“(I)n my twelfth year of pastoring San Nicolas and, having followed with faith and responsibility the Marian events that I have known about since the very beginning, I have reached the decision to recognize them for my diocese,” Bishop Hector said.
“I recognize the supernatural nature of the happy events with which God through his beloved daughter, Jesus through his Most Holy Mother, the Holy Spirit through his beloved spouse, has desired to lovingly manifest himself in our diocese.”
Michael O’Neil, a miracle researcher and author who runs the website MiracleHunter.com, told CNA that the approval is significant. It means that the messages from the apparitions are not only approved for the faithful to read, he explained: the bishop is saying the events were in fact actual miraculous apparitions.
“That puts it on par with Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe,” O’Neil said.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="es" dir="ltr">12.00 Santo Rosario <br>12.30 Santa Misa pedimos por las intenciones pedidas a la Virgen del Rosario de San Nicolás. <a href="https://t.co/oUymGE2za9">pic.twitter.com/oUymGE2za9</a></p>— BasilicaNtraSra BsAs (@BasilicaSraBsAs) <a href="https://twitter.com/BasilicaSraBsAs/status/691397156025036800">January 24, 2016</a></blockquote>
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The apparitions began after some rosaries in homes throughout San Nicolas de los Arroyos in Buenos Aires Province began to glow without any explanation.
A wife and mother named Gladys Quiroga de Motta saw these glowing rosaries and began to pray to the Virgin Mary. The Virgin appeared to her on Sept. 25, carrying the infant Jesus and wearing a blue gown and veil. Her figure glowed with light.
With only a fourth-grade education, Gladys had no great knowledge of the Bible or theology. She is a mother of two daughters and a grandmother.
At various times, the Virgin Mary apparition referred the woman to several Bible verses. One month after the first appearance, the apparition gave Gladys a white rosary and said, “Receive this Rosary from my hands and keep it forever and ever. You are obedient; I am happy because of it. Rejoice, for God is with you.”
The Virgin Mary asked Gladys to go look for a statue that had been blessed by a Pope and was forgotten away in a church. She found the statue on Nov. 27, 1983. It was in the belfry of the diocesan cathedral.
The statue in question was of the Mother of God holding the Child Jesus. It had been brought from Rome after it was blessed by Pope Leo XIII. Following the Virgin’s instructions, it was found in the bell tower of the church. The statue resembled the apparition.
Gladys also received 68 visits and messages from Jesus.
According to reports, Gladys shared the apparitions’ messages from the beginning. She was always at the disposal of the church authorities. Gladys now lives a life of great devotion, always keeping a low profile. She reportedly received the stigmata on her wrists, feet, side and shoulder.
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There have been several documented healings related to the apparitions, including the healing of a boy with a brain tumor.
Gladys has shared about 1,800 messages from the Virgin Mary, O’Neil said. Many focus on topics like peace, repentance, returning to the sacraments, and drawing people closer to Christ. But there are also messages in an apocalyptic theme, predicting great turmoil for humanity ahead.
“So that’s the tricky part with all of this,” O’Neil said. “It’s not as simple as some of the other apparitions that just draw people closer to Christ… there are some dire warnings as well.”
Father René Laurentin, an expert on Marian apparitions, recounted the apparitions’ messages in his book, “An Appeal from Mary in Argentina.”
At one point, Mary said, “Many hearts do not accept my invitation to prayer and to conversion. That is why the work of the devil is growing and expanding.”
The warnings said that mankind is “in the process of falling in to a progressive self-destruction” and the Virgin Mary represents hope. “It is up to you to set your eyes and your heart on God,” she said.