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THE ASTONISHING MESSAGES FROM A U.S. APPARITION:' I COME TO YOU, O CHILDREN OF AMERICA, AS A LAST RESORT'
Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil
Last week we reported on apparitions experienced by a humble nun, Sister Mildred Mary Ephrem Neuzil, in a convent at Fostoria, Ohio -- a series of events that are now moving toward recognition and have come closer than any known U.S. apparition to official approval.
The revelations are more circumspect than many such prophecies but are astonishing nonetheless.
They were given to Sister Mildred from 1938 to 2000 and the approved ones were granted an imprimatur by Archbishop Paul F. Leibold of Cincinnati -- who served as Sister Mildred's spiritual director and commemorated the apparitions with two plaques and a medal.
Sister Mildred claimed communication with Christ, the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and angels. The focus of the messages is the need for purity and sanctification of families if America -- which Sister Mildred said is supposed to spiritually lead the world [see previous story] -- is to avoid "a terrible purification."
That the U.S. should be singled out for a spiritual and not just economic or political role in the world is a dramatic development -- and that such an apparition is rising at this moment appears to be another sign of the times.
Sister Mildred quoted Jesus as saying, "My father is angry. If My children will not listen to My Heart, which is a voice of mercy and instruction, punishment will come swiftly and none shall be able to stay it. The pleadings of My Heart have held back the divine justice about to descend on an ungrateful and sinful generation."
"Woe to parents who set a bad example to their children," continue the messages. "Terrible will be their judgment. I will demand a strict account of every soul entrusted to their care. Woe to parents who teach their children how to gain materially in this world and neglect to prepare them for the next! Woe to children who disobey and show disrespect towards their parents."
In addition to purity -- and sanctification of children -- what was most lacking in the world, the nun quoted Jesus as saying, was faith. "There are so few souls that believe in Me and My love. They profess their belief and their love, but they do not live this belief. Their hearts are cold, for without faith there can be no love."
It was in 1956, eve of the Feast of the North American Martyrs, that the Virgin began her apparitions. When she appeared, said Sister Mildred, it was to say that miracles "greater than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima would be granted here in America, the United States in particular, if we do as she desires.
What the Virgin desired was the moral leadership of a nation that had been consecrated to her and was now straying. "I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity," said Mary in a dramatic revelation of America's role in a spiritual territory that has long been dominated by foreign apparitions. "I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. I come to you, O children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to my voice. Cleanse your souls in the precious Blood of my Son. Live in His heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God. Be my army of chaste soldiers, ready to fight to the death to preserve the purity of your souls. I am the Immaculate one, patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful mother."
There was drama in every aspect of the messages -- though it is only now that they are beginning to receive wide circulation (and their cause proposed to America's bishops). At times the Virgin stood on a globe, her right foot on a crescent or quarter moon -- as depicted at Guadalupe. On at least one occasion Sister Mildred described a white rose on each of the Virgin's feet (as at Lourdes) and above her head was a scroll on which was written in gold letters, "All the glory of the king's daughter is within."
Nothing is accomplished in life without pain, the Virgin told Sister Neuzil -- who, as we will explore in future articles, had much to suffer -- as had the Virgin. When she was portrayed with a sword in her heart, said Mary, it was because of the "grief plunged therein by my children who refuse to let me teach them the true way." She expressed special grief over priests who rejected her appearances while promising grace to those who showed their respect. Her wonders, she said, would be more spiritual than physical.
"When a picture or statue of myself as Our Lady of America is placed in the home and honored there, then will my Son bless His people with peace," said the Virgin -- who specifically requested such a statue be placed in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington after a solemn procession. "I desire to make the whole of America my shrine by making every heart accessible to the love of my Son."
The Virgin emphasized the importance of the mission and according to Sister Mildred asked that it be expressed to Church authorities -- who would be charged with establishing a new devotion in America. Although the nun shunned attention and remained hidden in a cloister, she expressed confidence that the message would come out at the proper time. "On February 23, 1959, Our Lady came to me and admonished me to work on the 'message' as soon as possible so that it might be placed in the hands of the bishops who would be responsible for its fulfillment," wrote Sister Neuzil. "In a very serious manner Our Lady warned me that I must not delay any longer to do this, as the time is now."
"My Son's patience will not last forever," the nun quoted Mary as saying. "Help me hold back His anger, which is about to descend on sinful and ungrateful men. Suffering and anguish, such as never before experienced, is about to overtake mankind."
Unless there was penance, said Mary, God would visit men "with punishments hitherto unknown to them."
