From the archives:
N.Y. Woman Claims Apparitions of St. Therese In Week Before WTC Attack
By Michael H. Brown
A Long Island woman says that St. Therese of Lisieux -- long a famous saint, but one rarely reported in mystical events -- began appearing to her just before the nearby World Trade Center bombing.
Sandy Mazzitelli, 45, of Green Lawn, New York, claims Therese, also known as "the Little Flower," came as a clear, distinct, and full-bodied apparition on the night of September 4 -- the beginning of five consecutive nights of apparitions in which the saint allegedly urged recitation of the Rosary and warned that "bad and terrible things" were about to happen.
Mrs. Mazzitelli claims the saint appeared in her classic garb of a brown habit with roses and on one occasion, the second night, September 5, was accompanied by a long appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She also says the appearances greatly relieved and may even have healed an untreatable cancer she had been suffering. She said lumps in her body began to disappear during or soon after the events.
As always, we urge great caution with all this. We urge no involvement before prayer and fasting. We submit this for your discernment. And we do so because it unfolded under the close watch of a respected parish priest, Father Gregory Yacyshyn of nearby St. Francis of Assisi Church, who was praying with Mrs. Mazzitelli before the experiences were initiated.
If true it marks a new aspect in current mystical claims. While Therese the Little Flower, who lived in the late 1800s, once vowed to spend her heaven helping on earth and is famous for intervening with miracles -- often in the way of roses -- her appearance with messages allegedly pertaining to the world may mark a new phase in her intercession. Most of her previous appearances have been fleeting. In the 1990s it was claimed that she was seen at grottos in Ireland and she has also appeared to famed Venezuelan mystic Maria Esperanza -- who likewise foresaw elements of September 11.
"I was sick and I wasn't getting better and I was in a lot of pain and Father Greg was helping me a lot, and one day he was telling me about this saint who was a man, that maybe I should pray to him, because the pain got really bad, and after he left I couldn't remember the saint's name," Sandy told Spirit Daily. "I was so desperate that day that I prayed for any saint to come and help me. It was like my last resort of a prayer. And then that night St. Therese came."
Significant is the fact that Mrs. Mazzitelli saw the saint not as a vision in her mind but with her eyes open, as what mystical theologians know as a "corporeal apparition." At first Sandy, a weekly Mass attendee, but not overly devout, didn't know it was Therese.
"It was late at night and everybody was in bed and I was getting ready to doze off," recounts Mrs. Mazzitelli. "I was just sitting on the couch and all of a sudden I smelled this pretty-like rose smell, and then I looked up a little bit and I could see her, and she was kind of glimmering, but then when I looked at her more, the more I looked at her, the more solid she became. At the beginning I was actually a bit frightened and amazed at the same time. I didn't ask her anything. She said she was here and she came to heal me."
The next night at around the same time Therese allegedly came again. This time Sandy knew who it was. She had looked at Mass cards and Therese had been one of the pictures. That night -- September 5, a Wednesday -- she told St. Therese she knew who she was. "And she told me that Jesus had a special purpose for me, that was the reason she was healing me, that I had special work," says Sandy. "She was like full-sized, but I could only see down to her ankles. She was telling me that bad things were going to happen. She stayed a while and was talking to me, that bad and terrible things were going to happen, and that for people to get through them they had to pray the Rosary more, that no matter what people tried to do, nothing was going to work unless everyone went back to the Rosary."
That such a warning would occur in a suburb of New York in the week leading up to September 11 is galvanizing. It was this very area that lost an especially high number of people who worked at the World Trade Center or surrounding buildings. Indeed, after September 11 this part of Long Island took on the bearing of a town in the midst of a war -- with some families knowing not one but several victims and attending more than one funeral in a single week.
Mrs. Mazzitelli, the wife of an engineer and the mother of a 13-year-old, said the visitations greatly relieved her cancer but said that is not supposed to be focused upon -- that it was only a sign to accompany a serious message and further warning of events that are still to happen. She said it was on the second visit that the Virgin also appeared. "And Mary was really sad. She had these tears coming out of her eyes, and she was sad because people weren't praying the Rosary, and she was telling me that so much more could be done if people prayed the Rosary, and that no matter what happens, there will never be peace until people start praying the Rosary."
