Θαύματα κι οράματα σ' όλο τον κόσμο: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
WHERE MIRACLES NEVER CEASEby Monte Leach
In a hot and crowded upstairs bedroom in an average-looking house in an average-looking community one hour east of Los Angeles, miracles are taking place.
Every Sunday at 5:30 pm, when the gathered crowd says the rosary prayer, oil (or sometimes blood) begins to flow from statues of the Virgin Mary that are kept on an altar in the room. The altar is filled with dozens of statues of Mary, Jesus and Joseph. The walls of the room are literally covered with pictures of the three venerated figures. You've heard of crosses of light? What about crosses of shadow? At least two of them have appeared on the walls of the bedroom. But there's no light source creating the shadows. They seem almost like stains, but are too perfectly-shaped. There's even an image of the Virgin on the windowscreen.
On this particular Sunday afternoon, the room is crammed with people, mostly women, mostly Hispanic and Arabic. Nasreen (whose house this is, whose miracles these are) is Kuwaiti. The reciting of the rosary prayer takes on an almost Tower of Babel quality as Spanish, Arabic, English and later French can be heard in the cacophony of voices praying together faithfully. Devotional songs are sung in various tongues. The largest statue of Mary on the center of the altar looks as if its weeping, as a bead of oil reflects light from below the right eye.
When the praying ends, a crush of people converge on the altar to see the new oil on the Virgin Mary statues and to receive from Nasreen a cotton ball soaked with the sacred liquid (it's actually pure olive oil, I'm told). The cotton ball is to be placed in a jar of commercial 100 per cent `Extra Virgin' olive oil, and the liquid used for healing purposes. I hear a woman's voice say, You can see the new oil on Joseph's chin and on the cross. Upon closer inspection, a statue of Jesus, Mary and Joseph can be seen with an oily substance on its surface.
As one crowd leaves the room, another lines up outside the door and down the stairs to see the statue and to receive the blessed oil. Nasreen patiently presses out the oil from a plastic squeeze bottle labeled Holy Water and gives each person a cotton ball soaked with it. The oil had presumably been collected from the statue on previous occasions.
As the crowd thins out, Nasreen finally takes a breather. She opens a photo album filled with pictures of the miracles: the statue crying tears of blood; the head of the statue facing at different angles (it once `bowed' its head in front of a crowd of 150 people, she says, to thank the people for coming with faith in their hearts); a dramatic image of Jesus superimposed on a photo of her garden; and so on.
I leave the house convinced, but under-informed. I call Nasreen a couple of weeks later to fill in some details. Before I even get to my first question, she begins:
NJ: Last Sunday, the Virgin Mary cried blood, a lot of blood. She cried from Sunday to Wednesday.
SI: Did she tell you why?
NJ: Yes. She was crying blood because of the war. She said, I want everybody to pray the rosary at 3 pm everyday. SI: Did she say anything else about the war in the Middle East?
NJ: She said to pray. With your prayer, she said, you can stop even more than this war. She said people are not praying enough.
SI: Let's start from the beginning. How did all of this begin?
NJ: The first time it happened was on 26 October 1988 at 9:30 pm. I took my nephew into my parents bedroom to let him sleep. We smelled oil. A strong oil smell. My nephew couldn't sleep. He was crying. I said, What's this smell? It is very strong. My sister came to pick up her son. I asked her, Has anyone been eating french fries in here? She said, No, we're doing dessert. We're not doing anything with oil. I said, It smells of oil. She said, No. As we left, the smell disappeared. When I came back, the oil smell returned. In the bedroom there is a picture of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. When I looked at the picture and held it, oil began leaking from the picture. Immediately we called the priest at the local church. We told him we had something strange happening. He came right away. He checked the picture, and said, Don't be worried. Don't faint. This is a blessing from the Virgin Mary. I don't want anyone to be scared. This is something very good.
SI: What happened then?
NJ: After that, my mother took the oil and blessed all of the pictures and statues in the house. Then all the pictures and statues began producing oil too.
We called the priest again and told him we had all the pictures making oil. He said, If you still have this in 15 days, call me back. It means you'll have a message from the Virgin Mary. If the oil doesn't stop, it means you're going to have a message for one of the family. I don't know for which one of you, but one of you is going to receive a message from the Virgin Mary.
SI: Did that happen after 15 days?
