December 23, 2010

The Virgin Mary in Wisconsin.

Officially validated by the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1859, the year after Mary is said to have appeared in Lourdes, a Belgian immigrant here named Adele Brise said she was visited three times by Mary, who hovered between two trees in a bright light, clothed in dazzling white with a yellow sash around her waist and a crown of stars above her flowing blond locks. As instructed, Ms. Brise devoted her life to teaching Catholic beliefs to children.

35 comments:

Bartender Cabbie said...

Probably just a case of schizophrenia but who knows for sure.

George Grady said...

Mary was a blond?

chickelit said...

From the article: Lourdes-like hordes and palpable presence.

Erik Eckholm writes like an alliterate.

chickelit said...

There is a lengthy account of the event in Fred Holmes' Old World Wisconsin.

Clyde said...

"Flowing blond locks"? That alone would make me skeptical. She was Jewish, right? There aren't many natural blonds in the Middle East. I'd say that ol' Adele probably had a few weissbiers too many.

Chip Ahoy said...

I know all about this incident. This is what happened.

Timon said...

Shouldn't that be blonde?

murgatroyd666 said...

Linus saw the Great Pumpkin, too.

Fred4Pres said...

Did she say which cheese she preferred? Because that would be very important in Wisconsin.

rhhardin said...

Kliban cartoon caption: The Virgin Mary appears to a Volkswagen in Denver

rhhardin said...

Virgin Mary still appearing today link.

Click the Miraculous Photographs

traditionalguy said...

If an angel of light appeared with a message, why wait 150 years to acknowledge the event? Apparitions are not that impressive anyway.

Pogo said...

Ludicrous.
In modern times, we listen on radios as NPR worships St. Barry in its continuous vigil, prostrate before his Miracle of the Health Care Bill, and awed by his Mellifluous and Mendacious Bloviations.

Bartender Cabbie said...

I saw a vision of Seka. Happens all the time.

sethfontana said...

Be aware, Ann: it's a diocesan approbation. The bishop considers the apparition "worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the faithful", BUT neither the Holy See nor the Episcopal Conference of Bishops have manifested their position. So the title "Officially validated by the Roman Catholic Church" can be a bit misleading.

sethfontana said...

And Merry Christmas to Ann and all of you!!!

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

AllenS said...
Dear Mary and Jesus,

You are welcome at my house anytime.

Yours truely, AllenS

ps could you teach me how to spell?

CachorroQuente said...

Yeah, it's unlikely that Mary, mother of God, was a towhead. But, it's even less likely that she was a virgin. If someone can accept the virgin stuff, then all bets are off and anything is possible -- even a blonde Jewish girl in the year of our Lord zero.

Jason said...

The Roman Catholic Church has made their ruling. Now let them enforce it!

CachorroQuente said...

Dear Mary and Jesus,

You are welcome at my house anytime.

Yours truely, AllenS


If you made that friendly offer down here in Texas, you'd get a crowd.

sethfontana said...

@Cachorro

"But, it's even less likely that she was a virgin."

Before Jesus' conception... or after? Because if you accept Mary is Mother of God, then I don't see the problem of assuming Her virginal pregnancy.

"If someone can accept the virgin stuff, then all bets are off and anything is possible -- even a blonde Jewish girl in the year of our Lord zero."

With all due respect, that's utterly rubbish. Someone can accept easily what you call 'the virgin stuff' and, at the same time, to keep a strong critic sense regarding Mary and religion in general. Actually that's what I would expect from a mature believer.

c3 said...

Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
John 20:29

This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
Luke 11:29

Timon said...

Bayside has been declared invalid by the Bishop.

c3,

That first quote was used by the Lady when Adele's companions knelt at her direction, though not seeing the apparition.

CachorroQuente said...


With all due respect, that's utterly rubbish. Someone can accept easily what you call 'the virgin stuff' and, at the same time, to keep a strong critic sense regarding Mary and religion in general. Actually that's what I would expect from a mature believer.


A lot of stuff about how the world works is well known. Of those things is the fact that people reproduce sexually -- every person is the result of a fertilized egg and every person has a human biological father and mother. If Jesus was born of Mary by some process other than human sexual reproduction, Jesus was born in contradiction of what we know about how the world works -- it is, as they say, a miracle. And, this miracle is surly no less a miracle than some member of a particular ethnic group possessing a physical characteristic which cannot be inherited within the group (which requires no miracle). Once you accept one miracle as true, that God has intervened in the way the observed world works for whatever reason, you have no consistent basis to deny God's intervention in any other manner for any other reason. If you accept that God could have and would have caused the virgin birth, on what basis can you claim that God would not have (or could not have) created the world about 6000 years ago as described in Genesis. Or that the origins of the Mormon Church are false. Either the world operates according to rules, some of which are known, or it doesn't. If you accept that it doesn't in some cases, how do you deny that it doesn't in others. Concisely: if you can believe in the virgin birth (i.e. conception by other than a fertilized egg), you can believe in anything.

CachorroQuente said...


With all due respect, that's utterly rubbish. Someone can accept easily what you call 'the virgin stuff' and, at the same time, to keep a strong critic sense regarding Mary and religion in general. Actually that's what I would expect from a mature believer.


A lot of stuff about how the world works is well known. Of those things is the fact that people reproduce sexually -- every person is the result of a fertilized egg and every person has a human biological father and mother. If Jesus was born of Mary by some process other than human sexual reproduction, Jesus was born in contradiction of what we know about how the world works -- it is, as they say, a miracle. And, this miracle is surly no less a miracle than some member of a particular ethnic group possessing a physical characteristic which cannot be inherited within the group (which requires no miracle). Once you accept one miracle as true, that God has intervened in the way the observed world works for whatever reason, you have no consistent basis to deny God's intervention in any other manner for any other reason. If you accept that God could have and would have caused the virgin birth, on what basis can you claim that God would not have (or could not have) created the world about 6000 years ago as described in Genesis. Or that the origins of the Mormon Church are false. Either the world operates according to rules, some of which are known, or it doesn't. If you accept that it doesn't in some cases, how do you deny that it doesn't in others. Concisely: if you can believe in the virgin birth (i.e. conception by other than a fertilized egg), you can believe in anything.

murgatroyd666 said...

