Let's call this Miscellaneous Monday (4/13/15). Or "grab-bag."

Much comes through the mail.

Look at the stunning photo (above) of the sky above Nanaimo Island, British Columbia (we'll be doing a retreat there in nearby Vancouver in June). It was sent by Vincent Willden. It seems to us that:

God paints in the sky. He delights. He consoles. He also warns with signs.

The Blessed Mother?

She shows up in so many places in so many ways that we ignore it to our own possible detriment.

At left, in the vase of dried flowers, is a form that at first glance and perhaps also second glance looks like the Virgin and Child, even a statue of them. It's not. It was taken in March at a Catholic conference (on womanhood) in Indianapolis. A priest speaking there kept mentioning that the Blessed Mother was there.


Or, perhaps, in another case, one sees the monstrance in a digital image of the sun [right, from Helen Kelly in Canada].

Isn't it great not being constrained by what the world calls and accepts as "real"?

"As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness," Acts 4 tells us today.

Below is another photo of the sky and clouds, this time in Wildwood, Missouri. It was taken by a viewer named Walter Roddy, who explained:

"To the right of the sun you see Jesus on the Cross… To the left of the Cross see the very white Dove (its feet and wings), and below the Dove is the face of Mary (you can even see her eyebrow, a flow of tears, her eyes, her nose, her lips and teeth). She is looking at three angels flowing to the Cross. You can see the angels stretched-out arms… Behind Mary and Jesus is the small skull like face of Satan.. all of this taken while I was praying for God to show himself to a Muslim family from Iraq that we have helped for years… I prayed in my car for God to show himself… As I got out of my car I felt like I was supposed to take a picture of the sun… The Muslim family keeps this picture now framed and they show it to all of their friends who come to their home...  An interesting fact to share with you is the name of the Muslim 18-year- old girl in this family I was praying for; her name is Fatima."

And always, there are statues -- though this time with a slightly different twist, or perhaps we should say weave.

What a web is woven when -- as at the left -- the web looks so much like a tear!

"Several months ago, I was outside on my patio praying the  Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary," wrote Pat Berberet of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. "When I looked over at my statue of the Blessed Mother, I noticed a cobweb had formed around her face but in such a perfect  way as to look as a tear drop. Thought I would share with you!"

We appreciate what everyone shares.

Pictures, pictures. Photos. Statues. And words?

"My friend in Florida, who has received apparitions in 2000 and locutions, and has been mostly bedridden since that time, told me that on 1/5 she received the following locution that our Lord had removed his protection from us," wrote old friend Ted Quigley. "In apparent anticipation of this locution, she was feeling very [out of sorts]. In recent months, Our Lady has twice stepped out of an Our Lady of Fatima tapestry that she has hanging on the wall and at that moment, at around two p.m., both times, while it was sunny outside, all her windows went very black and Our Lady said such darkness is coming very soon."

There are signs. A former singer, dancer, and actress, once known as the "Queen of Las Vegas," informs us that:

"After reading your article on September 11th [about prophetic signs leading up to the attack] I thought I should inform you on what happened to me that day. I am, Lola Falana, a past entertainer and now a servant of God. First off, I would like to let you know that I was visited and led by Mary from Heaven three times. The last time she appeared to me…she said, 'Come into God’s church now.' I then became a Catholic. Here is my story. You see, not only was I born on September 11th but I received a prophecy for that date back in 2001. On the night before, I was told to go say my prayers to God, downstairs in my chapel. I was pleading and begging God to stop all the abortions that were happening. Then, as I lay prostate there on the floor, a great silence came over the whole room and I looked up an saw four people who I thought to be the Trinity and the Virgin Mary looking at me. Then, I heard the following words, 'Today is the last day things will be the same, tomorrow, nothing will be the same again.' Then I was told to inform two people as to what I heard. I did as I was told then called two of my friends and went to sleep. The next day was my birthday, September 11, 2001."

About the afterlife, wrote Fran Cichon of Chicago:

"My mother died just a month before your dad, on February 20, at age 98, the same as your father did, of pneumonia. She had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart her whole life, and was a strong defender of the faith. God was above all. She had the beautiful quality of mercy tempered with justice.

"She never failed to let us know right from wrong.

"She walked that fine line between giving assistance and enabling, and she did it with God’s grace and mercy.

"She had often told a story of how when she was a little girl around seven or eight, she and two of her sisters were playing by a quick moving stream near their house. As she waded in the water, her foot slipped on the slimy rocks, and she went under. As she did, she breathed in some water, and began to drown, unable to breathe. When she came up the second time, trying to get a breath, she saw before her the Sacred Heart of Jesus with His arms extended to her. She went down again, and thought, well, when you go down the third time, that’s it. But her older sister already had her by the back of the dress and was pulling her up and out of the water.

"As a young woman, before she was married, she completed the Nine First Fridays to the Sacred Heart. In her kitchen is a framed picture of the Sacred Heart that has been there since she was married. It is a much-loved icon in her home. Old as it is, at times it almost shines with a kind of holy glow. Often the look on the face seems almost lifelike, the smile warm and forgiving. I often feel God’s presence in that holy picture.

"This past February, when we took her to the hospital for the pneumonia, a priest came to the emergency room and gave her the Anointing of the Sick. He told us to pray a Rosary for her, which we did. On the tenth day things took a downturn. The infection was reasserting itself, and the antibiotics weren’t working.

"That day a different priest came by (we did not call him; did the nurses?) and once again he anointed her. On day eleven (the day she died) it was obvious she wasn’t going to make it. Around noon a  different priest came by, saying he knew she had been anointed the day before, but he just wanted to say hello. He took one look at her and said 'I’ve been here for over ten years and I’ve seen this many times; it appears she is dying.' I said, 'yes Father.' He saw the Scapular and holy medals around her neck (the Miraculous Medal and a St. Benedict Medal) and he pulled out his chasuble and his prayer book and began to say the prayers of Commendation of a Soul to God. He concluded with an Apostolic Blessing, saying, 'by the powers invested in me by the Holy See, I absolve you from your sins, and I grant you a plenary indulgence, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.'

"I was astounded! God kept his promises; the promises from the Sacred Heart to those who communicate on the nine first Fridays: I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful Love will grant all to those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

"We did not call these priests. We did not request these things. God sent them to her. ''I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whosoever shall believe in Me, even though he dies, shall live.' He does not lie. Praise God forever."

[resources: The God of Miracles and Michael Brown retreat, Boston area, April 25  and also Spirit Daily pilgrimage: Fatima, Avila, Lourdes: October]

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[Feedback: Donna Musumano sends us these photos, taken in 1989 at monastery in Coimbra, Portugal (does Mary seem to come alive?]:


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