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The Apparitions of Our Blessed Mother at Cuapa Nicaragua

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The Apparitions of Our Blessed Mother at Cuapa Nicaragua
(A translation of the Bishop's Report from the original)

Cuapa is a small valley, belonging to the Municipality of Juigalpa, in Chontales. Its inhabitants are the smallest proprietors of cattle ranches. It is a tranquil place with little hills typical of the region of Chontales.

It has been three years now, that one of the peasants from the area arrived communicating a message which he said he received from Mary in a series of dreams and apparitions.

To discern the truth of these acts depends more on the extraordinary signs from God than the simple analysis of the events.

There have been circulated, nonetheless, versions that misrepresent the events and that distort the contents of the message. For that reason, because of the duty and obligation to protect the wholesome piety of the faithful and for the truth of the events, in my capacity as Bishop of the area, I find an obligation to assure the authenticity of the events in order to be able to assist in discerning the true value of the alluded to message.

With this purpose in mind, I sought the collaboration of some individuals in order to gather with the greatest accuracy possible and from the personal testimony of the one who saw the visions, a report of the events, without omitting the adjunct testimony that could confirm the verbally reported events.

In the first place, it is our intent to clarify the contents of the message in order to be able to establish its concordance with the evangelical message, that as a church, we are obliged to publicly acclaim and develop to its full force and plenitude.

The "report" that we present retains the accurate content and language used by the individual who received the visions.

For our part, we are surprised at the emphasis that is given to the responsibilities that weigh on man in the duty to "make peace" and to "construct the world"; a religious emphasis that is not typical of popular religion, which more than likely leaves it all up to God.

We hope the report which we present will serve as an invitation to reflect on the social obligations that very often are largely forgotten by many of our Christians.

Juigalpa
November 13, 1982

Mons. Pablo Antonio Vega M.
Prelate Bishop of Juigalpa

The Testimony of the visionary, Bernardo Martinez,

    In the name of the Father,
    of the Son and
    of the Holy Spirit.
    Amen.

I, Bernardo Martinez, am going to tell my Bishop, Mons. Pablo Antonia Vega, of the events in the Valley of Cuapa. I want to obey him. In everything I submit myself to him.

SIGN OF LIGHTS

It was in the old chapel that the signs began on a date which I do not recall; possibly at the end of March. On entering the sacristy I found a light was on. I then blamed Mrs. Auxiliadora Martinez because I believed that she had left it on. On another date that I do not remember, I again entered the chapel and found another light turned on; possibly around the first few days of April. I then blamed Mrs. Socorro Barea. I did not think that these signs were coming from heaven and for that reason I should quarrel with these ladies, because of the cost of electricity. I wanted to tell them to be more careful with the lights because we have very little money. The keys had been given to me ... and always the one in the charge of the keys of a house also is the one who needs to be the most careful. And that was my concern.

But when I tried to go and scold them and went to their home to do so ... I could not say anything. I saw them as being innocent -- inwardly I could see that -- I saw that I was blaming them without their being to blame. I then thought I would say nothing, and if anything over the minimum was spent, I would pay it myself.

On April 15, 1980, I saw the statue all illuminated. I thought it was the boys playing in the plaza who had broken the roof tiles ad that was how the light entered over the statue. I also thought I would be charging them for the roof tiles and cost of repair, because I had charged them before for this; since then I had not again done so. But my thought was that they had entered intrusively because I live at a distance and thought, "Now that I was not there, they played and broke the tiles." I got closer to see, and saw that there was not one hole in the roof; I went out to see if it was the rough the windows that outside light was coming in and could see nothing; I returned close to the statue to see if someone had placed on her a phosphorescent rosary. I saw the hands, the feet, the neck ... it was nothing like that. The light was not coming out of anything, the light came from her. That was a great mystery for me, with the light that came from her one could walk without tripping. And it was nighttime, almost eight o'clock at night, as I had arrived late. I then understood that it was a strange thing ... and that it no longer was an ordinary thing well ... for me ... I thought: "The Holy Virgin, the quarreling with the people." I decided to ask their forgiveness because I was so moved at seeing her so illuminated ... I saw her beautiful ... the statue ... now ... I do not see her as much.

I went to ring the church bell because I arrived an hour late, and with the incident of the illumination it had become even later for the praying of the Rosary. All that I had seen was engraved on my mind and I thought: "I am the one who is to blame."

As these thoughts were going through my mind, I remembered something that my grandmother used to tell me when I was a child: "Never be a lamp in the street and a darkness at home." I understood my sin: I wanted others to make peace, but I was quarreling in my own house. I say this because I had helped to solve a problem in the town of Cuapa. There was division among the people because many opposed the arrival of Cubans for the literacy program. The chief opponents were the young men who were to teach. They said we could do it all ourselves: professors, students from the scholastic center and individual volunteers from town. The young men were so violent about it that they said: "If the Father wants Cubans to come here, its better that he go back to Italy." But , little by little, by talking with the priest we settled everything without violence. I say that we settled it because no Cubans ever arrived in Cuapa for the literacy program.

But in Comarca del Silencio there was a problem with a young man who became ill, and they had to bring a Cuban in to replace him. It turned out that the Cuban, at seeing that the peasants gave thanks to God for their food, would tell them ... "Don't say that ... say as we say, 'Thanks to Fidel that I have eaten.' " This came to be as proof that we had good reason for not wanting to have Cubans in Cuapa because this young man had been taught to put man in the place of God.

