Spirit Daily


Hidden Connections: The Mystical Side of Christopher Columbus

From the archives:

First story

       As the secular press tries to slander him as cruel to the Indians or to take away his credit, the truth is that Christopher Columbus was not only the true discoverer of America, but also a deeply devout Christian with mystical connections.

       Indeed, few know that Columbus prayed at a shrine in Spain called Guadalupe before setting off on his great journey. This was a spot where an ancient image of the Virgin had been hidden in the first centuries after the death of Christ and where she later appeared to a herdsman, telling him in 1326 to have the bishop dig up the image and build a chapel. It is believed that Columbus took a replica of the image with him on his first trip across the Atlantic, and when he arrived in the New World he named an island after Guadalupe (it is now spelled "Guadeloupe"), and soon after, the Virgin appeared to an Aztec Indian near Mexico City at a spot that was also named Guadalupe!

      The devotion of Columbus was tangible. He named his ship after Christ's mother (the Santa Maria) and every night he and his crew sang the Hail Mary. According to his diary, Columbus, looking for the correct course, was guided at one critical point by a "marvelous branch of fire" that fell from the sky.

       That was on September 15, 1492. Once across the Atlantic, this faithful son named the first island he came to "San Salvador" for the Savior and the second "Santa Maria de la Concepcion" for Mary, in addition to Guadeloupe and another island, Montserrat, named for another ancient apparition site near Barcelona.

       Upon landfall Columbus and his men prayed the Salve Regina

      Thus, the first Christian prayer recited in the New World was an entreaty calling Mary the great advocate and Mother of God.

       While in an attempt to take away his credit many point out the Vikings arrived in North America long before Columbus and that he was brutal with the Indians, the fact is that the Vikings never established their discovery (for all practical purposes, they simply skirted the northern regions and then left), and it was the Indians who were brutal. The first Caribbean natives Columbus encountered were cannibals!

       Thus, despite the yearning for secular scholars to erase the mystical foundation of America, its very discovery was rooted in Christianity. Other explorers were equally devout. The Mississippi was originally called the "River of the Immaculate Conception" and the Chesapeake the "Bay of Saint Mary." Quebec was known as the "Village of Mary," and Lake George was originally called the "Lake of the Blessed Sacrament." Indians reported apparitions of the Virgin from South America to Montana, and New York State was consecrated to her before it was even known as New York.

Previously:  columbushidden

October 2004

Hidden History: How The Blessed Mother Was There With Christopher Columbus

By Michael H. Brown

[adapted from Michael H. Brown's The Last Secret and The Trumpet of Gabriel]

Second story

You won't read about it in your history books -- not even the ones they use at Christian schools -- but there was a hidden member of Christopher Columbus's crew on that voyage to America, and it was the Blessed Mother. Consider this: before setting out on his historic journey, Columbus visited a shrine in Spain dedicated to the apparition of Mary that had been reported by a shepherd named Gil Cordero a century before (in 1326). It was in the hilly terrain southwest of Madrid -- near a river known, ironically, as "Guadalupe" (which would later be the name of a second apparition site in Mexico) -- and some believe Columbus not only knelt here in supplication (we know he was dedicated to this shrine) but carried a replica of the Blessed Mother from it as well.

That replica may well have been on the ship he sailed -- once more ironically, the Santa Maria. We know this from his diary: every night Columbus and his crew sang the Hail Mary, and faithful to her -- watching for signs -- he knew he was on the right course when on September 15, 1492, a "marvelous branch of fire" or "prodigious flame" fell from the sky.

An omen?

We can't be sure but once across the Atlantic this faithful son named the first island he encountered "San Salvador" -- for The Savior -- and the second island, "Santa Maria de la Concepcion." Others were given names like "Montserrat" (after an ancient Marian shrine in northern Spain), "Guadeloupe," and the Virgin Islands. Most intriguing is the fact that at landfall Columbus and his men prayed the Salve Regina.

Thus, the first Christian prayer ever recited in the New World was an entreaty calling on Mary as the Holy Queen, as the Mother of Mercy, as the gracious advocate.

No, you won't find that in history books, nor will you learn that America's oldest city, St. Augustine in Florida, was founded by Franciscans on the feast of the Virgin Mary's nativity and that the Mississippi (as we have previously indicated) was originally known as the "River of the Immaculate Conception" and that Montreal was originally "Ville-Marie" and the Chesapeake Bay the "Bay of St. Mary."

Indeed, the oldest prayer book in the United States, Garden of the Soul, contained five holy days of obligation dedicated to her!

There are many who believe the Blessed Mother also had a role with George Washington. Of this we are less certain. For years we have tried to track this legend down. According to volume four, number 12 of an old veterans publications known as the National Tribune -- now called Stars and Stripes -- a very old man named Anthony Sherman (perhaps impossibly old) was quoted as saying that a strange, beautiful woman appeared to Washington during the retreat to Valley Forge in 1777 -- showing him the future of the nation, including the establishment of the nation; the Civil War; and a third vision in which a shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth and blew three distinctive blasts, and taking water from the ocean, sprinkled it on Asia, Europe, and Africa. From those places rose thick black clouds that were soon joined into one, and throughout the mass was a red light by which hordes of armed men, moving with the cloud, marched on land and sailed by sea to the Americas to do her damage, destroying towns, villages, and cities.

It is an apocryphal account but it dates back at least to 1880 (that's when the National Tribune reported it), and whatever the case, it eerily brings to mind terrorism.

Columbus. Washington. And September 11. As we have reported, and as we will further comment upon soon, the Blessed Mother was also aboard Flight 93 on that fateful day and once more may have had a hand in forming and helping and saving this country.

(Had America's first president really foreseen three great perils? Said a Catholic mystic of this time, Marianne Gaultier, as if in response, "So long as public prayers are said, nothing shall happen. But a time will come when public prayers shall cease. People will say: 'Things will remain as they are.' It is then that the great calamity shall occur.'")

A Guadalupe prophecy?

Names of the ships, Santa Maria, Pinta, Nina  literally translate to

"St Mary paints a small woman"--courtesy Judy Gassett

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