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Marian apparition

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The icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was imprinted on St. Juan Diego's cloak.

Marian apparitions are events in which the Virgin Mary is purported to have supernaturally appeared to one or more persons, often Catholics.

Our Lady of the Pillar

In 39 AD, the Apostle James the Great was evangelizing the Gospel in Caesaraugusta, but his mission was making little progress until miraculously, he saw the Virgin Mary committing him to Jerusalem. In his vision, she was atop a column or pillar, which was being carried by angels. That pillar is believed to be the same one venerated in Zaragoza, Spain today. Miraculous healings have been reported at the scene.

Our Lady of the Snow

This apparition is based on a legend that during the pontificate of Pope Liberius, on 5 August 352 AD, during the night, snow fell on the summit of the Esquiline Hill in Rome. And based on a vision the same night a basilica was built in honor of Our Lady, on the spot which was covered with snow. The church built on that spot is now the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the feast was celebrated at that church for centuries on August 5th each year.

Our Lady of Walsingham

According to tradition, Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, a devout Saxon noblewoman, in 1061 in Walsingham England, instructing her to construct a shine resembling the place of the Annunciation. The shrine passed into the care of Canons Regular sometime between 1146 and 1174. Late in 1538, the King Henry VIII’s soldiers sacked the priory at Walsingham, killed two monks and destroyed the shrine. In 1897 Pope Leo XIII re-established the restored 14th century Slipper Chapel as a Roman Catholic Shrine. The Holy House had been rebuilt at the Catholic Church of the Annunciation at King's Lynn (Walsingham was part of this Catholic parish in 1897). Today, there are two shrines at Walsingham: the Roman Catholic shrine centered around the Slipper Chapel and The Holy House maintained by the Church of England. There are also two separate feast days: September 24 in the Roman Catholic Church and October 15 in the Anglican Communion.

Our Lady of Victory

This apparition is by tradition attributed to Saint Dominic in 1208 in the church of Prouille, in France. According to the attribution, the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Dominic and introduced him to the rosary.[1] For centuries, Dominicans became instrumental in spreading the rosary and emphasizing the Catholic belief in the power of the rosary.[2] In 1571 Pope Pius V instituted "Our Lady of Victory" as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of the Battle of Lepanto, the victory being attributed to Our Lady. This event is also known as Our Lady of the Rosary.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

This apparition is attributed to Saint Simon Stock in 1251, and is the origin of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular, perhaps the earliest of all scapulars. According to legend, the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Simon Stock in Cambridge, England with a scapular in her hand and said: "Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire." This feast is celebrated on July 16th each year.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

This 1531 apparition is due to Saint Juan Diego who reported an early morning vision of the Virgin Mary in which he was instructed to build an abbey on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico. The local prelate did not believe his account and asked for a miraculous sign, which was later provided as an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe permanently imprinted on the saint’s cloak where he had gathered roses. Over the years, Our Lady of Guadalupe became a symbol of the Catholic faith in Mexico.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

This apparition is due to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830 in the Rue du Bac, Paris. She reported that one night in the chapel, the Blessed Virgin Mary displayed herself and asked for a medallion to be made, saying "All who wear them will receive great graces." Sister Justine Bisqueyburu is said to have also had an apparition in 1840 within the same chapel at Rue du Bac as Saint Catherine Labouré.

Our Lady of La Salette

These apparitions were reported in La Salette in France in 1846 by two shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, followed by numerous accounts of miraculous healings. The Roman Catholic Church investigated the claims and found them to be credible.

Our Lady of Lourdes

In 1858 Saint Bernadette Soubirous was a 14 year old shepherd girl who lived near the town of Lourdes in France. One day she reported a vision of a miraculous Lady who identified Herself as the Virgin Mary in subsequent visions. In the first vision she was asked to return again and she had 18 visions overall. According to Saint Bernadette, the Lady held a string of Rosary beads and asked Saint Bernadette to drink water from the spring nearby and to request that the local priests build a chapel at that site of the visions. Eventually, a number of chapels and churches were built at Lourdes as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes - which is now a major Catholic pilgrimage site.

Our Lady of Pontmain

The apparitions at Pontmain, France also called Our Lady of Hope were reported in 1871 by a number of young children.

The final approval for the apparitions of Our Lady of Hope was given in 1932 by Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII.

Our Lady, Queen of Ireland

On August 21, 1879 in Knock, County Mayo, Ireland, people whose ages ranged from five years to seventy-five and included men, women, teenagers, and children, witnessed what they claimed was an apparition of the Virgin Mary along with Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist at the south gable end of the local small parish church, the Church of St. John the Baptist. The island of Ireland is predominantly Catholic, and as the Catholic Church organizes on an All-Ireland basis, therefore, Queen of Ireland seems an apt title for such an apparition.

Our Lady of Fatima

Lúcia Santos (middle) with her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, 1917.

Appeared to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on 13 May, the Fátima holiday. The three children were Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto. According to Lúcia's account, the lady confided to the children three secrets, known as the Three Secrets of Fátima. She exhorted the children to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. The children wore tight cords around their waists to cause pain, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance. Most important, Lúcia said that the lady asked them to say the Rosary every day, reiterating many times that the Rosary was the key to personal and world peace. Many young Portuguese men, including relatives of the visionaries, were then fighting in World War I. Lúcia also stated that the Virgin promised that the Consecration of Russia would lead to Russia's conversion and an era of peace.

On her last visit, a crowd of 70,000 people, including reporters from skeptical, anti-religious newspapers, Freemasons, and atheists gathered in a torrential rainstorm to witness the great Solar Miracle of Fatima.[3] Many people in the crowd said that the sun changed colors, began spinning in the sky and went completely dark for several minutes before seeming to plunge toward the earth, then returning to its proper place. Immediately after the Miracle of the Sun, the people in the crowd, who had been soaking wet due to the rain that day, were miraculously dry. The event was reportedly witnessed from up to 25 miles away, but these people did not know what to make of it. Lucia reporting seeing the Virgin again in 1925 at the Dorothean convent at Pontevedra, Spain, and was asked to convey the message of the First Saturday Devotions. A subsequent vision of the Christ Child Himself reiterated this request. Lucia was transferred to another convent in Tuy, Spain in 1928. In 1929, Lucia reported that Mary returned and repeated her request for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Lucia reportedly saw Mary in private visions off and on throughout her life.


  1. Catherine Beebe, St. Dominic and the Rosary
  2. History of the Dominicans
  3. The Miracle of the Sun