Marian apparitions
Overview
 
A Marian apparition is an event in which the Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God...

 is believed to have supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

ly appeared to one or more people. They are often given names based on the town in which they were reported, or on the sobriquet
Sobriquet
A sobriquet is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation...

 which was given to Mary on the occasion of the apparition. They have been interpreted in religious terms as theophanies
Theophany
Theophany, from the Ancient Greek , meaning "appearance of God"), refers to the appearance of a deity to a human or other being, or to a divine disclosure....

.

Marian apparitions sometimes are reported to recur at the same site over an extended period of time.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
A Marian apparition is an event in which the Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God...

 is believed to have supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

ly appeared to one or more people. They are often given names based on the town in which they were reported, or on the sobriquet
Sobriquet
A sobriquet is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation...

 which was given to Mary on the occasion of the apparition. They have been interpreted in religious terms as theophanies
Theophany
Theophany, from the Ancient Greek , meaning "appearance of God"), refers to the appearance of a deity to a human or other being, or to a divine disclosure....

.

Marian apparitions sometimes are reported to recur at the same site over an extended period of time. In the majority of Marian apparitions only a few people report having witnessed the apparition. Exception to this include Zeitoun, and Assiut
Our Lady of Assiut
The reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Our Lady of Assiut in 2000 and 2001 in Assiut, Egypt were witnessed by many thousands of people and were approved by the Coptic Church....

 where thousands claimed to have seen her over a period of time.

Apparitions and appearances

The term "appearance" has been used in different apparitions within a wide range of contexts and experiences. And its use has been different with respect to Marian apparitions and visions of Jesus Christ
Visions of Jesus and Mary
Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary until today, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited...

.

In some apparitions such as Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 or Our Lady of Fátima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 an actual vision is reported, fully resembling that of a person being present. In some of these reports the viewers (at times children) do not initially report that they saw the Virgin Mary, but that they saw "a Lady" (often but not always dressed in white) and had a conversation with her. In these cases the viewers report experiences that resemble the visual and verbal interaction with a person present at the site of the apparition. In most cases, there are no clear indications as to the auditory nature of the experience, i.e. whether the viewers heard the voices via airwaves or an "interior" or subjective sense of communication. Yet, the 1973 messages of Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita is the title of Marian apparitions reported in 1973 bySister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer and penance. Sister Sasagawa stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "Pray very much the prayers of the...

, which were approved at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 in 1988 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

) are due to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa who had been totally deaf before 1973 (and remained deaf until 1982 when she was cured during Sunday Mass as foretold in her messages), suggesting means of communication other than airwaves.

In some apparitions just an image is reported, often with no verbal interaction, and no conversation. An example is the reported apparitions at Our Lady of Assiut
Our Lady of Assiut
The reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Our Lady of Assiut in 2000 and 2001 in Assiut, Egypt were witnessed by many thousands of people and were approved by the Coptic Church....

 in which many people reported a bright image atop a building, accompanied by photographs of the image. The photographs at times suggest the silhouette of a statue of the Virgin Mary but the images are usually subject to varying interpretations, and critics suggest that they may just be due to various visual effects of unknown origin. However, such image-like appearances are hardly ever reported for visions of Jesus and Mary
Visions of Jesus and Mary
Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary until today, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited...

. In most cases these involve some form of reported communication.

And apparitions should be distinguished from interior locutions in which no visual contact is claimed. In some cases of reported interior locutions such as those of Father Stefano Gobbi
Stefano Gobbi
Father Stefano Gobbi was an Italian Roman Catholic priest. He was born in the Province of Como, Italy and was ordained as a priest in 1964. He later obtained a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University in Rome...

 a large amount of text is produced, but no visual contact is claimed. Interior locutions usually do not include an auditory component, but consist of inner voices. Interior locutions are generally not classified as apparitions.

Physical contact is hardly ever reported as part of Marian apparitions, unlike in cases of interaction with Jesus Christ. In rare cases a physical artifact is reported in apparitions. A well known example is the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 which is reported to have been miraculously imprinted on the cloak of Saint Juan Diego.

Catholic belief

According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, the era of public revelation ended with the death of the last living Apostle. A Marian apparition, if deemed genuine by Church authority, is treated as private revelation that may emphasize some facet of the received public revelation for a specific purpose, but it can never add anything new to the deposit of faith. The Church will confirm an apparition as worthy of belief, but belief is never required by divine faith. The Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 has officially confirmed the apparitions at Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

, Saint-Étienne-le-Laus
Saint-Étienne-le-Laus
Saint-Étienne-le-Laus is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France.Besides being a popular vacation spot, the region is probably best known for the lengthy series of Marian apparitions which are said to have occurred there between 1664 and 1718, reported by shepherd Benoite...

