Monday, December 13, 2010

A Holy Christmas

As we approach Christmas let us keep in mind the words of Our Lady.

"It is the wish of my Son that fathers and mothers strive to imitate me and my chaste spouse in our holy life at Nazareth. We practiced the simple virtues of family life, Jesus our son being the center of all our activity. The Holy Trinity dwelt with us in a manner far surpassing anything that can ever be imagined. For ours was the earthly paradise where once again God walked among men."

"As in our little home no sin was to be found, so it is the wish of the heart of my Son and my Immaculate Heart that sin should, as far as possible, be unheard of in the homes of our children."

"The Divine Trinity will dwell in your midst only of you are faithful in practicing the virtues of our life at Nazareth. The you also my children, you also will become another paradise. God will then walk among you and you will have peace."

"I need your help to bring peace into the world. Do not disappoint me."

Copywrite The Contemplative Sisters of The Indwelling Trinity

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hope for America

Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil)

Sister Mary Ephrem writes to her Spiritual director Fr. Leibold concerning the composition of this prayer:... "On October 5, 1956, I felt suddenly urged to write a prayer to Our Lady, Patroness of our land. I knelt by the little table in my room, and as I did Our Lady came to me. She stood at my right side very close to me. Though I did not hear any words, the thoughts came into my mind one after the other, and I wrote without stopping until the prayer was finished. The Our Lady disappeared."

Prayer to Our Lady of America, Patroness of our Land
Written at the behest of Our Lady, October 5, 1956 by Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil)

Oh Immaculate Mother, Queen of our country, open our hearts, our homes, and our land to the coming of Jesus, your Divine Son. With Him, reign over us, O heavenly Lady, so pure and so bright with the radiance of Gods light shining in and about you. Be our leader against the powers of evil set upon wresting the world of souls, redeemed at such a great cost by the sufferings of your Son and of yourself, in union with Him, from that same Savior, Who loves us with infinite charity.

We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved Land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God and without your loving maternal care.

We consecrate our hearts, our homes, our Land to your Most Pure Heart, O great Queen, that the kingdom of your Son, our Redeemer and our God, may be firmly established in us.

We ask no special sign of you, sweet Mother, for we believe in your great love for us, and we place in you our entire confidence. We promise to honor you by faith, love, and the purity of our lives according to your desire.

Reign over us, then, O Virgin Immaculate, with your Son Jesus Christ. May His Divine Heart and your most chaste Heart be ever enthroned and glorified among us. Use us, your children of America, as your instruments of peace among men and nations. Work your miracle of grace in us, so that we may be a glory to the Blessed Trinity, Who created, redeemed, and sanctifies us.

May your valiant spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy Angels and Saints, assist you and us in "renewing the face of the earth." Then when our work is over, come, Holy Immaculate Mother, and as our Victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom, where your Son reigns forever as King.

(200 days)

Nihil Obstat: Daniel Pilarczyk, S.T.D.
Imprimatur: +Paul F. Leibold, V.G.
Cincinnati, Jan. 25, 1963

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Lady of America

On the evening of the feast of the Most Holy Rosary, October 7, 1957, Our Lady again appeared. Her hands were clasped in an
attitude of prayer. Her look was serious, though her countenance retained its usual deep serenity. Hanging from her right hand
was a blue rosary of a glass-like quality, I was conscious of the fact that what she was about to say to me was not only very grave but of the utmost importance. Our Lady reiterated in a similar manner her first warnings:

"My beloved daughter, what I am about to tell you concerns in a particular way my children in America. Unless they do penance
by mortification and self-denial and thus reform their lives, God will visit them with punishments hitherto unknown to them.
"My child, there will be peace, as has been promised, but not until my children are purified and cleansed from defilement, and
clothed thus with the white garment of grace, are made ready to receive this peace, so long promised and so long held back because of the sins of men.

