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[adapted from The Last Secret]

[print article]

After the debacle of Hiroshima, Mary entered the phase of apparitions that led to what we see today. Far from fading, the apparitions of this amazing woman, this astonishing and underestimated woman, grew to remarkable proportion.

It was the hour of battle with Satan and there came other apparitions with other secrets, the appearances especially intense at the beginning of the Cold War.

Miracles were soon reported around Italy and the rest of the continent -- including the ancient site of Saragossa (site of her first known appearance).

At place after place the sun whirled and pulsed and spun. It moved. It turned colors. Mary's time had arrived. The episode had begun with the Miraculous Medal and, according to Father Johann G. Roten, director of the International Marian research Institute, "between 1830 and 1981 there were close to a thousand major, minor, and related apparitions."

Others gave estimates far higher. If every daily and weekly apparition is counted in cases where a seer had more than one, the number would not be calculable. I don't know how they derived their figure, but the French periodical Le Monde once estimated twenty-one thousand apparitions between 1976 and 1986!

However many were legitimate, Mary's era, her most intense intervention, was at full throttle. Now apparitions that were once centered in Italy and France fanned across nations. There were reports in Ephesus. There were reports in Bethlehem. In Poland Sister Faustina had visions. In Dublin the Blessed Mother appeared during World War II in front of a green clover-shaped cloud with the dragon at her feet. "Have faith," she said. "The war will not reach Ireland."

She was in Hungary. She was in Michigan. She was reported by four French girls in a major case at L'ile Bouchard. She came with a sun miracle at Casanova, Italy. In one of the most dramatic cases, she appeared in Rome on April 12, 1947, to a virulent anti-Catholic named Bruno Cornacchiola who had made a vocation of speaking against Catholicism and who had planned to assassinate the Pope! While writing a speech against the Virgin as his children played in a field, Cornacchiola was drawn to a small cave where, to his shock, he saw his children in ecstasy and witnessed a small light that grew brighter and stronger until it lit the whole grotto.

He saw Mary and became Brother Maria Paolo.

These aren't ancient myths. They lead up to our own time. We can only relate a fraction of the examples. From Austria alone is a study a couple of inches thick with a different Marian miracle on each page!

Apparitions were claimed from eastern Canada to Bellmullet, Australia.

From April 25 to June 25, 1946, she appeared at the German town of Marienfried, a name which meant "the peace of Mary."

There, another secret was given to a visionary and she again urged recitation of the Rosary to ward off Satan.

Is it time to revisit some of these apparitions? Has the time come?

She warned there -- as elsewhere -- that if mankind didn't take advantage of Christ's mercy, there would be disaster.

This time we risked a global holocaust.

This time it could involve something like radiation, which may have been what a seer at Seredne, Ukraine, was alluding to in the 1950s when she saw the danger, as did many subsequent seers, of "fire" falling.

In the 1950s Mary's recognition and thus her ability to intercede were magnified when Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of her Assumption. On the day he announced this intention, the Pope witnessed a solar phenomenon. It happened immediately behind the Vatican gardens above the land that once belonged to Nero and Caligula.

"The sun, which was fairly high, looked like a pale yellow opaque globe completely surrounded by a luminous halo, which nevertheless did not prevent me at all from staring attentively at the sun without the slightest discomfort," Pius wrote in a note to a cardinal. "The opaque globe began moving outward, slowly turning over upon itself, and going from left to right and vice versa. But within the globe very strong movements could be seen in all clarity and without interruption."

On November 1, the actual day for definition of the new dogma, the sun again moved so oddly that afterward Pius made inquiries to the Vatican Observatory!

While many might guess the period after World War II would have seen apparitions slack off, the opposite had occurred. There was a surge. There was a great increase. Between 1947 and 1954 four times as many apparitions were reported as in preceding or subsequent years and what Mary seemed to be saying was that a danger lurked that would make World War II but a prologue.

But the lesson for us?

Let us take it home in our dangerous time:

The more Mary was invoked, the more she was officially recognized, the more she could intervene.

[resources: The Last Secret]

[see also: The first apparition of Mary]

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