I thought about all this and returned to the thought that I was able to help bring peace there, but in my own house I was not doing this. And in this way I decided to ask for their forgiveness in front of all the people. I did that. They forgave me.

After the public apology, I told all the people who were there praying the Rosary, what I had seen: the illuminated statue. But I asked them to keep it secret. It was not so. The secret spread throughout all of Cuapa and I suffered due to this because some of them ridiculed me.

One of the sisters in the community went to Juigalpa and told it to the priest whoa also is our rector. Whenever he arrived at Cuapa he would say to me: "What news do you have?" I would say there was no news and he would insist: "You do have something."

One day I arrived at the home of Mrs. Consuelo Marin and she asked me. I told her everything that had occurred, and she in turn told me that she believed it and to tell the Virgin that she wanted to see her illuminated. She made me promise that I would let her know if I again saw her.

The priest, our pastor, on another day again asked me and related to me all that had been told to him. I told him yes, that it was true. He told me to tell it all again to him. I related it to him. He asked me what it was that I prayed. I told him the Rosary and three Hail Mary's to the Holy Virgin ever since I was little. And that my grandmother had taught me to call upon Her always when I had any tribulations, saying: "Don't leave me, my Mother." She also taught me to say:

"It is Mary our Helper, sweet lighthouse of the sea.
Since I first learned to love, the love of my soul is She.
She each of my childhood steps did guide,
And for that, since childhood my love for Her did abide."

She taught me this from memory because she did not know how to read. The pastor then told me to pray and to ask the Blessed Virgin if there was anything that she wanted from us, and to more clearly manifest Herself. I did so, but I prayed like this: "Blessed Mother, please do not request anything of me. I have many problems in the church. Make your request known to some other person because I want to avoid any more problems. I have a great many now. I don't want any more." That is what I would say to the Holy Virgin.

As the days passed, the people began to forget about the illumination of the statue. I, for my part, continued with my prayer as the priest ordered.

Now I understand that is how the Holy Virgin wanted to prepare me, the same as a farmer would prepare the soil. With that public confession I made before my brothers ... with which I asked for forgiveness ... I was the place wherein a change took place. I was changed; by this she prepared me.

THE FIRST VISION

Early in May I felt sad because of financial problems, employment problems, and even spiritual problems. And I felt bored. I had even said in the morning that I wished to die. I didn't want to exist. I had worked a great deal for the people of the town and I could see that they did not appreciate anything. I had no desire to continue forward. In the chapel I swept ... I removed the dust ... I washed the altar cloths and albs ... and for this very same thing I was scorned, I was called a fool. Even my own family -- my blood brothers -- would say that I did not prosper financially because of my involvement with things at the sacristy. I have been a sacristan but without earning any money for this. I began to work in the house of God since I was able to use the dust cloth and broom ... I was at the time very small. I have done it because in that way I serve the Lord. At any rate, now in Cuapa everything was changed, because sweeping the chapel is an honor. It is now an honor!! The altar cloths are washed in the blink of an eye; before you are able to notice they are washed and ironed.

Returning to how I was feeling in the early days of May, I hardly slept on the night of the seventh. All night I felt very hot and feeling this heat I got up. I ate something and said to myself: "I will go to the river to fish so that I will feel cool and more tranquil." I left early in the morning with a sack and a machete. I went to the river ... and I felt happy ... content ... in a pleasant environment. And I did not remember anything. When it was twelve noon I did not want to leave because I felt tranquil(?) ... joy ... And I felt no hunger. At one it rained and I went to the base of the tree; I started to pray the Rosary. As the rain was stopping I was finishing he Rosary. I was all wet, my clothes all soaked. I collected the fish which were in the sand, put them in a sack, and went to a mango tree to see if the fruit was ripe. I then went to a hill to cut a branch to gather coyoles. Immediately after, I went to a jocote tree to pick jocotes. I then thought I must be late. I looked at the sun because I do not have a watch. For us in the country, the sun is our clock where we read the time. It was three o'clock in the afternoon. The hours had been like minutes. I said to myself: "It is late." I remembered that I had to feed the animals and then go to town to pray the Rosary with the people at five. I left, then, walking from the jocotes in the direction of the coyole trees, when suddenly I saw a lightning-flash. I thought and said to myself: "It is going to rain." But I became filled with wonder because I did not see from where the lightning had come. I stopped but I could see nothing; no signs of rain. Afterwards I went over near a place where there are some rocks. I walked about six or seven steps. That was when I saw another lightning-flash, but that was to open my vision and she presented herself. I was then wondering whether this could be something bad, whether it was the same statue as in the chapel ... But I saw that she blinked ... that she was beautiful ... The pile of rocks was ... she remained ... as if ... The cloud ... as covered with Jaragua grass. And there was a little Norisco tree over the rocks and over that tree was the cloud. That is how high the cloud was ... the cloud was extremely white .. it radiated in all directions, rays of light with the sun. On the cloud were the feet of a very beautiful lady. Her feet were bare. The dress was long and white. She had a celestial cord around the waist. Long sleeves. Covering her was a veil of a pale cream color with gold embroidery along the edge. Her hands were held together over her breast. It looked like the statue of the Virgin of Fatima. I was immobile. I had no inclination to run to yell. I felt no fear. I was surprised. I thought and said: "What am I seeing? ....Could it be the same statue of the Virgin that they ...brought and placed here for me ... The statue from the chapel ... is it in order to play a joke on me because I said I saw it illuminated ... is it a trick? But no! I would have seen them carrying it." I then passed my hand over my face because I thought that what I saw was a dream. And I said: "Could it be that I am asleep, but I have not tripped over anything."

