Mysterious 'Nun' Visits Pentecostal Man And Brings Him Back From Brink Of Death
By Michael H. Brown
For your discernment:
His name is Stan Rutherford. He was raised Pentecostal. Really, he detested religion. But for Stan, 50, who now lives in Lakeland, Florida, all that changed in 1991 -- when a mysterious "nun" saved his life during emergency surgery.
It's a story of miracles. It's a story of conversion. It's a story of a near-death encounter -- and alleged apparitions. We present it for your review at this time in history when there are so many dramatic occurrences (so many, in fact, that it's impossible to establish each one). For Rutherford, a native Virginian who had worked in construction, it started when he took a new job supervising a crew that cleaned phosphate mine facilities.
This was a hard-living man whose childhood had been partly spent in a foster home and who had a history of drug abuse and general immorality. Drugs. Women. Money. He had been raised Pentecostal, but by the time Stan was in his thirties, he didn't want to hear any of it. He couldn't stand the Name of Jesus. Cocaine, he says, was his "coffee"; he would snort a line of it before getting out of bed in the morning. "I did it before my feet even hit the ground," Rutherford candidly explained to Spirit Daily. "I was just wracked out. I was in construction during that time."
Oddly, a woman neighbor ran across him one day and told Stan that God had spoken to her about him -- had given a prophetic "word" -- during a prayer meeting. "She told me if I didn't change my ways by the time I was 45 years old that the Lord would pull His grace of mercy off me and I'd burn in hell," relates Rutherford in his southern twang. "It sort of stuck with me that someone would say that, because normally if you came in my face about religion, I'd slap you. I just hated anybody who had anything to do with God. Period. But for some reason I listened to this lady."
Then came the fateful day. November 4, 1991. Rutherford had just started his job supervising the phosphate crew in a town called Mulberry, a job that entailed going into phosphate tanks and scouring them with an extremely high-pressure hose. On the way to work, there was a foreboding, "like this black cloud, this terrible feeling like I was going to die," Rutherford recalls. "I even called my wife and told her that if I didn't see her any more, that I loved her, that she was the only woman I ever really loved. She begged me to come home. But I had a responsibility and I told her I thought I'd be okay."
He and his crew went up to the mines at about 7 a.m., and by quarter to eight "all hell broke loose." When Stan returned to one of the tanks after checking a crew, someone gave a signal to the mechanic and the mechanic kicked the high-pressure machine on, creating 3,500 pounds per square inch of laser-like water. "That hose broke loose," says Stan. "Now, it takes eight men just to hold that hose at 3,500 pounds. The custom was to chain it down to keep it in place. Well, they didn't chain it down. They tied it in place with a rope. And it broke loose."
In the chaos, Rutherford tried to save one of the men trapped on the scaffolding, knowing that the stream of water -- so powerful it created heat as it burst out of the nozzle -- could cut someone in half. At six feet and 250 pounds, a weight lifter, Rutherford was strong enough to handle most circumstances -- but not this one. The water slashed his left side from the back and cut through part of his body, hitting near the kidney area and coming out three inches away. "It didn't just hit me once," says Stan of the horrid experience. "It hit me three times and kept cutting into me. It blew me up against the wall with such force that it cracked my safety helmet. Somebody reached in and grabbed me by the foot and yanked me out. I was sitting there with my clothes ripped off and didn't know I was that hurt but then one of the men said, 'My God, Mr. Stan, I can see your guts.'"
Rutherford went to a clinic, where despite the circumstances a company doctor insisted that it was just a bad burn, that Stan would be okay, but three days after, Rutherford felt like he was having a heart attack. One of his legs turned black. An x-ray showed what look like "the stars in the sky" -- phosphate that had been blown into the organs of his body. "I had like thirty pounds of excess fluid and filth in my body," he says. "They put me in intensive care for seven days and then another room for another seven days."
It was not looking good. He had a kidney full of stones. One was half the size of a golf ball. Doctors were afraid to operate but did.