, Paris (Rue du Bac, Miraculous Medal
Miraculous Medal
The Miraculous Medal, also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, is a medal created by Saint Catherine Labouré following a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

), La Salette, Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

, Fátima, Portugal
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

, Pontmain
Pontmain
Pontmain is a commune in the Mayenne department in north-western France.-History:On 17 January 1871, some children from the village claimed to see an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the sky. February 2 1872, Mgr. Wicart, bishop of Laval, recognised the apparition...

, Beauraing
Beauraing
Beauraing is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Namur. On January 1, 2006 Beauraing had a total population of 8,344. The total area is 174.55 km², giving a population density of 48 inhabitants per km²....

, and Banneux
Our Lady of Banneux
Our Lady of Banneux is the sobriquet given to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Mariette Beco, an adolescent girl living in Banneux, province of Liège...

.

As a historical pattern, Vatican approval of apparitions seems to have followed general acceptance of a vision by well over a century in most cases. According to Father Salvatore M. Perrella of the Marianum Pontifical Institute
Marianum
The Marianum is both the name of a Pontifical institute for the study of Mariology and the name of the prestigious journal of Marian theology. The school and the journal share the same name since their formation was based on the work of Father Gabriel Roschini, who founded both the journal and the...

 in Rome, of the 295 reported apparitions studied by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 through the centuries only 12 have been approved, the latest being the May 2008 approval of the 17th- and 18th-century apparitions of Our Lady of Laus
Our Lady of Laus
The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus between 1664 and 1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France by Benoite Rencurel, a young shepherdess, are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Catholic Church.According to Father Salvatore M...

. Other apparitions continue to be approved at the local level, e.g. the December, 2010 local approval of the 19th-century apparitions of Our Lady of Good Help, the first recognized apparition in the United States.

An authentic apparition is believed not to be a subjective experience, but a real and objective intervention of divine power. The purpose of such apparitions is to recall and emphasize some aspect of the Christian message. The church states that cures and other miraculous events are not the purpose of Marian apparitions, but exist primarily to validate and draw attention to the message. Apparitions of Mary are held to be evidence of her continuing active presence in the life of the church, through which she "cares for the brethren of her son who still journey on earth".

Not all claims of visitations are dealt with favourably by the Roman Catholic Church. For example, claimed apparitions of Our Lady, under the title of "Our Lady of the Roses, Mary, Help of Mother's", http://www.roses.org, Jesus Christ and various saints at Bayside, New York
Bayside, Queens
Bayside is a suburban neighborhood in the borough of Queens in New York, New York in the United States. Bayside is known as one of the most expensive areas to live in Queens, with well kept homes and landscaping...

 have not been condoned or sanctioned in any way, nor those at the Necedah Shrine
Necedah Shrine
Necedah Shrine, officially the Queen of the Holy Rosary, Mediatrix of Peace Shrine, is a Marian shrine located in Necedah, Juneau County. Wisconsin. On November 12, 1949, Mary Ann Van Hoof reported receiving a vision from the Blessed Virgin Mary. She claimed that in subsequent visions she was told...

 in Necedah
Necedah, Wisconsin
Necedah is a village in Juneau County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 888 at the 2000 census. The village is located within the Town of Necedah.-Attractions:The Necedah Shrine and the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge are located nearby....

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

. The behavior of Ms Veronica Lueken
Veronica Lueken
Veronica Lueken was a Roman Catholic housewife who lived in Bayside, New York. From 1970 until her death, she reported to experience apparitions of the Virgin Mary and numerous Catholic saints...

 and Mary Ann Van Hoof, who claimed these heavenly favors, was deemed not to compare favorably with the "quiet pragmatism" of St. Bernadette Soubirous
Bernadette Soubirous
Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous was a miller's daughter born in Lourdes. From 11 February to 16 July 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of "a small young lady" who asked for a chapel to be built at that site at Lourdes....

 — Church authorities are said to use Bernadette as a model by which to judge all who purport to have visitations. Indeed, both women seriously criticized the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, allegedly even harshly, and Mrs. Van Hoof is said to have subsequently left Roman Catholicism for an independent local Old Catholic Church
Old Catholic Church
The term Old Catholic Church is commonly used to describe a number of Ultrajectine Christian churches that originated with groups that split from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, most importantly that of Papal Infallibility...

.

Possibly the best-known apparition sites are Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 and Fátima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 Over sixty spontaneous healings, out of thousands reported at the Lourdes Spring, have been classified as "inexplicable" by the physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

s of the Lourdes Bureau, a medical centre set up by the Church in association with local medical institutes to assess possible miracles. The Three Secrets of Fátima
Three Secrets of Fatima
The Three Secrets of Fátima consist of a series of visions and prophecies given by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, starting on 13 May 1917. The three children claimed to have been visited by a...

 received a great deal of attention in the Catholic and secular press.

