What Happened on February 17, 2009
Our Lady smiled today. Our founder and Marija’s husband, Paolo, were out of town early yesterday morning before apparition time. It was a sacrifice to be gone from his home with Our Lady here still appearing. They were scheduled to be back Tuesday morning, but it would be impossible to make it back for the apparition. Their flight was scheduled to arrive in Birmingham at 10:15 a.m., and the apparition was expected at 10:40 a.m. It is normally a 55 minute drive from the airport to Caritas, but can be much longer if traffic is bad, and late morning the roads are usually filled with cars. Our founder had told his wife, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, to pray for a long apparition, because it would have to be a “really” long apparition if he had even a slight chance of making it, especially since Our Lady said in yesterday’s apparition, “Same time. Same place.” Though we knew Our Lady could do anything, it was thought to be wishful thinking of any chance of getting back for Our Lady’s apparition today.
Rosary began in the Bedroom at 10:00 a.m. with mostly community members and some pilgrims present. As the time approached 10:40 a.m., Marija got up from kneeling just outside the doorway of the Bedroom and then entered into it. The Rosary continued, with different people praying each decade. It had almost reached ten minutes past apparition time (10:50 a.m.) when we began to notice that Marija gave no sign that apparition time was approaching.
At this point, some in the room began to wonder if Our Lady meant to wait until our founder arrived. Two full Rosary’s were prayed and Our Lady had not appeared! A third Rosary was started while we waited for Marija to go into ecstasy. Some of us began to take notice, began to wonder, questioning ourselves. The daughter of our founder decided to try and call Paolo to see where her dad was. When she reached him, our founder was shocked to find out that Our Lady had not yet appeared. It was 10:55 a.m. He was approx. 15 minutes from home. The 3rd Rosary, remarkably, continued up until the 4th Glorious mystery, when Marija began to pray the Hail Holy Queen. Suddenly Marija interiorly felt Our Lady was coming and that it was time for the apparition. Our hearts sunk because we knew it wasn’t enough time for our founder to make it back yet. Some of us were praying silently that Our Lady would wait, but as Marija began praying the 7,7,7, we knew that after one or two sets Our Lady would come as it was way past the normal time of the apparition, and after all, She had said the day before, “Same time. Same place.” Still we hoped for many sets to be prayed. Our hearts grew hopeful again when still after 3, 4, and 5 more sets, Our Lady hadn’t come. But then suddenly, Marija’s voice disappeared. Our Lady was present. One to two minutes went by and then in the silence of the apparition, everyone heard the kitchen screen door open and slam shut and unbelievably, our founder came running in. He was motioned to come forward. He stopped outside of the Bedroom to kneel down, but we motioned him to go into the Bedroom where an empty spot waited for him beside Marija. Our Lady was still appearing and continued to appear for the second half of the apparition. There were looks of unbelief, of joy, and tears to see that Our Lady waited for 30 minutes after Her normal apparition time which allowed our founder to be present. He was very moved, as we all were, to see this unexplainable action of Our Lady.
After the apparition had ended, we wanted to hear from our founder’s perspective what had been going on with him. He told us that in the car coming home, he and Paolo began the Rosary for apparition and in his prayer, he was asking Our Lady to wait for him. Headed toward noon time, Hwy 280 is normally packed with cars. When they had reached just beyond Interstate 459, looking ahead for more than a mile, he was surprised to see not one car on Hwy 280, one of the busiest and most congested highways in the state of Alabama. Traffic was busy in the oncoming lanes, but not their side of the highway. Where was everybody? Most of the traffic lights were green as they came to them. Later, as they neared an intersection that had turned red, the cars ahead went into side lanes, leaving the middle lane cleared of any cars. Even knowing that apparition time had already past, he decided to continue to hope that Our Lady would make it possible for him to make the apparition. Seeing few to no cars on the highway enkindled that hope. Then to receive the call from his daughter Bridget that the apparition hadn’t taken place yet, at 10:55 a.m., he knew it was too much to expect but he still hoped. To come home to find Marija in ecstasy as he entered the Bedroom was too much to take in. It was a lesson in the power of “hope” against hopelessness, when, even when there is no reason to hope, to keep hoping leads to the impossible happening.
Marija’s Description of the Apparition, February 17, 2009 in the Bedroom
In the moment of the apparition, I recommended all of us. In a special way I recommend Tony and Erin today on their (wedding) anniversary and I said and all families of the community. And Our Lady beginning to smile. And I (then) said (recommended) all families of all (present) and Our Lady beginning to pray, and She pray long (time) and I recommend all people who is in Field and I pray. Our Lady give blessing and She go.
The apparition took place at approximately 11:08 a.m. and lasted four minutes. Our founder came about 2 minutes before the apparition ended. Yet another surprise, when asked about apparition tomorrow, Our Lady said, “I will come whenever you pray.”