That first quote was used by the Lady when Adele's companions knelt at her direction, though not seeing the apparition.

Wasn't that also the explanation for not being able to see something that was offered by the tailors in The Emperor's New Clothes?

Believing in the Virgin Mary is a separate issue from believing that this particular apparition was real.

Ann Althouse said...

The phrase "officially validated by the Roman Catholic Church" was used in the NYT article. I didn't think I needed to put it in quotes, but if I'm going to be accused of making a mistake... take your grievance to the NYT.

***


@Chip LOL. Oddly, I'm afraid to front page it!

Timon said...

I thought that the naked emperor was where people pretended that they did see.

sethfontana said...

@Ann

Mea culpa, I'm sorry. I really did think it was your own conclusion, not New York Times'... overall since I don't give a **** about NYT's opinion about anything. So I'm not going to take my grievance to that newspaper. Anyway let me rewrite the comment:

It's a diocesan approbation. The bishop considers the apparition "worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the faithful", BUT neither the Holy See nor the Episcopal Conference of Bishops have manifested their position. So the sentence "Officially validated by the Roman Catholic Church" can be a bit misleading, but this error is not surprising coming from The New York Times.

For your consideration,

S.

Suburbanbanshee said...

The USCCB doesn't get to have an opinion on apparitions. Unless they hold a formal synod (as opposed to an annual meeting), nothing the USCCB does has any more power than that of any individual bishop who signs onto it. The USCCB cannot legally force any individual US bishop to do anything, except through pouting and peer pressure. Bishops' conferences have no legal standing in canon law.

As for the Holy See, they don't have any opinion on apparitions, either, in the normal way of things. Unless things go very wrong, diocesan approval or disapproval is as high as it gets, when it comes to apparitions. This isn't like canonization procedures.

Moving right along... it's amazing how people get all racist about blonde Mary, whereas nobody has a problem with Aztec or Meztizo Mary in the miraculous picture of the Guadelupana, or the Japanese Mary of Akita, or any of the rest. Welcome to the wonderful world inculturation of religious belief.

Whenever Mary appears, she speaks the native language (she didn't speak French or Aramaic at Lourdes, but the local dialect) and she looks like a person of the country. If you're not going to boggle at the gift of tongues, boggling at the other is a bit silly. (Particularly since Jesus could make His own disciples and relations not recognize Him, in the Garden or on the Road to Emmaus. He could walk through walls; changing his looks or controlling people's perceptions was like nothing.)

If you want to get into why perception of certain kinds of apparitions and visions isn't usually done by the eyes, you can read St. John of the Cross' books.

Mary is our mother in Christ. Your Mom nearly always looks a lot like you, just like your mom in your heart is always young and beautiful. That's not hard to understand, is it?

murgatroyd666 said...

I thought that the naked emperor was where people pretended that they did see.

Yes, but that's because the tailors had announced that the fabric of the Emperor's new garments was so fine and pure that only people of high intelligence and moral character could see it. Nobody wanted to admit to being a lowlife, so everyone claimed to see it.

In the same vein, Adele's companions didn't see the apparition. That must have been because they weren't pure enough, of course ...

sethfontana said...

@Suburbanbanshee

Thanks for the interesting clarifications, Suburban, both of which I had partially present when I wrote my comment. We can assume two things: one, that in normal circumstances the final word lays in local Bishop’s hands, but both the Episcopal Conference and the Holy See can intervene if certain conditions are given (I don’t know the specific details of this case); and two, that Catholics can accept or deny the authenticity of the alleged apparition at will.

We know that Bishop’s position can be overturned a posteriori if necessary and by a higher instance, but, and I think this is the fundamental point, I wonder if a final and formal approval must be granted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I understand this is necessary --a long process, though--, and this decision is prevalent over the local one, which was therefore a provisional conclusion. But I’m open to --and very interested in a possible-- correction from you.

Merry Christmas,

S.

sethfontana said...

@Suburbanbanshee

Ups, I wrote a response last night, but for some reason it has not been published. Let's try again.

Thanks for the interesting clarifications, Suburban, both of which I had partially in mind when I wrote my comment. I think we can assume two important points regarding this issue: one, that in normal circumstances the final word about a alleged apparition lays in the local Bishop’s hands, but said decision can be overturned by the Episcopal Conference and by the Holy See if certain conditions are given (take for example Ratko Peric versus Cardinal Schönborn and versus the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith); and two, that the believer can accept or deny the authenticity of the apparition at will.

The interesting thing is to resolve if the diocesan Bishop’s decision can be considered Universal and vertical, and thus granted formally by all the Church, or if it is only a particular decision and the Bishop himself is the exclusive responsible for it. I understand that not (meaning not Universal), and that the Bishop’s posture is just temporary if, a posteriori, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith backs it formally or rejects it. But this can be, of course, a process extremely long in the time. On the other hand, I’m open −−and very interested in a possible-- refutation from you if you know positively that this is not the case.

Merry Christmas,

S.

Timon said...

"In the same vein, Adele's companions didn't see the apparition. That must have been because they weren't pure enough, of course"

The use of the quote implies the opposite in Adele's vision. But still, it is not expected that one sees miraculous apparitions; it is expected that one sees clothing.