Criteria for evaluating apparitions

In 1978 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 (formerly of the Holy Office) issued "Norms of the Congregation for Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations" containing the following provisions:
  • The diocesan bishop can initiate a process on his own initiative or at the request of the faithful to investigate the facts of an alleged apparition. The bishop may refrain from looking into it if he chooses, especially if he thinks that not much will come of the event.
  • The national conference of bishops may intervene if the local diocesan bishop refers it to him or if the event becomes important nationally or at least in more than one diocese.
  • The Apostolic See (the Vatican
    Holy See
    The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

    ) can also intervene at the request of the local bishop himself, at the request of a group of the faithful, or on its own initiative.


The steps of the investigation are mandated as follows:
An initial evaluation of the facts of the alleged event, based on both positive and negative criteria:
Positive Criteria
  1. moral certainty (the certainty required to act morally in a situation of doubt) or at least great probability as to the existence of a private revelation at the end of a serious investigation into the case
  2. evaluation of the personal qualities of the person in question (mental balance, honesty, moral life, sincerity, obedience to Church authority, willingness to practice faith in the normal way, etc.)
  3. evaluation of the content of the revelations themselves (that they do not disagree with faith and morals of the Church, freedom from theological errors)
  4. the revelation results in healthy devotion and spiritual fruits in people's lives (greater prayer, greater conversion of heart, works of charity that result, etc.)
Negative Criteria
  1. glaring errors in regard to the facts
  2. doctrinal errors attributed to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or to the Holy Spirit in how they appear
  3. any pursuit of financial gain in relation to the alleged event
  4. gravely immoral acts committed by the person or those associated with the person at the time of the event
  5. psychological disorders or tendencies on the part of the person or persons associated


After this initial investigation, if the occurrence meets the criteria, positive and negative, an initial cautionary permission can be granted that basically states: "for the moment, there is nothing opposed to it". This permits public participation in the devotion in regard to the alleged apparition.

Ultimately, a final judgment and determination needs to be given, giving approval or condemnation of the event.

Local diocese approval

If the local bishop authorizes devotion inspired by an apparition to proceed, based on an initial assessment, that permission is to be distinguished from formal approval, which recognizes an event as being supernatural in origin. Such approval may follow years or even centuries later. A recent example of such a delay is the case of Our Lady of Laus
Our Lady of Laus
The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus between 1664 and 1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France by Benoite Rencurel, a young shepherdess, are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Catholic Church.According to Father Salvatore M...

, in which devotion was approved by the local diocese in 1665, but which obtained formal recognition as a supernatural event only in 2008.

Moreover, Marian apparitions often involve complications at the local diocese, and a letter of approval or disapproval from a local bishop, does not automatically signal approval or denial. A recent example is the apparitions of Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho is a title of Marian apparitions which appeared to several adolescents, in the 1980s in Kibeho, in south-western Rwanda. The apparitions communicated various messages to the schoolchildren, including an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, foretelling...

 in the 1980s in Kibeho
Kibeho
Kibeho is a small town in south Rwanda, which became known outside of that country because of reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ occurring between 1981 and 1989.- Visions :...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

. In 1982 the teenagers who saw the visions reported truly gruesome sights and said that the Virgin Mary asked everyone to pray to prevent a terrible war. Some today regard the visions as an ominous foreshadowing of the Rwandan Genocide
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

 of 1994, and particularly in that specific location in 1995, where some teenagers died a decade after their vision. The apparitions were accepted by the local bishop (accused by many of complicity in the genocide himself), but have not been given final approval by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

.

Apparitions and statues

Marian apparitions are sometimes reported along with weeping statues of the Virgin Mary. However, to date only one single example of a combined weeping statue and apparition (namely Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita is the title of Marian apparitions reported in 1973 bySister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer and penance. Sister Sasagawa stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "Pray very much the prayers of the...

) has been approved by the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 and the rest have usually been dismissed as hoaxes.

Impact of apparitions

While Marian apparitions may at times seem like fanciful tales even to devout Catholics, factual analysis indicates that the effect of apparitions on the Roman Catholic Church has been significant. Marian apparitions have led to, or affected, the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Mariology and the lives of millions of Roman Catholics in several ways:
  • The conversion of millions of people to Roman Catholicism.
  • The construction of some of the largest Roman Catholic Marian churches
    Roman Catholic Marian churches
    Throughout history, Roman Catholics have built churches to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, a large number of Roman Catholic churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin exist on all continents...

     ever.
  • The formation of the largest Marian Movements and Societies ever.
  • The spread of Marian devotions (such as the rosary
    Rosary
    The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

    ) to millions of people.
  • The declaration of specific Marian dogmas and doctrines.
  • Hundreds of millions of Marian pilgrimages.