And when I removed my hands from my face I saw that she had human skin and that her eyes moved and she blinked. I then said, in my thoughts because I could not move my tongue -- I said: "She is alive ... she is not a statue! She is alive!" My mind was the only thing that I could move. I felt like numb, my lower jaw stiff and my tongue as if asleep; everything immobilized, as I said, only the ideas moved in my head. I was in those thought when she extended her arms -- like the Miraculous Medal which I never had seen, but which later was shown to me. She extended her arms and from her hands emanated rays of light stronger than the sun ... she was ... she rested up high and the rays that came from her hands touched my breast. When she gave out her light is when I became encouraged to speak, because it was I who spoke to her first ... when she gave out the light I was able to move my tongue, although somewhat stammering. I said to her: "What is your name?" She answered me with the sweetest voice I have ever heard in any woman, not even in persons who speak softly. She answered me and said that her name is Mary. I saw the way she moved her lips. I then said: "She is alive! She spoke! She has answered my question!" I could see that we could enter into a conversation, that I could speak with her. I asked her, then, where she came from. She told me with the same sweetness: "I come from heaven. I am the Mother of Jesus." At hearing this I immediately asked her -- remembering what the priest had told me -- I asked her: "What is it you want?" She answered me: "I want the Rosary to be prayed every day." I then interrupted and said to her: "Yes, we are praying it ... The priest brought us the intentions of the San Francisco parish so that we would unite ourselves with them." She told me: "I want it to be prayed permanently, within the family ... including the children old enough to understand ... to be prayed at a set hour when there are no problems with the work in the home."

She told me that the Lord does not like prayers we make in a rush or mechanically. Because of that she recommended praying of the Rosary with the reading of biblical citations and that we put into practice the Word of God. When I heard this I thought and said: "How is this?" because I did not know the Rosary was biblical. That is why I asked her and said: "Where are the biblical citations?" She told me to look for them in the Bible and continued saying:

"Love each other.
Comply with your obligations.
Make peace. Don't ask Our Lord for peace
because if you do not make it there will
be no peace."

Afterwards, she told me: "Renew the five first Saturdays. You received many graces when all of you did this."

Before the war we used to do this -- we went to Confession and Communion every first Saturday of the month -- but since the Lord already had freed us from the shedding of blood in Cuapa, we no longer continued this practice.

Then she said:

"Nicaragua has suffered much since the earthquake. She is threatened with even more suffering. She will continue to suffer if you don't change."

And after a brief pause she said:

"Pray, pray, my son, the Rosary for all the world. Tell believers and non-believers that

the world is threatened by grave dangers. I ask the Lord to appease His justice, but, it you don't change, you will hasten the arrival of the Third World War."

After she had said these words, I understood that I had to say this to the people and I told her: "Lady, I don't want problems; I have many in the church. Tell this to another person."

She then told me: "No, because our Lord has selected you to give the message."

When she told me this, I saw that the cloud which was holding her was rising, and I recalled what Mrs. Consuelo Marin had said and I told her: Lady, don't go because I want to go and notify Mrs. Consuelo because she told me that she wanted to see you."

She said to me: "No. Not everyone can see me. She will see me when I take her to heaven, but she should pray the Rosary as I ask."

And after telling me this the cloud was not delayed. She raised her arms to heaven as in the statue of the Assumption which I have seen so many times in the cathedral at Juigalpa. She again looked upward towards heaven and the cloud that held her slowly elevated her. As she was in a ray of light, when she reached a certain distance she disappeared. I then gathered the machete, the sack, and the branch. I went to cut the coyoles and thought I would tell no one. To say nothing of what I had seen or heard.

I went to the chapel to pray the Rosary and did not say anything. When I returned home I felt sad. My problems increased with that. I prayed the Rosary again, and I asked the Blessed Mother to free me from temptations because I thought that is what it was -- a temptation. During the night I heard a voice saying to me that I should tell. I awoke again, and I again prayed the Rosary. I could not find peace. I did not tell anyone because I did not want the people to talk. They were already talking because I had seen the statue illuminated. I thought: "Now it will be worse. I will never had peace." That is why it was that I did not want to say anything. And I did not return to the place of the apparitions. The mangoes and jocotes were lost. I went to the river, but by another road. I go to the river every day to bathe and to give water to the calf that I have.

During this period that I was guarding the secret, a great weight seemed to fall on me and I heard something like a voice which told me to tell. But I simply did not want to tell. Since the suffering was greater each time, I sought ways to distract myself. But nothing was a distraction. I sought my friends in order to be entertained -- young friends and old friends -- but always at the height of the merriment I heard the voice and the sadness would return. I was getting thin and pale. People asked what was wrong, if I was sick. I told them no. Eight days like that passed.

On the 16th of May I was enroute to give water to the calf. I was crossing the pasture unable to see the calf. I was walking with a stick in my hand. As I was near a Guapinol, already halfway through the pasture, with the sun strong as it was directly overhead, I saw a lightning-flash. It was twelve noon. In plain light, because as I said, it was a hot sunny day, there was another even stronger light -- more light than the midday light. In that lightning-flash she presented herself. I saw her in the same way as I had seen her on the 8th of May, with her hands together, and then she extended them. And on extending her hands, the rays of light came towards mw. I remained watching her. I remained silent, but I said to myself: "It is she! She is the same one. The same lady has again appeared to me." I thought she had come to complain about all that she had told me to say. I felt guilty for not having spoken as she had asked and at the same time, in my mind, I said: "I don't go to the place where she appeared because she appears there, and now, she appears to me here. I will be in a fine state, she will be following me wherever I am." It was with this in mind, when she told me with a tone -- with her voice soft -- but with a tone as if in reprehension: "Why have you not told what I sent you to tell?" I then answered her: "Lady, it is that I am afraid. I am afraid of being the ridicule of the people, afraid that they will laugh at me, that they will not believe me. Those who will not believe this, will laugh at me. They will say that I am crazy." She then said to me: "Do not be afraid. I am going to help you, and tell the priest." Saying this, there was another flash of lightning and she disappeared. I then continued walking and saw the calf I was unable to see before. I took it to the river, gave it some water, and returned to my house. I got ready to go to the chapel and then I prayed the Rosary.

