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Our Lady of Lavang, Vietnam

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Our Lady of Lavang Shrine

During much of the 18th century, the nation of Vietnam was embattled in various struggles for power and domination. The northern regions of the kingdom fell under the authority of the lords of the Trinh family, while in the southern realm the Nguyen lords took power. As the eighteenth century drew toward its close, both of their rules were shaken and threatened by peasant uprisings and emerging rebel forces.
The strongest among the many uprisings was led by the three brothers from Tay Son. In short order, they overthrew the Nguyen lords and defeated the Trinh lords to restore national unity for the first time since the decline of the Le dynasty. A Tay Son brother was enthroned to be King Quang Trung. In 1792 he passed away and left the throne to his son who became King Canh Thinh.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Anh continued his insurgency in trying to reclaim his throne. Earlier in his run from the Tay Son rebels in 1777, he found refuge on Phu Quoc Island, where Monsignor Pierre Pigneau de Behaine of the Society of Foreign Missions directed a seminary for youths from neighboring countries. The bishop persuaded him to seek help from King Louis XVI of France.

King Canh Thinh knew that Nguyen Anh received support from the French missionary and worried that the Vietnamese Catholics would also endorse his reign. He began to restrict the practice of Catholicism in the country. On August 17, 1798, King Canh Thinh issued an anti-Catholic edict and an order to destroy all Catholic churches and seminaries. A most grievous persecution of Vietnamese Catholics and missionaries began and lasted until 1886. Even after Nguyen Anh succeeded in reclaiming his throne as King Gia Long (1802-1820), his successors, King Minh Mang (1820-1840), King Thieu Tri (1841-1847) and King Tu Duc (1847-1884), the last Nguyen emperor, continued the vehement campaign against Catholics, ordering punishments that ranged from branding their faces to death by various cruel methods for Vietnamese Catholics and missionary priests.

It was amidst this great suffering that the Lady of Lavang came to the people of Vietnam. The name Lavang was believed to be originated in the name of the deep forest in the central region of Vietnam (now known as Quang Tri City) where there was an abundance of a kind of trees named La' Vang. It was also said that its name came from the Vietnamese meaning of the word "Crying Out" to denote the cries for help of people being persecuted.

The first apparition of the Lady of Lavang was noted in 1798, when the persecution of Vietnamese Catholics began. Many Catholics from the nearby town of Quang Tri sought refuge in the deep forest of Lavang. A great number of these people suffered from the bitter cold weather, lurking wild beasts, jungle sickness and starvation. At night, they often gathered in small groups to say the rosary and to pray. Unexpectedly, one night they were visited by an apparition of a beautiful Lady in a long cape, holding a child in her arms, with two angels at her sides. The people recognized the Lady as Our Blessed Mother.

Our Blessed Mother comforted them and told them to boil the leaves from the surrounding trees to use as medicine. She also told them that from that day on, all those who came to this place to pray, would get their prayers heard and answered. This took place on the grass area near the big ancient banyan tree where the refugees were praying. All those who were present witnessed this miracle. After this first apparition, the Blessed Mother continued to appear to the people in this same place many times throughout the period of nearly one hundred years of religious persecution. Among many groups of Vietnamese Catholics that were burnt alive because of their faith was a group of 30 people who were seized after they came out of their hiding place in the forest of Lavang. At their request, they were taken back to the little chapel of Lavang and were immolated there on its ground.

From the time the Lady of Lavang first appeared, the people who took refuge there erected a small and desolate chapel in her honor. During the following years, Her name was spread among the people in the region to other places. Despite its isolated location in the high mountains, groups of people continued to find ways to penetrate the deep and dangerous jungle to worship the Lady of Lavang. Gradually, the pilgrims that came with axes, spears, canes, and drums to scare away wild animals were replaced by those holding flying flags, flowers and rosaries. The pilgrimages went on every year despite the continuous persecution campaigns.

In 1886, after the persecution had officially ended, Bishop Gaspar ordered a church to be built in honor of the Lady of Lavang. Because of its precarious location and limited funding, it took 15 years for the completion of the church of Lavang. It was inaugurated by Bishop Gaspar in a solemn ceremony that participated by over 12,000 people and lasted from August 6th to 8th, 1901. The bishop proclaimed the Lady of Lavang as the Protectorate of the Catholics. In 1928, a larger church was built to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims. This church was destroyed in the summer of 1972 during the Vietnam war.