A few cases can illustrate these items.

Conversions and shrines

By all accounts, when Juan Diego, age 57, reported the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 on Tepeyac
Tepeyac
Tepeyac or the Hill of Tepeyac, historically known by the names "Tepeyacac" and "Tepeaquilla", is located inside Gustavo A. Madero, the northernmost delegación or borough of the Mexican Federal District. It is the site where Saint Juan Diego met the Virgin of Guadalupe in December of 1531, and...

 hill in Mexico in 1531, he did not receive a lot of attention in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, since the Church was busy with the challenges of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 of 1521 to 1579 and perhaps very few Cardinals in Rome had ever heard the details of Mexico and its environs. Yet, just as a large number of people were leaving the Catholic Church in Europe as a result of the Reformation, Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 was instrumental in adding almost 8 million people to the ranks of Catholics in the Americas between 1532 and 1538. The number of Catholics in South America has grown significantly over the centuries. Eventually with tens of millions of followers, Juan Diego had an effect on Mariology in the Americas and beyond, and was eventually declared venerable
Venerable
The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English-language translation of a number of Buddhist titles.-Roman Catholic:...

 in 1987. Juan Diego was declared a saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

 in 2002. Furthermore, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, minor basilica and National Shrine of Mexico in the north of Mexico City. The shrine was built nearby the place where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin...

 on Tepeyac
Tepeyac
Tepeyac or the Hill of Tepeyac, historically known by the names "Tepeyacac" and "Tepeaquilla", is located inside Gustavo A. Madero, the northernmost delegación or borough of the Mexican Federal District. It is the site where Saint Juan Diego met the Virgin of Guadalupe in December of 1531, and...

 hill in Mexico is now the third largest Catholic Church in the world, after Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome and the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
The town of Aparecida, in the SE region of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, houses two basilicas dedicated to Brazil's Patroness Saint, Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida, or "Our Lady of the Conception who Appeared," a reference to the appearance of the head, then the body of a statue of Mary in...

 in Brazil. Recent reported apparitions such as Medjugorje have also attracted a large following.

Societies and devotions

The Marian apparition of Our Lady of Fátima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 on a remote mountain top to three young Portuguese children in 1917 also seemed fanciful and the local administrator initially jailed the children and threatened that he would boil them one by one in a pot of oil. However, over the years the effect of Fátima has been undeniable. With over 25 million registered Catholic members, the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima
Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima is a public international association of the Christian faithful that has as its general purpose "the promotion of the authentic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and the strict adherence to the tenets of the Gospel; the personal sanctification of adherents...

 (which was approved by Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 in 1947) is the largest Marian Society in the world. And the message of Fátima has inspired the spread of other devotions. An example is Our Lady's Rosary Makers
Our Lady's Rosary Makers
Our Lady's Rosary Makers is a non-profit apostolate in Louisville, Kentucky, dedicated to spreading devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary. Its 17,000 members, in the U.S. and other countries, make and distribute roughly 7 million cord and chain rosaries annually for missions around the...

 formed by Brother Sylvan Mattingly
Sylvan Mattingly
Sylvan Mattingly was a Catholic teacher and missionary worker who in 1949 founded what grew to be the largest Catholic Rosary making group in the United States.He was a member of the Xaverian Brothers and taught at the St...

 in 1949 with $25 to distribute free rosaries, based on his devotion to Fátima. Our Lady's Rosary Makers
Our Lady's Rosary Makers
Our Lady's Rosary Makers is a non-profit apostolate in Louisville, Kentucky, dedicated to spreading devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary. Its 17,000 members, in the U.S. and other countries, make and distribute roughly 7 million cord and chain rosaries annually for missions around the...

 has since distributed hundreds of millions of free rosaries to Catholic missions worldwide.

Mariology

Marian apparitions such as Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 (which promoted Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

) have also influenced the direction of Roman Catholic Mariology, as illustrated by the ex cathedra
Ex Cathedra
Ex Cathedra is a British choir and early music ensemble based in Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. It performs choral music spanning the 15th to 21st centuries, and regularly commissions new works....

exercise of Papal infallibility
Papal infallibility
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when in his official capacity he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals...

 on the dogma
Dogma (Roman Catholic)
In the Roman Catholic Church, a dogma is an article of faith revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church presents to be believed. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basic truth from which salvation and life is derived for Christians. Dogmata regulate the language, how the truth of...

 of Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

. This also illustrated that unlike most Roman Catholic theology which originates from the upper levels of the Church, Mariology has quite often been driven from the ground up by the tens of millions of Catholics with a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin. As Marian apparitions create strong emotions among large numbers of Roman Catholics, they lead to sensus fidelium
Sensus fidelium
The concept of sensus fidelium in Roman Catholic teachings can be implicitly traced back to the early Fathers of the Church...

