Deep In The Hidden Side Of American History Are Experiences Of The Virgin Mary
By Michael H. Brown
News that the cause of an American seer is being
circulated and that the U.S. apparently experienced one of the more credible
appearances of the Virgin Mary in recent times brings to mind to mind the hidden
history of the United States.
We have been reporting on apparitions to a nun in Ohio who said she was asked by heaven to have a statue of the Virgin under the title Our Lady of America [see previous story]. That has caused us to take a quick look at America's Marian history. It's a surprising past -- a history filled with dramatic if long-forgotten experiences of Mary.
There are those who believe the Vikings were in North America before Columbus, and among them are scholars who claim that a museum in Alexandria, Minnesota, possesses what is called the "Kenisington runestone," a stone allegedly inscribed by Northmen 600 years ago.
The relic was discovered in 1898 as a farmer named Olaf Ohman was digging up an aspen tree in the town of Kensington and found the stone -- measuring 31 inches in length and 16 inches wide -- imbedded in the roots. A total of ten people were witness to the stone and stump when it was found and the roots fit the stone perfectly -- flattened against it.
That was interesting because the tree was at least 70 years old -- dating to a period before that particular part of Minnesota was inhabited by white settlers.
To everyone's amazement there were strange carvings on the stone, and when they were analyzed (by a Viking expert named Hjalmar R. Holand) the words were found to say:
"[We] have 10 men by the sea to look after our ships 14-days' journeys from this island. [In the] year ]our Our Lord] 1362."
In another spot on the stone it said:
"[We are] 8 Goths and 22 Norwegians on [an] exploration journey from Vinland through the west. We had camp [by a lake with] 2 ferries one-day's journey north from this stone. We were [out] and fished one day. After we came home [we] found 10 men red with blood and dead. Ave Maria Save us from evil! [our emphasis]."
An invocation to the Virgin six centuries ago on American soil 600 years ago!
While there has always been controversy over the stone and always will be, there is no doubt that another discoverer, Christopher Columbus, was devoted to the Blessed Mother. Indeed, Columbus prayed at a Marian shrine in Spain before setting out for the New World, and by some accounts carried a replica of a miraculous image of her found buried there. His devotion to Jesus and Mary was described as nearly mystical!
One of Columbus's ships was the Santa Maria, and every night on the way across the Atlantic he and his men sang the Hail Mary!
At one point the famous explorer was guided by what he describes in his diary as a "marvelous branch of fire" in the sky, and once across the Atlantic Columbus named one of the first islands he encountered Santa Maria de la Concepcion and another Montserrat after an ancient Marian shrine near Barcelona.
At landfall he and his men sang the Salve Regina.
Thus, whether or not the Vikings were here first, the first Christian prayer that we can prove was ever recited in the New World was an entreaty calling on the Virgin Mary!
This would come as a shock to many Protestants and Catholics alike (you might want to send some such folks you know this account).
Anyway: sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin in the New World spread like wildfire, and the oldest U.S. city, St. Augustine, Florida, was founded by Franciscans on the feast of her nativity. While most don't know it (because secular historians don't like us to know it), Montreal was originally "Ville-Marie," and Mary's name was also given to the Chesapeake Bay (which was originally known as the "Bay of St. Mary"). Meanwhile the continent's greatest river, the Mississippi, was originally named by explorers Pere Marquette and Louis Joliet the "River of the Immaculate Conception"!
It was under that title that the United States was consecrated to her by early bishops.
And it is under the mantle that she has apparently requested through a hidden nun in Ohio named Sister Mildred Mary Ephrem Neuzil in Fostoria, Ohio that a statue of her as "Our Lady of America" be placed -- in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington!
For more information on the apparitions in Fostoria, write: Our Lady of America Center, PO Box 445, Fostoria, OH 44830 or e-mail here; and please let your bishop know
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