What Happened on February 2, 1994
Our Lady appeared to Marija at 10:45 a.m. in the bedroom. She gave no special message. In this apparition, the Caritas Community was gathered for the first time in Her presence. After Her words the day before, spoken only in the presence of Caritas’ founder and his family, the silence today was significant. The community was just being established. Individuals and families had responded to Our Lady’s call, but the formation of the community was just beginning. There was little history within the newly formed community itself of being tested and of overcoming obstacles. The community was just learning to fast twice a week, to establish a prayer life of four hours a day, of working together despite different personalities, etc. The silence of Our Lady while She was before the community, especially after the joyful greeting the day before, “spoke” to them of Our Lady confirming and acknowledging their founder, his position, and what he and his family had personally suffered for Our Lady to begin establishing this way of life being guided by Her messages.
In an article written by R. Michael Dunnigan in the January, 2011 issue of The Catholic World Report, Dunnigan explains the importance of religious founders in the eyes of the Church: ….
“The primary role of religious communities in the Church is not to staff hospitals or to teach in schools, or even to care for the poor. Rather, the essential meaning and purpose of religious life is to present a uniquely public witness to the faith for the benefit of both the Church and the world. ..In living out this witness in a particular religious community, the person of the founder is crucial. This always has been the case, but the Church has accentuated the importance of religious founders even more in the Vatican II era. Thus, the Church constantly urges religious brothers and sisters to be faithful to the spirit and aims of their founders. As moral theologian Germain Grisez has noted, the position of a religious founder is unique in the Church. The reason is that the members of a religious community collaborate with their founder not simply during his tenure in office nor even for the span of his earthly life, but even after his death and for the entire life of the community, generation after generation.”11
Our Lady’s actions will never work in contradiction to the teachings of the Church, but rather will confirm these teachings. On October 6, 1986, Our Lady gave a direct message to Caritas’ founder, through Medjugorje visionary, Marija, while he was in Medjugorje. She said to him, “Pray and by your life witness…” Our Lady then answered a personal question he had brought to Her. He asked Our Lady, through Marija, if the same conversion that is taking place in Medjugorje be allowed to take place in Alabama, in his own hometown, so to speak. Our Lady responded in the affirmative. She said, “…Not with words but rather through prayer will you attain what your desire is. Therefore, pray more and live in humility.” Seven and a half years later, Our Lady appears just in the presence of the founder and his family in their home and says “I am happy to be here.” For the past five years, after Our Lady had been in his home for 2 ½ months giving messages every day, the founder had been under severe attack that was specifically aimed at forcing him to abandon the path Our Lady had set him on. In the above messages, and in many other messages and actions, Our Lady confirmed the foundation and the authority of Caritas’ founder in the same spirit that the Church recognizes the unique position the founder holds in religious communities. In line with Her actions, She is silent before the community on February 2, 1994 to point them to the founder just as “…the Church constantly urges religious brothers and sisters to be faithful to the spirit and aims of their founders.” The community is not their own foundation, but rather their foundation is upon a single life, a single witness who accepted the call from Our Lady to “by your life witness.” This was an important lesson in that the community understood through Our Lady’s actions that by cooperating with the founder’s “spirit and aims” they become an extension of his witness. And it is his witness that is an extension of Our Lady’s through being obedient to Her messages.
1“Cloaking Maciel in a Capuchin Hood,” R. Michael Dunnigan, The Catholic World Report, January, 2011