. This strong response among Catholics in turn influences the higher levels of the Roman Catholic hierarchy as sensus fidei gains strength.

To this end, the official Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 website Agenzia Fides
Agenzia Fides
Agenzia Fides is the news agency of the Vatican. It is based in the Palazzo de Propaganda Fide in Vatican City. It is part of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. It was formed on June 5, 1927 as the first missionary news agency of the Roman Catholic Church and was approved by Pope...

stated in 2004 that:
"The dogma
Dogma
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...

 of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 was defined by Pius IX not so much because of proofs in Scripture or ancient tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

, but due to a profound sensus fidelium
Sensus fidelium
The concept of sensus fidelium in Roman Catholic teachings can be implicitly traced back to the early Fathers of the Church...

, a century-old sense of the faithful, and the Magisterium".


The Vatican quotes in this context the encyclical
Encyclical
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop...

 Fulgens Corona
Fulgens Corona
Fulgens corona is an encyclical by Pope Pius XII, given at St. Peter's Rome, on 8 September 1953, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the fifteenth year of his Pontificate...

, where Pius XII supported such a faith. In several Marian teachings, the "theology of the people" such as the immaculate Conception, the profound and century-old sense of the faithful has taken precedence over academic theology.

Pilgrimages

Marian apparitions are also responsible for tens of millions of Marian pilgrimages per year. About 5 million pilgrims visit Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

 every year and within France only Paris has more hotels than Lourdes. And about 10 million pilgrims visit Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 each year, where each mass can accommodate up to 40,000 people. Thus each decade, just Lourdes and Guadalupe amount to over one hundred million Catholic pilgrimages, based on Marian apparitions to two people on two remote hilltops.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is a Roman Catholic Marian basilica in Fátima, Portugal...

 also attracts a large number of Roman Catholics, and every year pilgrims fill the country road that leads to the shrine with crowds that approach one million on May 13 and October 13, the significant dates of Fatima apparitions. Overall, about four million pilgrims visit the basilica every year.

In Canada, millions of Americans and Canadians have visited the national shrine of Our Lady of the Cape
Our Lady of the Cape
Our Lady of the Cape is a title given to Mary the Mother of God in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec Canada. The title pertains more specifically to a statue of the Blessed Mother which is currently located in the Old Shrine. Deep Marian Devotion existed in Cap-de-la-Madeleine since 1694 with the...

, in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, where the first pilgrimages began in 1888.

Historical feasts

A number of feasts based on historical traditions involving apparitions are celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. These apparitions do not technically fall in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 approved category, since they generally predate the formation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 in 1542. They are recognized based on the papal declaration of the feast day rather than formal analysis by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Our Lady of the Pillar

In the year 39 AD, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint James the Great
Saint James the Great
James, son of Zebedee was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle...

, in Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

, Spain. The vision is now called Our Lady of the Pillar and is the only reported Marian apparition before her Assumption. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar
Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar
The Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. The Basilica venerates Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of the Pillar praised as Mother of the Hispanic Peoples by Pope John Paul II...

 was built in Zaragoza, Spain and a key piece of Roman Catholic Marian art
Roman Catholic Marian art
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Christian Art, Catholic Art and Western Art for many centuries. Literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of...

, the statue of Our Lady of the Pillar, refers to this apparition.

Our Lady of the Snow

Our Lady of the Snow is based on a legend that during the pontificate of Pope Liberius
Pope Liberius
Pope Liberius, pope from May 17, 352, to September 24, 366, was consecrated according to the Catalogus Liberianus on May 22, as the successor of Pope Julius I. He was regarded as a saint in the early Church, but his name was later removed from the Roman Martyrology, however, he is once again...

, during the night of August the 5th, snow fell on the summit of the Esquiline Hill
Esquiline Hill
The Esquiline Hill is one of the celebrated Seven Hills of Rome. Its southern-most cusp is the Oppius .-Etymology:The origin of the name Esquilino is still under much debate. One view is that the Hill was named after the abundance of holm-oaks, exculi, that resided there...

 in Rome. And based on a vision that same night a basilica was built in honour of Our Lady, on the spot which was covered with snow.

The church built there is now the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the feast was celebrated at that church for centuries on August 5 each year. However, there was no of mention of this alleged miracle in historical records until a few hundred years later, not even by Pope Sixtus III in his dedicatory inscription, and it may be that the legend has no historical basis. However, in the 14th century the feast was extended to all the churches of Rome and finally it was made a universal feast by Pope Pius V.