I thought of telling it only to Mrs. Lilliam Ruiz de Martinez and to Mrs. Socorro Barea de Marin. This is what I did. I have more trust in them than in any other person in the community of Cuapa. I called them aside and told them all that I had seen and heard. They then reprimanded me. It was the first time that I received correction without answering anything, because I always attempted to come out with my own, with my ideas. And I would grumble. I promised them that I would tell it the next day. I went home and lay down to sleep. The next day dawned and I felt a strange happiness. All the problems, it seemed tome, had dissipated. It was the 17th of May.

On that day I told everyone who came to my house. I told them and they heard me. Some of them believed, others listened out of curiosity and pretended, others did not believe and laughed. But that did not matter to me at all. When it was time to pray the Rosary we prayed it and afterwards I told them everything. Again I noticed the same thing: some believed, others did not, some remained listening in wonder ... amazed ... others as if analyzing, others remained silent, other laughed and said I was crazy. Each one according to how he felt. But non of it was important to me. I felt happiness at saying everything.

On the 19th of May I went to Juigalpa in the morning and I told the priest as the Lady had told me. I told him all that I had seen and heard. He listened to me. He then told me: "Would it be someone who wants to frighten you in those hills?" I told him no. I said, no because there was a possibility to do this at the river and in the hills where I had gone to cut the stick, but in the middle of the pasture, where I pass, there was no way. Nothing can be hidden. It is open field. He then said to me: "Could it be a temptation that persecutes you?" I told him no ... I did not know that because I could only relate to him what I had seen and heard; but regarding the temptation, I could not say because I did not know. He then told me to go to the place where the apparitions occurred and to pray the Rosary there, to make the sign of the cross when I saw her and to not be afraid, because whether it was something evil or good, nothing was going to happen to me. He also told me not to tell anyone what I saw or heard, afterwards. But what I had already seen, I could tell the people of Cuapa.

This apparition I take as a continuation of the one of the 8th of May and I call it, the one of The Reclamation.

THE SECOND VISION

On the 8th of June I went to the site where the apparitions took place because she had asked me to be there. I arrived and prayed the Rosary with some persons, but the Lady did not arrive. I returned feeling disconsolate.

During the night, in dreams, she presented herself. It was the same as during the day -- I was at the same place where I saw her the first time. I prayed the Rosary. Upon finishing the Rosary, I again saw the two lightning-flashes and she appeared. In my dream I said to her: "What is it you want, my Mother?" She gave me the same message as she had done the first time, and afterwards I told her some requests which I had, because by now the people would recommend to me things to tell her. She answered me by saying: "Some will be fulfilled, others will not."

And I remained without knowing which ones would be fulfilled and which would not. The petitions that the people of Cuapa made to me were varied: some requested things that were more or less material; such as, "to have good luck with work," "that I will be cured of some illness," and other problems. Others requested something spiritual; such as, "to have patience," "love for God," "Faith," "perseverance in prayer," "to be able to love the ones who do not like me and who are harmful to my loved ones." As it turned out, I was unable to tell the people which would be granted and which would not.

Our Lady presented herself over the little Norisco tree as she did the first time. She faced the east. To her left, near the pile of rocks where the little tree grew, were two cedars. At present one no longer exists because the people have been taking the trunk bit by bit; the other one also is disappearing. So the cedars are no long cedars; stripped, without foliage and branches, they are dry. The only part remaining is the part where the trunk is attached to the roots. Of the little Norisco tree nothing remains; it has totally disappeared. To her right but a little farther away, there are four coyole palms. Between the first and the second, as one comes from the river, there is a large space. Raising her right hand, she indicated that space and said:

"Look at the sky."

I looked in that direction. The Jocaro tree that is in front, between the two palms, did not impede my being able to see because it has few branches and it is low. She presented something like a movie in that space I indicate. I saw a large group of people who were dressed in white and were walking towards where the sun rises. They were bathed in light and (very?) happy; they sang. I could hear them but I could not understand the words. It was a celestial festival. It was such happiness ... such joy ... which I had never (ever?) seen. Not even in a procession had I seen that. Their bodies radiated light. I felt as if I were transported. Nor can I myself explain it ... in the midst of my admiration I heard her tell me; "Look, these are the very first communities when Christianity began. They are the first catechumens; many of them were martyrs."

"Do you people want to be martyrs?"

"Would you yourself like to be a martyr?"

In that instance I did not know exactly what the meaning of being a martyr was -- I now know, because I have been asking, that it is he who professes Jesus Christ openly in public, he who is a witness, to Him including the giving of this life -- but, I answered yes. After that I saw another group, also dressed in white with some luminous rosaries in their hands. The beads were extremely white and they gave off lights of different colors. One of them carried a very large open book. He would read, and after listening they silently meditated. They appeared to be as if in prayer. After this period of prayer in silence. they then prayed the Our Father and ten Hail Mary's. I prayed with them. When the Rosary was finished, Our Lady said to me:

These are the first one to whom I gave the Rosary. That is the way that I want all of you to pray the Rosary."
I answered the Lady that yes we would. Some persons have told me that this possibly has to do with the Dominicans. I do not know that religious order, and to this date have never seen anyone from that order.