"My dear children, either you will do as I desire and reform your lives, or God Himself will need to cleanse you in the fires of
untold punishment. You must be prepared to receive His great gift of peace. If you will not prepare yourselves, God will Himself be forced to do so in His justice and mercy.

“Making the rosary a family prayer is very pleasing to me. I ask that all families strive to do so. But be careful to say it with great
devotion, meditating on each mystery and striving to imitate in your daily lives the virtues depicted therein. Live the mysteries of the rosary as I lived them, and it will become a chain binding you to me forever. They who are found in the circle of my rosary will never be lost. I myself will lead them at death to the throne of my Son, to be eternally united to Him.

'"Write these words upon your hearts, my dear children, because of the compassion I have for you in my Immaculate Heart. Oh,
if you knew the punishments I am holding back from you by my pleading and intercession on your behalf!
"Will you do as I wish at last, my children?''

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lifting High The Torch

Archbishop Raymond L Burke now the Prefect of the Apostolic signatura, was asked to review the status of Our Lady of America and to give his canonical opinion as to whether this devotion is worthy of belief. After a period of years studying Our Lady's messages and the archival letters written between Sr. Mary Ephrem and her spiritual director Archbishop Paul Leibold, Archbishop Burke had this to say

Regarding Our Lady of America
Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke
Archbishop of St. Louis

In a letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Burke, then the Ordinary of St. Louis, Missouri, now Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, revealed the results of his review of the history and canonical status of devotion to Our Lady of America. See the original letter.

May 31, 2007 — Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

To the Bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Dear brothers in Christ,

The devotion to Our Lady of America has its source in private revelations to Sister Mary Ephrem (baptized Mildred) Neuzil, who was born in 1916 and was professed, in 1933, in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, which has its generalate in Dayton, Ohio. She later became part of a contemplative branch of the same congregation. The contemplative branch was located at Our Lady of the Nativity Convent at New Riegel, Ohio. After the suppression of the contemplative branch in 1979, the Sisters who were members took up residence in Seneca County, Ohio. From the time of the suppression, Sister Mary Ephrem used her baptismal name, Sister Mary Mildred Neuzil. Sister Mary Ephrem (Mary Mildred) died in 2000. One of the Sisters survives and continues to live in Seneca County, Ohio.

Having reviewed the correspondence between Sister Mary Ephrem and her spiritual director of many years, Monsignor Paul F. Leibold, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who later became the Bishop of Evansville and, then, Archbishop of Cincinnati, it is clear that the devotion, as proposed by Sister Mary Ephrem, received his approbation. In addition to the correspondence by which Monsignor Leibold declared the approval of the devotion, he also carried out the first of Our Lady of America's requests, made through Sister Mary Ephrem, namely, he had a medal struck with the image of Our Lady of America on one side and the coat of arms of the Christian family on the other.

The coat of arms symbolically represents the substance of the private revelation received by Sister Mary Ephrem, namely, the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity in the Christian home, which is the source of life and unity in the family. The coat of arms points to the purity and selflessness of love in the family, because of the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, the model of which is the Mother of God, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of our nation. In a particular way, Our Lady of America expressed her desire that the United States of America, through her intercession, be devoted to the purity of love. She identified herself to Sister Mary Ephrem as "Our Lady of America, The Immaculate Virgin." In the consecration of our nation to our Blessed Mother, made in 1959 at the National Shrine and renewed, in our name, by Bishop David Ricken on November 11, 2006, the Saturday before the November meeting of our Conference of Bishops, our Blessed Mother is addressed as "Immaculate Virgin."

The contents of the private revelation received by Sister Mary Ephrem were published in a booklet, first in 1960, and, again, in 1971. Both of these editions were published with the Imprimatur of Archbishop Leibold. A final edition, with some new contents, was published in 1989. The new contents were added at the direction of Father Edmund Morman, S.V.D., the last chaplain of Our Lady of the Nativity Convent at New Riegel. Father Morman was sadly killed in an automobile accident on February 17, 1986.