Our Lady of Walsingham

According to the tradition of Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham is a title used for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The title derives from the belief that Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, a devout Saxon noblewoman, in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England...

, the Virgin Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches
Richeldis de Faverches
Richeldis de Faverches was a devout Saxon noblewoman. According to Roman Catholic and Anglican belief, Richeldis de Faverches had a vision in which the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England...

, a devout Saxon noblewoman, in 1061 in Walsingham, England, instructing her to construct a shrine resembling the place of the Annunciation
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

. The shrine passed into the care of the Canons Regular sometime between 1146 and 1174.

Late in 1538, King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

’s soldiers sacked the priory
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

 at Walsingham, killed two monks and destroyed the shrine. In 1897 Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

 re-established the restored 14th century Slipper Chapel as a Roman Catholic shrine. The Holy House had been rebuilt at the Catholic Church of the Annunciation at King's Lynn (Walsingham was part of this Catholic parish in 1897).

Today there are two shrines at Walsingham: the Roman Catholic shrine centered on the Slipper Chapel and the Holy House maintained by the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. There are also two separate feast days: September 24 in the Roman Catholic Church and October 15 in the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

.

Our Lady of the Rosary

The apparition of Our Lady of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Rosary is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the rosary....

 is by tradition attributed to Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic , also known as Dominic of Osma, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán was the founder of the Friars Preachers, popularly called the Dominicans or Order of Preachers , a Catholic religious order...

 in 1208 in the church of Prouille
Prouille
Prouille or Prouilhe , "cradle of the Dominicans", where the first Dominican house, a convent, was founded in late 1206 or early 1207, is a hamlet in Languedoc, France, lying between Fanjeaux and Bram , at the point where the road from Castelnaudary to Limoux crosses the road from Bram to...

, in France. According to the attribution, the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic , also known as Dominic of Osma, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán was the founder of the Friars Preachers, popularly called the Dominicans or Order of Preachers , a Catholic religious order...

 and introduced him to the rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

.

Some sources suggest that Alan de Rupe (rather than Saint Dominic) was the major influence on the rosary in the 15th century, while other sources seek a middle ground to these two views. For centuries, Dominicans
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 became instrumental in spreading the rosary and emphasizing the Catholic belief in the power of the rosary.

In 1571 Pope Pius V
Pope Pius V
Pope Saint Pius V , born Antonio Ghislieri , was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church...

 instituted "Our Lady of Victory" as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto
Battle of Lepanto (1571)
The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece...

, the victory being attributed to Our Lady. In 1969, Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 changed the name of the feast to Our Lady of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Rosary is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the rosary....

.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Saint Simon Stock
Simon Stock
Saint Simon Stock, an Englishman who lived in the 13th century, was an early prior general of the Carmelite religious order. Little is known about his life with any historical certainty. The Blessed Virgin Mary is traditionally said to have appeared to him and given him the Carmelite habit, the...

, who was Prior General of the Carmelite Order in the mid 13th century. The earliest reference to the tradition of his Marian apparition, dating from the late 14th century, states that "St. Simon was an Englishman
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

, a man of great holiness and devotion, who always in his prayers asked the Virgin to favor his Order with some singular privilege. The Virgin appeared to him holding the Brown Scapular
Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
“Our Lady of Mount Carmel″ is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order, and the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel , is the habit of that Order...

 in her hand saying, 'This is for you and yours a privilege; the one who dies in it will be saved.'" A scapular is an apron-like garment that forms part of the Carmelite religious habit
Religious habit
A religious habit is a distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order. Traditionally some plain garb recognisable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the religious eremitic and anachoritic life, although in their case without conformity to a particular uniform...

, and in the original context the Blessed Virgin Mary's promise was an assurance that religious who persevered in their vocation would be saved; beginning in the latter half of the 16th century the small devotional scapular became very popular as a sacramental
Sacramentals
Sacramentals are material objects, things or actions set apart or blessed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Churches, and Old Catholic Churches to manifest the respect due to the Sacraments, and so to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these...

.

The historicity of Saint Simon Stock's vision is disputed, and as a result today neither the liturgy for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries...

 (which originally had no association with scapular
Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
“Our Lady of Mount Carmel″ is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order, and the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel , is the habit of that Order...

 devotion, but began to be strongly connected with Saint Simon Stock's vision in the 17th century), nor that of Saint Simon Stock make any reference to the vision of Mary or the scapular. The Brown Scapular itself remains warmly approved and recommended by the Catholic Church. Various devotional sources quote an interview with Lucia Santos
Lúcia Santos
Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos – Sister Mary Lucy of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, better known as Sister Lúcia of Fátima – was a Roman Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun from Portugal...

 in which she speaks about the Brown Scapular, saying "Our Lady wants all to wear the Scapular", especially when praying the Rosary, because "the Rosary and Scapular
Rosary and scapular
"The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable" was a sentiment expressed by Lucia Santos, one of the three children who reported the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima in 1917, and later the Pontevedra apparitions in 1925...

are inseparable".

