The Unexpected Apparitions of February 11-18, 2009
On February 13, 2009, one of the young couples in the Community was married. In the midst of all the wedding preparations, two days before the wedding, one of the married women of the Community gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Just three weeks earlier, a baby boy was born to another Community mother. It was a month of beautiful new beginnings in the Community. In preparation, as we do with all the marriages here, the Community began a 54-day Rosary novena for the couple being married that would end the evening before the wedding day. However, the last night the Community would be able to say it all together would be two days before the wedding, on February 11, 2009.
February 11, 2009
All members of the Community, from the youngest to the oldest meet every Wednesday and Friday evenings for prayer group. We gather at various places each week. This Wednesday night payer group on February 11th took place amidst the busyness of preparing for the wedding on Friday. Our founder was gone half of the day but specifically had given instructions to have prayer group in the Bedroom at 5:00 p.m. He had said if he was not back, to not delay but go ahead and begin the Rosary. He had stressed, though we were very busy preparing for the wedding, we would not be Martha, but rather her sister, Mary Magdalene, who took the better part and was with Jesus; that our prayer group would not neglect our time in prayer with Our Lady. After the first decade, he finally arrived and stopped us. He told everyone that he wanted us to momentarily get our thoughts away from the wedding preparations and everything that still needed to be done, and to enter into prayer with all our thoughts on Our Lady. He asked us to close our eyes and to meditate on the gift of these new babies born into the Community as well as the wedding taking place in the next days. He said it was almost like we were experiencing Christmas all over again this week with so many special gifts and celebrations.
Before he left, earlier that day, he had prearranged to have a favorite community Christmas song played in the Bedroom during the prayer group. He relayed it was to help us realize we are gifted with the presence of Our Lady in our midst when we pray. He told us to close our eyes and meditate on all the gifts we received through Our Lady. After a while, he told us, “Open your eyes.” Gasps and cries of surprise and joy were heard throughout the room. We were shocked. While eyes were closed meditatively, without notice, the visionary Marija had slipped in at the foot of the Bed. The founder, while the song was still playing, said, “Open your eyes.” Marija Lunetti and her husband Paolo came into view before us. Our founder had picked them up at the airport and they stayed in the kitchen while the founder came on into the Bedroom. Their cue to come in was when they heard the music. When they came in, Marija then tiptoed in through the Community members and knelt in her normal place at the foot of the Bed when she is there for the apparitions, and several Community members commented that it was almost like having an apparition themselves. They closed their eyes—they were not there. They opened their eyes—and Marija, Paolo and Giovanni, their 6-year-old son, suddenly had appeared before them. To say it was a very joyful reunion cannot describe what everyone felt. Several in the Community said it was “shock and awe.”
Amidst the joy and hugs, we learned that they had come to attend the wedding, but it was kept a secret from everyone in order to add to the joy of this week. As if that surprise and that joy wasn’t enough, the Community learned that Our Lady had not appeared to Marija at her normal apparition time, but had waited so that the Community could be present in the apparition. The Community was stunned with joy. There are not many words that can describe such a moment when on an ordinary day, a day with no hint of anything coming, there suddenly comes the news, and within 30 minutes of Marija arriving, you are bowed before the Queen of all creation. Before Our Lady appeared, She allowed us to pray the entire Rosary novena which included two long prayers for the wedding couple, and it was when we had finished these prayers that Our Lady came. She appeared about 5:55 p.m. The following is a description given by one of the Community members of the apparition.
At the moment of the apparition, Marija recommended to Our Lady the Community and Our Lady immediately smiled. After the apparition, Marija, with joy but struggling for words, said “I think Our Lady was surprised too.” Our founder, wondering why Marija said that, asked, “Did Our Lady look surprised?” And Marija tried to find better words to describe and relay Our Lady’s expression, because it wasn’t exactly surprise, but that Our Lady was reacting to our surprise in some way. It was an emotional expression we had never heard used to describe Our Lady before. Our founder then asked, “Was it like She was amused?” And while Marija happily nodded yes, she said it was like joy but different. After discussing Our Lady’s reaction, it was more like an emotion of joy, sharing of the surprise and amusement. Marija said Our Lady then blessed us.
Our founder knew the next day would be a difficult day to get everyone together because some would be cleaning and decorating the church for the wedding, others would be preparing food and decorations for the reception, the wedding party rehearsal was to take place, etc. So he asked Marija to have Our Lady choose the time for the apparition the next day. Our Lady would know what would be best when all the Community could attend Her apparition. Marija asked, and Our Lady astounded us all when She said:
Knowing how hectic the day would be with wedding preparations, the wedding rehearsal and dinner, and everything in-between, Our Lady allowed the founder to find the time of the day that would be best for everyone, when we would all be together, so no one would miss the apparition.
And so began a beautiful week with Our Lady, and Marija and Paolo.