"I went in for the surgery. They gave me a shot and I was out. But what they told us later was that I had 'died' -- that I had awoken during the procedure and they tried to re-sedate me and I died.
"What was interesting was that during the time I was 'dead,' this little-bitty nun comes and touches me on the face, taps me on the face and says, 'Wake up. We have work for you to do.'
"I guess I saw her in the state of being unconscious. I don't know how to explain it, but when I woke up there was this little woman dressed in white and a kind of turquoise blue robe -- this little beautiful nun with these exquisite eyes. You had to see her eyes!"
Rutherford breaks down crying as he recounts it.
His emotion is because he believes the nun "saved my life" -- even though no one knew who she was nor how he had gotten into the recovery room.
Somehow, he'd recovered from what had appeared to be fatal unconsciousness. Against all odds, his life had been spared. He had been thought dead but was now fully cognizant.
As for the "nun," she was not of this earth, as we will see tomorrow...
Pentecostal Man Says Virgin Mary Saved His Life And Now Appears As Apparition
We have been relating the account of Stanley Rutherford, a former Pentecostal who'd lost his faith until a jarring, life-and-death experience. After an industrial accident, he had "died" in the midst of a kidney operation. For ten minutes, he says, doctors thought they had lost him. But inexplicably, according to his account, he was brought back to consciousness by a "nun" -- a woman with the most mysterious, exquisite eyes he had ever seen -- who tapped him on the face, told Stan to wake up, and said he had work to do. [see previous story]
No one seemed to know where the nun came from. All the doctors knew was that they had "lost" Stanley when they had tried to re-sedate him on the operating table. Now, somehow, he was in the recovery room. "No one seems to know how I got there," relates Rutherford. "I didn't see anyone but this nun. Her eyes were so gentle and kind. I thought: 'This is a beautiful woman, look at those eyes!'"
Soon the nun was gone but Stan spotted a hospital nurse -- and summoned her. Who was the woman? What was going on? Where was everyone? The pain was excruciating.
"I took out the airway from my throat and I said to the ward nurse, 'Ma'am, I'm in a lot of pain,' and she turned pale," claims Rutherford. "She came rushing over to the bed and said, 'What are you doing in here!'
I asked what she meant. "'Isn't this the recovery room?'"
"And she said, 'You know, Mr. Rutherford, I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you were dead!'"
This was Lakeland Regional Hospital in Florida. By his account Rutherford asked the nurse who the nun was and why he had been sent to a Catholic hospital. He wasn't happy about that. He had a strong anti-Catholic streak. "I said, 'I'm a Pentecostal. You didn't get my permission!'"
Of course, Stan had not been transferred. The nurse explained that it was still Lakeland Regional. He told her about the nun, and the nurse, apparently sensing something far out of the norm, began to cry. Tears filled her eyes. Equally astonished were the doctors -- who prodded all over Stan's body.
Rutherford was alive, but his trial was hardly over. They didn't get the stone, explained the surgeon, with tears in his eyes too. As a result, they would have to go in again -- which could be extremely dangerous. Stan wanted to hear nothing of this. He felt well. He insisted they take out all IVs. He refused medication. And he insisted on another x-ray.
That they did the next morning -- finding to their collective amazement that the huge stone plaguing his kidney (and shedding many smaller stones) was gone. It had simply disappeared, despite the failed surgery. Rutherford quotes the surgeons as saying it was either some unknown, hitherto unseen delayed medical reaction (an inexplicable effect, since they had not physically removed the stone) or "the Hand of God."
Whatever the case, when Stan went home, he felt largely healed. "I'm up walking, and I'm eating everything in town," he recalls. "Eventually I forgot all about the nun." But a year later, she would make a dramatic re-entry. "On December 22 or 23, 1992, we went to my wife's friend's place for a Filipino Christmas party," recalls Stan. "I noticed I didn't have anything to drink, so I picked up my cup and walked into the kitchen -- and as I'm passing the hostess of the house, her daughter has these photos on a ring, and she's flipping these pictures. They were pictures of saints.