Approved apparitions

A Roman Catholic approved Marian apparition is one that has been examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 either based on the criteria listed above (or internal procedures in place before that) and has been granted approval either through the local Bishop based on the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 or received a direct approval from the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

.

Although a local bishop may provide a preliminary assessment (and allow the devotion to proceed forward), formal approval can only be provided after detailed analysis by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. For instance, although the apparitions at Our Lady of Laus
Our Lady of Laus
The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus between 1664 and 1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France by Benoite Rencurel, a young shepherdess, are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Catholic Church.According to Father Salvatore M...

 were recognized by the local diocese in 1665, they received approval from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 centuries later, in 2008.

Apparitions favored by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 usually:
  • Become the site of major Roman Catholic Marian churches
    Roman Catholic Marian churches
    Throughout history, Roman Catholics have built churches to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, a large number of Roman Catholic churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin exist on all continents...

     such as Lourdes
    Lourdes
    Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

    , France or the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
    Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
    The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, minor basilica and National Shrine of Mexico in the north of Mexico City. The shrine was built nearby the place where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin...

     on Tepeyac
    Tepeyac
    Tepeyac or the Hill of Tepeyac, historically known by the names "Tepeyacac" and "Tepeaquilla", is located inside Gustavo A. Madero, the northernmost delegación or borough of the Mexican Federal District. It is the site where Saint Juan Diego met the Virgin of Guadalupe in December of 1531, and...

     hill in Mexico.

  • Receive papal visits such as Popes Paul VI's, John Paul II's and Benedict XVI's visits to Fátima, Portugal
    Fátima, Portugal
    Fátima is a city in Portugal famous for the Marian apparitions, recognized by the Catholic Church, that took place there in 1917. The town itself has a population of 7,756 and is located in the municipality of Ourém, in the Centro Region and Médio Tejo Subregion...

     and Beauraing
    Beauraing
    Beauraing is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Namur. On January 1, 2006 Beauraing had a total population of 8,344. The total area is 174.55 km², giving a population density of 48 inhabitants per km²....

    , Belgium.


However, a papal visit does not amount to a formal approval.

Some apparitions such as in Assiut, Egypt have been approved by the Coptic Church and can be called approved but not Roman Catholic approved.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The 1531 apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 was reported by Saint Juan Diego. He said he saw an early morning vision of the Virgin Mary in which he was instructed to build an abbey on the Hill of Tepeyac
Tepeyac
Tepeyac or the Hill of Tepeyac, historically known by the names "Tepeyacac" and "Tepeaquilla", is located inside Gustavo A. Madero, the northernmost delegación or borough of the Mexican Federal District. It is the site where Saint Juan Diego met the Virgin of Guadalupe in December of 1531, and...

 in Mexico. The local prelate did not believe his account and asked for a miraculous sign, which was later provided as an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 permanently imprinted on the saint’s cloak where he had gathered roses. Over the years, Our Lady of Guadalupe became a symbol of the Catholic faith in Mexico and the Mexican diaspora.

Our Lady of Laus

The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus
Our Lady of Laus
The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus between 1664 and 1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France by Benoite Rencurel, a young shepherdess, are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Catholic Church.According to Father Salvatore M...

 between 1664 and 1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus
Saint-Étienne-le-Laus
Saint-Étienne-le-Laus is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France.Besides being a popular vacation spot, the region is probably best known for the lengthy series of Marian apparitions which are said to have occurred there between 1664 and 1718, reported by shepherd Benoite...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 by Benoîte Rencurel, a young shepherdess are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. The apparitions were recognized by the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church on September 18, 1665. They were approved by the Vatican on May 5, 2008. Currently, the site where the apparitions took place receives more than 120,000 pilgrims a year.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

The vision of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is said to have appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré
Catherine Labouré
Saint Catherine Labouré was a sister of the Daughters of Charity and a Marian visionary who relayed the request from the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the Miraculous Medal worn by millions of Catholics and even non-Catholics today.- Early life :She was born in the Burgundy region of France to...

 in 1830 in the convent of Rue du Bac, Paris
Rue du Bac, Paris
Rue du Bac is a street in Paris situated in the VIIe arrondissement. The street, which is 1150 m long, begins at the junction of the quais Voltaire and Anatole-France and ends at the rue de Sèvres....

