Mystic With Stigmata Allegedly Saw U.S. Destroyed Through Natural Disasters
By Michael H. Brown
For your discernment
Two weeks ago we carried a story based on the diaries of a German exorcist who lent tremendous insights into mysticism, especially victim souls. The work, a rare volume called "Mary Crushes the Head of the Serpent," explained how the Blessed Mother picks special children to suffer for the cause of sending evil spirits back to hell -- that such spirits are bound or trapped in the bodies of such souls and eventually defeated by the mystic's heroic efforts.
Was this the case with a remarkable German woman named Resl Neumann, better known as Therese Neumann, the "mystic of Konnersreuth"? We'll let you discern. We always caution prudence (especially if one is actually visiting a mystic). I just finished reading a book about Neumann called A Light Shone in the Darkness, and it's filled with fascinating facts. Start with the fact that Therese was born in 1898 sometime between the late hours of Holy Thursday and early Good Friday (and baptized as "Therese" in honor of St. Teresa of Avila).
This is only the beginning of it, and much had to do with suffering. It's hard to find a more intense case of what appears to have been a victim soul. Early in life, even breathing brought Neumann difficulties, and as a young woman, before she was 21, this strong and cheerful lady was blind and paralyzed. For some time she also lost her sense of hearing. The simple act of eating was a burden to her (points out the book), and in 1923 there was a period during which she couldn't eat or drink for 12 days.
Later this would extend to the incredible phenomenon of "inedia," whereby (allegedly) a mystic subsists only on the Eucharist. Neumann's abstinence from all food and drink except Communion -- well-documented by certain observers -- lasted from 1926 to 1962. Often, we learn, Neumann went without sleep, lapsing instead into an unconscious state they called "exalted repose." It was then that she bled, or experienced visions. She also had the gifts of language (knowing foreign tongues with no training), mystical recognition of priests and relics (no matter how they were disguised), healing, prophecy, and bilocation. Along with Padre Pio and Maria Esperanza of Venezuela, she seemed to be one of the greatest mystics of the 20th century. We'll wait for the Church to discern. But the "coincidences" were astounding. Maladies would come and go. On the day of the beatification of Therese of Lisieux, Resl regained her vision. Two years later, on May 17, 1925 -- the day of St. Therese's canonization -- Neumann heard a voice asking if she would like to be healed of her remaining ailments. She replied that she wanted the Will of God and was healed of dislocated vertebrae and crippled legs immediately afterward!
Other sufferings were related to the dramatic stigmata. Blood flowed from a wound just above Resl's heart, and on Good Friday, 1926, the wound of a nail appeared in her left hand. Like Anne Catherine Emmerich, she had long visions of Christ's Passion, and on that same Good Friday she received the wounds in her right hand and both feet. Most disconcerting, her eyes began to bleed profusely. It's tough to look at photos of it, almost distasteful; was it good? Was it a manifestation of that battle with evil? So great were her sufferings, points out author Doreen Mary Rossman, that a priest was ready to administer Last Rites during that particular trial. However, at 3 p.m., there was a sudden change in her condition. That's the hour of mercy ("coincidentally").
Other phenomena included levitation. Like Maria Esperanza, Therese Neumann reportedly was seen at least half a meter above the ground on occasion, especially during visions. Priests from the monastery of Tirschenreuth witnessed this. If the Eucharist was late in coming to her, it was said that she had a burning suffering for it. There were other miraculous healings -- both of Therese Neumann and those who came to her. During the war, this included many Allied soldiers. Many were the bishops who visited her. Though in Germany, Neumann was staunchly against the evil Nazi regime.
And then there was the alleged prophecy. Like Emmerich, Pope Leo XIII, and the seers of Medjugorje, Neumann in 1936 was said to have spoken of an onslaught of evil. "The furies of hell are now set loose," she said. "Divine punishment is inevitable."
Was she speaking of World War II, which was about to occur, or also of our own time? It is widely reported that in 1946, just after the end of World War II, Therese Neumann was asked by an American soldier if the United States would ever be destroyed or invaded in a war. "There is an often recounted story which tells that Therese is the mystic who prophesied that because of the mercy of God, bombs would not fall on U.S. soil as a reward for the generosity of the American people to many other countries of the world," notes another author. Instead, it is claimed, Neumann instead remarked, "No, at the end of this century America will be destroyed economically by natural disasters."
[Bookstore resources: A Light Shone in the Darkness and Mary Crushes the Head of the Serpent]
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