The Woman, The Ark, Mary Comes to Man
August 4 & 5, 2005
“Then God’s temple in Heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”
These words from Holy Scripture resounded in the hearts of all those who were present in the Field to celebrate Our Lady’s 2021st birthday this past August 5th. No one could have anticipated, imagined or predicted what transpired the moment Our Lady came to the earth, to your Field, on the celebration of the day of Her Birth. No one present doubted it was a miracle. Pilgrims who experienced this moment were left speechless. Those who tried to put it into words said that it was a scene right out of the Bible, a moment when the presence of God was felt as is often seen in the Bible. Others compared it to the miracle of the sun experienced at Fatima. James Collignon from Covington, Louisiana recently wrote, “Wow! God really knows how to throw a Birthday party!”
Mystics, who were given special visions of the birth of the Virgin Mary, tell of a violent storm that arose just at the moment of Mary’s birth. One reported mystic, by the name of Maria Valtorta who lived in the 1940’s, wrote in her work The Poem of the Man-God, that Joachim and Anne were speaking together about a drought in their region and how desperately the land was in need of rain. Though there were signs of a storm brewing, Joachim felt that it would pass them by. Anne, who was ready to give birth, was caught up in a sudden, supernatural joy and felt more from this joy than from any physical pain, that her time was near. She went into the house. Suddenly, a rapid, fierce storm descended upon them. Joachim ran to take cover from the torrential rain, while lightning, thunder and hail was crashing all around. Just at the moment of Mary’s birth, a tremendous lightning bolt struck that cleared the air, ending the storm, and then a beautiful rainbow appeared. Joachim heard the first cry of his little daughter from within the house. Mary’s birth came to end not only the physical drought over the land, but also the spiritual drought of men’s longing for the Savior.
The evening of August 5th, on Our Lady’s Birthday, many had been praying in the Field for hours while others were just making their way to the Field to begin the Rosary at 6:00 PM, for the apparition which Our Lady had said would be at 6:40 PM in the Field. The sky was sunny to partially cloudy. There was little sign or worry of rain. Ten minutes into the Rosary, however, the weather began making radical changes out of the east. Dark clouds rumbled, the wind began picking up, the sky in the east turned gray, darkening minute by minute, the temperature dropped from hot and humid, to cool and refreshing. Thick rain could be seen coming towards us from a distance. When the sky turned black, and the first raindrops began to fall, it was felt that God was giving something of a supernatural character; that this was not just a storm, especially in how it seemed to develop with little time or warning. Contrary to how most would react in these circumstances, the sudden weather changes brought excitement to many in the Field. There was within the crowd a sense that God was going to do something awesome. As apparition time approached, suddenly the storm moving from the east (very unusual for this area), broke in all out fury over us. Lightning bolts began striking everywhere. Thunder crashed loud enough to cause the ground to quake. And then the rain came, pounding. Then it began to hail the size of quarters on the people.
Paolo, Marija’s husband, had concern for Marija coming up to the little house of St. Joachim and St. Anne; a house filled with candles that was specially built for this event of Our Lady’s Nativity. It was the only shelter in the Field and only large enough for two or three people at the entrance. One of his concerns was that the house would be lifted up and thrown into the crowd by the winds. For many in the Field at that moment, fear was far from our hearts. We were overtaken by a sudden, supernatural joy that seemed to somehow be deposited in the heart. This spontaneous joy swelled as the storm intensified. No one had to convey to each other that it could not be coincidental that the strength of the storm increased the closer we came to Our Lady’s apparition. Marija always sees flashes of light preceding Our Lady’s appearance. This time everyone present was getting to experience the nature of that joy.
