Monday, May 8, 2023

Our Lady's Miraculous Medal


To My Readers: This week, my guest poster Lee, presents an incredible post about a most powerful sacramental: The Miraculous Medal of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Until reading this post, I was unaware that there is an evil counterfeit Miraculous Medal in circulation. I learned a lot, and I'm sure you will as well. Feel free to comment as always. If anyone has a specific comment or question for me, I will respond as usual, but it might take me longer to reply this week.

God bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

Our Lady's Miraculous Medal
By Lee

“April showers bring May flowers,” as the old saying goes. What's particularly beautiful about May and flowers is that it reminds us all of one very important thing—-mothers. The most glorious of all mothers is of course the Mother of God. As St. John Vianney says of her: "The Ave Maria is a prayer that is never wearisome. The devotion to the Holy Virgin is delicious, sweet, nourishing. When we talk on earthly subjects or politics, we grow weary; but when we talk of the Holy Virgin, it is always new. All the saints have a great devotion to Our Lady; no grace comes from Heaven without passing through her hands. We cannot go into a house without speaking to the porter; well, the Holy Virgin is the portress of Heaven."

St. John Vianney's contemporary in France was St. Catherine Laboure. Like St. John Vianney, she was one of those saints who had great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In fact, after her mother died when she was nine years old, she picked up a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and kissed it exclaiming, "Now you will be my mother." 

When she was twelve years old she received first Holy Communion and every morning from the year 1818 onward she got up at 4 o'clock and walked several miles to attend at Mass. Her only desire was to give herself without reserve to Jesus as she continually had Jesus and Mary on her mind.

By the time her oldest sister left to join the Daughters of Charity, she fulfilled the daily tasks of looking after everything on her father's homestead. Cooking, housework, serving meals to the workman in the fields, and tending farm animals was her life. Despite all her labors she never forgot her vocation. Her habits of speaking was kept at a minimal. Her spirit of mortification and penance helped her hear Christ whom she longed desired as well as His mother.

One day Catherine had a dream where she saw an old priest at the altar. She drew back when he beckoned to her after Mass. Later, the vision moved to a sick room where she saw the same priest who said to her: "My child, it is good to look after the sick. You run away from me now, but one day you will be glad to come to me. God has designs for you. Do not forget it!" 

Some time later, Catherine was visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity. She noticed a priest's picture on the wall. When she asked one of the sisters who it was, the sister said it was the founder of their Order, St. Vincent de Paul. This was the priest she recognized in the dream.

The Three Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin

In January of 1830, St. Catherine had entered the hospice of the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine. Three months later she was in Paris in order to enter into the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity located on the Rue du Bac. Before she started receiving apparitions from the Holy Mother, God gave her other extraordinary visions first. For three consecutive days she beheld the heart of St. Vincent de Paul each time under a different aspect. At other times, she was able to see Jesus during Mass, when he would appear as he was described in the liturgy of the day.

In her own words, she describes the following concerning the three apparitions she experienced:

July 18th 1830 (First apparition):

“And then came the Feast of Saint Vincent when our good Mother Martha, on the evening before, gave us an instruction on devotion to the Blessed Virgin, which gave me a desire to see the Blessed Virgin, such that I went to bed with that thought on that same night, that I should see my good Mother whom I had desired to see for such a long time. As a piece of linen from a surplice of Saint Vincent had been distributed, I cut off half of it which I swallowed, and I went to sleep, in the thought that Saint Vincent should obtain for me the grace to see the Blessed Virgin.

Finally, at half past eleven in the evening I heard myself being called by name: ‘Sister Labouré, Sister Labouré’. Waking up, I looked in the direction where I heard the voice... I pulled aside the curtain. I saw a child four or five years old, who said to me: ‘Come to the chapel, the Blessed Virgin is waiting for you.’ I dressed quickly and made my way alongside this child, who had remained standing, without coming any further than the head of my bed.... I followed him, keeping him always on my left.

Everywhere we passed was lighted up, which astonished me a lot. But I was even more surprised when I went into the chapel and the door opened itself, though the child had scarcely touched it with his fingertips. My surprise was even more complete when I saw that all the tapers and candles were alight, which reminded me of the Midnight Mass. However, I saw nothing of the Blessed Virgin.

The child led me into the sanctuary; to the side of the director’s chair, where I knelt down, while the child remained standing the whole time. As I found the time rather long, I looked around to see if the sisters who kept watch in the house were passing through the gallery.

At last the time had come. The child let me know. He said to me, ‘Here is the Blessed Virgin. Here she is!’ I heard a sound like the rustle of a silk gown coming from the side of the tribune near Saint Joseph’s picture, which finally came and alighted on the altar steps on the gospel side and went to sit in a chair like that of Saint Anne’s.

Catherine continues her account: It was not the same face as Saint Anne... I doubted whether this was the Blessed Virgin. However, the child who was there said to me, ‘Here is the Blessed Virgin!’ It would be impossible for me to say what I experienced at this time, what was happening within me. It seemed to me that I did not see the Blessed Virgin. It was then that the child spoke to me, no longer as a child, but as a very strong man and in the strongest terms. Then, looking at the Blessed Virgin, I just made one leap towards her, and knelt down on the altar-steps, with my hands resting on the lap of the Blessed Virgin...

Then there took place the sweetest moment of my life. It would be impossible for me to tell all that I experienced. She told me how I was to behave towards my director and several things which I must not tell, how I was to behave in my troubles, that I was to come (pointing with Her left hand to the foot of the altar) and throw myself at the foot of the altar and there to pour forth my heart, that there I should receive all the consolations that I needed... I then asked her to explain to me the meaning of all the things I had seen, and she explained everything to me.

‘My child’ Our Lady said, ‘the good God wishes to entrust you with a mission. You will have much difficulty, but you will overcome these difficulties by thinking that you are doing it for the glory of the good God. You will know what comes from the good God. You will be tormented by it till you have told it to him who is entrusted with your guidance. You will be opposed, but you will always have the grace. Do not fear. Tell everything which happens within you with confidence... with simplicity.

You will see a certain thing. Give an account of what you will see and hear. You will be inspired in your prayer.

Come to the foot of this altar. There graces will be poured out on all those, rich or poor, who ask for them with confidence and fervor. I will be with you myself; I will always keep my eyes upon you, and I will enrich you with many graces.’

Graces will be bestowed, particularly upon all who ask for them, but they must pray. They must pray!

I do not know how long I stayed. All I know is that after ‘She had gone,’ I only noticed something which was fading away. Finally, no more than a shadow that was moving in the direction of the tribune, the side from which she had come. I got up from the steps of the altar, and I saw the child where I had left him. He said to me, ‘She has gone.’ We went back by the same way, which was still illuminated, and this child was always on my left.

