Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On Marian Apparitions

While I was growing up, I would watch The Day the Sun Danced with my cousins at my maternal grandma's house. I loved it! In fact, I still love this movie. I even showed it to the sixth grade religious education class that I taught at my home parish when I was teaching about sacramentals. I told them, this might look like a children's movie because it is animated, but it's actually one of my favorites. My students loved it too and even were inspired by it enough to ask if we could pray the Rosary together as a class. 
As a fan of the miracle at Fatima, I was pleased to find out that there was a a new movie about the story. Last year, we watched it as a novitiate community and tonight I got to see it again in the cafeteria with more of our Sisters. It is called The 13th Day and I thought it was excellent both times I saw it! According to, it is not appropriate for young children because of the images of hell and the way the children are treated in the movie (

The visions at Fatima occurred in 1917 and were approved by the Church in 1930. 

Here in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Marian Apparitions were approved by Bishop David Ricken on December 8, 2010. He said, "I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October of 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worth of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful" ( This made the apparition the first one approved in the United States. 

Yesterday, Sr. Anne Marie (a Sister who is staying with our Community for her sabbatical), Sr. Natalie, Sr. Regina Rose, and I went on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help (where the apparitions were). We were greeted with something new at the site: a Vatican flag! The statues of the angels blowing their horns in front of the flag completed the scene. They seemed to be proclaiming the good news! 

We had a wonderful time there. It has such a peaceful atmosphere! If you are traveling to Wisconsin, I recommend stopping by.

Some words on apparitions and other private revelations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Throughout the ages, there have been so-called 'private' revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain nonChristian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such 'revelations' (CCC #67).
I took the liberty of looking up a couple of the phrases for you:
 deposit of faith = The teachings of the Church through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (
sensus fidelium =sense of the faith 
-sensus fidei: the Christian's possession of the fundamental truth of his faith". 
-sensus fidelium: [the Christian's] role in actively defending and elaborating that faith" 
"Writers since [Vatican Council II] have generally preferred the more active-subjective term, that is, sensus fidelium (

Collin B. Donovan, STL, quotes St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica: God continues to reveal Himself to individuals "not indeed for the declaration of any new doctrine of faith, but for the direction of human acts" (

The "direction of human acts" given to Adele was to catechize. In many ways, it is a message we still need today.


  1. Thank you, Sr. Monica, for a very informative and engaging article on Marian apparitions. It is always a joy to find out from you what is happening in the Novitiate and how you view the happening. It was also a joy to meet your mom last Saturday.

    1. Thanks, Sr. Anne Marie! It has been wonderful to spend time together as a novitiate community.

      My mom loved meeting you, too. She went home with lots of insights, as did we all. :)

  2. Technical difficulty and human error: Please note that Sr. Leslie was also on this pilgrimage. I thought I had her name on here but I did not, and blogger isn't letting me edit the post for some reason.

  3. Nice to see that you like OUR LADY OF FATIMA. Did you know there is an older version of the movie? Its in black and white and its very good. The title is OUR LADY OF FATIMA, i think it was done in the 1950's? you might try looking for it, I like that one better than the 13th day. Also, there is a special movie/dvd that was made for TV that aired back in the 1980's I think with Ricardo Montelbon (not sure how to spell the actor's name) that gave more of a documentary presentation of Our Lady of Fatima. That was very interesting especially because there you find out that the dancing of the sun was seen as far as 70 miles away from Fatima. Oh well, I hope you get to see these great movies. God Bless...
    Gloria from Santa Ana CA

    1. Thank you for your recommendations, Gloria! I will be sure to look for these!

  4. I to have been to Our Lady of Good Help. I went last year after the apparitions were approved. I experienced the same peacefulness when I was there. Though not approved I have also experienced Marian appartions in Conyers Georgia when I lived there in the '90's. I hope to go back to Wisconsin one more time hopefully in the near future.

    1. Kevin, I am glad that you had a positive experience at the Shrine. I hope you can make it back soon, too.

  5. Sister Monica,
    I too have devotion to our Lady of Fatima and try to say the Rosary every day. It's interesting a new movie has been made. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see it sometime.
    Sister Rosangela

    1. Sister Rosangela, thanks for your comment. Maybe they can show the 13th Day at Chiara Convent.