Saint of the Year

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Saint of the Year

The Blessed Mother (Marian Apparitions)

The Blessed Mother was the Saint of the Year for the 2023/2024 School Year. Because of the central importance of Mary’s role in Salvation History, and the many different cultural apparitions of Mary through the centuries, this school year, we are going to focus on Marian Apparitions. Not only does this allow our students to unpack Mary as the Mother of God (Theotokos – God Bearer), but it also gives them a unique opportunity to get to know some cultures with which they may not be familiar. 

 Here are just a few of the Marian Apparitions that we will celebrate this year.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Patroness of the Americas

In December of 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego asking him to convince the local Bishop to build a shrine to her at that location. In order to convince the Bishop, Mary asked St. Diego to gather the roses in his tunic as a sign of the truth he would speak. When St. Diego approached the Bishop, he unfurled his tunic full of roses to reveal the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe we all know.

Our Lady of Laus:

 Beginning in May, 1664, a mysterious lady appeared to a poor French girl named Benoîte, and taught her about the Catholic faith. After four months of these apparitions, the mysterious woman revealed herself to be the Blessed Mother.  Our Lady of Laus asked Benoîte to go into the city of Laus and find a chapel with a sweet aroma. When Benoîte found the chapel, the Blessed Mother appeared on the Altar and instructed the young girl that a church should be built there for the conversion of sinners. For the next 54 years of Benoîte’s life, Mary would appear and continue to teach the young girl. To date, thousands make a pilgrimage to the shrine, leading to the conversion and healing of many. In 2009, Benoîte  was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI, the first step to Canonization.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal:

 On a July night in 1830, Sister Catherine Labouré heard the voice of a child calling out to her. When she responded, the voice said, “Come to the chapel, the Blessed Mother awaits you!” Sister Catherine Labouré headed to the Convent chapel and waited until Mary finally appeared. Sister Catherine Labouré loved Mary so much that she rushed to the Blessed Mother and rested her head in her lap. Because of her faith, the Blessed Mother told Sister Catherine Labouré that she was to be given a mission to help guide France out of the coming Franco-Prussian War and the destruction and suffering it would bring. Mary gave Sister Catherine Labouré the Miraculous Medal, explaining its meaning, and instructing her that all who wore it with confidence, would gain graces.

Our Lady of Pontmain (Our Lady of Hope)

Just as Our Lady predicted, France suffered greatly during the Franco-Prussian War. As German forces occupied much of France, and continued to advance, many began to lose hope. The town of Pontmain was next on the war path. The people of the town prayed for their salvation from the coming army. As they were praying, an image of Mary appeared over the town surrounded by three stars that only the children could see (the adults only saw the stars surrounding her). As the village continued to pray, a red cross appeared in Mary’s hands and a look of sadness come over her. As the villagers stopped praying, Mary vanished from the children’s eyes. Following this moment, the Prussian forces never arrived to attack the town, and a cease fire was called a week later.

Our Lady of Knock

 On August 21, 1879, an apparition appeared over the village of Knock in the presence of villagers aged 5-75 years old. The people gathered saw a vision of St. Joseph, Mary, and St. John the Evangelist around an altar on which a pure white lamb stood.