I believe that this child was my guardian angel who made himself visible so that I should see the Blessed Virgin, because I had often prayed to him that he would obtain this favor, for me. He was dressed in white and bore a miraculous light with him, that is to say, he was resplendent with light. He was either four or five years old. When I got back to bed, it was two o’clock in the morning, for I heard the clock strike. I did not go to sleep again.”

November 27th 1830 (Second apparition):

 “I thought that the Blessed Virgin would grant me this grace, but my desire was so strong that I was convinced that I would actually see her at her most beautiful."

On the 27th of November, 1830, which was a Saturday, and the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, while making my meditation in profound silence, at half past five in the evening, I seemed to hear on the right hand side of the sanctuary something like the rustling of a silk dress. Glancing in that direction, I perceived the Blessed Virgin, standing near Saint Joseph’s picture. Her height was medium, and her countenance indescribably beautiful. She was dressed in a robe the color of the dawn, high-necked, with plain sleeves. Her head was covered with a white veil, which floated over her shoulders down to her feet. She wore a narrow lace band round her hair. Her face was not concealed. Her feet rested upon a globe, or rather one half of a globe, for that was all that could be seen. Her hands which were on a level with her waist, held in an easy manner another globe, a figure of the world. Her eyes were raised to Heaven, and her countenance beamed with light as she offered the globe to Our Lord.

Suddenly, her fingers were covered with rings and most beautiful precious stones. Rays of dazzling light gleamed forth from them, and the whole of her figure was enveloped in such radiance that her feet and robe were no longer visible.

The jewels varied in size as did also the rays of light they threw out. I could not express what I felt, nor what I learned, in these few moments. As I was busy contemplating her, the Blessed Virgin fixed her eyes upon me, and a voice said in the depths of my heart: ‘This globe which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular.’

I would not know how to express the beauty and brilliancy of these rays. The Blessed Virgin added: ‘Behold the symbol of the graces I shed upon those who ask me for them.’ And she made me understand how pleasant it was to pray to the Blessed Virgin, how generous she is to all who implore her intercession... How many favors she grants to those who ask her for them with confidence and the joy that she experienced in granting graces! At this moment I was not myself, I was in raptures!

There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’

Then a voice said to me: ‘Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’

At the same instant, the oval frame seemed to turn around. Then I saw on the back of it the letter ‘M’, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and under the monogram of the name of Mary, the Holy Hearts of Jesus and of His Mother; the first surrounded by a crown of thorns and the second trans-pierced by a sword. I was anxious to know what words must be placed on the reverse side of the medal and after many prayers, one day in meditation I seemed to hear a voice which said to me: ‘The M with the Cross and the two Hearts tell enough.’

(No mention is made in Sister Catherine’s notes of the twelve stars which surrounded the monogram of Mary and the two Hearts. However, they are always figured on the back of the medal. It is certain that this detail was given by the sister at the time of the apparitions.)

December ? 1830 (Third apparition):

Catherine felt sure that she would see Our Lady again. Sometime during the month of December her hope was realized. At the afternoon meditation, she had another vision similar to that of November 27th . There was one remarkable difference however. Our Blessed Mother, who according to Sister Labouré appeared to be about forty years of age, instead of remaining near the picture of Saint Joseph, passed in front of it and stood at the back of the tabernacle, a little above it.

The invocation ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ was traced in letters of gold and encircled the apparition as before. Catherine saw again at the back of the oval the monogram of the Blessed Virgin surmounted by the Cross, and beneath, the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. In Catherine’s own words: “I saw the Blessed Virgin near the tabernacle, to the back of it. She was dressed in white... under her feet was a white ball. She was so beautiful that it would be impossible for me to describe her beauty. Her hands, which were raised to the level of the waist, in a very easy fashion, were holding a ball which represented the globe, surmounted by a little golden cross.

Suddenly her fingers became adorned with rings and with precious stones of great splendor the rays which issued from them showered a dazzling light on all sides and filled the area below them, so that one could no longer see the feet of the Blessed Virgin.

The larger stones gave larger rays, and the smaller ones, smaller rays. To tell you what I learned at the moment when the Blessed Virgin was offering the globe to Our Lord would be impossible to repeat... what I experienced.” Saint Catherine again received the order to have a medal struck according to the model. This was the last time Our Lady was to appear to her and she distinctly heard this message. ‘You will not see me any more, but you will hear my voice during your prayers’. And then, Catherine tells us, everything disappeared from my sight, like a candle that is blown out.

And from that day forward, till she departed this world in 1876, with only those few exceptions authorized by Heaven above, for a period of forty six years, the saint of silence was to keep these visions a secret, pondering them in the depths of her heart.

She terminates her account in these words: To tell you what I understood at the moment the Blessed Virgin offered the globe to Our Lord, would be impossible, or what my feelings were whilst gazing on her! A voice in the depths of my heart said to me: ‘These rays are symbolic of the graces the Blessed Virgin obtains for those who ask for them’.” These few lines, according to her, should be inscribed at the base of the Blessed Virgin’s statue. On this occasion, contrary to her usual custom, she could not refrain from an exclamation of joy at the thought of the homages which would be rendered Mary! Oh! How delightful to hear it said: Mary is Queen of the Universe, and particularly of France! The children will proclaim it, She is Queen of each soul!”

First Medals Struck

Catherine spoke to no one about her visions and her mission except her Spiritual Director, Fr. John Marie Aladel. He was only thirty years old in 1830, and this was no small task that was thrust upon him. He and Catherine had many confrontations before the first medals were struck in June 1832. Eventually, at his request, Catherine wrote out three full accounts of her visions. She was a person of sound common sense, had a great eye for details and a gift for describing well what she saw and heard.

After almost two years of keen discernment Fr. Aladel took advantage of a visit to Archbishop Hyacinth de Quelen of Paris in January of 1832 to discuss his penitent, her visions, and the request of the Blessed Virgin for a medal to be struck. The Archbishop listened carefully and questioned Fr. Aladel in detail, and finally gave his permission for the medals to be made. He himself was very devoted to the Immaculate Conception of Mary and asked that he be given some of the first medals that would be made.

The first two thousand medals were delivered on June 30, 1832. The spread of the Medal was almost like a miracle in itself. The first batch disappeared very quickly. Pope Gregory XVI put one of them at the foot of the crucifix on his desk.

The Redemptorist founder of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in America, Fr. Gillet, had the design of the medal placed on his ordination card in 1836. The stories of the cures and wonders of the medal helped to spread its use far and wide.

By 1836 the firm of Vachette had sold several million medals. Eleven other engravers in Paris had done the same. And four engravers in Lyons were hard pressed to meet the demands for the medal. Archbishop de Quelen instituted a Canonical Inquiry starting on February 11th, 1836. The conclusions of the inquiry were that the medal was of supernatural origin and that the wonders worked through it were genuine. This inquiry helped win the approval of the Holy See in 1895 for a feast in honor of the Medal, and helped in the process of beatification and canonization of Sister Catherine.