Afterwards, I saw a third group, all of them dressed in brown robes. But these I recognized as being similar to the Franciscans. Always the same, with Rosaries and praying. As they were passing after having prayed, the Lady again told me:

These received the Rosary from the hands of the first ones."
After this, a fourth group was arriving. It was a huge procession; now, as we are dressed. It was such a big group that it would be impossible to count them. In the earlier ones I saw many men and women; but now, it was like an army in size, and they carried Rosaries in their hands. They were dressed normally, in all colors. I was very happy to see them. When one is dressed differently from the other persons one feels rather strange ... at seeing the first group I did not feel so attracted to them because of that ... I admired them, but I did not feel as if in their midst when I saw the last group. I felt at once that I could enter into that scene because they were dressed the same as I was. But ...I looked at my hands and I saw them black. They, in turn, as the previous ones radiated light. Their bodies were beautiful. I then said: "Lady, I am going with these because they are dressed as I am." She told me: "No. You are still lacking. You have to tell the people what you have seen and heard." And she added: "I have shown you the Glory of Our Lord and you people will acquire this if you are obedient to Our Lord, to the Lord's Word; if you persevere in praying the Holy Rosary and put into practice the Lord's Word."

After having said this to me the Vision of the Glory of God disappeared and the cloud that was sustaining her was elevating her towards Heaven. She looked like, as I said, the statue of the Assumption. And in that way, it was as if the cloud that was lifting her, disappeared.

I had a prohibition from the priest at telling what I saw and heard, I could tell it only to him. I took the bus early on the morning of the 9th of June and I told it to the priest. I thought that once I had told him, he then would right away give me permission and he said no -- for me to keep it in secret. I then began to feel a tremendous (?) and sorrow which I could hardly stand, and I kept hearing a voice telling me to tell it. I began suffering as I had before. But I chose to obey the priest and I did not relate it until permission was given. This was given the 24th of June, which is the patron feast of Cuapa, so that I could tell it only to the people in that village. On that day the church was full of people, and I went to wait to meet with him to ask permission. The priest told me "no twice, and the third time accepted that I tell it.

THE THIRD VISION

On the 8th of July we went to the place where the apparitions occurred, about forty of us went. We prayed and sang, but I did not see her. I begged in my prayers that I would see her again. At night, while sleeping, I had a dream. I dreamed that I was in the place of the apparitions praying for the world. In my dreams I remembered that Our Lady had told me to pray for Nicaragua and for the whole world because serious dangers threaten it. I then, remembering this and that the priest had told me -- when I had told him the message from the Holy Virgin -- to pray especially for the religious, the nuns, the priests, and the Pope. Remembering all of that, I started praying; I began commending them. And I commended the whole world in the Rosary.

But there was a boy from Cuapa who was in jail. There had been a fight at a fiesta; they had accused him of being a counter-revolutionary and took him prisoner after the war. His sister asked me to make a petition for him. She was very sad because she could not speak with him alone when she visited him in jail. And, furthermore, they would not leave them alone to talk. So, after I finished the Rosary, I realized that I had not prayed for this boy, and I thought: "I am going to pray for him, but the Rosary is taking me a long time ..." I was thinking this in my dreams since I believed myself to be at the place of the apparitions. I said to myself: "I have to get home; it will be getting too late when I return ... I am going to only pray three Hail Mary's." In dreams I knelt down and raised up my arms; I again looked upward praying for the boy. When I lowered my eyes and looked at the rocks where the Holy Virgin has appeared, I saw an angel. He was dressed in a long white tunic; he was tall and very young. His body appeared to be bathed in light. He had a man's physique and vice. He carried no adornment, no mantle, nor a crown. Plain but beautiful. His feet were not over a cloud. They were bare. He had a warm, friendly demeanor and a great serenity. I felt a reverence as I was before him, but my felling towards him was different from what I felt before the Lady ... as if she were someone greater ... she greater than he ... I don't know how to explain, it is difficult to say ... Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that she inspired within me more respect; that is ... like a great respect, a greater reverence, than that which I felt towards the angel. With her I was bold enough to ask questions; and I spoke to her and made petitions. With the angel I hardly spoke.

I heard the angel tell me:

"Your prayer has been heard."

After a moment of silence he added:

"Go and tell the prisoner's sister to go and console him on Sunday as he is very sad; to advise him not to sign a document; that they are going to pressure him to sign a paper in which he assumes responsibility for some money; he is innocent.

"That she should not worry that she will be able to talk to him alone for a long time; that she will be treated in a friendly manner.

"To do on Monday to the police headquarters of Juigalpa to complete all the steps for his release because he will be released that day.

"To take 1,000 cordobas because they are charging a fine."

I then told him that I had another petition from a cousin who lives in Zelaya. He had come to Cuapa to see me and to ask me to speak to the Holy Virgin about two problems: problems in the home as a result of the vice of drink and problems with work due to the changes brought about by the Revolution. She wanted to know how to resolve the vice of alcoholism with her father and brother, because the resulting problems at home were caused by their violence when they drink too much. She also wanted to know what she could do with her problems at work as a teacher. She explained to me that she did not want to lose her job, but it seemed as if little by little they would cause her to deny her faith. In this she was suffering a great deal because she did not want to lose her work, but even less so to deny her faith.