As Archbishop of Cincinnati, Archbishop Leibold commissioned a wooden plaque with the image of Our Lady of America, which he gave to the cloister at New Riegel, at which it was displayed for many years in a public area. He had the wooden plaque created for the specific purpose of its use in processions at the New Riegel convent.

Archbishop Leibold also authorized the Weberding Woodcarving Shop at Batesville, Indiana, to carve a statue of Our Lady of America. The statue was carved for Our Lady of the Nativity Convent at New Riegel, Ohio, at which public devotions to Our Lady of America were regularly celebrated.

Other bishops have permitted the public display of a statue of Our Lady of America for devotion. For instance, the late Bishop William G. Connare of Greensburg permitted a statue to be displayed at the Carmel of the Assumption at Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Also, a statue of Our Lady of America was carried in procession in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on several occasions by the Apostolatus Uniti and other groups. On May 31, 2006, a statue of Our Lady of America was enthroned at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama, by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The statue which was enthroned at Hanceville is the very same statue which Bishop Connare authorized for public devotion at Latrobe.

A specific request of Our Lady of America was that her statue be placed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. There is a providential connection between Sister Mary Ephrem and the late Archbishop Bishop John Francis Noll of the Diocese of Fort Wayne, who is celebrated as the Apostle of the National Shrine. The principal apparitions of Our Lady of America to Sister Mary Ephrem took place in the chapel of the Precious Blood Sisters Convent in Kneipp Springs Sanitorium, near Rome City, Indiana. Archbishop Bishop Noll, who died in 1956, maintained a summer residence at the Sanitorium, within a few hundred feet of the place of the apparitions. While the National Shrine is the largest shrine in the world at which there was not a previous apparition, the private revelation to Sister Mary Ephrem very much confirms the mission of the National Shrine.

The prayer attached to the devotion also received the imprimatur of the then Monsignor Leibold, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Archbishop Leibold was Sister Mary Ephrem's spiritual director from the time that he was Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati until he died in1972. Archbishop Leibold was always clear that the approved devotion had its origin in private revelation received by Sister Mary Ephrem over many years.

What can be concluded canonically is that the devotion was both approved by Archbishop Leibold and, what is more, was actively promoted by him. In addition, over the years, other Bishops have approved the devotion and have participated in public devotion to the Mother of God, under the title of Our Lady of America.

Although the devotion to Our Lady of America has remained constant over the years, in recent years the devotion has spread very much and has been embraced by many with special fervor. Seemingly, as has been suggested by Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I., in his homily of August 5, 2006, at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, the moral crisis of our time, which demands a new teaching and living of the virtue of purity, has found an especially fitting response of loving care from the Mother of God in her message to Sister Mary Ephrem.

Some have raised with me the canonical question regarding the status of Our Lady of the Nativity Convent in Seneca County, Ohio, which has been the residence of any remaining member of the suppressed contemplative branch of the Congregation of Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. In response, I observe that the canonical question has no bearing on the devotion or its approbation.

As one deeply devoted to fostering the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe in our nation, I have wondered about the relationship of the devotion to Our Lady of America to the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Archbishop Leibold, in fact, raised the question with Sister Mary Ephrem. Sister Mary Ephrem responded that Our Lady of Guadalupe is Empress of all the Americas, whereas "Our Lady of America, The Immaculate Virgin," is the patroness of our nation, the United States of America. The two devotions are, in fact, completely harmonious. As our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II reminded us, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization, draws all of the nations of America into unity in carrying out the new evangelization. Our Lady of America calls the people of our nation to the new evangelization through a renewed dedication to purity in love.

I hope that the above may be of some help to you in responding to questions regarding the devotion to Our Lady of America.

May the Immaculate Virgin intercede for the intentions of our dioceses and our nation. With fraternal gratitude and esteem, I remain

Yours devotedly in Christ,
(Most Rev.) Raymond L. Burke Archbishop of Saint Louis.