"My dear children," said Mary. "Either you will do as I desire and reform your lives, or God Himself will need to cleanse you in the fires of untold punishment. You must be prepared to receive His great gift of peace. If you will not prepare yourselves, God will Himself be forced to do so in His justice and mercy."
"Oh, the pride of souls!" Sister Mildred quoted Mary as lamenting. "How they resist my grace. O my priests, my religious, what would I not do for you if you would only let me! I come daily laden with graces, which you daily refuse. How long will I bear with you, O my chosen ones? How long will you spurn my approaches?"
There was a bright future if America would take up penance, if it would take up Christ, if it would unite with Mary as its mother. If not, "the punishment will be long and for many forever."
"If my desires are not fulfilled much suffering will come to this land," the Virgin said. "My faithful one, if my warnings are taken seriously and enough of my children strive constantly and faithfully to renew and reform themselves in their inward and outward lives, then there will be no nuclear war. What happens to the world depends upon those who live in it. There must be much more good than evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching. Yet I tell you, my daughter, even should such a destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took my warning seriously, there will remain a remnant -- untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following me and spreading my warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives."
Mary said her Immaculate Heart is "the channel through which the graces of the Sacred Heart are given to men" and warned that "the false peace of this world lures them and in the end will destroy them."
In the revelations, the Virgin allegedly referred to herself as a "co-redemptrix of the human race" -- as did St. Joseph, her earthly spouse, who was also said to have appeared to Sister Mildred.
The revelation from Joseph, if authentic, could well be the most important associated with this hidden saint and may indicate an era in which he will take a much larger role. It is the first time we know of that he too is described as a "co-redemptor" and seems to place that title in a new context.
"My heart suffered with the hearts of Jesus and Mary," said Joseph in 1956. "Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield, as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men. The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them. Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross. I became, in union with my holy spouse, co-redemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary I cooperated, as no other, in the salvation of the world."
Joseph allegedly added that "immediately after my conception, I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future virgin-father, cleansed from the stain of original sin. I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men.
"Mine was perfect obedience to the Divine Will, as it was shown and made known to me by me by the Jewish law and religion," Joseph allegedly said. "To be careless in this is most displeasing to God and will be severely punished in the next world. Let fathers also imitate my great purity of life and deep respect I held for my Immaculate spouse. Let them be an example to their children and fellow men, never willfully doing anything that would cause scandal among God's people.
"I desire souls to come to my heart that they may learn true union with the Divine Will," said Joseph.
The saint was said to have also appeared above a globe with clouds swirling about it, his hands similar to those of a priest during Mass, his eyes looking up as if in ecstasy. "Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way," said Joseph, who told Sister Mildred that he had been appointed the Pope's special protector and asked for a new devotion. "Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the joyful mysteries of the Rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms."
As always, we warn that these apparitions must be discerned. As always, there are debatable aspects. Only those messages up to 1963 -- the year of the imprimatur -- should be considered officially authorized, although those up to 1972 were known by the archbishop, who died that year of an aneurism. By 1980, the Virgin was warning Sister Mildred that the danger was "imminent" and that there was "no time to lose." The message was to be conveyed to the faithful, said Mary, "as the time is shorter than ever." There was an urgency about Our Lady, said Sister Neuzil, that left " no doubts as to the closeness of the terrible purification that is about to fall upon all nations."
Yet the nun's emphasis in her last years, say those who knew her, was on how these events could be prevented. She herself was a constantly cheerful soul with a good sense of humor despite terrible physical suffering. "She said that if the world would listen and do what God asked, everything would be fine," one of her close friends, Sister Joseph Therese, told Spirit Daily. "But if they didn't, something eventually was going to happen. With all the abortion and that, God isn't going to take that. She was concerned about the whole world and America leading the world. The impurity of the youth -- she was very concerned about that."
"It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that He brought with Him from heaven," she quoted the Virgin as saying. "Dear children, unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering. If, however, the United States is faithful to this mandate from heaven and yet fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall."
"It is the darkest hour," said another approved message. "But if men will come to me, my Immaculate heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves. Help me bring once again the sunshine of God's peace upon the world."
Asking that a prayer to the Immaculate Conception -- patroness of the U.S. -- be recited once a day, Sister Mildred said it "is evident that the forces of evil are enveloping the world. Their hatred, however, is now particularly focused on the United States because of the Divine Mandate given to it to lead the world to peace."
"Weep, then, dear children, weep with your mother over the sins of men," said Mary. "Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away. "
Next: the incredible mysticism of Sister Mildred
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Our Lady of America Center, 700 N. Susan Drive, PO Box 445, Fostoria, OH 44830
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