There is much history behind the building of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, the building that houses the mission of Caritas of Birmingham and the Community of Caritas. Plans to build the Tabernacle were first announced on September 8, 1992. Though Caritas had been operating as a non-profit organization for six years, the Caritas Community was just beginning in its infancy. Our Lady encouraged the founder to have the faith to realize his vision of seeing a building built that was 100% dedicated to the spreading of Her plans and messages. At the time, Caritas was located in a one story level house with its garage converted into the shipping department. Before moving into the newly built Tabernacle in 1995, more than 1,000,000 pieces of mail was sent out in its last 12 months of operation. The Tabernacle would greatly increase the capability of spreading Our Lady’s, messages not only throughout the nation, but also nations around the world.
From the outset, he felt Our Lady encouraging their efforts every step of the way. Immediately after making the announcement of the plans to build the Tabernacle, fierce opposition arose against it from those who he and the community thought would be the most for it. There was an all out effort by some to discourage people from contributing to the building fund. The founder was used to opposition in that from the moment he began Caritas, it became evident that forces were constantly being mustered to defame and harass the mission of Our Lady, often from people no one would have ever suspected. Oscar Wilder was right when he once said, “People forgive everything but success.” Just 17 days after they announced the building of the Tabernacle, on the very day the community began clearing the site to make way for the building to begin, Our Lady gave this profound message:
September 25, 1992
The opposition never let up against the building of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages over the course of the two and a half years it took to build it, but the resolve of the founder never wavered, but only strengthened through the little and big signs Our Lady would give to point him forward. On February 25, 1993, the concrete footings for the building were poured, which was the beginning of laying forth the foundation of the building. On that very day of Our Lady’s monthly message, She gave another “sign” that She was closely following their steps, for She used the word “concretely” in Her message:
February 25, 1993
This message was, of course, a great joy and sign as they watched the cement being poured. As the building neared completion it was the desire of the founder to invite the supporters of Caritas for the Dedication of the new building. At the end of the summer, he asked the construction company to give an estimated completion date for the building. The date they gave was December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The head builder from the construction company did not know the significance of the date he gave. But for the community, it was a great sign of blessing from God. There was no question of when the Dedication of Our Lady’s new building should take place. The date would be December 8, 1993. Seeing Our Lady’s hand so present upon the building, they began to pray about how to dedicate this building to Her. They were hearing from many of their supporters from all over the nation that they wanted to be present for the consecration of the building to Our Lady. The founder began to think that it would be better to set aside more than one day for the Dedication so that everyone would have the opportunity to go through the building while they were here. Looking at the calendar, he soon discovered that December 12th was also an important Feast Day of Our Lady—especially for our nation—being that it was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Feast of Our Lady of the Americas). It seemed a natural conclusion to hold a special retreat that would encompass both of these days—December 8 through December 12—that would make it five days of prayer.
He, along with the community, was moved in his spirit to see these two feast days connected together with the Dedication of the new building for another reason as well. Over the course of the past months of May and June, 1993, the founder discovered information from many different and separate sources that revealed Our Lady was heavily involved in the discovery and establishment of the United States of America. Thinking back, they can still remember the excitement that came to them as it seemed that every few days a new piece of information, all from different avenues, would appear on their founder’s desk, connecting Our Lady to significant events in our nation’s beginning, as if God was supplying different pieces of a mosaic to reveal a mystery that up until that time, had been kept a secret of Heaven. At this time as well, studies were being published which easily traced the beginning of the moral decline in the United States to the same year that prayer was taken out of school. In fact, on June 17, 1993 the founder had just completed an article in which he put together information concerning these studies to add to his writing American History You Never Learned (click), that brought together what they were learning about Our Lady and America. The very next day, going to the library to verify some facts, they discovered that the date of June 17, 1963 was the actual date that prayer was outlawed in America’s public schools, exactly 30 years before the date that the founder had written about it in this new writing. These “coincidences” held great significance for them so that when they saw that December 12th was the Feast of Our Lady of the Americas, they knew it was all part of a larger plan that God was orchestrating from above.
Within this same time period, the founder had been leading the community in praying several novenas for various spiritual and physical needs of the community. In some cases, they were praying more than one novena at a time. On July 25, 1993, Our Lady gave another profound message that confirmed that path of the community. She said:
July 25, 1993
It is a great joy when you realize that you have been inspired through the Holy Spirit in your actions before Our Lady actually makes the suggestion to do something. The Holy Spirit was revealing Our Lady’s heart before She expressed it through Her apparitions. To have already begun establishing the holy habit of praying novenas, and then have Our Lady say that this is a desire of Hers was a great joy. With that joy, came the desire to lead others to do that which they had already begun doing in the community. The founder then wrote several novenas for the purpose of the conversion of ourselves, our families and our nation. The novenas were prayed for Our Lady’s intentions for the Dedication of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages and the five-day retreat in December. He wrote a novena for each month, starting in August, leading up to December 8th.It was a big endeavor to put together this booklet of novenas, print them and mail them out before the first novena was to begin. They had less than 2 and a half weeks to accomplish this. Everything came together, but at the time of the deadline, the main novena prayer had yet to be written. It happened that World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II was taking place in Colorado that same month, August 1993. Several members of the community, along with the founder, were scheduled to go. But the novena booklet had to be completed before they could leave. The day before they were to leave, the novena prayer was still not written. The founder tried several times during the day to write it, but kept getting interrupted. These distractions made it difficult for him to enter into prayer and he was left without any inspiration when he put pen to paper. Finally, as the sun began to set, he headed up a mountain path, hoping that a beautiful scene away from everyone and everything would help to inspire him. But shortly afterwards he was stopped by many trees that had fallen on the path from a storm the past winter which now blocked his way. He looked around. The beautiful scene that he had hoped to find was marred by the transmission electrical lines and poles cutting through the woods through a right of way. With time running out, he resigned himself to write the prayer. He sat down in the ugly right of way, which seemed offensive amidst God’s creation, and began to write.
