Sunday, August 10, 2003
The Rosary for the apparition started at 3:35 P.M.
The house in which the apparitions would take place was named Dune Haven. It was a large, two-story house with large windows that looked out onto the Gulf. Knowing we would be with Our Lady all week, ending with the Our Lady’s Assumption feast day, our founder had us bring a large statue of Our Lady and several vases and candles before leaving for Florida. On the morning of August 10th he said the altar for Our Lady’s apparitions should be the first thing we prepare. A tall glass table would serve as the altar and was placed in a corner of the room, in which the whole back wall was made of windows overlooking the ocean. Some of the adults along with the children looked around the house for things to decorate the altar with. They came back with a few starfish and shells and then were sent to look for more. They scoured the whole house, finding more starfish. As each one was found, it was placed at the feet of Our Lady’s statue. When they could find no more, they realized there were exactly 12 starfish!! Twelve stars for Our Lady’s crown. Not having any flowers, a few others went outside and found tall stalks or reeds. They were placed behind Our Lady’s statue. The affect of all this, with the sea behind, was breathtaking. We felt the hand of Our Lady bringing about this beautiful altar.
Nine-year-old Francesco, Marija’s second oldest son, came to Marija during the Rosary and prayers before the apparition, to ask a special request—that Our Lady would bless a little frog he had found. He placed the glass canister holding his frog in front of Our Lady’s altar. So much did he want Our Lady to bless the frog, that he came up to Marija three times during prayer to remind her to ask Our Lady.
The Community began praying the Rosary around 3:35 P.M. EST. After the Rosary, they sang “As I Kneel Before You.” Marija came up to kneel in front of Our Lady’s statue and began praying Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s. On the fifth Our Father, Our Lady came in the apparition. It was so beautiful with God’s creation in the background that it made all the more a deeper experience. Afterwards, Marija described Our Lady’s apparition:
Marija: “I recommended all of our intentions and Our Lady prayed over us and blessed us. She no have special blessing,” Marija said smiling. Our founder, not hearing what she said questioned, “She did give us a special blessing?” Marija nodded, “No,” and added “That means we have to pray more.” (She said this laughing.) Our founder asked if Our Lady was tranquil. Marija responded that yes, She was tranquil. Marija then said, “Our Lady also bless Francesco’s frog. He asked me three times!” Our founder asked if Our Lady said something special about this. Marija laughed again and said, “Our Lady blessed all,” meaning also Francesco’s frog. Francesco reminded Marija three times about the frog, “so I not forget,” said Marija.
Marija explained to everyone afterwards about Francesco and his frog. Of course everyone wanted to know if Our Lady actually blessed the frog specifically. Marija said Our Lady blessed “all.”. Everyone had a good laugh over the story, especially in remembering back and seeing Francesco approach Marija but not knowing what it was about.
We can only imagine the life of Mary with little Jesus. Perhaps He interrupted Her prayers to the Father with such simple things, things not important except to a little child. Our Lady’s apparitions are to save the world, yet Our Lady enters right in the midst of everyday life. Our Lady said:
July 25, 1998
A short time after the apparition ended, Marija, along with many community members were out on the deck of the house looking at the ocean. One of the young boys spotted a school of dolphin passing by. It took several moments for everyone to focus on them as the dolphins were quite a distance away, but suddenly everyone began to realize that hundreds of dolphins were swimming by. It was such a sight to see, really amazing. Everyone was excited. Marija began calling for Paolo excitedly, not realizing that he was up above on the upper deck looking at the same scene, and laughing at Marija because she was calling him so urgently not knowing he was seeing everything at the same time as she. Someone remarked that dolphins were the angels of Our Lady of the Sea. (This simple comment would carry a greater significance by the end of the week, on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady.) Everyone felt it was a special grace given by Our Lady to have witnessed this scene of the dolphins and God’s creation. After yesterday’s apparition in which Our Lady gave the message about being on “vacation,” and today’s apparition with the starfish and the dolphin, there was a special excitement of being with Our Lady that even our founder had seldom experienced. “Mystical” is the only way to describe the feeling.
This sweet statue of Our Lady became all the more dear to us during this time of being on vacation with Our Lady. When we chose this statue, out from among others that we have, to bring to Florida with us, there was no thought to the color of the statue, but it ended up being the perfect one for the colors of sea. Everyone contributed to finding something for Our Lady’s altar, and when we look at this picture, we remember the little hands reaching up to proudly give to Our Lady their own starfish found in the treasure hunt throughout the house. It was a joy for everyone creating this altar so that Our Lady would feel at home amongst us. There were many beautiful sights we saw this week, but none so beautiful as this little corner where Our Lady would come and be with us from Heaven.
What must have been in Marija’s thoughts after spending the morning placing starfish at Our Lady’s feet, to represent the stars around Our Lady’s head—to be actually able to see those stars, and then the face upon which they rest just a few hours later? Our founder once asked Marija to describe the stars of Our Lady’s crown. He wanted to know about the light. Marija said it was brighter than any light she has seen on earth. He asked if it was too bright to look at? Did it hurt her eyes to look at the stars? No, Marija said. The light did not hurt her eyes. He then asked if Marija could actually see the detail of the stars, or were they just spots of light. Marija said she could see the actual points of the stars, that the stars could be distinguished within the brightness. He asked, are there really 12 stars around Our Lady’s head. Yes, Marija said, Our Lady’s crown is made up of 12 stars. Our 12 starfish compared little to Marija’s description, but there was something so sweet in finding those 12 starfish in the house, as if Our Lady placed them there for us to find.
Marija’s son Francesco and his frog. Did Jesus, when He was a little boy, ever bring His Mother a frog to have Her admire it? And did She admire it not just because He caught it, but because He created it? We can all imagine such a scene. That’s how we know that even though She comes everyday to bless the world in order to lead it back to Her Son for its very salvation, still these small insignificant human moments bring joy, and perhaps even the recollection of Her own sweet memories of being by the Sea of Galilee with Her little boy, Jesus.
Marija writes out the message on paper that Our Lady gave to the community the day before, on August 9, 2003, in which She said: