Testimonies from Around the World - 2010
“Go with great ardor and zeal about this work of redemption and peace, and you will behold the miracle.” (Apr. 1, 1951)
To fulfill this wish of Our Lady, faithful from the chapel of the Lady of All Nations go into the city of Amsterdam once a month on a Saturday and offer a prayer card to anyone who accepts one.
A certain willingness to make a sacrifice is required like for Gerard, a retired electrician, when the monthly street mission fell on the day of the World Cup soccer championship. It was obviously hard for this passionate fan, yet he was firm, “I can’t let my heavenly Mother down. The street mission comes first!” Gerard’s family could not believe it because once he had even brought a portable TV to a wedding, so that he could go out to the parking lot from time to time and watch the soccer match.
Frequently, our experience shows that those of other faiths are also open to the Mother of All Nations. Some young Muslims explained to us in a friendly manner that Mary, Miriam for them in the Koran, is very highly respected as the mother of the prophet Jesus.
Furthermore, two Jews did not refuse the prayer card; rather they prayed the prayer in Hebrew, right there in the middle of the street. Another Jew, who lost almost all of his relatives in concentration camps, said to us with a smile, “How appropriate that Mary appeared at the end of World War II in Amsterdam and gave such a beautiful prayer for peace!”
Four men from India who belong to the Sikh religion, patiently waited until we found some prayer cards in Hindi, and two Iranian women did not hesitate to pray in Arabic on the street and then bow and kiss the picture reverently.
The Worldwide Action gives us various possibilities to encounter people who are often far from the faith. For example, a man from our group was sitting on a park bench as a young drug addict sat down next to him and shamelessly began to role a joint. “Do you want one?” she offered. “No thank you. Why do you do it?” he asked. She started to cry and said softly, “I just can’t quit.” He then pushed a prayer card toward her with the words, “You can’t do it, but SHE can help you!” The girl looked at the prayer card and thankfully accepted it.
Two other addicts quickly refused the prayer card. Bored by the offer, the one opined, “What do you want? I already have everything: a job, love and money. I don’t need God!”
“Oh, that’s not true,” one of our sisters interrupted him. “Ultimately you and your friend are not happy; otherwise you wouldn’t smoke that stuff!” Both of them fell silent, and when she dared to ask them again if they would accept the prayer card, they willingly reached out for it.
Franklin had a funny encounter with a young Dutch woman. “I have a beautiful prayer for you,” Franklin said. “I don’t pray. I never pray!” was the short, but direct reply. She did not give up, “Alright, but perhaps today is a good day to start. If you pray this prayer just once...” At this point the woman interrupted her and asked ironically, “Yeah, if I pray it, then what happens?” With a grin, Franklin answered, “Then, you will certainly not pray it only once!” Smiling, she took it out of her hand.
One repeatedly encounters those who are bitter and suffering, and it is especially these people that the Mother of All Nations wants to console. Once we were at a tram stop and asked a woman, “May we give you a prayer card?” She responded curtly, “I have had enough of God! I have two sick children. It’s his fault! I have prayed so much. I don’t pray anymore. He won’t help me after all!” We then showed her the prayer card: “Do you see? The mother stands before the cross. She saw her own son die on the Cross. This mother will console you. Do you not want to take it?” With these words she grew calm and replied softly, “I thank you.”
Inner healing and other miracles take place through the Lady of All Nations. Ria Schrijnemaekers, a sacristan from southern Holland, for example, knows a young woman who was healed of alcoholism when her family put a picture of the Lady of All Nations in their home and prayed the Rosary daily in front of it. “Two years later, the mother was able to stop drinking and smoking in just two days. Her husband, who had been raised Protestant, became a Catholic in 2004 and both sons are now altar boys.”
Janet Collato, a 38-year-old family mother from Uruguay announced, “I am so thankful and happy, because I have been given a whole new life. It began when my priest gave me the image about two months ago. Until then I had suffered greatly from depression and had to see a psychologist regularly. From the time I received the prayer card, I am doing better. Since my psychologist could not explain the rapid recovery, he wanted to know the reason. I told him about the Lady of All Nations and he immediately requested, ‘Please, bring me such a prayer card too!’”
A Frenchman from Metz named Christopher who was actively involved in Spiritism, accepted the prayer card when he was visiting Amsterdam, and he had an impressive experience the next day with the Mother of All Nations.
Like most tourists who visit Amsterdam, he was just strolling through the city. Right as he was about to turn into the red light district, he suddenly felt a weight inside, such as he had never experienced before. He changed his mind and decided not to go into the red light district after all. He came to the Chapel of Our Lady of All Nations and recounted, “I simply couldn’t and I believe that this was the Mother of God protecting me.”