That is why I told the angel that I had two petitions for the Blessed Virgin from a cousin; and without entering into details, I told him that it was with regard to problems in the home because of the father's and brother's vice with drinking, and also problems with work. I did not go into any more details. The angel answer me saying:

"That the persons around them should be patient with them, and not to complain when they are inebriated."
Later he added:

Go and tell them to discontinue with that vice, to do it little by little and in that way the desire will be leaving them."
He then told me to warn my cousin that they were going to assault him; they were going to shoot him in the foot wounding his left heel; and at a later time they were going to kill him. On hearing this, I became so frightened that I told the angel: "Won't that sentence upon my cousin be revoked by praying many Rosaries?" He answered: "No. It is from that that he will die, but if he listens to your advice his life can be prolonged."

He then added for my cousin:

"That she should not be afraid. To stay firmly were she is. That she should not leave her job because as a teacher who has faith in Our Lord she can do a lot of good with people."
An he continued, saying:

"Do not turn your backs on problems and do not curse anyone.:"
This, the angel told me at the end and disappeared. I awoke. I immediately began to pray the Rosary, without being distracted by what I had dreamed. Afterwards I started thinking about all that I had dreamed. I remembered everything about all that I had dreamed. I remembered everything as if it had remained impressed on me. I did not know what to think. But I chose to tell it to the prisoner's sister in secret because I feared it might not be fulfilled. The people were commenting over the Glory of God that I had seen on the 8th of June and they said: "Who has gone and who has returned? Bernardo is crazy. We should take him to the asylum." That is why I was afraid. I told it to Mrs. Socorro telling her it was only for her alone. I told it to her the next day. She asked me how this could be as she was not allowed to speak with him alone. I told her to have confidence in the Lord and to go and do everything the angel said. Together we prayed the Rosary for her brother who was in jail. We went to see him on Sunday, the 13th of July. She was in the jail a long time with him alone, and because of that she was able to tell him not to sign the document. They were all friendly with her. When she returned to Cuapa, the same day Sunday, in the afternoon, she asked for a loan of 1,000 cordobas from a man who never lends anything without impounding something. He gave it to her without any warranties, without a bond, and even said to her: "If you want more, I will give you more." They presented the document to the boy but he refused to sign it. Mrs. Socorro went on Monday to the police headquarters in Juigalpa to complete all the necessary steps to see if they would release him. She found the people at the headquarters quite friendly. They freed the brother and charged a fine of 1,000 cordobas. She told them she was poor and could they lower it some, and they reduced it by 200 cordobas. Everything was fulfilled. They soon left and returned to Cuapa and arrived at my house to express their thanks. I told them not to thank me, but to thank the lord and the Holy Virgin. I suggested to them that they pray the Rosary. Mrs. Socorro was very happy and asked me if she could tell it to the people. I told her yes. Many came to believe because of this event. which for me and for others was like getting a reward or being bailed out.

He came out of jail on Monday July 14, and the next day I went to Zelaya to tell them of the message received. I spoke to the three of them. She believed me and told me that she could continue working as a teacher. My uncle listened and promised me that he would try to give up the vice little by little. Afterwards I went by horse clear over to my cousin's ranch but he did not believe me. He did not believe anything. He listened but out of respect. He was indifferent with me and even hard, because in a tone of voice that was insulting he told me: "Cousin, are you looking for some way to take a drink?"

I returned to my house feeling say and praying the Rosary for him. A few days later I heard say that he had been robbed and his home assaulted. I then returned to Zelaya to give him advice and to tell him to sell his ranch and return to Cuapa. In that way he would avoid those incidents. He paid no attention to me, in spire of the fact that what I had told him in the previous visit was already in part fulfilled: I told him about a robbery. They stole two mules from him. I told him of an assault. They broke in his door one night and again robbed him.

I told him that his left heel would be wounded. And it was so. During this second visit to Zelaya, he showed me the wound himself but he did not believe. He said it was just by chance. There was no change in him.

I again returned to Cuapa feeling sad. Disconsolate! I would pray the Rosary for him.

Two months and one day later, that is , on the 9th of September, 1980, his sister-in-law -- who lives in Cuapa and who did not believe anything that I said -- received a telegram notifying her that my cousin had been found murdered. At twelve midnight of that same day, which was also the day following the fourth vision, his cadaver arrived in Cuapa.

Everything that the angel told me was fulfilled exactly.

I had an appointment with the Lady, but it did not take place. We could not get there because the river was too deep, it was full. The current was too strong and it was overflowing its banks because of the violent winds. Very heavy rains since the night of the seventh, all that night and all the following day ... it rained without stopping on the day of the eighth of August. It was impossible to cross! I was there accompanied by a group of people, all of them women. On arriving at the edge of the river we intended to cross, we found this impossible. It would have been impossible even on horseback. I said: "Even by myself alone, I am going to cross."

But I looked and said: ?N! I can't do it alone! The current will carry me away it is so strong!" It continued raining. We were totally soaked from the rain. I then told the people: "The Blessed Virgin, the Blessed Mother, will hear us wherever we are." And we stopped trying to cross the river in order to get to the site of the visions. We sat down on the rocks alongside the river; others remained standing. We then prayed the Rosary and sang many songs. On our return we did not feel cold nor were we sad.

When it became possible to cross, we returned to the place of the apparitions. But nothing occurred, nor did I feel that the Lady would arrive. I missed not seeing her. I had by now become familiar with the idea of her arriving. I felt happy to be waiting for her and even more so at seeing her.