The first apparition was short -- perhaps five minutes, says Mrs. Mazzitelli -- but the second one, which felt like just a few minutes, spanned more than two hours. "It was like the Virgin on the statue where she's the Virgin of grace. She had the blue robe and white and a blue sash, and then she had something over her head and over her were these stars, and as she was talking to me the stars moved. There were ten or 12 of them. The veil was light blue."
Mrs. Mazzitelli says Mary did most of the talking the second night, as St. Therese looked on. The woman was told she had to pray the 15-decade every day and help at the local church. It was then that Father Greg started a special Mass for Sunday afternoons, with an exposition of the Blessed sacrament and the Rosary. Every week more and more are coming, says Mrs. Mazzitelli, who believes many will be experiencing the Virgin as well as St. Therese in the days ahead -- bringing to mind a message from Medjugorje that the Virgin would appear in every home if necessary. She says it's the obligation of everyone to pray the Rosary and start a prayer group immediately. "I basically had to change my whole lifestyle," says Sandy. "The Virgin told me the friends I had weren't good friends for me, and after she came all these new friends came."
Mary also allegedly told the woman -- who was unfamiliar with other claims of apparition -- that she was "picking people and starting an army or something, that the future was going to be worse and she wanted me to pray the Rosary. She said if everyone prayed the Rosary -- they wouldn't realize all the power they had, that things could change."
According to Mrs. Mazzitelli, the Virgin especially indicated the Scriptural Rosary. "I didn't know what this was," says Sandy. "I had never done it."
This was all days before the events that would change America. Key among the warnings, says Sandy, is that things will get worse before they get better. "She wasn't talking like it being done in a month or a year, but over a period of time," claims Mrs. Mazzitelli. "I think it's going to go on for quite a while. And then she told me things for just me myself."
On one occasion she says that hundreds of rose petals materialized in the room and that after they were distributed, some claimed they had a healing effect. Mrs. Mazzitelli says she was told that St. Therese will be appearing to other people as will the Virgin, "and that I'm not the only one, and they have to do the same thing I'm doing. The point is, if you teach one person to say the Rosary, that person teaches another person and it will keep on going and that's what she wants."
The Long Island housewife adds that St. Therese appeared taller than she expected and with a wider face. "She wears the brown nun outfit, and the pictures I see of her have the Cross with roses, but she doesn't always bring the Cross. Sometimes she brings the Cross. In pictures her face is oval, but when you see her its wider. And her eyes were an unusual color. Some of the pictures showed them to be brown, but they were more like greenish blue or grayish blue, like a color you don't see often.
"The only thing I had seen before she came was a Mass card, but now since she came a lot of people have shown me photographs, and not all the photographs look like her. Every now and then one does. There's a photograph at a shrine nearby in Happauge and there was a picture of her there in the middle of the altar that looked just like her."
"Every time I saw her, I felt better and better," adds Sandy. "When I went to talk to some people, they were shocked that I was healed and they were dwelling on that, but they're supposed to dwell on what can happen if they don't pray the Rosary. The Rosary is more important than my healing."
Mrs. Mazzitelli said she has not returned to a doctor for an official evaluation and that she is now just doing things on her own. She says when she was told there was nothing else they could do for her, the insurance no longer covered treatments. "I had these lumps on my arms and everything, and they went away. And I had this tumor on my hip, and it went away, and now I'm walking without pain. And I was on all these medicines, including morphine, and I'm not taking anything now. I went from using everything to not using anything except steroids, because you can't stop them suddenly. I'm weaning off of them."
The Long Island resident says that the night before the World Trade Center attack she woke up and "was crying for no reason at all. I was just so upset." She says she knew it was part of what she had been warned about.
The last apparition was October 2, the day after St. Therese's feast day. It was the next day that Sandy says she regained her vision, which had been badly blurred. Mrs. Mazzitelli says she was told she would receive one more apparition. In her last appearance, claims Mrs. Mazzitelli, the Little Flower was not as solid as she normally was. "I knew myself that I wasn't going to be seeing her much longer, and she finally said it," says Sandy, choking back tears. "She said she is leaving me for a long while but that I will see her one more time. I don't know if it's going to be weeks or years. It was such a beautiful feeling. Everything was perfect. I didn't think of anything else."
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