The history of the Lady of Lavang continues to gain greater significance as more claims from people whose prayers were answered were validated. In April of 1961, the Council of Vietnamese Bishops selected the holy church of Lavang as the National Sacred Marian Center . In August of 1962, Pope John XXIII elevated the church of Lavang to The Basilica of Lavang. On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II in the canonizing ceremony of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs, publicly and repeatedly recognized the importance and significance of the Lady of Lavang and expressed a desire for the rebuilding of the Lavang Basilica to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first apparition of the Lady of Lavang in August of 1998.

On 11/27/2000 the shrine of Our Lady of La Vang, on the front lawn of St John Vianney Church, was blessed by Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly. The marble figures of Mary and the dragon were sculpted in Vietnam. The statue of Mary will be placed on top of the dragon figure and the shrine also will include walkways and benches.

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Buddha statue cries pearls

A statue in Lhasa, Tibet, is crying small pearls, reports a German journalist. The statue is of Shakyamuni Buddha and is in the Jokhang Temple. The lama who related the story to the journalist reports that the statue cries frequently and the lamas are always very moved when it happens. The journalist brought five of the pearls to Munich where he plans to have one analyzed by a chemist. Describing the pearls he said: "They are lovely and look like love-pearls."

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the pearls are manifested by Maitreya.)

(From the December 1999 issue of Share International)

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Light emanates from Japanese Bodhisattva image

On 4 July 1987, an image of the Bodhisattva, emanating rainbow-colored light, was discovered on the bathroom window in the house of Mr and Mrs Yajima in Nagano City, Japan. Rainbow colors emanate from the head and body of the 48-cm-high figure on the glass. The image has a patterned, silver-colored crown on its head. On its neck, there are two strings of prayer beads. The image is standing on a lotus, and is holding a small round-faced girl.

About the same time as the window image was discovered, an image appeared on the wall below the bathroom window. In the beginning, this image looked as if it were just a stain, but as time went by, it became clearer, and the outline darker. The image is apr. 40 cm high, and wears a pointed hat with a rounded middle. It holds a water pot in its hand, and sits on a lotus. The eyes are now clearly visible on the wall.

About a year after the image appeared on the bathroom window, the family demolished their bathroom. In its place, they built a small temple to enshrine the glass of the Bodhisattva. During the construction process, when workers were digging in the ground below where the image appeared, they discovered a ball about 35 cm in diameter. No one could figure out whether the ball was made of wood, stone or iron. The ball emanates a very strong energy. When people place their fingers close to the white walls of the shrine, a rainbow-colored light appears between the wall and their fingers. This phenomenon can be seen only at the wall, and happens to everyone who tries it. The rainbow color is most clearly seen when the wall is in the shade.

(Courtesy of Share International - Miracles and Other Phenomenon)

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Israel - Red Heifer seen as Sign

The birth of a rust-coloured calf in Israel is being hailed as a miraculous sign of the coming of the Messiah. The red heifer, of a variety believed extinct for centuries, was born to a black and white mother and a tan-coloured bull on a northern Israeli farm run by a religious high school for troubled and orphaned students. In ancient times the ashes of a red heifer, butchered in her third year, were mixed with water and used to purify Jews before they could approach Jerusalem's Holy Temple on Temple Mount. Not since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in AD 70 has a red heifer been born in Israel, scholars say.

"Traditionally, there have been only nine such red cows in our history. The first was prepared under the direction of Moses and Aaron in the desert. The second was officiated over by Ezra upon the Jews' return from the Babylonian exile. Seven more were prepared during the period of the Second Temple. According to the 12th century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, the 10th and final red heifer will be prepared by the Messiah."

A dozen rabbis have examined the calf and said she is the long-awaited ritual heifer, meeting, so far, all the criteria described by the ancients. If the calf lives unblemished for another 18 months, she can theoretically be put to use. "It is written that it is the 10th heifer that the Messiah will discover and here we have the 10th heifer. This is a clear sign that the Messiah is near," said Rabbi Ido Weber Erlich of Jerusalem in an interview on Israel Radio.

(Sources: Boston Globe; Newsweek Magazine; Washington Jewish Week; USA)

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Worldwide Hindu milk miracle

On Thursday 21 September 1995 the news swept around the world of the extraordinary miracles of milk-drinking Hindu statues. Never before in history has a simultaneous miracle occurred on such a global scale. Television, radio and newspapers eagerly covered this unique phenomenon, and even sceptical journalists held their milk-filled spoons to the gods -- and watched, humbled, as the milk disappeared. The media coverage was extensive, and although scientists and 'experts' created theories of "capillary absorption" and "mass hysteria," the overwhelming evidence and conclusion was that an unexplainable miracle had occurred.