Nancy McCormack, who has been promoting the Mother of All Nations with great love for years, shared a wonderful example of how a village experienced the motherly protection of the Lady of All Nations.
In the spring of 2005, Nancy and some other faithful decided to knock on every door in five villages in southwest Ireland, to offer prayer cards and a framed picture of the Lady of All Nations to each of the inhabitants.
One of the villages in the parish of Killteely was dedicated to the Mother of All Nations a few months later, and for the past three years a statue of the Lady of All Nations has been standing in the parish garden.
Interestingly, although there had been a number of suicides previously, there have been none since. Furthermore, there have been no car accidents resulting from the young people’s love for high-speed “joy rides” in the evening, after a night out at the pub.
In the Catholic elementary school Sts. Svorad and Benedict in Nitra, Slovakia prayers were answered at the end September 2010. There were too few classrooms, so the school administration submitted a construction plan to the government, but to no avail! This year, the need for space became even more pressing, and the chance that the request would be approved seemed hopeless.
Starting in mid-September, the principal, teachers and students from all of the classes prayed “Lord Jesus Christ…” every morning via the public address system. On the 28th of September a phone call came that the project had been approved!
“This school year,” one of the teachers wrote to Amsterdam, “is a year of the Mother of God in our school, and for that reason the image of the Mother of All Nations will be circulated through the families.”
In the meantime, 140 families have already signed up to host the pilgrim image of the Mother of All Nations for a week.
In big and small ways, people around the world are dedicating themselves to zealously spreading the prayer card of the Lady of All Nations.
Fr. Bruno Bortolaso, for example, is an Italian missionary who has been working in the Amazons in Brazil for the last 40 years. Last year, enthusiastic from the day of prayer in Cologne, he returned back to his parish made up of about 100 families, mostly poor fishermen who cannot read and write. Fr. Bruno told them about the apparitions in Amsterdam and started a Lady of All Nations prayer group.
Fr. Heinrich Osterle, from the Order of the White Fathers, was so motivated by the Day of Prayer in Cologne two years ago that he had the prayer translated into Alur, a dialect in the area of the Congo where he has worked for 50 years.
Fr. Osterle requested an imprimatur in the diocese, sought donors who would underwrite the printing and shipping costs, and had prayer cards, 90,000 in Alur and 50,000 in French, sent to his beloved Congo, where a native priest is handling the distribution.
From the Philippines, Chona and Tony Montinola told about their most recent action:
“In June 2010 we wrote to all officiating bishops of the Philippines, to offer large posters for their churches, and smaller ones for their chapels. We also sent the prayer cards in English and in the various dialects, as well as novena folders. Since then, more than sixty bishops have responded and requested additional material.
The largest order came from Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, of the extensive diocese of Cebu, who asked for no less than 200 of the five foot images for his parish churches and 1000 of the three foot images for chapels. On top of that, he requested 2000 novenas and 300,000 prayer cards.”
In the Czech Republic, Mr. Klimes, a school janitor, hung a framed picture of the Mother of All Nations near the plague column in the busy downtown area of the city of Brno. Twice a day, he heads over to pray for half an hour, remembering that it is also a favorite meeting place for Satanists. He takes advantage of the opportunity to offer passing tourists the prayer card in various languages.
Every year, Mr. Klimes takes the image of the Lady of All Nations to Prague for the March for Life, at which 8000 people participated this past year with the auxiliary bishop Andreas Laun (right).
In Moravia Mr. Klimes gave out large images to 25 priests, to share with their parishioners.
A pilot and future deacon from Italy, Paolo Marrocco, was stuck in Amsterdam when air traffic was stopped throughout Europe for a few days in April 2010 due to the volcanic ash cloud.
Just some days earlier he represented and received a blessing on behalf of the pilots of Alitalia in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Through some friends he had been introduced to the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam and was able to use the flight delay to visit the chapel daily where he understood the necessity of the worldwide action. As a result, he always carries a few prayer cards for the right opportunity and prays the Amsterdam prayer before every flight.
Through an intense missionary journey for the Mother of All Nations in April 2010, the Worldwide Action blossomed marvelously in Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru and Mexico. Dependable locals helped out. Radio and television interviews, talks in packed churches—like the homily of Fr. Paul Maria Sigl at the cathedral in Mexico City in the presence of Norberto Cardinal Rivera, the television stations and numerous journalists—brought many close to the message of Amsterdam and the Lady of All Nations as their personal mother for the first time.
