THE AMAZING STORY BEHIND THE LIPA APPARITIONS
[The dramatic and official approval last weekend [9/12/15] of apparitions at Lipa in the Philippines during the 1940s came after decades of rejection by a national committee, which quashed the positive declarations of the local ordinary. In 2010, astonishingly, the Vatican itself "affirmed" that the apparitions were "not supernatural." That directive came under Pope Benedict XVI, who himself, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was strict about apparitions (more so than his predecessor, Saint John Paul II) and convened the current committee on Medjugorje. The official declaration that the apparitions at Lipa are "worthy of belief" -- by Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Aguelles -- states that the events were indeed supernatural and strongly encourages devotion to "Our Lady, Mediatrix of Grace," as she called herself there. Unless overturned by Rome, the apparition is thus "Church-approved."
Interestingly, the messages from the site, given to seer Teresita Castillo, a Carmelite sister, included "secrets" that she said pertained to the Carmel monastery; to herself personally; and, most intriguingly, to the world and specifically China, the only nation mentioned by name.
Here, from the 1992 book, The Final Hour (Michael Brown), is the story behind the gripping scenes of the apparition]:
Three knocks. A hoarse voice. A foul odor.
At a Carmelite convent an hour south of Manila, novice Tersita Castillo was under demonic attack. It was July 31, 1948, in the far-off Philippines. Satan was trying to chase her from the sisterhood. As a calling card he left behind sooty inhuman footprints.
Most of all the demon may have been trying to forestall or even prevent an appearance by the Virgin Mary, for on August 18, after several more attacks (after appearing on the wall with fire around his head, and leaving the poor young woman with bruises and welts) the devil was gone, his place taken by a beautiful woman who was dressed in white and emitted a lovely fragrance.
It was not Satan. The devil was very different. There was no longer the echoing voice and the burnt odor.
"Do not fear, my daughter. He who loves above all things has sent me."
Soon the other sisters, watching Teresita in profound ecstasy, discarded their skepticism. Mary also favored the prioress, Mother Cecilia, with interior locutions, and other nuns witnessed the miraculous materialization of rose petals. For three months Teresita continued to experience a sweet, unearthly, and motherly presence, speaking with the Virgin near a vine in the garden. Soon the entire convent, then the city, then the archipelago were caught up in the phenomena. Heaven's own calling card. Hundreds and thousands gathered near the convent. The town was Lipa, scene of a horrible massacre during the war, and as if to erase those scars, Heaven granted the nation witness to beautiful and extraordinary events, including figures in the clouds and rose petals that fell from the sky with likenesses of Jesus on them. Looking upward in astonishment, crowds of Filipinos, crowds that had overnight grown to baseball-stadium proportions, claimed to see the petals materialize out of thin air, and when the bishop visited the convent, intent on bringing a halt to the "hoax" a shower of petals fell on him as he entered the convent.
I thought of Fatima and the time a crowd there too saw roses fall from the sky, but at Fatima they were ethereal roses that vanished before they touched the earth, while here they were tangible flower petals, red, yellow, orange, anxiously gathered as souvenirs; and when botanists analyzed them they concluded that the petals were of a variety known only to Russia, which is nearly two thousand miles to the north.
During the apparitions a strange blue bird fluttered about and the nearest vine whipsawed as vigorously as the bush at Lourdes. Like Lucia, Teresita was administered Holy Communion by an angel, and as the petals fell, onlookers also reported that a statue sculpted according to Teresita's description of the Virgin and holding a rosary moved its mouth and hands as if reciting the beads. The Sun pulsed, and many were cured of infirmities. Calling herself the mediatrix (or female mediator) of grace, Mary imparted the gentle words, "Pray, my child. The people do not heed my words. Tell my daughters that there will be persecutions, unrest, and bloodshed in your country. The enemy of the church will try to destroy the faith which Jesus established and died for. The church will suffer much. Pray for the conversion of sinners throughout the world. Pray for those who rejected me and those who do not believe and trust me. Spread the meaning of the Rosary, because this will be the instrument for peace throughout the world. Tell the people that the Rosary must be said with devotion. Propagate the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. Do penance for priests and nuns. But be not afraid, for the love of my son will soften the hardest of hearts and my motherly love will be their strength to crush the enemies of God. What I asked here is the same I asked at Fatima."