Conversions through the Medal

Archbishop de Quelen attributed to the first miraculous medal deathbed conversion of a publicly impenitent sinner, Monseigneur de Pradt, former chaplain to Napoleon and unlawful Archbishop of Mechlin (Malines) who had accepted his office from the hands of the Emperor and now lay dying, defiant and unreconciled to the Church. The Archbishop had tried to see him on several occasions and had been rebuffed. So he took a miraculous medal with him, and was finally allowed in to see the Baron, who was so touched by grace that he repented and confessed his sins. The next day he received the sacraments from the Archbishop and died in his arms in 1837. This was the first great triumph of the miraculous medal.

The story of Claude Newman

Claude Newman was an African American man who was born on December 1st, 1923 to Willie and Floretta (Young) Newman in Stuttgart, Arkansas. In 1928, Claude’s father Willie took Claude and his older brother away from their mother for unknown reasons, and they are brought to their grandmother, Ellen Newman, of Bovina, Warren County, Mississippi.

In 1939, Claude’s beloved grandmother, Ellen Newman, married a man named Sid Cook. Soon Sid became abusive toward Ellen, which deeply angered Claude. In 1940, Claude worked as a farm-hand on Ceres Plantation in Bovina, Mississippi. The plantation was owned by a wealthy landowner named U.G. Flowers, and Sid Cook was born and raised on this plantation. Claude got married in 1940 at the age of 17 to a young woman of the same age. On December 19th, 1942, Claude was apparently still very angered by Sid’s abusive treatment towards his grandmother Ellen, and egged on by a dominant friend named Elbert Harris, Claude lay in waiting at Sid Cook’s house (Sid Cook and Ellen Newman having since separated). Claude shoots Sid as he enters, killing him, and takes his money, then flees to his mother’s house in Arkansas, arriving on December 20th.

In January 1943, Claude was apprehended in Arkansas and was returned to Vicksburg, Mississippi and made a coerced confession on January 13. Despite the protests of Claude’s lawyer Harry K. Murray, his confession was admitted as evidence, and he was found guilty by jury, and was initially sentenced to die in the electric chair on May 14, 1943. Later an appeal to retry the case was rejected by state Attorney General and he was rescheduled to be executed on January 20, 1944.

The majority of the information that will now be presented comes from a tape recording of a radio show interview of Father O’Leary a priest who came to know Claude very well during Claude’s imprisonment. While Claude was in jail awaiting execution, he shared a cell-block with four other prisoners. One night, the five men were sitting around talking and eventually the conversation ran out. During this time, Claude noticed a medal on a string around one of the other prisoner’s neck. Curious, he asked the other prisoner what the medal was. The young prisoner was a Catholic, but he apparently did not know (or did not want to talk) about the medal, and seemingly embarrassed, he appeared angry and suddenly took the medal off from around his own neck and threw it on the floor at Claude’s feet with a curse and a cuss, telling him to take the thing.” Claude picked up the medal, and after looking it over, he placed it around his own neck, although he had no idea whose image it was on the medal; to him it was simply a trinket, but for some reason he felt attracted to it, and wanted to wear it.

During the night while sleeping on top of his cot, he was awakened with a touch upon his wrist. Awakening with a start, there stood, as Claude told Father O’Leary afterwards, ‘the most beautiful woman that God ever created.' At first he was quite frightened, not knowing what to make of this extraordinary beautiful glowing woman. The lady soon calmed Claude down, and then said to him, "If you would like me to be your mother, and you would like to be my child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church.” And after saying these words she suddenly disappeared. Excited, Claude immediately started to yell "a ghost, a ghost” and started screaming that he wanted a Catholic priest. Father Robert O’Leary SVD (1911–1984), the priest who tells the story, was called first thing the next morning. Upon arrival he went to see Claude who told him of what had happened the night before. Deeply impressed by the events, Claude, along with the other four men in his cell-block, asked for religious instruction in the Catholic faith.

Father O’Leary returned to the prison the next day to begin instruction for the prisoners. It was then that the priest learned that Claude Newman could neither read nor write at all. The only way he could tell if a book was right-side-up was if the book contained a picture. Claude told him that he had never been to school, and Father O’Leary soon discovered that his ignorance of religion was even more profound. He knew practically nothing about religion or the Christian faith. He knew that there was a God, but he did not know that Jesus was God. And so Claude began receiving instructions, and the other prisoners helped him with his studies.

After a few days, two of the religious sisters from Father O’Leary’s parish-school obtained permission from the warden to come to the prison. They wanted to meet Claude and hear his remarkable story, and they also wanted to visit the women in the prison. Soon, on another floor of the prison, the Sisters began to teach some of the women-prisoners the catechism as well. Several weeks passed, and it came time when Father O’Leary was going to give instructions about the sacrament of confession. The sisters too sat in on the class. The priest said to the prisoners, "Ok boys, today I’m going to teach you about the sacrament of confession.” Claude said, "Oh, I know about that! The Lady told me that when we go to confession we are kneeling down not before a priest, but we’re kneeling down by the Cross of Her Son. And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins.” Hearing Claude say this, Father O’Leary and the Sisters sat stunned with their mouths wide open. Claude thought they were angry and said, "Oh don’t be angry, don’t be angry, I didn’t mean to blurt it out.” The priest said, we’re not angry Claude. We are just surprised. You have seen her again?” Claude replied, "Come around the cell-block away from the others.”

When they were alone, Claude said to the priest, "She told me that if you doubted me or showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland in 1940, you made a vow to her which she’s still waiting for you to keep.” And, Father O’Leary recalls, "Claude then told me precisely what the vow was.” Claude’s revelation absolutely convinced Father O’Leary that Claude was telling the truth about his visions of Our Lady. The promise Fr. O’Leary made to Our Lady in 1940 from a ditch in Holland (the proof Claude gave the priest that Our Lady really was appearing to him) was this: that when he could, he would build a church in honor of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. He did just that in 1947. He had been transferred to Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1945 when a group of African American Catholic laymen asked to have a church built there. The Bishop of Natchez, Mississippi had been sent $5000 by Archbishop Cushing of Boston for the “Negro missions.” The Bishop and Father O’Leary commissioned the church of the Immaculate Conception to be built, and it is still there today. Father O’Leary and Clark then returned to the catechism class on confession. Claude kept telling the other prisoners, "You should not be afraid to go to confession. You’re really telling God your sins, not the priest.” Then Claude said, "You know, the lady said that confession is something like a telephone. We talk through the priest to God, and God talks back to us through the priest.”

About a week later, Father O’Leary was preparing to teach the class about the Blessed Sacrament. The sisters were again present for this lesson too. Claude indicated that the lady had also taught him about the Eucharist, and he asked if he could tell the priest what she said.