"She flipped those pictures, and lo and behold, who did I see?" Rutherford breaks down as he recounts this. He claims that the " nun" who had been in the recovery room, who had awakened him from the failed surgery, who had saved his life, was the Blessed Virgin Mary. " I came unglued. I saw the nun in those pictures! It was Our Lady of Grace. I had no control over myself. I began to cry."
As a Pentecostal, or at least one raised in that faith, Rutherford didn't know what to think. He had no idea what was going on. He was torn -- whether to accept or reject it.
The day after Christmas, it got more dramatic still when, at 2:55 in the morning, Stan heard his name being called.
"I looked to see if it was my wife," he says, his voice cracking again. "And I swear, that nun was standing at the foot of my bed!"
This happened every night from December 26, 1992, until February 15, 1994, says Rutherford. Often, it would disturb him. He wanted it to stop. He wanted her to leave. He still harbored bitter feelings toward religion. But the alleged apparitions continued. "She appeared to me every night," asserts Rutherford, "and all she would say to me was, 'Be at peace, for I am your mother.' "
We can only take Stan's word for it. He comes across as a sincere, candid man. At times Rutherford's old bitterness and his upbringing as a Pentecostal surged forth and he railed against heaven. Afraid he was suffering delusions, he began visiting a psychiatrist. "$60,000 and days later, I realized something was really happening to me," says Stan -- who had a traumatic upbringing with what he describes as an abusive stepmother and later a history of heavy drinking and drug use as he worked in the construction industry.
"On February 15, at 9:30 in the morning, I poured a cup of coffee and filled it too full. Instead of dumping some off in the sink, I attempted to walk into what everyone now calls the 'apparition room.' To me it's a living room. I walked in fussing because I had all of this coffee and we just had the carpets cleaned. I didn't want to spill it. My wife would kill me. There was this altar in there -- it was my wife's -- and it was like somebody wrapped a rope around me and was pulling me through there. There's a long couch on one side of the wall, and the altar is on the north side.
"As I got to set this coffee down on the glass table at the end of the couch, I felt that feeling that I was beginning to recognize when the little nun would come. I got angry and slammed the coffee down on top of the glass table. The handle broke off in my hand, but not one drop of coffee spilled and the table did not break. I turned and for some reason I looked toward the ceiling and saw what looked like clouds rolling back. And here comes a woman dressed all in white with gold around the outside of her garment, gold flowers on her feet, a crown on her head, and rosary beads -- golden ones, around her waist. I thought, 'Gee, man. What's happening to me! I really have lost it!' I didn't ask for this. I didn't want this. And to be frank, some days I really wished it would stop. But it doesn't -- no matter who believes it, it doesn't stop. I've told bishops and priests: I don't care what you want to believe, if I'm a 'visionary' or whatever they want to label you. All I know is that it still happens whether you believe it or not. That's the way God designed it, even for an old sinful piece of garbage like me."
Getting back to that appearance in the living room: "I'm watching that she's coming down," says Rutherford, "and I'm thinking, my goodness, this thing has gone too far. As I watched it come down, there were two little angels with her, and there was a cloud. It looked like she was standing on a little cloud -- there she was, in front of me, big as life. And I could say nothing, other than, 'My God, you're beautiful.' I didn't recognize that this woman and the little nun were the same person. So I said, 'Who are you, woman? What do you want from me?' And she said, 'Be at peace, for I am your mother.'
"I went to my knees and I looked into her eyes and I said, 'My God, you're the little nun!' Suddenly I felt a calmness come over me. I said, 'What do you want from me?' She said, "I want you to live the Passion of Jesus. Teach it to my children. Live the Rosary every day. And lay your hands upon the sick, that they can be healed, mind, body, and the spirit.'