Bishop Richard J Garcia of Monterey California told CNS,

"Our Lady of Guadalupe is important for all the Americas but to have Our Lady of America and the Immaculate Conception as a special patroness for our nation will bring about the peace we so yearn for (and) a resolution to many social issues," including euthanasia and abortion, California Bishop Richard J. Garcia told CNS.
"The Blessed Mother is so important to all of us Roman Catholics, and Christian people in particular, and, specifically for our country, for peace within our land; and the intercession of our Blessed Mother is so important on many issues that affect us morally and socially," Bishop Garcia said.

"Marian devotions, including those to Our Lady of America, also can lead the faithful to really listen to Christ's message that all must be "bearers of the Gospel and bring about Christ's love," he said.

On October 13, 1956 Our Lady appeared to Sr. Mary Ephrem." She was very beautiful and smiled in her heavenly way. She was dressed in the same manner as I first saw her, except her Immaculate Heart did not appear. Instead of the lily,she held with both hands a small replica of the finished Shrine of the Immaculate Conception."

"This is my shrine,my daughter, I am very pleased with it. Tell my children I thank them. Let them finish it quickly and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this.."

She requested a statue be made according to her likeness and placed, after being solemnly carried in procession, in the Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. She wishes to be honored there in a special way as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our Lady of America's 53rd Anniversary

In the fall of 1956 I was sent to help out at one of our larger institutions. It was at this place that the official visits of Our Lady began, and the special mission entrusted to me revealed.
The following is the account of these visits as it was written at that time:

On the eve of the feast of the North American Martyrs, September 25, 1956, as I was making the Holy Hour from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. I was conscious of the distinct and special feeling of the presence of Our Lady. She stood by my side and spoke to me. I felt, rather than saw her, though I did see a part of her white gown and a small portion of her blue sash. I was under the impression that she came as Our Lady of Lourdes, and she herself confirmed this. Our Lady promised that greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima would be granted here in America, the United Stares in particular, if we would do as she desires.

These are the words she spoke to me at this time:

"I am pleased, my child, with the love and honor my children in America give to me, especially through my glorious and unique
privilege of the Immaculate Conception. I promise to reward their love by working through the power of my Son's Heart and
my Immaculate Heart miracles of grace among them. I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul."

Our lady emphasized this very much. She is anxiously concerned about our inner life.

She continued:

"For it is mainly through these miracles of grace that the Holy Trinity is glorified among men and nations. Let
America continue and grow in its love for me, and I in return, in union with the Heart of my Son, promise to work wonders in
her. My child, I desire that this be known."

The next morning, the feast of the North American Martyrs, Mass had just been concluded and the Community thanksgiving was almost over. There were a few minutes left when suddenly Our Lady appeared before me, enveloped in a soft glow of light. I knew with unmistakable certainty that it was she, though she did not speak immediately. What I noticed was the smile on Our Lady's beautiful countenance and the lily she held in her right hand. She wore a white veil reaching almost to the waist and a mantle and robe of pure white with not a single decoration of any kind. An oblong-shaped clasp or brooch held the ends of the mantle together at the top. It was all gold, as was the high and brilliant crown which she wore. Her hair and her eyes seemed of medium brown. Her feet were bare, but these I did not always see, as they were sometimes covered by the moving clouds on which Our Lady stood. She continued to smile. Then I saw her heart appear, encircled with red roses, the symbol of suffering as it was revealed to me, and sending forth flames of fire. With her left hand Our Lady seemed to be holding up slightly the upper part of her mantle, so that her Immaculate Heart could be seen. Then solemnly and distinctly,in
calm yet majestic tones, I heard these words:

"I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives."