Fr. O’Leary agreed immediately. Claude related, "The Lady told me that in Communion, I will only see what looks like a piece of bread. But she told me that It is really and truly her Son, and that He will be with me just as He was with her before He was born in Bethlehem. She told me that I should spend my time like she did during her lifetime with Him — in loving Him, adoring Him, thanking Him, praising Him and asking Him for blessings. I shouldn’t be distracted or bothered by anybody else or anything else, but I should spend those few minutes in my thoughts alone with Him.”

As the weeks progressed, eventually they finished the catechism instructions and Claude and the other prisoners were received into the Catholic Church. The St. Mary’s parish (Vicksburg, MI) baptismal log has recorded his baptism on January 16th, 1944. Fr. O’Leary officiated and a young nun, Sr. Bena Henken, served as his godmother. Soon afterwards the time came for Claude to be executed. He was to be executed at five minutes after twelve, midnight, on January 20, 1944. The sheriff, named Williamson, asked him, "Claude, you have the privilege of a last request. What do you want? "Well, said Claude, all of my friends are all shook up. The jailer is all shook up. But you don’t understand. I’m not going to die; only this body. I’m going to be with her. So, then I would like to have a party.” "What do you mean?” asked the sheriff. "A party!” said Claude. "Will you give Father O’Leary permission to bring in some cakes and ice cream and will you allow the prisoners on the second floor to be freed in the main room so that we can all be together and have a party?” Somebody might attack Father,” cautioned the warden. Claude turned to the men who were standing by and said, "Oh no they won’t, right fellas?”

The warden consented and posted additional guards for the party. So, Father O’Leary visited a wealthy patron of the parish, and she generously supplied the ice cream and cake, and everyone enjoyed the party. Afterwards, because Claude had requested it, they made a Holy Hour, praying especially for Claude and for all of their souls. Fr. O’Leary brought prayer books from the Church, and they all said together the Stations of the Cross, and made a Holy Hour, without the Blessed Sacrament. As the time neared for Claude’s execution, the men were put back in their cells. The priest then went to the chapel to get the Blessed Sacrament so that he could give Claude Holy Communion in the moment before his execution.

Father O’Leary returned to Claude’s cell. Claude knelt on one side of the bars, the priest knelt on the other, and they prayed together as the clock ticked toward Claude’s execution.

Father O’Leary then had a sudden inspiration. He reminded Claude about James Hughes, a white prisoner in the same jail who hated Claude intensely. This prisoner had led a horribly immoral life, and like Claude he too was sentenced to be executed for murder. James was raised a Catholic, but now he was a reprobate, and rejected God and all things Christian. Father O’Leary then said, "Maybe our Blessed Mother wants you to offer this denial of being with her for his conversion.” And the priest continued, "Why don’t you offer to God every moment that you are separated from your heavenly Mother for this prisoner, so that he will not be separated from God for all eternity.” Claude thought for a moment, then agreed, and he asked Father O’Leary to teach him the words to make the offering. Father O’Leary complied, and he later testified that from that moment on the only two people on earth who knew about this personal offering were Claude and himself, because it was a private matter between God, the Blessed Mother, Claude and himself. A few hours later (still on the morning after his reprieve of execution) Fr. O’Leary came once again to visit Claude, and Claude said to the priest, "James hated me before, but oh Father, how he hates me now!” (This was because James had heard about Claude’s reprieve and was jealous). To encourage him the good priest said, "Well, perhaps that’s a good sign.”

During his two weeks reprieve, Claude generously offered his sacrifice and prayers for his fellow prisoner, the reprobate James Hughes. Two weeks later, Claude was finally put to death by the electric chair on February 4th, 1944. Concerning Claude’s holy death Father O’Leary testified: "I’ve never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and happily. Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed. They said they couldn’t understand how anyone could go and sit in the electric chair while at the same time actually beaming with happiness.”

Claude’s death notice was printed in the Vicksburg evening news on the day of his
execution February 4th, 1944. His last words to Father O’Leary were, "Father, I will remember you. And whenever you have a request, ask me, and I will ask her.”

The conversion of fellow inmate James Hughes

Three months after Claude’s execution, on May 19, 1944, the white man named James Hughes — the one whom Claude had offered his sacrifice for, was to be executed. Father O’Leary said, “This man was the filthiest, most immoral person I had ever come across. His hatred for God and for everything spiritual defied description.” He would not allow a priest or any clergyman in his cell. Just before his execution, the county doctor pleaded with him to at least kneel down and say the “Our Father” before the sheriff would come for him. The prisoner spat in the doctor’s face. When he was strapped into the electric chair, the sheriff said to him, “If you have something to say, say it now.” The condemned man started to blaspheme.

All of a sudden he stopped speaking, and his eyes became fixed on the corner of the room, and his face turned to one of absolute horror. Suddenly he screamed in terror — a horrible scream that shocked everyone present. Turning to the sheriff, he then said, “Sheriff, get me a priest!” Now, Father O’Leary had been in the room because Mississippi law at that time required a clergyman to be present at executions. The priest, however, had hidden himself behind some reporters because the condemned man had threatened to curse God if he saw a clergyman. Upon calling for a priest, Father O’Leary immediately went to the condemned man. The room was cleared of everyone else, and the priest heard the man’s confession. The man said he had been a Catholic, but turned away from his religion when he was 18 because of his immoral life. He confessed all of his sins with deep repentance and intense fervor.

While everyone was returning to the room, the sheriff asked the priest, “Father, what made him change his mind?” “I don’t know” said Father O’Leary, “I didn’t ask him.” The sheriff said, “Well, I will never sleep tonight if I don’t ask him.” The Sheriff went to the condemned man and asked, “Son, what changed your mind?”

The prisoner responded, “Remember that black man Claude — the one whom I hated so much? Well he’s standing there [and he pointed], over in that corner. And behind him with one hand on each shoulder is the Blessed Virgin Mary. And Claude said to me, "I offered my death in union with Christ on the Cross for your salvation. She has obtained for you this gift of seeing your place in Hell if you do not repent." I have been shown my place in Hell, and that’s why I screamed.”

James Hughes was executed as scheduled, but the heavenly appearance of our Blessed Mother with Claude Newman and the subsequent vision of hell had instantly converted his soul in the last moments of his life. With the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Father O’Leary had taught Claude to unite himself with the suffering of Jesus by offering his own sufferings to Him, just as we all can do for others, and Claude’s suffering helped to pay the price for James’ remarkable last minute conversion and repentance. Therefore we must never under-estimate the value of our suffering joined with that of Jesus Christ’s, and also the power and loving intercession of Our Blessed Mother in heaven.