NJ: Yes. After 15 days I received a message from the Virgin Mary when she appeared the first time. My mother and I were sitting in the living room with a couple of friends, praying. I saw a lady coming from the garden outside. She was wearing all white and blue. I said, Look, look that lady! She was passing through the window like a shadow, a ghost. She was very clear. You could see the Virgin Mary. I was crying, and said, Virgin Mary is here! Virgin Mary is here! We got on our knees. My mother said, Don't be afraid. Pray and ask her. Then I prayed and asked her. Her first words were, Peace be with you. I said Our Father and Hail Mary. Then she said, One of your family promised me they would put two statues in front of the house. That member of your family has a problem. Tell the person to put out the statues, and the problem will be solved.
SI: Did you know who that was?
NJ: No. After that she left. I asked my mother and father. I called my brothers, my sister. Then I called my younger brother, Hani. I asked, Did you promise the Virgin Mary to put two statues out, for her and her son? He hung up the phone on me. Two minutes later, he was at my house. He said, How did you know? Nobody knows this. This is something between me and God. I said, the The Virgin Mary told me. That's how it started.
SI: When you saw the Virgin Mary in the living room, did your family see her too?
NJ: No. Nobody can see her except me.
SI: How did the people start coming to your house?
NJ: By word of mouth. One tells another. We have a small group, and they tell others. People ask, Why doesn't the media come visit you? It's not that I haven't told them, but my priest said we don't want lots of people to know. Because I have stigmata. That's why.
SI: He was afraid people wouldn't understand?
NJ: No, he said if people started coming more and more, they would take me away from home. He said, If you are going to talk to the television, don't talk too much. One of the priests has a program on a local cable access channel. He was here and saw everything and put it on television.
SI: Does the Vatican know about any of this?
NJ: Actually, my priest from back home is in the Vatican now. He stayed with me here for three days, and took all the messages to the Vatican.
SI: To show the people there?
NJ: Yes. To the Pope and everybody. My priest told me. They didn't deny it. But they also didn't say OK right away. He said, With you, they didn't deny it because you have lots of messages similar to the people in Medjugorje.
SSI: Did they say they would investigate it?
NJ: Yes. They have to do that. It takes time. It takes more than 10 years to prove it.
SI: As I understand, the priest brought some of the oil to the Vatican and they had it checked out.
NJ: Yes. There is another lady who the Virgin Mary appears to. Her name is Myrna, and she is from Damascus, Syria. The Virgin Mary has appeared to her from 1982 until the present.
My picture where the oil first appeared was given to me by that lady. They tested her oil. It was 100 per cent olive oil, the same as on my pictures. And they said there was something about the oil -- you can't find it on the earth.
SI: Do you understand what that means?
SI: When I was at your home, you said that they found it was old oil.
NJ: Very old.
SI: One month, 100 years?
NJ: Over 500 years old.
SI: Why is the oil being produced?
NJ: I asked Virgin Mary, and she said, The oil is for healing people. If they believe, and have faith, they will be healed. We have had lots of miracles. Lots of people have been healed. We have the papers to prove it. We had a baby born with cancer, and the cancer disappeared. One lady who wasn't pregnant for 20 years became pregnant. Lots of miracles.
SI: In the beginning, did you receive messages regularly?
NJ: It varied. Sometimes every two weeks. Sometimes every day. In the beginning, we weren't writing anything down. Then my priest told me to write everything down.
SI: What were the messages about?
NJ: She wants everybody to pray the rosary. She doesn't want anyone to say, I'm Catholic, I'm Orthodox, I'm Protestant. No. They are all Christians. There is one Jesus, one God. She said, I want one church. All of them united into one church. Most of the messages are for the church, the priests. She said they are changing lots of things, and to pray for the priests and nuns. She also said, actually this is one of the messages from Jesus, Build the church. I didn't understand what that meant until my priest said, This is not for the people. It is for the priests. To build themselves again, that they are moving away from God. They are changing a lot of the rules of the church.
SI: Has she told you why she is doing this now?
NJ: She says people have time now to go back to God. There will come a time that they'll have only five minutes to go back to God and they wont be able to do it. Now they have a chance.
SI: She's reminding people to go back to God.
NJ: Yes. That's why she's appearing. She's going to visit a lot of houses, because she says people go to church but they don't go to pray. She says there are lots of people in their houses that have more faith than the people who go to church. That's why she's appearing to people in houses.
SI: Is she still giving you messages?
SI: Do you still see her?
NJ: Yes, in my dreams. I asked her, How am I going to pray for the people? She said, Whatever you want, I'll hear you. I'll be in your dreams.
SI: Why have you specifically been selected to do this?
NJ: The Virgin Mary told me, You are chosen. That's all she said.
(SHARE INTERNATIONAL, April 1991)
* * *