It all began at dawn in a temple on the outskirts of Delhi, India, when milk offered to a statue of Ganesh just disappeared into thin air. Word spread so quickly throughout India that soon thousands were offering milk to the gods and watching in amazement as it disappeared. Life in India was brought to a virtual standstill as people rushed to temples to see for themselves the drinking gods. Others claimed that small statues in millions of homes around the country were also drinking the offerings of milk.

Traffic in Delhi was halted as police struggled to control crowds who gathered outside hundreds of temples with jugs and saucepans of milk for the marble statues of Ganesh, the Hindu God of wisdom and learning, and Shiva, his father.

Even the cynical professed amazement. "It's unbelievable. My friends told me about it and I just thought it was rubbish," said a Delhi business woman, Mabati Kasori. "But then I did it myself. I swear that the spoon was drained." Parmeesh Soti, a company executive, was convinced it was a miracle. "It cannot be a hoax. Where would all that milk go to? It just disappeared in front of my eyes." Suzanne Goldenberg, a Delhi-based journalist, reported that: "Inside the darkened shrine, people held stainless steel cups and clay pots to the central figure of the five-headed Shiva, the destroyer of evil, and his snake companion, and watched the milk levels ebb. Although some devotees force-fed the idol enthusiastically, the floor was fairly dry."

India was in pandemonium. The Government shut down for several hours, and trading ground to a halt on stock markets in Bombay and New Delhi as millions in homes and temples around the country offered milk to the gods. Very soon the news spread to Hindu communities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Nepal, Thailand, Dubai, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Canada. Reports were flooding in from all over the world. In the United Kingdom, Hindus reported miracles taking place in temples and homes around the country. At the Vishwa Temple in Southall, London, 10,000 people in 24 hours witnessed the 40 cm high statue of the bull Nandi and a bronze statue of the cobra Shash Naag drinking milk from cups and spoons.

Many journalists actively participated in these miraculous events. Rebecca Mae, a Daily Express journalist, wrote: "I had a good view from the side and all I can say is that the statue appeared to suck in half a spoonful while it was held level by the worshipper. The rest was sipped reverently by the devotee. A photographer from a national tabloid newspaper was right in front of the statue. And he was convinced it was drinking the milk. He said he could see no mechanism to explain the phenomenon, after scrutinizing it at length." Rikee Verma, a journalist from The Times newspaper, wrote: "Being a religious person, I first went to the upstairs bedroom... and placed a spoonful of milk against a photograph of Ganesh and was astonished to find within seconds that the spoon was half empty. I checked to make sure that the glass frame of the photograph was not wet. It was dry. I could not believe what I was seeing. This was clearly a message from the gods saying: 'We are here, here's the proof.'" At the Southall temple in London the chairman Mr Bharbari offered his explanation. "All I know is that our Holy Book says that wherever evil prevails on earth then some great Soul will descend to remove the bondage of evil so that right shall reign. We believe this miracle, and those happening at other Hindu temples, may be a sign that a great Soul has descended, like Lord Krishna or Jesus Christ."

(Sources: The Guardian; The Independent; The Times; The Telegraph; The Daily Express; The Daily Mail; UK)

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White buffalo calf -- a good omen

In 1993, a white buffalo calf was born in Colorado, and in 1994 another one, named Miracle, was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, on the ranch of Dave and Valerie Heider. Thousands of people of many different faiths have visited Miracle, testifying that her birth is a call for all races to come together to heal the earth and solve our mutual problems.

On 9 May of this year, a silvery-white buffalo calf named Medicine Wheel was born at the ranch of Joe Merrival on the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota. Another white calf, Rainbow, had been born in the same herd some two weeks earlier, on 27 April. It died 25 hours later of scours, a diarrhea-type condition. The odds of the birth of a white buffalo are estimated as 6-10 million to one.

The birth of a white buffalo calf is seen by the Native Americans as the most significant of prophetic signs, equivalent to the weeping statues, bleeding icons, and crosses of light that are becoming prevalent within the Christian churches. Just as the Christian faithful who attend these signs see them as a renewal of God's ongoing relationship with humanity, so do the Native Americans see the white buffalo calf as a sign to begin to mend life's sacred hoop.

Floyd Hand Looks For Buffalo, an Oglala medicine man, has commented: "… These are omens, and they are happening in the most unexpected place among the poorest people in the country. They are good omens, if we pay attention to them. For us, this would be something like coming to see Jesus lying in the manger."

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Peace be with you.

Sister Juliemarie
of the Sisters of Embracement

Web site © 2016 Sisters of Embracement - All Rights Reserved

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