Beware of the Counterfeit Medal

In the May 2016 archive of Chiesa Viva 
(Link in Italian here: Dr. Franco Adessa explains from Pages 17-21 how there is a Satanic/Freemasonic version of the Miraculous Medal which has circulated in more recent years. Here is some of what he had to say that I was able to translate in English from the first page (17):

In the journal, “Miracles” of February 19, 2016, on pages 6-7, an article was published entitled: “Symbols of Freemasonry and the Devil on the Medal of the Rue du Bac? The truth.” Here is the list of the counterfeit Medal alterations, which were reported in the article:

1. Stars do not have 5 points but 6 points. You can also find false versions with 5 points, but the layout and location (of the stars) are different than the original.

2. The “M” is not in an upright position, but tilted.

3. The Cross and the “M” intertwine in an opposite direction of the original.

4. On the hearts, there appears, in disguise, as if they were thorns, the symbol of Freemasonry, i.e., the square and the compass.

5. The sword of the Heart of Mary does not pass through the heart, itself, but is [placed] behind it.

6. The Cross has a very strange shape and its arms are not right. At the end of each arm of the Cross, there appear to be spikes. The fake version of the cross, can end with spikes that look like horns or forks and are reminiscent, at the top (together with the part that is above) of what Lucifer has on his head, as represented in Satanic and Masonic iconography.

7. In the false and Masonic version, a 6-pointed star appears over the cross, which would, according to Masonic symbolism, represent the light of Lucifer, himself. Versions with 5-pointed stars instead of 6, can also be found but always with a star on top of the cross, placed in a perpendicular manner, and many times this star is inverted. In the original, there is no star above the Cross in a perpendicular manner, but two stars, each placed at the upper sides of the Cross. The same can be seen in the lower part of the medal.

Father Michael Barone, with the title: “It’s false but harmless,” says: I was informed by the Chapel of the Rue du Bac, from which it can also be assumed from the official site ( that there is no complaint about an alleged false miraculous Medal in circulation. Father Michael says he believes that it is only a reproduction error on the part of those who have coined it, without paying much attention to the position of the various signs.

In 1830, Our Lady came to offer us the Miraculous Medal, at the very moment in which the leaders of Freemasonry, namely the Satanic Order of the Bavarian Illuminati, were plotting their darkest conspiracies against the Church of Christ! It should be no surprise at all, then, to discover that the Secret Heads of Freemasonry have alterated the Miraculous Medal, in hatred of God and the Immaculate Virgin, not only in order to show contempt for the sacred and for mockery, but, above all, to diminish the power of this gift received from the Madonna. The first thing one must to do, though, is to try to locate all the changes made on the Miraculous Medal, and arrange them in a unique mosaic from which the key idea of the Satanic-Masonic doctrine will emerge giving all these alterations their precise and unique meaning.

When Pope Pius XII canonized St. Catherine Laboure, he had this to say about the Miraculous Medal: Everyone is familiar today with the ‘miraculous medal.’This medal, with its image of ‘Mary conceived without sin,’ was revealed to a humble daughter of Saint Vincent de Paul whom We had the joy of inscribing in the catalogue of Saints, and it has spread its spiritual and material wonders everywhere.

We should always be mindful of why we use sacramentals. As the Baltimore Catechisms teaches us:

471. What are the chief benefits obtained by the use of the sacramentals?
The chief benefits obtained by the use of the sacramentals are:
first, actual graces;
second, the forgiveness of venial sins;
third, the remission of temporal punishment;
fourth, health of body and material blessings;
fifth, protection from evil spirits.

Therefore, we should make use of them daily and make an effort to recognize and avoid any counterfeits.


  1. Thank you for this article!

    1. I found it very interesting; especially about the false Medal !

    2. Great, thank you!


  2. Great post, Lee ! The story of the Miraculous Medal and the conversions made through the intercession of Our Lady is inspiring to us. Let us pray to her in this month which is dedicated to her and also every day.

    1. Simon,

      Agreed. We can't have enough devotion to Our Lady. She is powerful and this is why devils hate her so intensely.


  3. Aaagh, I have some fakes!! Thank you so much for this information. I'm bookmarking this article for future reference. The fake ones were very cheap, but the better quality one that I wear appears to be authentic.
    Thank you, Lee.

    1. Barbara,

      Don't feel bad, I had a few myself.


  4. Hello!

    I am looking at a particular quotation from a papal writing. It goes something like:

    "Actually, only those can be considered Catholic who adhere to the full set of doctrine, who have been validly baptized and who have not incurred the disgrace of being separated from the fold by excommunication"

    Anyone can help, please? Thank you

    1. Poni,

      "Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed…For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.” Pius XII- Mystici Corporis Christi # 22,23

      Is that what you are looking for?


  5. Thank you for a great article Lee.

    Off the subject.What are your and Introibo's views on bollywood(indian) music?I am a young person.

    Thank you and God bless

    1. Anon 6:21,

      I have never heard of it until your comment. I looked it up and based on what I'm seeing if what I'm looking at is what you are referring to, it looks to be impure, sensual, and licentious. I had to turn it off within a few seconds.


    2. I never have heard of it before too Lee.Did you go to youtube Lee to watch it.

    3. Anon. 3:39,

      I check on the search engine and pictures popped up first and then there was a couple videos. Can't remember if they were on youtube (probably were). I saw a bunch of beautiful women dancing with scantily clad clothing and I couldn't take it any more so I turned it off.


  6. Where do this quotes come from? Thank you.

    And so from this rotten source of indifferentism flows that absurd an erroneous opinion, or rather insanity, that liberty of conscience must be claimed and defended for anyone. — Pope Gregory XVI

    For surely you know, Venerable Brothers, not a few are found who, applying the impious and absurd principles of naturalism, as they call it, to civil society, dare to teach that the “best plan for public society and civil progress absolutely requires that human society be established and governed with no regard to religion, as if it did not exist, or at least, without making distinction between the true and the false religions.” — Pope Pius IX

    And also, contrary to the teaching of Sacred Scripture, of the Church, and of the most holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that the “best condition of society is the one in which there is no acknowledgment by the government of the duty of restraining, by established penalties, offenders of the Catholic religion, except insofar as the public peace demands.”— Pope Pius IX

    And, from this wholly false idea of social organization they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, especially fatal to the Catholic Church and to the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor of recent memory, Gregory XVI, insanity; namely that “liberty of conscience and of worship is the proper right of every man, and should be proclaimed and asserted by law in every correctly established society; that the right of all manner of liberty rests in the citizens, not to be restrained either by ecclesiastical or civil authority; and that by this right they can manifest openly and publicly and declare their own concepts, whatever they may be, by voice, by print, or in any other way.”— Pope Pius IX

    1. @anon8:46
      1. Mirari Vos

      2. Quanto conficiamur moerore

      3. Quanto conficiamur moerore

      4. Quanta Cura

      Not 100% sure on #2.

      God Bless,


  7. Lee,

    Thanks for your post. What a great story about Claude and James! I enjoyed reading again about St. Catherine Labouré and her visions of the Blessed Mother, as it has been a while.

