Our Blessed Mother appeared 19 times to a novice, Sister Teresita Castillo, in the Carmelite order in Lipa City, Philippines. Sister Teresita recounted that Our Lady stressed to her, humility, penance, prayers for the clergy and the Pope, and to pray the Rosary. She also reported that there was one secret for herself, one for the Carmel convent in Lipa City, one for China, and also one for the entire world. On June 4, 2015, Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa, declared, “Mary Mediatrix of all Grace of Lipa is ‘worthy of belief’.” The apparitions at Lipa have now joined the ranks of other officially Church approved Marian apparitions such as: Guadalupe, La Salette, Rue du Bac, Lourdes, Pontmain, Knock, Fatima, Beauraing, Banneux, Akita, Betania, Amsterdam, Kibeho, Laus, France and Champion, Wisconsin, USA. The following history of the apparition is taken from the official website, http://marymediatrixofallgrace.com. —AMJ
Dr. Francisco Villanueva, Jr. in his book “The Wonders of Lipa” (written in 1949, just about the time of the height of the Lipa apparitions) made the following observation: “The first time that the Blessed Virgin had ever appeared in the Far East was in that place of the Philippines called Lipa City . This is a very special and great privilege granted by God and His Holy Mother to the Filipino people”.
|Sister Teresita Castillo|
It was in 1948, in a small Carmelite convent at Lipa, Batangas that the Blessed Virgin came to manifest her presence to her Filipino children through a young postulant Sister Teresita Castillo and Mary had some very important things to tell them. These heavenly appearances were authenticated with overwhelming and amazing miracles of conversion and physical cures, of visions and humanly unexplainable showers of rose petals inside and outside the Carmelite convent which according to Dr. Villanueva lasted seven months. Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus, OCD was Superior of Carmel, Lipa in the late 1940’s. She gave the following report to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa at the time of the apparitions:
“On September 12, Sunday, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, at about five o’clock in the afternoon, a Sister who was taking a walk in the garden suddenly remarked that a vine shook and as there was no wind at all, it attracted her attention. She approached and heard a woman’s gentle voice that said ‘Fear not, my child. Kiss the ground. Whatever I shall tell you to do, you must do. For fifteen consecutive days come to visit me here in this spot. Eat some grass, my child.’ The Sister did not see anyone, she only heard the voice.
“Next day, Monday, at five o’clock , the Sister returned to the place. She knelt and recited the Hail Mary. She had reached the words ‘full of grace’ when she remarked that the vine was moving and behold she saw a Beautiful Lady with her hands clasped on her breast, a golden rosary hanging on her right hand. She was stooping slightly, her dress was pure white, simple, held at the waist by a narrow cloth belt. Her feet were bare and resting on clouds, which were about two feet above the ground. Her face, of indescribable beauty, was radiant. She was smiling. ‘Be faithful to come here, be it rain or sunshine,’ Mary said to the Sister. Then the Sister asked her ‘Beautiful Lady, who are you?’ ‘I am Thy Mother, my little one.’ And having said this she vanished.
“On Tuesday at the same hour, Sister went to the same spot. The Lady was already there waiting for her. Her arms were extended forward as if wishing to enfold her little one in a tender maternal embrace. ‘I wish this place to be blessed tomorrow’ she said. ‘At what time, my Mother?’ Asked Sister. ‘Any time your Mother Prioress wants. My child, I forbid you to forget the incidents of these fifteen days.’ Then blessing the Sister she disappeared.
“The blessing of the nook in the garden was set for three o’clock in the afternoon of the next day. Carmel ‘s Chaplain, His Excellency, Bishop Alfredo Ma. Obviar, wearing the rochette and stole entered the enclosure and the Community followed him to the spot. As the Community drew near, the Lady, visible only to the Sister appeared with her arms extended as if to gather all in her maternal embrace. As soon as the Sister knelt before Her, She said ‘My child, kiss the ground and eat a little grass. Take a piece of paper and pencil and write down what I shall tell you for the Community.’
“The following is her message:
1. ‘My daughters, I ask of you to believe in Me and to keep this a deep secret among yourselves for the time being.’
2. ‘Love one another as true sisters.’
3. ‘Come often to visit Me. Make this a sacred place and respect it. Gather the petals, my children. I bless you all.’
“Then the Lady vanished and in the place of the apparition there were scattered rose petals. The Chaplain proceeded with the blessing of the place after which he gave a short talk to the Community emphasizing the Lady’s message. At five o’clock the same day, Sister went to the same place and as on the preceding days the Apparition was waiting for her. ‘I shall ask something from Carmel. I want a statue to be placed here. Clean this part of your garden so it will be a real place of prayer. You need not tell me all your sisters are asking, for I know them. Tell them that they must believe lest they lose grace. I shall always bless the Community.’
