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A nephew of Archbishop Paul F. Leibold has informed us of an extraordinary visit to the site where Sister Mildred Mary Ephrem Neuzil, the American seer, had her first apparitions.

The nephew, whose name is also Paul Leibold, and who was especially close to the now-deceased archbishop, says that during a spur-of-the moment visit on July 14 to a spot called Sylvan Springs near Rome City, Indiana, he and a small group experienced the "miracle of the sun" and that he spotted a beautifully strange blue butterfly that brings to mind phenomena reported at another apparition site in Venezuela called Betania (which he had not heard about previous to the experience).

According to Paul (who we will call by his first name to differentiate him from the archbishop), he made the trip after reading articles about the situation on this internet site, and was surprised by what he found. He and 11 others piled into a recreational vehicle and headed five hours up the highway that recent Saturday.

There they found the current manager of the land, Larry Young. 

"We took off to the mound where the third apparition was," says Paul, who now owns a pharmacy in the Cincinnati area. "We said we were going to pray a family rosary, and there was another couple that had arrived just after we did, Angel and his wife Maria and their son Angel Junior. We were getting ready to start the rosary and Larry looked at the sun and we began to see the miracle of the sun. When I was at Medjugorje we did not see the miracle of the sun. Someone with me had, and he said it was absolutely identical to what he saw on that mound. 

"The next 15 to 20 minutes we sat or stood in prayer, some were kneeling and some were singing. Maria began praying over my son, who has epilepsy. I was as touched as I ever have been in prayer. As [another man, Tom] breaks into the song Ave, a little blue butterfly lands on an altar and it was just, oh: there was no doubt the Blessed Mother was with us, blessing us. It was solid pale blue, and absolutely beautiful. It was a wonderful experience. It just stopped my heart. I was the only one to see it. The others were watching the sun. It just hovered over the altar area. Apparently this altar once had a gold cross and two angels facing it. There had been these black and orange butterflies in the area with no logical reason for them to be there. It's not a flowered area. It's on a mound with mulch on the ground and trees up around it and benches. These little butterflies became more and more prominent as we began talking and sharing, and then Tom broke into Ave. When we got back to the parking lot Angel had some holy cards and it was the Blessed Sacrament and a gold cross with an angel on either side. There was confirmation after confirmation."

Paul had been to Medjugorje, where his experience in prayer on Apparition Hill had been so profound he never thought he would feel that way again -- knowing God was so present. "Well when I went to Rome City I had that same feeling," said Paul, "and I had had no expectations." 

It was on September 25, 1956, that Sister Mildred was making a holy hour from 7 to 8 p.m. when she felt the distinct presence of Our Lady at the Indiana site. "I was under the impression that she came as Our Lady of Lourdes, and she herself confirmed this," the nun, who died last year, once wrote -- adding that the Virgin promised great miracles in the United States.

During a vision the next morning the Virgin came in a veil, robe, and mantle of pure white as "Our Lady of America," requesting Americans to honor her by the purity of their lives.

Now the owner of the land reports that people are making inquiries about the land and pilgrims are arriving on weekends at this spot that was once owned by the Order of the Precious Blood (at the time the order to which Sister Neuzil belonged). 

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