    It looks like our medals are good. The cross is not as tall, and the hearts are smaller, but all seems to be well. It looksike they came from Italy so perhaps that's why they're slightly different. Crazy stuff. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    Bet you didnt think you'd be looking up Bollywood this week! That description sounds about right. I haven't seen any movies, but I've seen ads, I think it's big business.

    May all the mothers have a blessed weekend, and may our shared Blessed Mother place them and us under the mantle of her protection.

    God bless,
    -Seeking Truth

    1. Seeking Truth,

      Beautiful comment. I wish all mothers a happy mothers day as well.


  8. Being quite fascinated with the account of Claude Newman's conversion, I came across some information that actually casts doubts on the testimony of Fr. O'Leary who apparently made this story public as late as the 1970s - over 20 years after the alleged miraculous visions had taken place.
    A Dr. Ralph Frasca has disputed most of the story originating with Fr. O'Leary - here's the link to his original article:
    Unfortunately, you need to be registered to read the entire article (that's why I could not read it) but here's a synopsis of Dr. Frasca's objections regarding the alleged visions of Claude Newman:
    I'm aware this is a Novus Ordo source but let's not forget that even a broken clock is right twice every 24 hours.

    I hope you don't mind my writing this, Lee. We need to be extra cautious with regards to private revelations.

    I love the Miraculous Medal and make sure to always have it hanging around my neck.
    Thank you for your post and for spreading the devotion to Our Blessed Lady.

    God Bless,
    Joanna S.

    1. Joanna,
      Very interesting! We can never be too cautious about private revelations. Only trust those that have been declared "worthy of belief" by the Church. Even then, never let a private revelation be the focus of your attention. Go by actual Church teaching and that of the approved theologians.

      God Bless,


    2. Joanna S.

      How do you know Dr. Frasca's story about Fr. O Leary is true and reliable? What if he embellished his "research" due to his skepticism? All we can do is take his word for it.

      It's possible that Fr. O Leary may have exaggerated the story (he's Irish) but the article didn't say that Claude didn't convert through the Miraculous Medal nor did it say that he didn't receive the last sacraments from the priest. Something must have happened to him in order for him to receive such extraordinary graces to convert before his execution.

      I agree we should be cautious but I don't think it takes away from either the story or the purpose of the use of the miraculous medal after reading the two links you provided.


    3. So your going to believe a Doctor over a Priest? You prefer to call a Priest a liar and the Doctor the Truth teller?

    4. Lee,
      You are correct that even the article admits of his conversion and it was (even without apparitions) miraculous.

      God Bless,


    5. @anon6:41
      Why not? The priest apostatized to the Vatican II sect. The "a priest can do no wrong" mentality is what allowed for the pederasts to get away with what they did. Christ showed us that there is chaff among the wheat in the Church; one of the reasons He chose Judas Iscariot as an Apostle.

      God Bless,


    6. Lee,
      I do not dispute Claude Newman's conversion - it was even reported in a newspaper published at that time (see the link I posted). What I'm cautious about are the alleged Marian apparitions and the various embellishments to this story which purport to make a visionary out of Newman. It's one thing to be converted to the True Faith by means of Our Lady's intercession and quite another to receive her visions.
      It is also disputed that James Hughes acted the way Fr. O'Leary described it (screaming moments before his execution). The newspaper reporting on his execution on May 19, 1944 says nothing of these extraordinary circumstances, I quote: "Hughes asked mercy on his soul in a brief profession of faith in Christ. He was a member of the "Holy Roller" faith."

      God Bless,
      Joanna S.

    7. Here's the source of that quote:

    8. Please see the information provided in this link:

      Let me quote the pertinent part:

      "The tape was made in the 1970s in Kenosha, WI (where Fr. O'Leary retired) and it was never intended to be heard by such a large audience. I met with Dr. Ralph F. who had researched the story in 2011 and 2013 and discovered Fr. O'Leary's 1945 handwritten account of the events. There is no mention of Mary appearing to Claude and no mention of James Hughes' last minute conversion. He did say that Claude grasped the catechism quickly and Fr. O'Leary was surprised by that. Claude received the medal in a gentle manner (it was not thrown to him on the floor) and when the fellow prisoner ran out of information, he suggested that Claude talk to a priest."

      God Bless,
      Joanna S.

    9. Joanna S.

      It's one of those stories you are either free to believe or free to doubt.

      There is this man named Mr. Ballen on youtube who tells mysterious true stories that seem unbelievable. At the end of the day you decide I suppose.

      I agree with both you and the anonymous person. Yes, Fr. O Leary eventually went along with the Novus Ordo Church and it's very possible he exaggerated the story but who is to say that Dr. Ralph Frasca is reliable in his investigation of the story? What if he is a liar like Dr. Fauci?

      Also consider the end game to the story. Claude put on a miraculous medal. Claude converted. Claude died a Catholic and so did his enemy. That is a miracle and no embellishment. I tend to believe Fr. O Leary's story not because it makes the story sound better but because to me a person like Claude and his enemy must have gone through something extraordinary to have a last minute conversion.


    10. Lee,
      did you read the newspaper clip I posted above? It says specifically that James Hughes was a member of the Holy Roller sect. That's what was reported in the news after he'd been executed. No mention of him embracing the Catholic faith. Only God searches the soul, I don't dispute that. Yet, I cannot assert that he died a Catholic (and I hope he did).
      As I've said before, Claude Newman's conversion is true, there's record of his baptism in the prison documentation. It's indeed an extraordinary grace to die repentant and a Catholic in a place and circumstances as his.
      I believe Fr. O'Leary's "embellishments" (to say the least) are a cause for grave concern to Catholics, especially those who put (too great) an emphasis on private revelations - there are icons painted in honor of Claude Newman!

      Let's not forget that we do have a Church-approved apparition of Our Lady who converted an atheistic Jew through her Miraculous medal in 1842 (I believe) - the man's name is Alphonse Ratisbonne, a future priest.

      God Bless,
      Joanna S.

    11. Joanna S.

      Yes I did read the links provided. Newspaper clippings can get things wrong too. In my local newspaper they've in the past printed false reports on people and events (unintended). You still didn't answer my question. What makes you believe Dr. Frasca is a reliable source and trustworthy?

      The Alphonse Ratisbonne conversion story is a another remarkable story. Agreed. I don't believe they should be making icons of Newman. That's a bit much.

      Just curious what would you say is too much emphasis on private revelations? I think it's a cause for concern when Catholics put too much emphasis on theologians because when that happens we get self appointed theologians all over the place who make opinions dogma. Would you agree?


    12. Lee,
      I haven't found evidence discrediting Dr. Frasca and I did find such evidence with regards to Fr. O'Leary. The very fact that this priest decided to (at the very least) add color, if you will, to Claude Newman's conversion is enough for me to doubt his honesty.

