign of His coming, from this moment on we could be in front of a count down for the coming of Our Lord, because the better she gets the closer His coming is," asserts Bornn. "Of course we are ready to accept God's Will, because her total recovery could be her departure from this world."
Esperanza, now 75, has led a life of physical challenges. As a girl she suffered repeated bouts with serious illness. By the age of 12, she had developed such an acute case of pneumonia that her doctor didn't think she would live more than three days.
"Mother of mine, would it be that you want me to come to you?" the young girl asked the Blessed Virgin.
She then prayed, waiting for an answer. When she opened her eyes, according to her account in The Bridge to Heaven, the Virgin was smiling in front of her. Our Lady appeared to Maria as the Virgin of the Valley of Margarita (another apparition site off the coast of Venezuela) and allegedly told the girl what medication to take. Maria later learned that her father had a special devotion to the Virgin of the Valley, and on his deathbed had called upon Mary to protect his wife and children. The Blessed Mother's remedy turned out to be the medication that cured Maria.
There were other trials during her youth, and at one point she was so infirm that, as now, she had been fed through injection. Still, she never wavered in her faith and praying another time for Christ to take her so she would no longer be a burden to her family, she opened her eyes and reportedly saw Jesus. He and Mary explained to Maria that "life is a long series of trials," and that the bridge to Heaven is constructed through trials, purgation, and humility -- especially humility. During one healing in her youth, a tremor was felt throughout the hospital, and during her recent stay in New Jersey, nurses reportedly were baffled by a rose-like aroma in her room despite a ban on flowers in intensive care.
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