“On September 16, when Sister reached the spot the Lady in her usual demeanor told her the following; ‘I want a statue to be placed here. I want you to describe me to your Chaplain because I want it to be as you see me and as big as the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes that is in the cloister. Tell your Mother Prioress to have the rosary recited by the Community here every afternoon during these days. Extend my love to all my daughters. Tell them that I love my daughters in Lipa Carmel, that I shall always be with you all.’ Then blessing her little one she departed.
|Statue of the convent|
“The following days the Lady and the Sister met each other on the spot and she spoke to her as a Mother to her little one. She gave her motherly advice telling her to be obedient, simple and humble. To tell the Community that simplicity and humility are the two virtues she loves much, so to love and practice them.
One day the Apparition asked from the Community an individual consecration of its members to herself according to the spirit of St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort.
“On the last of the fifteen days, Sunday September 26, the Lady repeated her counsels to her little one: ‘My child you must love and obey your Mother Prioress. Tell your Sisters to love one another as true Sisters, to practice humility and simplicity, the virtues I love most. Tell them to love and obey their superiors and not to forget the things I ask. I shall not ask bigger things from you as you expect because you are My little ones. Do not forget to consecrate yourselves to Me on October 7. Be very good. I am MARY, MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE. I shall always bless the Community morning and evening.’
“On September 30, rose petals were strewn in the cells of the monastery. On October 3, the shower fell on the staircase. Occasional showers within the cloister followed. On November 11, the petals fell outside and were seen by some visitors.
On Friday, November 12, after Mass, the Sister was called to the place of the Apparition and there on the vine was Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace. Her hands joined on her breast in an attitude of prayer She looked tenderly but sadly on her little one and on the Community that had followed. Then she said: ‘People believe not My words. Pray, My child, pray much because of persecution. Pray for priests. What I ask here is exactly what I have asked at Fatima. Tell this to the people. They don’t believe in Me nor do they give what I ask. Tell the Sisters that I ask them to pray and help spread My devotion and to make penances for those who don’t believe. When people come to pray and ask for graces let them ask directly to Me and not through you. These things may now be revealed. This is My last apparition in this spot.’ Blessing her little one and the Community assembled in the sacred place, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, vanished.” (Imprimatur Bishop Alfredo Verzosa, dated Dec. 6, 1948 — Reimprimatur Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, D.D. dated March 21, 1992.)
Early on, both Bishop Alfredo Verzosa and his auxiliary bishop Alfredo Ma. Obviar were favorable to the apparitions. However, in 1951, the Philippine Hierarchy issued a negative judgment officially declaring the absence of supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings including the showers of petals at Carmel, Lipa.
The apparitions, which were once the center of attention of the nation, were all but forgotten. The image of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace, which earlier had received the prayers of the faithful, at Lipa was ordered withdrawn from public veneration.
Soon the messages of Our Lady of Lipa eclipsed into oblivion. An entire generation of Filipinos has grown up unaware of the events of 1948 at Lipa, ignorant of the role of Mary as Mediatrix of All Grace, therefore failing to benefit from the tremendous graces to be secured by recourse to the Blessed Mother under the title by which She identified Herself.
One of the few souls who kept the memory of Lipa alive in her heart during the long years of silence imposed by the Hierarchy was Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus, the prioress of Carmel during the time of the apparition. In December of 1982, she knelt before her superior and asked permission to die in order to hasten the cause of Our Lady in Lipa. The prioress, Mother Mary Aimee consented. Within a few days heaven accepted her proposition that in exchange for her life the cause of Mary would go forward.
Archbishop Mariano Gaviola who had been installed as Archbishop of Lipa in 1981 studied the case of the apparitions and on July 16, 1992 granted permission to expose once again the image of the Mediatrix of All Grace for public veneration. Then in February 1993, he publicly declared his personal conviction that the events at Lipa are worthy of belief thus paving the road wide open to a complete rehabilitation of Our Lady’s apparitions at Lipa.
To derive grace from the apparitions of the Mediatrix it now becomes incumbent upon us to pay close attention to what the Blessed Mother had imparted to us at Lipa.
During those extraordinary days, Our Lady singled out a new saint - St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, who was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1947, just a year before the apparition. She made reference to the Marian spirituality that this saint taught in his writings and asked that the nuns consecrate themselves to Her in this manner.
From the brief account of the apparition written by Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus, OCD, the Mother Superior of Carmel, Lipa in the late 1940s we quote:
“One day the Apparition asked from the Community an individual consecration of its members to herself according to the spirit of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort”.
Indeed it can be said that mother knows best. As it is with a mother of a family, so is it with the Blessed Mother and all Her children in the world. In this case it is our very own Mother in heaven pointing out to us a blueprint for Christian living truly effective in serving the cause of Jesus and Mary and leading us safely to our last end. Her singling out of St. Louis de Montfort so shortly after his canonization shows Her desire for us to have this saint as our model and spiritual guide during these critical times for the Church and for the world.