"I said, 'You say you're the Queen of Heaven, you're Jesus' mother?' And she said, 'I do.' I said, 'Then if you are, you could one thing for me. All my life all I've wanted is a mother to put her arms around me and not hurt me. If you love me the way people say you and Jesus do, and you do this for me -- so my mind will be clear and I will know I'm not going crazy -- then I would die for Jesus.' And she said, 'As you have desired, so shall it be.'
"And then this woman stepped over to where I was and lifted this big old man to her chest, and I cried away forty years of sorrow, man. And I made up my mind then: I don't care who, what, where, or how, there ain't nothing more important than Jesus and Mary in my life."
That was the beginning of a ministry that continues -- preaching the Gospel, praying for the sick. Rutherford allegedly watched her ascend into heaven and now claims she still comes twice a week, especially in a Blessed Sacrament chapel where he prays in Adoration on Tuesdays at 1 a.m. and Thursdays at 2 a.m.
He says she also comes every second Saturday with messages. "There are now some things I can't tell to the people but I have to tell to the priests," he asserts. "The last message to me was about the unrest in the United States and in the world, to fast and pray, and to pray especially for the priests." Is it all real? Is it all of God? Oil sometimes exudes from statues in Stan's home, including one representing Our Lady of Fatima, and he says that he has suffered manifestations of the stigmata. He calls the Virgin Mary "my mom. She's my mommy."
Stan was converted to Catholicism in 1994 and baptized a year later. A friend who was a Pentecostal pastor has also converted. And the psychiatrist, it turns out, had some holy incidents himself, telling Stan in the end, "You not crazy, you're blessed." Prophecies? Rutherford claims the Blessed Mother had foreseen hurricanes as well as an earthquake that occurred three days later after the prediction. Leading up to September 11, Rutherford said he wasn't told anything specific about the event. "Our Lady just told me there was a great disaster going to take place, but she didn't tell me what it was. She told me we're going back into a major war of 'combined forces,' is how she put it. To me that means the world is going to split in two halves. She told me by the year 2004 there will be bloodshed in the Catholic Church. There will be more natural disasters." There was an ongoing purification, she explained to Stan, because the vast majority of mankind had allowed itself to be contaminated. But there was no gloom at the bottom line. As he puts it: "She's my mom. She's my mommy. Her promise was, 'I will never leave or forsake you.' She told me, 'I was your mother before I was your Queen."
Former Anti-Catholic Who 'Died' And Saw Mary Claims To Now Suffer The Stigmata
Stan Rutherford and family
By Michael H. Brown
A while back we carried the account of Stanley Rutherford, a Lakeland, Florida, man who encountered a mysterious nun who he says turned out to be the Blessed Mother. The "nun" first appeared to him in 1991 after a serious operation during which Rutherford says he "died." It occurred at Lakeland Regional Hospital, when Rutherford was brought to consciousness by a gentle touch of the exquisitely beautiful nun who tapped him on the face, told Stan to wake up, and said he had work to do.
The twist was that it wasn't a Catholic hospital. There were no nuns. This was confirmed by a nurse Rutherford summoned. She was shocked he was alive. It was a room where people are taken when they don't get through surgery -- and the nurse blurted out that he was supposed to be dead. Later, Rutherford -- who grew up in an abusive home and led a hardscrabble life before his conversion -- saw a picture of the Blessed Mother that looked just like the nun.
The other twist: if Rutherford, 51, had any religion it was Pentecostalism, with an aversion to the Blessed Mother. Yet, he says that Mary -- first in the form of the nun, then later as Our Lady of Grace -- began making regular appearances.
When I was in Florida recently, I stopped in on Stan and his lovely, holy Filipino wife, Amor, in their modest home between Tampa and Orlando. Is what happened to Stan real?
We can say that Stan is a regular, unpretentious, no-nonsense type who doesn't particularly care what anyone thinks. He simply recounted his experience straight from the shoulder and informed me that he has also been experiencing stigmata: the bleeding wounds of Christ in his hands, side, head, and feet. Moreover, he and his wife, as well as friends, say he has cried "tears" of blood.
