Seven Days With Mary by M. Brown A week of devotions to special sites that involved the Virgin Mary. Special prayer and histories of historic and hidden apparitions and visions!  Photos. Journey to remote sites you've never heard of or learn some hidden facts about places you have! A new prayer book that's like going on retreat. Each section has the history of a major apparition and a long prayer that includes novenas, special supplications, and litanies. CLICK HERE



Every once in a while comes the account not only of a supernatural sighting but of a visitation that leaves behind something tangible.

Years ago, we ran the remarkable account of a Maryland priest who with his congregation watched as a unique and radiant man entered the church, strode up to the altar without disrupting the liturgy, bowed, and left a replica of Michelangelo's "The Creation" there before the lectern. All were in astonishment (and awe).

"He was radiant -- the most penetrating loving eyes," recounted the priest, Father Richard Scott. "They exuded love, and he had a huge smile, as if he was my best of friends, surprising me. He walked like he was on a mission to fulfill what God wanted him to do. He walked up the aisle reverently but quickly. He was in control. Nothing would stop him. He just came down, but he didn't do it in a way that was pompous. He didn't float. He walked like a normal person, but quickly with this big painting on his right side and it was like there was a light, a spotlight on him, like an aura around his body, even though his body was normal, and throughout the whole thing his eyes were in contact with me. He gave reverence to the Eucharist and to me as a priest. He genuflected near the tabernacle and presented this painting. He laid it against a lectern on the left-hand side. He was not far away from me. He went up two steps and laid it against the lectern and he said to me, 'You have to bless it.' I did say as he was approaching, is there anything I can do to help you. I was shocked. Even as he said, 'You must bless this,' his facial expressions never changed."

There are other such accounts. Most famous is the image left by the Blessed Mother in the apparitions known as Guadalupe.

In Italy and other European nations are legends of similar images that have traveled inexplicably or materialized as if from nowhere.

They are not exactly common. But there is precedent, and we were reminded of that on January 21 when there was the celebration in Santo Domingo of the Virgin of Altagracia.

This is a portrait of the Virgin with Infant that measures thirteen inches wide and eighteen high and -- like Guadalupe -- was painted on cloth, in the primitive work of what is known as the "Spanish school" (around 1500).

Legend says that the pious daughter of a wealthy merchant asked him to bring her a portrait of Our Lady of Altagracia from Santo Domingo, but no one had heard of that title. The merchant, staying overnight at a friend's house, described his problem as they sat outdoors after dinner. An old man with a long beard, who just happened to be passing by, pulled a rolled up painting from his bindle, gave it to the merchant, and said, 'This is what you are looking for.' It was the Virgin of Altagracia. They gave the old man a place to stay for the night, but by dawn he was gone, not to be seen again. The merchant placed the image on their mantle, but it repeatedly disappeared only to be found outside. They finally returned it to the church. For our discernment (and edification!).

Adds the Marian Library at the University of Dayton: "Expert opinion has it that it is a primitive work of the Spanish school, painted towards the end of the fifteenth or beginning of the sixteenth century. The painting, which depicts a Nativity scene, was restored successfully in Spain in 1978, and its original beauty and color can now be appreciated. The rigor of time, candles' smoke and rubbing by the hands of the devotees had so altered the surface of the portrait that it had become nearly unrecognizable. The scene of Jesus' birth is painted on a fine cloth. The Virgin, lovely and serene, occupies the center of the picture; she is looking with tenderness at the child who lies nearly naked on the straw of the manger. A blue cloak sprinkled with stars envelops her and a white scapular closes her garments in front. Maria of Altagracia wears the colors of the Dominican flag; anticipating in this manner the national identity. A radiant crown and twelve stars frame her head. The frame which holds the painting is probably the most refined example of Dominican gold work. This marvel made of gold, precious stones and enamel, is the work of an unknown eighteenth-century artist. Possibly he used the jewels that the Virgin's devotees gratefully offered her."

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