She was very beautiful and her smile held me. But I became conscious of the fact that the other Sisters were leaving the chapel, and I, too, had to go as obedience directed me. I said to Our Lady, "Please forgive me, Mother, but I do have to go now or my work will not get finished." Our Lady understood, but she did not leave me. When I entered my room, she was there waiting for me. Then I noticed the green color of the lily stem in her hand and the white sash or belt which she wore around her waist. It seemed to be made of the same material as the robe. It was narrow, very narrow, and no ends of it could be seen at all. As I had to hurry about my tasks, I could not give Our Lady all the attention I longed to, but every now and then I would direct a glance of love toward her. Our Lady stood there smiling as I had seen her in the chapel. All that day I was conscious of Our Lady's presence in a very special manner, in a way that was distinctly new to me.

On the afternoon of the same day, during the last half of the Holy Hour between 4:00 and 5:00, the Immaculate Virgin spoke to me at length in these words:

“My child, I entrust you with this message that you must make known to my children in America. I wish it to be the country
dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the Soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come to me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son."

Our Blessed Mother called herself Our Lady of America in response to the love and desire that reached out for this special title in the hearts of her children in America. This title was the sign of her pleasure at the confidence our land places in her and as a reward for its staunch and childlike devotion to her. Her children longed for this personal visit of Our Lady, whether consciously or otherwise, and in her kindness and mercy she responded far beyond all expectations. Though she came in this manner as a token of her love for us, nevertheless Our Lady of America welcomes her children of all nations to her feet, for there will be found true peace. So she has given me to understand, and such are her desires as she revealed them to me,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our Lady's Shrine

Following is the account of Our Lady's next visit, which occurred on October 13, 1956:

Today the Holy Virgin appeared to me as I was working in my room. Our Lady was very beautiful, and she was again smiling in
her heavenly way. She was dressed in the same manner as when I first saw her, except that her Immaculate Heart did not appear.
Instead of the lily, she held with both hands a small replica of the finished Shrine of The Immaculate Conception. She then began to speak. Her presence overwhelmed me with its holiness. I was compelled to stop my work, for it was impossible to go on. I then knelt down and wrote Our Lady's words as she desired:

"This is my shrine, my daughter. I am very pleased with it. Tell my children I thank them. Let them finish it quickly and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this, I will bless all those who, either by prayers, labor, or material aid, help to erect this shrine."
Diary of Our Lady of America

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our Lady of America's Medal

In regard to the medal that Our Lady requested to be made, I was told that as long as it bore the form of a shield, the medal itself
could be of any shape desired. Around the image of Our Lady, as she appeared September 26, 1956, these words are to be en-
graved: "By thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil." 'Those who wear the medal with great faith
and fervent devotion to Our Lady will receive the grace of intense purity of heart and the particular love of the Holy Virgin and
her Divine Son. Sinners will receive the grace of repentance and the spiritual strength to live as true children of Mary. As in life,
so in death, this blessed medal will be as a shield to protect them against the evil spirits, and St. Michael himself will be at their
side to allay their fears at the final hour.
The Coat-of-Arms Our Lady had inspired some years previously. I did not know at the time for what purpose it was to be used,
and Our Lady did not enlighten me on it until much later.
As mentioned before, Our Lady also requested a picture or statue of herself as she appeared on September 26, 1956, to be honored and venerated in every Christian Home. DIARY OF OUR LADY OF AMERICA page 25-26

Archbishop Paul Leibold was faithful to Our Lady's request. He had the medal struck and even paid for the expense so as to assist in fulfilling Our Lady's wishes.
Sister Mary Ephrem secured the devotion to Our Lady of America by Last Will and Testament to Sr.Joseph Therese, the sole surviving sister of The Contemplative Sisters of The Indwelling Trinity

The Our Lady of America Center located in Fostoria Ohio is the authentic source for all devotional materials concerning Our Lady of America.
WHY? Because those were the wishes of Sr.Mary Ephrem.

To order devotionals and a history of Our Lady of America please visit the new official website

Our Lady Of The Nativity Convent 1950

Our Lady Of The Nativity Convent 1950
This Storm Spared The Convent, But Other Forces Proved Fatal