How could it be coincidental that we were experiencing a duplication of an identical storm that heralded Our Lady’s birth 2021 years ago? Severe lightning, thunder, rain, and hail…a description of Our Lady’s birth that was explained the night before in the Rosary on “Mary’s Eve.” Go back and read again the scripture from Revelation at the beginning of this writing. It speaks of the entrance of Mary through the thought of God revealed in a beatific vision that the angels witnessed of Her; an entrance which was first heralded by the flashing of lightning, peals of thunder, the earth quaking and hail. Later, according to different mystics, it would actually happen on the day She was born. And now in the Field, we were at the very moment that Our Lady was about to be with us, present bodily to Marija, for the apparition, experiencing the same situation as it was at Her birth. It showed on so many faces, a belief that we were receiving a special grace from God; faces that were smiling, laughing even, as we shouted Hail Mary’s over the storm’s fury. And then, at the exact moment Marija went into ecstasy, a tremendous crash of lightning flashed and thunder resounded through the valley. Pat Rowley from Pawcatuck, Connecticut was looking from a short distance away and witnessed, at that single moment, the flash of a lightning bolt coming directly downward and right on top of Marija’s head, separated only by the little roof of the newborn infant Mary’s house that we had constructed. He said it took everything in him to remain kneeling instead of jumping up with his hands above his head, shouting and cheering with joy. At that moment, he no longer cared about the storm. Amazing to the community is that the electrical power and loud speakers stayed on. Usually, this is the first thing that goes out. This enabled Marija to be heard right up to the apparition and then afterwards as she gave the description of Our Lady’s apparition, although some could not hear her over the storm even with her speaking on the sound system.
The next day a community member crossed paths with an unbelieving neighbor three miles down the road from us who also witnessed the storm. He said he looked up and saw the largest lightning bolt that he has ever seen in his life—that was at least 4-feet wide, come directly down on the mountain, near to where he knew we were all in the Field. Compare that to a scale on which most lightning bolts look only a ¼" wide from a distance. When we tried to explain this was due to Our Lady, he frowned with disbelief and said he was just glad the event was over because of the traffic!? Yet, he himself was amazed at the storm.
Amazingly, because the storm came from the east, the sun remained, eerily, shining as it was going down in the west! Something we had never seen here in our area: a violent, dark storm on one side of us and the sun shining on the other side of us!! Light vs. Dark. The crowd of people had committed to living a sinless day as a birthday gift to Our Lady; a day in which everyone put forth their strongest effort not to commit a single sin so as to honor Our Lady who lived everyday of Her life without sin. The pilgrims at Caritas joined the community, who annually give this gift to Our Lady each August 5th. This supernatural storm also came after five days of pilgrims sacrificing themselves through hot, humid August weather, walking, climbing the mountain, praying prayers on every hour for Our Lady’s intentions, each day of August 1-5, for Her birthday. Of the storm, Cheryl King from Islamorada, Florida recently wrote, “My friends here in the Florida Keys tell me a special weather advisory was televised regarding tornado formation in our area of Birmingham late in the day on August 5th.”
The unusual storm formed quickly, was short in duration, and was not followed by any other bad weather. It was a single storm. However, it was severe enough to cause power outages and knocked out traffic lights throughout the city, some of which were blown down to the ground. Because of the traffic lights being out (we never lost our power at Caritas), it took several hours for many of the pilgrims, who were soaked to the skin, to make it back to their hotels—a drive that normally would take only 15 minutes. And yet hotel personnel were amazed at how happy and joyful everyone was in the midst of these inconveniences. With no power at the hotels, many stayed in the parking lots late into the night sharing with each other their experiences. What was just as amazing to us were the people in the Field that evening. One would expect in a normal crowd of several thousand people gathered in an open field, completely exposed to the elements of nature, no protection from pounding rain, even hail, with lightning crashing all around that the people would flee, would run for shelter, would shriek and cry with fear. None of that happened. People remained gathered in the Field. We all pressed closer together and continued to pray the Rosary—with loud, strong voices. The overall emotion was not of fear, but wonder, awe, excitement, and joy—a sweet, powerful, unexpected, filled-to-the-brim joy.
Our Lady came in the apparition that night and stayed for an unusually long time, praying over us for a long time. She was dressed in Her golden gown and was accompanied by three angels. She gave a message to us, saying, “Do not forget that I am your Mother and I love you.” She then said, “I thank you for the novenas,” referring to the five 9-hour novenas, on August 1-5, we had offered for Her Birthday intentions.* Our Lady then said, “I give you my Special Motherly Blessing.” She came very joyful and happy. The only thing we didn’t receive that evening was the rainbow in the sky, because nightfall was approaching. But we didn’t need that particular sign. She put the rainbow in our hearts.
In the Joy of Our Lady’s Presence and Grace,