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.
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.
"I want to cure my children from this illness which is materialism; an illness which makes many suffer. I want to help them discover Christ, and I want to make it known to them that Christ prevails over everything," Mary said in the apparition. She stressed the importance of prayer, especially the rosary.
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The apparition of Jesus told Gladys, "If this generation will not listen to my mother, it will perish. I ask everyone to listen to her. Man's conversion is necessary."
"Today I warn the world, for the world is not aware: souls are in danger. Many are lost," Jesus said in a 1987 apparition. "Few will find salvation unless they accept me as their Savior. My mother must be accepted. My mother must be heard in the totality of her messages. The world must discover the richness she brings to Christians."
"The children of sin will grow up in sin if their unbelief increases. I want a renewal of the spirit, a detachment from death, and an attachment to life. I have chosen the heart of my mother, so that what I ask will be achieved. Souls will come to me through the means of her Immaculate Heart."
The diocese's successive local bishops have discussed the apparitions several times. Bishop Domingo Salvador Castagna ordered the construction of a shrine as the Virgin had requested. Construction began in 1987 and the shrine was consecrated in 1990. That year, he approved the publication and dissemination of the messages of Our Lady of the Rosary in San Nicolas.
Every year, a massive pilgrimage to the shrine takes place on May 22.
O'Neil said it is unique that the bishops have approved the apparition messages from 1983-1990, even though the apparition is continuing today.