I do not know enough about Marian apparitions to write about them coherently. I follow the teachings of the Catholic Church on occasions where they have declared a Marian apparition to be valid. I allow others to believe what they believe. Of all the shrines across the world I have only been to Walsingham, in England. Someone very kindly gave me a rosary from Medjugorje
I am reminded that, in this country, shrines to Mary were established across England, Wales and Scotland and were important places of pilgrimage until the Reformation, during which times of upheaval, statues of the Virgin from the ancient shrines were burnt in public. England remains, in the hearts of Catholics, the ‘Dowry of Mary’ and prayers remain for the conversion of England. I once tried to count all the places named after Mary across the country – and gave up.
Marian apparitions have been recorded in many countries, including Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda, Our Lady of Akiba in Japan and, of course, Guadalupe, Fatima, Banneaux and Lourdes. And Zeitoun in Egypt.
Our Lady appeared to many saints including St Bernard, to whom she gave the rosary, Saint Dominic and Saint Hyacinthus, whose feast was a few days ago. To Saint Catherine Labouré she gave the Miraculous Medal – and the stars around her head on her image on the medal reappear on the flag of the European Union. To Saint Simon Stock she gave the Brown Scapular.
Something deep in me wishes, just as so many wished the other week for the ‘miracle priest’, that Mary would appear to watch over all her children, to warn and guide us. She is the Mediatrix, the Exterminatrix of Heresies and the Mother of Mercy, the Mater Misericordiae, under whose cloak we shelter.