      As to your second question: I go by a simple rule - I do not follow alleged apparitions, revelations, and mystical experiences unapproved by lawful Church authority. We all know too well that even those approved by the Church may get distorted (the Fatima Center). Let me be clear: I believe in the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima and recite the Fatima prayer after each decade of my Rosary.

      You're hinting at the una cum controversy - I am anti una cum and at the same time I'm interested in what Catholic theologians have to say in this matter (or closely related like the issue of petitioning sacraments from undeclared heretics) - otherwise, how are we to prudently form our consciences in the crisis never even envisaged?
      I've seen Fr. Stepanich, a true theologians, depreciated by a mere layman - that's a cause for concern to me.
      (I know theological stances are not dogma, we're free to disagree until a definitive pronouncement is made by the Church - let us do just that in charity - I'm sure you'll agree).

      God Bless,
      Joanna S.

    13. Joanna S.

      Everything you said is fine by me. Actually I was hinting towards those who reject our sedevacantist bishops (yours and mine) as not maintaining jurisdiction and therefore doubt as to whether they are Apostolic. Eric H. returned to the Novus Ordo and I'm sure he has convinced others to do the same all because of his take on all the theologians.


  9. Introibo,

    I agree. But who is to say Dr. Frasca was not a pedophile? In fact who is he? Is he Catholic? Is he an Athiest? Is he a skeptic of the Catholic Faith?

    The fact that it comes from the Divine Mercy website makes me believe Fr. O'Leary's story that much more.

    1. Anonymous,
      see the links I provided above.
      Bias is fatal to research.
      I agree with Introibo - Fr. O'Leary apostatized to the Vatican II sect and one is not immune from sin just by bearing an indelible sign of priesthood on his soul. Why would he wait over 20 years to tape his story when he could have reported the alleged apparitions to lawful Church authority in the 1940s?

      God Bless,
      Joanna S.

    2. Are you not being bias Joanna by agreeing with Introibo?
      How do you know he didn't tell his story in the 40's and 50's to the authorities?

    3. 1.) Fr. O'Leary's apostasy is a fact; being a priest does not make a man automatically trustworthy in all that he says - that's a fact too.
      2.) Because there's some evidence in the sources I provided above.

      God Bless,
      Joanna S.

    4. But everything that you cited is a fact and must be believed as trustworthy evidence. Might as well quote CNN for your trusted news source.

      What if Fr. De Pauw was accused of lying and had some trumped up "evidence" that he was a liar from a supposed reliable source? Would you believe it?

    5. You're putting words in my mouth. I'm not saying that what I posted is conclusive - I decided to make it available to the public in this combox so that people may form their own opinion. You're free to decide for yourself whether to find Fr. O'Leary credible or not.

      You're assuming that what I posted is "trumped up 'evidence'" - I'm fine with that. My aim was to share the information that I found alarming.
      I'm sure Fr. DePauw had to endure a tremendous amount of calumny thrown at him by the Modernists - why are using the good name of Fr. DePauw to give credibility to Fr. O"Leary by appealing to my respect towards Fr. DePauw?

      God Bless,
      Joanna S.

    6. @anon12:34
      Fr. DePauw was accused of just about everything, except maybe the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There are big differences as Joanna pointed out:

      1. The calumnies against Fr. DePauw come from enemies of the Church, are poorly sourced (if at all), and go against his character made evident by the many difficult stands he took to preserve the Faith. None of this holds true for Fr. O'Leary.

      2. Unapproved apparitions and other private revelations should not occupy our thoughts. They can do GREAT harm (and usually do).

      3. The unanimous consent of the approved theologians can never lead us astray. The problem with people like Eric Hoyle is that he tries to make their teachings on everything APPLY TO OUR UNIQUE TIMES IN GREAT APOSTASY. There's something wrong with a man who goes from Protestant, to Feeneyite, to Home Aloner, to Vatican II sect. FACT: If he was following the teachings of the approved theologians, he COULD NOT follow Bergoglio and his sect. Use the theologians and not unapproved theologians or fight over "true meanings" of authentic revelations (Fatima, etc.).

      Fr. DePauw once addressed those who were looking for "revelations" and such at the Ave Maria Chapel:
      "Here you will only get the Integral Catholic Faith as it was handed down from the Apostles until Vatican II. There are no crying statues, the Host does not Bleed, and should you see a white bird flying over the Chapel, that's only a seagull, not the Holy Ghost. Follow the Church and not the sensational."

      God Bless,


    7. I know neither Fr. De Pauw or Fr. O' Leary.

      All I know is that calling a priest a liar is a serious charge especially if you use sources you cannot be sure are trustworthy which Joanna believes is credible without knowing for sure.

      Plus I wouldn't say all the priests and bishops apostatized in the 60's, 70's and 80's just because they went along with Vatican II and the changes to the Mass. They could have been deceived and thought that what they were doing what was Catholic and because of the serious consequences of their erroneous obedience they have brought about what we have today. Couldn't you say Fr. O'Leary was in error and was possibly one of those types without knowing him? It sounds a little harsh to write him off as an apostate.

      Was Archbishop Thuc an apostate at the beginning for signing on to Vatican II and going along with the New Mass?

      If unapproved apparitions should not occupy our thoughts than the children of Fatima were wrong for going each month to the cova against their parents wishes and even the priest who warned them and the people not to go. The same can be said about St. Bernadette.

      Private revelations and the like become dangerous when they get distorted, misunderstood, or put on a level of importance higher than that of the Church's teachings authority or its dogmas. Claude's story may have got distorted but we don't fully know and I highly doubt it would cause the faithful to lose the faith.

    8. @anon6:44
      1. Without lying, Fr. O'Leary could have embellished the story with supernatural events, because he thought them true. Sometimes older people will do this if they forget things. There is enough here to give me pause. Had he reported it to legitimate authority pre-Vatican II, his bishop would need to make a ruling and there would be a record. If you have such evidence, please provide it, but no one is claiming such in all these years.

      2. Any priest or bishop who went along with Vatican II is an apostate at least in the external forum. I leave Judgment for personal culpability to God. What I wrote here applies to Abp. Thuc as well, until he repented. So, yes, Fr. O'Leary was an objective apostate.

      3. The children of Fatima were the recipients of a private revelation, not mere followers. Big difference. Ditto for St. Bernadette. When I see people quibbling over interpretations of sayings allegedly made by the Blessed Mother at Fatima, and how "Fr." Gruner used it to keep people in the V2 sect, that is disturbing and why we stick to Church teaching, not private revelations.

      4. What about people making "icons" of Claude, and treating him as "de facto" canonized? Praying TO instead of FOR him? That *IS* a real danger to the Faith.

