November 9, 2012

Our Lady of Heede


When four girls reported, on November 1st, 1937, that the Blessed Virgin had appeared to them, the news was received in the village with predictable skepticism and/or amusement. It was not until the girls showed a dramatic change in their way of life that the villagers began to wonder. Hitherto given over to pleasures and amusements, the girls switched to long and fervent prayer, impatiently waiting for the hour when they would see the Heavenly Vision again. Nevertheless, the Pastor and most of the villagers refused to believe in the apparitions for a long time but were finally won over. Crowds came to Heede when the news percolated to the surrounding towns and villages. But Hitler ruled Germany in those days and the Gestapo swiftly put a stop to this "superstitious nonsense." The children were taken to a lunatic asylum and the pilgrimages forbidden. After a few weeks the children were released but forbidden to go near the place of the Apparitions. However Our Lady appeared to them in other places, as subsequently did Our Lord.

The message of Heede is very similar to that of Fatima. Our Lady appears to have said little. She appeared to the girls with the Divine Child in her arms, smiled at them and was content to have them enraptured with the beauty of the Divine Presence.

Devotion to the Poor Souls in Purgatory was emphasized at Heede. The children first saw Our Lady in the cemetery while they were on their way to the church to gain the "Toties Quoties" indulgence for the Poor Souls. On April 5, 1939, one of the children asked Our Lady how she wished to be invoked. "As Queen of the Universe and Queen of the Poor Souls," Our Lady replied. She also requested to be invoked by the Litany of Loreto.

When Our Lord — as a grown man — appeared to one of the seers, Greta Gansforth, He had a solemn and sad warning to give her. "Men did not listen to My Most Holy Mother when she appeared to them at Fatima and admonished them to do penance. Now I Myself am coming at the last hour to warn and admonish mankind! The times are very serious! Men should at last do penance, turn away from their sins and pray, pray much in order that the wrath of God may be mitigated! Particularly the Holy Rosary should be prayed very often! The Rosary is very powerful with God! Worldly pleasures and amusements should be restricted.

"Men do not listen to My Voice, they harden their hearts, they resist My grace, they do not wish to have anything to do with My Mercy, My Love, My merits; mankind is worse than before the deluge. Mankind is suffocating in sin. Hatred and greed rule their hearts. This is the work of the Devil. They live in great darkness . . .

"Through the wounds that bleed now, mercy will again gain victory over justice. My faithful souls should not be asleep now like the disciples on Mt. Olivet. They should pray without ceasing and gain all they can for themselves and for others.

"Tremendous things are in preparation; it will be terrible as never before since the foundation of the world. All those who in these grave times have suffered so much are martyrs and form the seed for the renovation of the Church. They are privileged to participate in My captivity, in My scourging, in My crown of thorns and My way of the Cross!

"The Blessed Virgin Mary and all the choirs of Angels will be active during these events. Hell believes that it is sure of the harvest, but I will snatch it away from them. Many curse Me now, but these sufferings will come over mankind that they may be saved . . .

"I will come with My peace. With a few faithful, I will build up My Kingdom. As a flash of lightning this Kingdom will come . . . much faster than mankind will realize. I will give them a special light. For some this light will be a blessing; for others darkness. The light will come like the Star that showed the way to the wise men. Mankind will experience My love and My power. I will show them My justice and My mercy. My dearly beloved children, the hour comes closer and closer. Pray without ceasing!"

On November 3, 1940, the children saw Our Lady for the last time. She appeared to them in the cemetery, just as she did the first time. Our Lady said to them, "Be good and resigned to the will of God. Pray often, especially the Rosary. Now, farewell, my children, until we meet in Heaven." "Mother, we thank thee," the children cried out.

It has been falsely reported that the Vatican rejected or even condemned the apparitions of Heede. While there has been no formal judgment issued about the apparitions or message, the Bishop of Osnabrück received a favorable report from two priests he sent to investigate. It was only after wonderful cures occurred that the parish priests and other clergy supported the seers (forbidding a public dance announced for October 21, 1945, in response to their warnings). A new parish priest, appointed by the Bishop at the time the apparitions commenced, declared that there are "undeniable proofs of the seriousness and authenticity of these manifestations." Pilgrimages and devotions in honor of Our Lady of Heede have always been freely permitted. The history of the apparitions and messages has appeared in numerous publications bearing the Imprimatur of various bishops. Great caution is required on the part of the faithful, however, because of the flood of allegations of apparitions and supernatural messages plaguing the world these days. These phony apparitions almost always contradict the true Catholic Faith in some way. But in the apparitions and messages of Heede we find nothing contrary to the Faith; indeed, their similarity to the approved apparitions of Fatima, Lourdes and La Salette give good indications of their authenticity.

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