“Lord, who are we as a people, having been given blessings in portions as no other nation before us? What has become of us, Father? We have spoiled your spacious skies with buildings and cities breathing with sin. The amber waves of grain are no longer viewed as our blessing but as our due. The awe and reverence due You when we gaze upon the purple mountains and their majesty is no longer held; rather, how much pleasure they can give us…”
Without a single erasure, suddenly, what had taken a whole day of effort to get on paper, resulted in a prayer that was written in only a few minutes. The founder came down the mountain, turned the prayer into the pre-press department, stuffed a copy of it in the pocket of his jacket and left very early the next morning on a plane to Denver. The small group from Caritas had arrived in Denver a day early, before the events with the Holy Father would be taking place. Not having a plan for the day, they decided to drive to Colorado Springs, an hour away from Denver, to tour the new home of the large Christian organization, Focus on the Family. After arriving there, they discovered they were directly across from Pike’s Peak, and made the plan to drive up to the top that afternoon. At the top, much of the history of this famous mountain was available in a small museum. One of the stories told was of Katherine L. Bates, a young woman who journeyed up this mountain in the 1800’s. She was so moved by the enthralling beauty of the landscape, she penned a poem that was later put to music, and that we know today as the song, “America the Beautiful.” What follows are just a few of the lines she wrote that day:
“Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plains. America! America! God shed His grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea”
Suddenly, the few who knew of the prayer that had been just written the afternoon before became awe-struck. Most of the Caritas members hadn’t seen the prayer yet. But everyone was intrigued because of the reaction to Katherine Bates story. They asked one of the park rangers if he knew where Katherine Bates had written “America the Beautiful.” He pointed to an area on top of Pike’s Peak facing the other mountains that he said was the probable spot. They left the museum and found a spot overlooking the same “purple mountains” that had inspired Katherine Bates—and then the events of the day before were explained. They all knew that only God could so arrange the writing of a prayer that referenced the words from “America the Beautiful” and less than 24 hours later, bring the group of them all the way from Alabama to Colorado Springs, up Pikes Peak, to pray this prayer for our nation’s conversion for the very first time on the same mountain top that first inspired these holy sentiments—with none of them even being aware of the song’s origin. They prayed a Rosary together on top of this mountain, consecrating “The Prayer to Heal Our Land” to Our Lady as well as the December retreat for the Reconciling of Ourselves, Our Families and Our Nation Back to God—the name that had been given for this event.
The year 1993 began the novena prayers for our nation’s reconciliation with God, but it wasn’t until the following year, in 1994, when the novena book was expanded to seven novenas, beginning in June and ending in December, each starting on the 25th of the month, the day Our Lady gives Her monthly message to the world. The Seven Novenas for the Reconciling of Ourselves, Our Families and Our Nation Back to God as well as the Five Days of Prayer by the same name was the result of an accumulative grace. They look back and marvel at all the nuances that took place the summer of 1993 to move the founder towards establishing these novenas and prayer days. It is now fourteen years later and these novena prayers have been prayed by tens of thousands across the land, year in and year out, and continue to be so.
It is stories such as the above that have convinced them that Our Lady has a plan for the conversion of America and that what takes place here in the Bedroom and Field are a part of a wondrous plan to heal our land so that
“…we may again be your people, not a nation above God but one nation humbled and under God. Amen.” From the “Prayer to Heal Our Land“ Click Here
What you have just read is only a single chapter from a most beautiful love story revealing the love of Our Lady for this nation. The Seven Novenas and the Five Days of Prayer for the Reconciling of Ourselves, Our Families and Our Nation Back to God were inspirations that came after years of prayer for this land to return to its beginning. A beginning when the principles of Christianity formed the bases of its laws, up until recent decades. In the first apparitions at Caritas in 1988-89, Our Lady was asked on several occasions to appear outside near a tree that had been consecrated to Her. Every time, Our Lady declined. And then one day, without being asked, Our Lady said She would appear in the Field the next day, near a large pine. The day was November 24, 1988, Thanksgiving Day - Click Here. It was the first apparition in the Field. By Her actions, She was calling this nation back to its Christian heritage and religious roots. So many are concerned about our nation and our nation’s return to God. Christians across America have a constant vigil of prayer going for our nation’s conversion. But Our Lady revealed that we need not be concerned about the conversion of America. We need only to be concerned about the conversion of America’s families. When Christian families accept and return to living all the precepts of God, America will return to God. This is why the holier site of the apparitions here at Caritas is the Bedroom, and why the Bedroom is the preferred place of the apparitions for Our Lady, by Her own choice—because nations cannot be restored until the family is healed and it is Our Lady’s plan to see that happen, one family at a time.