There were secrets, but Teresita guarded them jealously for the next 40 years." I'll tell you this much," she said to a journalist." one (of the secrets) is for China, not Russia."
I was struck by the mention of China in an apparition occurring at just about the same time that Ida was hearing messages in Amsterdam about Manchuria. on December 10th, 1950, the Dutch visionary was shown Formosa and Korea and told by Mary that there would be "periods of tranquility, which, however, do not last, The Eastern nations have been aroused by an ideology that does not believe in the Son." That ideology was threatening to spill across Asia, even down to the Philippines, and certain of its errors, especially the distorted promulgation of Darwinism, already were entrenched in the West, which was worshipping at the throne of DNA. in this expanding and godless environment the events in the Philippines seemed like a welcome little proof of the supernatural, not so much a calling card as a wake up call.
It was what the church needed: a rallying point against not just atheism but also the hedonism sweeping the world and especially the Philippines' big brother, America, where a magazine called Playboy was in the offing and where Hollywood, featuring Marilyn Monroe, had become the new Babylon, exporting lust in the same way that Moscow exported godlessness. By the early 1950s television was replacing the family hearth, and even in the Philippines authorities had to be disconcerted over the disrespect with which the Church, now thought to be an archaic institution, was suddenly held. With Soviet tanks soon to crush East Berlin, and already entrenched in Czechoslovakia, it seemed only a matter of time before Russia's philosophy of atheism would spread like its military hardware. North Korea, turned into a communist state by China and Russia, invaded South Korea, and in the Philippines that was far too close for comfort.
In this era where science and militarism declared themselves the only truth, I would have thought the church, once it determined that there was no fraud or demonism, would embrace an event like Lipa for what it was: God sending us flowers and gently nudging us away from fanatical materialism -- materialism that took different forms but was in many ways growing as vehement in the Philippines and West as it was in Beijing and Moscow. These were strange times, however, and the church, perhaps wary about charges of superstitiousness, decided that there was no room in such modern times for Teresita's apparitions and set about crushing the apparition, ordering the burning of any diaries associated with Teresita, disposal of rose petals, and destruction of the statue. Boxes of letters and other records of the apparitions were burned. And the bishop, who approved of Lipa after his personal encounter with the rose petals, was stripped of his administrative powers in the early 1950s, ostensibly for "poor accounting practices," his equally favorable auxiliary bishop removed and banished to a different diocese. Meanwhile Mother Cecilia, the prioress, was transferred to another convent and given the choice of a scullery maid.
Church interrogators tried to intimidate Teresita into signing a false confession, a statement saying the apparitions were a fabrication intended to bring her personal attention, and when the befuddled and terrorized young postulant found the strength to refuse, she was confronted by an angry psychologist - priest who made motions as if ready to throw an ashtray at her.
The repression was orchestrated by the papal nuncio in Manila, at whose direction a committee of Filipino bishops was convened, hastily concluding that the Lipa events were not of a supernatural nature, their own verdict signed without even interviewing the visionary, who was also sequestered at a different convent and forbidden, as were the other nuns, to speak of the 1948 happenings. While the committee of bishops appeared unanimous in their conclusion that Lipa was fraudulent, several of them confessed before they died that they too had been coerced, signing the negative "findings"only under threat of excommunication.
I wondered if this was what the Virgin meant when she warned of what Lucia described as the "diabolical disorientation" invading the world, "deceiving souls" and sowing confusion in "many persons who occupy positions of responsibility." Confusion is Satan's hallmark, the first indication of his presence. The Church, it appeared, was encountering Pope Pius X's worst nightmare -- the infiltration of " partisans of error" Into it's "very bosom," where they would be "the more mischievous the less they keep in the open."
There was always room for skepticism, but at Lipa certain authorities, going to the pressure of a new and scientific world -- a world that had now all but totally discarded spirituality in favor of biology and psychology -- took scientific methodology to the extreme, all but erasing an event that captivated an entire nation and gave evidence, it seemed, that their Church was based on truth and the living presence of God. "To my daughter who does not believe, "Mary had said, referring during the apparitions to one stubborn nun, "I do not oblige you to believe but do not block nor debase my sacred place, nor despise my words."
You could smell the sulphur. You could feel the diabolical contention. It was Satan, diluting authentic apparitions with false visionaries, persecuting the real seers, blinding newsmen to the events, and sowing confusion within the Church -- confusion and negativism.
[resources: The Final Hour]