We are always particularly careful with alleged stigmatics, and so, as in every such case, we urge prayer, fasting, and discernment before folks venture to such encounters, especially if it involves laying on of hands. We must be open to the Spirit, but also cautious. We have seen too many cases that looked holy on the surface (what could look holier than stigmata?) but ended up problematic.
Stan understands this, and doesn't miss a beat. In recalling one stigmatic experience last May 12, he says, "My feet were hurting so much I couldn't walk. I was helped into the TV room. It lasted about half an hour, and then we cleaned up my feet with Holy Water. I went to sleep and dreamt of Jesus with two streaks of blood and the next thing I knew it was morning and I noticed two women were staring at me and crying. One said, 'You have to wash your face.' When I asked why, she said there was blood on it. Two tears of blood. And two streaks on my forehead. The dream had manifested."
Psychosomatic? A manifestations of the supernatural? Other alleged phenomena are even more difficult to explain. Amor, who is herself a nurse, told me of a time that Stan dreamt he was at Calvary crawling in the earth to the Cross, where he kissed Jesus' feet -- and when he awoke she saw that her husband was covered with soil like it had actually happened. She saw it herself. "He was dirty as if he had been crawling," says Amor.
Others present spoke of the many statues they have seen weeping or exuding oil in the little home, where a garage has been converted into a chapel. Even Amor, initially skeptical, has seen this first-hand. On one occasion she purchased a statue of the Blessed Mother, placed it in the chapel, and watched as this new statue -- which no one could have manipulated -- began to exude fluid.
Rutherford says that blood first appeared on his hands during visions in which he touched Jesus on the cross. He says he also has been shown Heaven, hell, and purgatory. "There's a place between here and the Light that is very comfortable but it's not Heaven," is the way this former Pentecostal puts it. What is Heaven like? "I couldn't even begin to describe it," he says. "It's like in old Roman times and huge columns and angels, columns that are white like light bulbs -- and just glowing."
Everyone must go to the Cross, emphasizes this man who now considers the Passion his ministry. Everyone must go there and ask for forgiveness, he emphasizes. He knows. He had much forgiveness to ask. He had lived a hard life that at times had seen him locked in jail. A drifter. A man who had spent his youth in one home after another. But a man whose life was transformed by the Lord.
How does Jesus appear to him? Says Rutherford, "His eyes are so gentle and kind. When He looks at you, He doesn't judge you. You can tell He was a working Man, but also an intellectual Man. He's everything to everyone. When He touches you, that's another thing. When He lays hands on you, you can't stand up."
Rutherford, whose "death" had come in an industrial accident while heading a crew cleaning up a phosphorous facility near Lakeland, says, "I didn't nearly die -- I died." It came during surgery to remove gigantic stones that had formed in his kidneys as a result of the accident [see original story]. That was when he encountered the mysterious "nun" who he says was the Blessed Mother. He now calls her "Mama Mary" and considers her his "true mother" -- having spent a wretched childhood of rejection, abuse, and foster care.
Messages? Does he have alleged messages?
Yes, Rutherford says. The Lord has prophesied to him. The Blessed Mother has. He believes events we see in the world are "signs of the times" and warns that there is currently the "beginning of a one-world system." Like so many others, he also warns of chastisements. "This little thing we've been through in the last few months, it's a walk in the park," he says, referring to the flurry of foreign and domestic events. "SARS is nothing but a sniffle compared to what is going to come."
Are his prophecies still valid? Are they pure? Does the fact that he had a near-death episode mean that we accept all that he says?
We are certainly open to them at the same time that we begin a system of testing the spirits. One thing we can say is that Stan Rutherford is a good man struggling as we are all struggling to purify. He knows that the important thing is not worldly events, but what happens to us after. And he has this advice for a pleasant eternity: "If you even try to do the will of God, and be honest and truthful, you're going to a good place." God's laws, he says, are written not in stone, but in the heart.
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