Last May, a Day of Prayer in honor of the Lady of All Nations took place in Uruguay in the diocese of Florida, at which the emeritus bishop Raul Scarrone participated. A few days later, he himself handed out prayer cards during the great feast of St. Cono, and several days thereafter, people came to the bishop’s residence with the request for more.
For the Day of Prayer, the children from Chamizo made this picture of the Mother of All Nations, which was actually intended for the catechism room. However, the children asked, “Can we take turns bringing the image home, to pray?” So, the homemade image now journeys from family to family where the Lady of All Nations often finds lodging for the first time.
The youth, in the meantime, have also set out a number of times for “village missions of the Mother of All Nations”. Although most people there do not go to church—many do not believe at all—and there is a great indifference with regards to the Faith and moral degeneration as well as the spiritual and material need, the prayer card, with few exceptions, has been welcomed by everybody.
The prayer card was handed out in Colombia with the schools’ permission to tens of thousands of students and kindergartners. When one of the girls said quietly to her friend, “If this is what Our Lady wants, then I am going to photocopy this prayer card at home and spread them around the village,” the zealous missionary naturally received a whole packet.
Monica Farah and her 86-year-old mother Amalia from Peru started a landslide for the Lady of All Nations, making it possible for Spanish prayer cards to be spread in schools, convents and to the poverty stricken.
In the famous Inca city Cusco der Managerin, Monica offered the prayer card to a travel agent who was reluctant at first, but, touched by grace, finally took it and even asked later for more so that she could give it to her clients from around the world. In the various convents in Lima and Cusco, the sisters without exception—including a 104-year-old Visitation sister—took thousands of prayer cards with openness and joy and promised to spread them.
In a matter of weeks, 50,000 prayer cards passed through Monica’s hands. In February, thousands of the 100,000 newly printed prayer cards were given out in the poor neighborhoods of Callao.
Another quite original idea came from Gianfranco Arbace, the owner of a restaurant on the island of Capri. Not only does he enjoy offering the prayer card to his guests, but, in 2009, he also had tiles of the image cemented in the harbor. She is visible there to the 17,000 tourists and commuters, who come and go by ship every day.
“You will find that the spreading will happen as if by itself.” (Apr. 15, 1951)
Valeria Dal Santo from Vicenza, Italy, is a witness to these words. A retiree looking after her wheelchair-bound mother, she received the prayer image via e-mail, along with a nice note, from a young Italian father. On October 13 she wrote:
“At first, I did not want to apply myself for the Lady of All Nations, so I requested only 320 pictures in June 2010. That seemed more than enough to pass out to my few friends and family members.
“One day, I showed the image to a friend in church, who immediately asked me for a whole packet of pictures. Another acquaintance, whose brother is a bishop in Burundi, also began to devote herself enthusiastically to the worldwide action and sent prayer cards to Africa. Without having to dedicate much effort, more and more began to participate in the Worldwide Action and requested packets of pictures. They brought the Mother of All Nations to their own parishes; even a hotelier in the mountains now offers the image to tourists.
“In the span of a few months, through an acquaintance who had been involved in religious education in the Middle East and had literally fallen in love with the Mother of All Nations, thousands of images came to Jerusalem, Lebanon, Turkey and even into the hands of Arabic Christians who had emigrated to the USA. So, the original 320 turned into 33,000 in about five months! So, I can only say with ever-growing amazement, ‘This is all due to the Lady of All Nations!’”
Something similar happened to our sisters who handed a lady the prayer card in Cologne, Germany. In the course of their conversation, it came out that she was from the island Bahrain in the Persian Golf and the director of a Christian school there. She wanted to give this beautiful prayer for peace to her 2000 students, and so a package was sent at the beginning of October in the direction of Saudi Arabia.
In Lebanon, 2000 Arabic and an additional 1000 French prayer cards were distributed within five days. A Muslim stewardess from Algeria accepted the prayer card just as thankfully as her Christian colleague from Lebanon. They explained that Muslims in the Middle East are often even more open to Miriam (Mary) than Christians themselves.
During the layover in the mostly Muslim country of Jordan, a mother of three boys was delighted when we offered her the image with the prayer in Arabic. Some young Muslim men who observed this requested some of their own accord. Then, after we landed in Lebanon, an officer at passport control said, “I am Muslim, but I gladly accept this, because I also am for peace.”
A teacher from Beirut, Sr. Ghada from the Order of the Rosary, passed out the picture of the Mother of All Nations to the 400 students in the school where she teaches. In August during a retreat, she gave the prayer cards to her fellow sisters from seven Arab countries and the Holy Land. Now they will distribute them in their schools to Christian as well as Muslim children.
In this way, the Mother of All Nations makes her way through the Gulf States, into the Arab Emirates, to Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.