in the Presence of Our Lord for the Holy Souls
by Susan Tassone
VISION SAW WORLD SAVED BY PRIESTS AND CONVENTS AT TIME OF GREAT CHURCH CRISIS
By Michael Brown
The life of an obscure 16th-century nun from Ecuador is coming to the fore as websites, a booklet, and articles have been highlighting the alleged revelations, often stunning in prescience, to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres of Ecuador. Based on an 18th-century manuscript by Friar Manuel Souza Pereira, the flurry of excerpts portrays the dramatic account of Mother Torres as she battled spiritual forces and forecast a time when the faithful would fall away, modernism would infiltrate the Church, and society would enter an age of great impurity.
The revelations occurred in connection with the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception and reportedly received the approbation of Quito Bishop Pedro de Oveido.
Stunning is the fact that Mother Mariana was said to have "died" on three occasions: once in 1582 and then again on Good Friday in 1588 -- coming back to consciousness two days later on Easter morning. These are what we would now call "near-death" episodes. The Lord permanently took her in 1635.
But not before leaving the world a flurry of messages -- messages that reportedly pertained to the twentieth century and predicted that Mother Mariana would remain relatively unknown until the late part of that century.
It has indeed been in the past ten years and especially the last several that the life of this nun has come to be known in the United States, by both the websites and most recently a booklet, Our Lady of Good Success, by Dr. Marian Therese Horvat, which expertly synopsizes Friar Pereira's book, The Admirable Life of the Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, written in 1790.
There is no immediate way of checking the details of something of this age and we do not agree with all of views expressed by those distributing the literature, but the life of this holy nun makes for a fascinating read and spells out the modern era with startling insight -- especially the crisis within the Church. Indeed, it is said that Mother Mariana suffered greatly in expiation for the heresies and faithlessness that would descend upon the twentieth century and was told -- as now seems the case -- that she would become known only at the end of that troubled century.
The visions began on February 2, 1594, as Mother Mariana was praying in the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Quito, a city that also gave rise to a miraculous weeping icon of the Sorrowful Mother. In this case the Virgin identified herself as "Mary of Good Success" and carried the Child Jesus in her left arm, while in her right was a golden crosier with precious stones.
The visions apparently followed the nun through her life. Among other things, Mother Mariana claimed she was told by Christ that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception would be proclaimed at a time of great crisis in the Church. The nun prophesied a period when wrong-spirited people would enter religious life, the sacraments would be set aside, vocations would be lost, and impurity would flood the world in a way that would leave virtually no "virgin souls."
We have previously reported parts of this and other such predictions. The nun said she was warned by Jesus that men, "above all, priests and religious souls," must realize how greatly He was wounded by coldness, lack of confidence, imperfections, and indifference. Halfway measures, it was said, were not pleasing to Him as He lived in the tabernacle exposing Himself "to so many hateful profanations and sacrileges."
Born in Spain in 1563, the nun received her First Communion on December 8, 1572, and was said at that time to have fainted in ecstasy. She was 13 when she left Spain after being told of a mission tied to the Immaculate Conception. Upon one of her brushes with death, Mother Mariana revived on Easter Sunday at 3 a.m. -- the hour some claim was when Christ Himself resurrected. She suffered many trials, including persecution in her own convent (and indeed imprisonment), but showed only love to those who abused her -- even suffering hell for one especially tormenting and sinful persecutor.
A time would come, warned Mother Mariana, when it would be difficult to receive the sacraments. "Alas, how deeply I grieve upon manifesting to you the many and horrible sacrileges -- both public and also secret -- that will occur from profanations of the Holy Eucharist!" Mary was said to have told her. "Often during this epoch, the enemies of Jesus Christ, instigated by the demon, will steal consecrated hosts from the churches so that they might profane the Eucharistic Species. My Most Holy Son will see Himself cast upon the ground and trampled upon by irreverent feet." The "malice of the devil," it was said, would come against the spirit of the Church. Masonry would serve as a reservoir for attacking Catholicism, and there would be a general corruption of customs, along with a profanation of matrimony. The "demon" would persecute many priests and corrupt many others -- causing them to "scandalize the Christian people" and bring great suffering upon pastors.
In society, it would be a time of tremendous impurity, impious educators, and "unbridled luxury."
Were such prescient notions -- specific even to the point of mentioning the press -- actually written so long ago? Could this all have been so on target, and with conventional words?
We know only that it was pretty tough stuff, but that it also gave this encouragement: that in the midst of these great trials, priests and religious hidden in monasteries and cloisters would have the power to change everything. It was said that the Virgin promised there would always be certain holy souls who would live as what was described as a lightning rod to deflect the divine wrath.
"Woe to the world should it lack monasteries and convents!" said one alleged message, according to the booklet "Our Lady of Good Success." "Men do not comprehend their importance, for, if they understood, they would do all in their power to multiply them, because in them can be found the remedy for all physical and moral evils."
The conversion of sinners and the end of war, pestilence, and other scourges, said the Virgin, "is due to the prayers that rise up from monasteries and convents."
[Next we will look at some more specific points in the alleged prophecies; due to requests we are making the booklet available here for your discernment]
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