Another thing that happened during this month is that I could see that the priest did not believe me. Because of good manners he tried not to show this, but ... no, he did not believe. He had never shown any interest in going to the place where the apparitions occurred. However, one day he arrived at the chapel, celebrated Mass, and afterwards told me that he want to go to the site where the apparitions took place. But he told me not to point out the road and also not to speak with him.

It was so. We arrived at the place. I could see that he looked at all the sides around us. He looked as if recognizing something. Afterwards, indicating the precise spot: "It is this place that was in my dreams last night."

With this he changed. Prior to this I noted that he did not accept. I could notice it. But I do not judge him, as perhaps he has been an instrument to know the truth.

Towards the end of August I one day told him: "Father, I am sad because we were unable to cross the river because of the strong currents. Could it be that she expected us to cross the river on the 8th of August? Could it be that she won't be returning?" He said tome: "Pray and she will again appear."

He said that with certainty.

THE FOURTH VISION

On the eighth of September I went to the place of the apparitions in hope of the appointment which had not been fulfilled for me in August. I again went accompanied by many persons; there were also some children. We were praying the Rosary, and as soon as we finished I saw a lightning-flash. Only the light from it was seen. It was clear; there was no sign of rain. I thought and said: "The Lady is about to arrive!" Another sign was the great interior joy when I am about to see her. I then saw a second flash of lightning -- which is always the one in which to see her --and I saw her over a cloud. The cloud was over the Morisco tree that was already without leaves -- the people of Cuapa had been taking them little by little -- the little tree, planted in midst of the (?) and of the (Dormilona?) thorns looked dried up; because the Morisco tree is brown in color and having been left without leaves, looked more as if it was dried up. But no, it was not dry; if one scratched the bark which is thin, it was green inside. In this manner, over all of this, was the Virgin Mary. I saw her as a child. Beautiful! But little! She was dressed in a pale cream colored tunic. She did not have a veil, nor a crown, nor a mantle. No adornment, nor embroidery. The dress was long, with long sleeves, and it was girdled with a pink cord. Her hair fell to her shoulders and it was brown in color. The eyes, also, although much lighter, almost the color of honey. All of her radiated light. She looked like the Lady, but she was a child.

I was looking at her amazed without saying a word, and then I heard her voice as that of a child ... a child of sever ... eight ... years. In an extremely sweet voice she gave the message; totally identical. At the finish, I thought that since she was a child it would be easier for her to allow herself to be seen by the others accompanying me. That was my effort. I said to myself: "The others also should see her!" I then told her: "Let yourself be seen so that all the world will believe. These people who are here want to met you." The people could hear me, but could not hear her. I talked with her a great deal trying to entice her to allow herself to be seen, but after listening to me she said:

"No. It is enough for you to give them the message because for the one who is going to believe that will be enough, and the one who is not going to believe though he should see me is not going to believe."
These words of hers have been fulfilled. I can now see the unbelief or the faith of a person. Individuals have come who are not looking to see any sign; the message is sufficient for them, they receive it. Some have great needs ... they do not ask for a miracle, they do not ask for cures, they prefer to trust in the Lord. There are others who through the signs have come to believe. I knew a man, who filled with joy, told me: "Bernardo, I now do believe the Virgin appeared. You are fortunate! I also am seeing her!" And he indicated the place. It was in the old chapel, where the altar was before. A few feet away there was another man who, at seeing me pass nearby, told me full of indifference: "It is true that it is there. But this is nothing more than beings from other planets. They are (?)" This occurred on the 7th of May, 1981, the eve of the first anniversary of the first apparition.

I then no longer insisted that she allow herself to be seen, but rather talked to her about the church that the people wanted to build in her honor. Father Domingo told us that this was a decision he could not make, and that we should tell it to the Holy Virgin. That is why I presented this question to her. Because a man from Matagalpa had already given us C$80.00 cordobas to this end. She answered me saying:

"No. The Lord does not want material churches. He wants living temples which are yourselves.

"Restore the sacred temple of the Lord. In you is the gratification for the Lord."

And she continued, saying:

"Love each other. Love one another. Forgive each other. Make peace. Don't first ask for it. Make peace!"
I asked her what I should do with the C$80.00 cordobas that I had on my hands. I was wondering if I should return them. She told me to donate them for the construction of the chapel in Cuapa. And added:

"From this day on do mot accept even one cent for anything."
Afterwards she told me not to say "church" to material things because the church and the temples (are) ourselves; that those with chapels are houses of prayer. At times, out of habit I make a mistake and say "church" instead of "chapel."

At this moment, a doubt that I had came to mind. I had thought of asking her as to this doubt because I did not know whether or not to continue in the catechumenate. I did it to see what she would advise me. She told me:

"No. Don't leave. Always continue firmly in the catechumenate. Little by little you will comprehend all that the catechumenate signifies. As a community group meditate on the Beatitudes, away from al the noise."
Later she added:

I am not going to return on the 8th of October, but on the 13th."
Then the cloud elevated her. As in the other times ... when I had seen her.

THE FIFTH VISION

In October, on the eighth, we went to the (place?) of the apparitions. I knew she would not appear (as?) the little girl already had told me that, and (all?) the people. People by now were following me (as?) they wanted to pray the Rosary near the pile of rocks. They wanted to do this out of devotion.