      God Bless,


    9. If any priest or bishop who went along with Vatican II was an apostate including Archbishop Thuc would this include those who recognized apostates such as Paul VI and John Paul I and II as legitimate popes? Fr. De Pauw recognized them as popes up until a certain time so until he changed his mind and didn't recognize John Paul II as a pope would that make him guilty of being an apostate all those years until he changed his mind?

      The children of Fatima had thousands of followers. The apparitions were not approved during the time when they kept going to the cova each month. Your logic is that those thousands of followers were making a big mistake by going to the cova to listen to what the children had to say or what they saw against the wills of their priests and bishops. Same sort of thing with St. Bernadette. People should not have been going to the grotto or believed that they would be healed from the spring since it wasn't approved. Yet these people all did it despite the threat of both Church and state authorities who forbade it during the time it was going on.

      With no pope in office, icons of Claude shouldn't be made. This is certain, although I wouldn't say it is a danger for the Faithful but rather Claude who might be in purgatory and who needs our prayers to get out.

      As to Joanna. She says she cannot find anything that discredits Dr. Frasca in another comment. Why not discredit him based on the fact that he is an apostate in the new church if that is how you view everybody objectively speaking in that church. Also he is a college professor. Do you know any college professors who speak with an unbiased opinion that isn't against traditional Catholicism? I don't.

    10. @anon8:48
      "If any priest or bishop who went along with Vatican II was an apostate including Archbishop Thuc would this include those who recognized apostates such as Paul VI and John Paul I and II as legitimate popes?"

      Reply: As long as they rejected the errors and heresies of Vatican II and the aforementioned false popes, no they would not be apostates because there was no rejection of the Catholic Faith and there was great confusion as to what was going on, UNIQUE in Church history. It is NOT an act of apostasy to misjudge the identity of the pope.

      "The children of Fatima had thousands of followers. The apparitions were not approved during the time when they kept going to the cova each month. Your logic is that those thousands of followers were making a big mistake by going to the cova to listen to what the children had to say or what they saw against the wills of their priests and bishops."

      I researched several articles and a couple of books on Fatima written in the 1930s and 1940s. NONE of them claim that legitimate Church authority forbade anyone from going to the site of the apparitions. Now we can argue that "source X" says the bishop forbade them, however, "source Y" says he didn't.

      It would be blasphemous to assert that the Immaculate Mother of God would permit, condone, or order (directly or indirectly) disobedience to the legitimate authority of the One True Church founded by her Divine Son, and to which she belongs. Even Padre Pio (whatever you may think of him) was suspended pre-Vatican II and obeyed even as he protested that it was unjust. I saw nothing to indicate St. Bernadette was disobedient either.

      THE STATE (which was Masonic and Communist) did oppose the children at Fatima, but the Church is superior. What is certain is (a) the Bishop of Leiria APPROVED Fatima in 1930 and (b) Pope Pius XII gave approval in 1942.

      Let's now argue over what "Portugal shall always keep the dogma of the Faith" REALLY means. Private revelation (even when true) should never take the place of Church teaching and Traditionalists should not obsess over them. That is logical.

      "With no pope in office, icons of Claude shouldn't be made. This is certain, although I wouldn't say it is a danger for the Faithful but rather Claude who might be in purgatory and who needs our prayers to get out."

      Yes, until someone says "SAINT Claude appeared to me and we should do X."

      "Why not discredit him [the doctor] based on the fact that he is an apostate in the new church if that is how you view everybody objectively speaking in that church. "

      The burden of proof is against the miraculous happening, not vice-versa, "believe a miracle until you have proof it's not." There is reason to call it into question and no Church authority to decide.

      "Do you know any college professors who speak with an unbiased opinion that isn't against traditional Catholicism? I don't."

      I do, but very few.

      God Bless,


    11. There were lots of priests who rejected Vatican II back then. They may have said the new Mass but they did it out of obedience. They were just wrong for doing it just as they were wrong for recognizing Paul VI as pope because things weren't clear as to what should be done. It makes no sense to say they were all apostates who went along with Vatican II but not if they misidentified the pope. If the pope was an apostate and a canon lawyer recognizes an apostate as pope then he recognizes that apostate's church as head the Catholic Church which would make him as guilty as those who went along with Vatican II and the New mass.

      In my opinion not all priests and bishops who went a long were apostates. Some were confused because in the 70's and 80's it wasn't permissible to say the Traditional Mass if you recognized Paul VI and John Paul II. You can't be a hero for rejecting Vatican II and not saying the new mass if you weren't following the authority of the one you believed was pope. That's SSPXism and would have included Fr. De Pauw.

      Note: I respect Fr. De Pauw and don't believe he was an apostate any more than any other priest who got it wrong back then.

      You said people shouldn't have their minds on unapproved apparitions. Whether they were forbidden or not is not the point. The point is the thousands of people went to the sites where unapproved apparitions took place. This is wrong according to what you said.

      I agree that visionaries, etc should not take the place of Church teaching nor should people care so much about true meanings to private revelations.

    12. @anon5:47
      I'm not judging the priests in the beginning of the Great Apostasy in the internal forum, but any priest offering the Novus Bogus and the like is an apostate in the external forum. While there was much confusion over the question of a "heretical pope" --only recently being clear---the heresy in the documents of Vatican II and the "new mass" (sic) is unmistakable. Yes, R&R could be considered viable back then as not enough was known, but you cannot do evil or teach heresy due to "obedience."

      "The point is the thousands of people went to the sites where unapproved apparitions took place. This is wrong according to what you said."

      Let me clarify: If someone believed in an apparition or other private revelation when their was a pope to guide them, you might want to go, know more, etc.

      That's different than someone who thinks Catholicism is all about Fatima, crying statues, and alleged prophesy. All the more important now with no pope to decree true from false revelations.

      God Bless,


  10. Lee,

    Thank you for another fine post.
    I had never heard of Claude Newman before. The story was so inspiring that I was just sorry it wasn't longer!
    Now I have one more reason among many to love and trust our Blessed Mother!
    I am glad you added the information about the imposter M/Ms, too; I have noticed, myself, differences between a few of the newer ones that I have and the original commissioned by S. Catherine, and wondered about them.
    I have given many away over the years, but they mostly dated from the 60s, 70s and before. Hopefully there weren't "bad" ones among them. I don't know if they followed the original design precisely. I will be on the lookout for these fakes from now on.

    Thanks to the readers who provided links to further reading on this subject, too. I plan to dig in!

    Finally, I agree, regarding the embellishments to Mr. Newman's story, that "a word to the wise" never hurts, but I also agree with Intro that as long as no one pushes a cult of "Saint" Claude, this story is overall edifying, and an inducement to piety.

    God bless you, friends!


    1. Jannie,

      My intentions were exactly as you described. To inspire people to have greater love and devotion towards Mary even if they already do. Also to have great confidence in her aid no matter the circumstances. Thank you for the comment.