National Geographic : 2015 Dec
the virgin mary 45 blood running all over like rivers. All of this had been predicted.” Anathalie was able to flee Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then Kenya. Alphonsine became a monastic sister in Italy. Marie Claire was killed in the genocide. On June 29, 2001, nearly 20 years after Alphonsine had first reported her apparition, Rwanda’s Bishop Augustin Misago and the Vatican declared that, yes, the Virgin Mary had appeared at Kibeho. Michael O’Neill, 39, a Stanford University graduate in mechanical engineering and prod- uct design, is the Virgin Mary’s big data numbers cruncher. On his website, MiracleHunter.com, he has codified every known apparition of Mary back to A.D. 40. Systematic investigation and documentation of supernatural occurrences began with the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church’s ecumenical reaction to the Reforma- tion, more than 450 years ago. Of the 2,000 ap- paritions reported since then, Miracle Hunter cites a mere 28 as approved by local bishops, who are the first to decide whether “seers” seem plausible. Sixteen of those have been recognized by the Vatican. O’Neill, in his newly published book, Exploring the Miraculous, details the Vatican’s painstaking process when deciding whether to endorse an apparition as miraculous—“truly extraordinary.” The “authenticity” and mental stability of the seer are prime, and anyone suspected of trying to gain fame or riches from contact with the Virgin Mary is ignored or condemned. Medjugorje is one of some two dozen sites in wait-and-see mode for Vatican approval. The lo- cal bishops with authority over Medjugorje have never given credence to the apparitions and have been at odds with the Franciscan priests who run the parish and are staunch believers. To resolve the impasse, a Vatican commission was appointed. It concluded its work in 2014. The Vatican would never approve an alleged apparition whose message contradicted church teachings, and the faithful aren’t required to believe in apparitions. Many, including priests, do not. “ What is from Mary versus what is In the city of Puebla pilgrims carry paintings and bouquets to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The roses point to Mary’s first appearance in Mexico. According to tradition, she revealed herself to an Indian man, Juan Diego, in 1531. Speaking in Nahuatl, she produced roses in winter and imprinted her image on his cloak, miracles that led many indigenous Mexicans to convert to Catholicism.