On the 13th, which was a Monday, we had a (devotion?) in the chapel at ten in the morning. Afterwards, a group of about fifty of us went to the site of the apparitions. A small pilgrimage. We went praying the Rosary and singing. On arriving we arranged the flowers the people had brought, over the piled rocks. We started another Rosary. The sky looked as if it was going to rain, with big threatening clouds. It looked like rain. When we were on the third mystery, the Birth of the Son of God, I felt the same emotion that I always feel when the (time?) for seeing her is near. But I chose not to disturb the praying of the Rosary. At the end we sang "My Queen of Heaven." We were repeating the part that says: "Shining Daystar, grant me grace to be (able to?) sing the Ave Maria," when all of a sudden a luminous circle formed over the ground. Everyone, without a single exception, saw it; it was like a (?) that fell and marked this luminous circle on the ground. The light came from above. The light that came was like a spotlight that on touching the (ground?) was scattered. Seeing how this light fell over the heads of everyone who was there, I again looked up and saw that a circle had also formed in the sky. As when here we say "there's a ring around the moon" or "there's a ring around the sun." This circle gave off lights in different colors, without coming (from?) the sun. It was not at that spot as the sun was already setting.

A little girl being held by the hand by her mother tried to release her hand telling her mother that the Lady was calling her. The mother held her even more firmly and did not let her move. The child's mother told me this herself after the apparition was over.

It was three in the afternoon. One could feel a small breeze that moved softly. Pleasant! Like a fresh shower, but which did not wet us. While we observed this, we were silent and continued seeing that circle of light which gave off colored lights from the exact center, where the sun is a twelve noon.

All of a sudden a lightning-flash, the same as the other times; then, a second one. I lowered my eyes and I saw the Lady. This time the cloud was over the flowers we had brought and upon the cloud the Lady's feet. Beautiful! She extended her hands and rays of light reached all of us.

I, at seeing the Lady there with her arms extended, said to the people: "Look at her! There she is!"

No one answered anything. I then told the Lady to let herself be seen, that all the people present wanted to see her. She said:

"No. Not everyone can see me."

I again said to the people:
"Our Lady is at the pile of rocks over the flowers."
I could hear some of the people crying. I could hear sobbing. A lady whose name is Mildred told me: "I can see only a shadow, like a statue, over the flowers." I again insisted to the Lady that she allow herself to be seen and she again told me no. I then again told the people:

Look at the flowers over the rocks."
No one answered me anything. I then told the Lady:
Lady, let them see you so that they will believe! Because many don't believe. They tell me that it is the devil that appears to me. And that the Virgin is dead and turned to dust like any mortal. Let them see you, Our Lady!"
She did not answer anything. She raised her hands to her breast in a similar position to the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows -- the statue that is carried in procession during Holy Week -- and the same as that statue her face turned pale, her mantle changed to a gray color, her face became sad, and she cried. I cried too. I trembled to see her like that. I said to her:

"Lady, forgive me for what I have said to you! I'm to blame! You are angry with me. Forgive me! Forgive me!"

She then answered me saying:

"I am not angry nor will I get angry."

I asked her: "And why are you crying? I see you crying."

She told me:

"It saddens me to see the hardness of those persons' hearts. But you will have to pray for them so that they will change."

I could not speak. I continued to cry. I felt that my heart was being crushed. I felt very sad as if I were going to die from the pain right there. My only relief was through crying. I no longer continued insisting that she let herself be seen. I felt that I was to blame for having said this to her. I could not endure seeing her cry. As I continued to cry, she gave me the message:
Pray the Rosary, meditate on the mysteries.
Listen to the Word of God spoken in them.
Love one another. Love each other.
Forgive each other.
Make peace. Don't ask for peace without making peace; because if you don't make it, it does no good to ask for it.
Fulfill your obligations.
Put into practice the Word of God.
Seek ways to please God.
Serve your neighbor as that way you will please Him."
When she had finished giving her message, I remembered the requests from the people of Cuapa. I said to her:
Lady, I have many requests, but I have forgotten them. There are a great many. You, Lady, know them all."

Then she said to me:

"They ask of me things that are unimportant. Ask for faith in order to have the strength so that each can carry his own cross. The sufferings of this world cannot be removed. Sufferings are the cross which you must carry. That is the way life is. There are problems with the husband, with the wife, with the children, with the brothers. Talk, converse so that problems will be resolved in peace. Do not turn to violence. Never turn to violence. Pray for faith in order that you will have patience."

In this manner she has given me to understand that if with faith we ask to be freed from a suffering, we will be freed if that suffering is not the cross we are to carry; but when the suffering is the person's cross, then it will remain as a weight (?) glory. That is why she tells us to ask for faith in order to receive fortitude and patience.

Afterwards she told me:

"You will no longer see me in this place."

I thought that I would definitely never see her again and I began to shout:

"Don't leave us, my Mother!"
"Don't leave us, my Mother!"
"Don't leave us, my Mother!"

I was speaking for those who were not speaking, she then said to me;

"Do not be grieved. I am with all of you even though you do not see me.
I am the Mother of all of you, sinners.
Love one another.
Forgive each other.
Make peace, because if you don't make it
there will be no peace.
Do not turn to violence.
Never turn to violence.
Nicaragua has suffered a great deal since the earthquake and will continue to suffer if all of you don't change.
If you don't change you will hasten the coming of the Third World War.
Pray, pray, my son, for all the world.
A mother never forgets her children.
And I have not forgotten what you suffer.
I am the Mother of all of you, sinners.

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Marian Apparitions

NOTE: Words or letters in parentheses (?) indicated ones that were smudged and may not be accurately translated.

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