. She reported that one night in the chapel, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her and asked that a medallion be made to a design that she dictated. The lady added that, "All who wear this medal will receive great graces
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

." After spending two years examining her claims, her priest eventually took the information to his archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

. The medal eventually produced came to be referred to as the Miraculous Medal
Miraculous Medal
The Miraculous Medal, also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, is a medal created by Saint Catherine Labouré following a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

. The front of the medal displays a picture of the virgin as she appeared to Catherine Labouré. The design on the reverse includes the letter M and a cross. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 used a slight variation of the reverse image as his coat of arms, the Marian Cross
Marian Cross
The Marian Cross is an informal name applied to a Roman Catholic cross design. It consists of a traditional Latin cross with the crossbar extended on the right, and a letter "M" in the lower right quadrant....

. This is a plain cross with an M underneath the right-hand bar, to signify the Blessed Virgin standing at the foot of the Cross while Jesus was being crucified.

Sister Justine Bisqueyburu is said to have also had an apparition in 1840 within the same chapel at Rue du Bac as Saint Catherine Labouré
Catherine Labouré
Saint Catherine Labouré was a sister of the Daughters of Charity and a Marian visionary who relayed the request from the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the Miraculous Medal worn by millions of Catholics and even non-Catholics today.- Early life :She was born in the Burgundy region of France to...

. These visitations instituted the Green Scapular
Green Scapular
The Green Scapular or Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is sold as a Roman Catholic devotional scapular by the Society of the Green Scapular...

 which involves a very simple devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

 and is associated with healing. The Green Scapular has its own association but has not yet been approved by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 and does not have an associated confraternity.

Our Lady of La Salette

The apparitions of Our Lady of La Salette
Our Lady of La Salette
La Salette is a small mountaintop village near Grenoble, France. It is most noted for an apparition of the Virgin Mary that was reported in 1846 by two shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, followed by numerous accounts of miraculous healings....

 were reported in La Salette in France in 1846 by two shepherd
Shepherd
A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.- Origins :Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. Sheep were kept for their milk, meat and especially their wool...

 children, Mélanie Calvat
Mélanie Calvat
Françoise Mélanie Calvat called Mathieu was a French Roman-catholic religious sister and Marian visionary. As a religious, she was called Sister Mary of the Cross....

 and Maximin Giraud
Maximin Giraud
Pierre Maximin Giraud was a French member of the Corps of Papal Zouaves and Marian visionary.-Biography:...

, followed by numerous accounts of miraculous
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

 healings. The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 investigated the claims and found them to be basically credible. However, in the late 19th century controversy surrounded the claims of one of the seers, Mélanie Calvat in a France hostile to religion. Recent releases from the Vatican Secret Archives
Vatican Secret Archives
The Vatican Secret Archives , located in Vatican City, is the central repository for all of the acts promulgated by the Holy See. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, having primal incumbency until death, owns the archives until the next appointed Papal successor...

 may have clarified the situation to some extent, but some controversy still remains attached to this apparition.

Our Lady of Lourdes

In 1858 Saint Bernadette Soubirous
Bernadette Soubirous
Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous was a miller's daughter born in Lourdes. From 11 February to 16 July 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of "a small young lady" who asked for a chapel to be built at that site at Lourdes....

 was a 14-year-old shepherd girl who lived near the town of Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

 in France. One day she reported a vision of a miraculous Lady
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 who identified Herself as "the Immaculate Conception" in subsequent visions. In the second vision she was asked to return again and she had 18 visions overall. According to Saint Bernadette, the Lady held a string of Rosary beads and led Saint Bernadette to the discovery of a buried spring, also requesting that the local priests build a chapel at the site of the visions and lead holy processions there. Eventually, a number of chapels and churches were built at Lourdes as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain is an area of ground surrounding the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France...

 - which is now a major Catholic pilgrimage site. One of these churches, the Basilica of St. Pius X
Basilica of St. Pius X
The Basilica of St. Pius X, known as the Underground Basilica, is a large Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, located in the town of Lourdes, France. It is part of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Lourdes is a major Catholic pilgrimage site and the Catholic Church endorses the belief...

 can accommodate 25,000 people and was dedicated by the future Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

 when he was the Papal Nuncio to France.

Our Lady of Pontmain

The apparitions at Our Lady of Pontmain, France also called Our Lady of Hope
Our Lady of Hope
Our Lady of Hope is the title given to the Virgin Mary on her apparition at Pontmain, France on January 17, 1871.- History :During the war with Germany, things were not going well for France. The Germans marched to Laval...

 were reported in 1871 by a number of young children.

The final approval for the apparitions of Our Lady of Hope
Our Lady of Hope
Our Lady of Hope is the title given to the Virgin Mary on her apparition at Pontmain, France on January 17, 1871.- History :During the war with Germany, things were not going well for France. The Germans marched to Laval...

 was given in 1932 by Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

.

Our Lady of Fátima

The visions of the Virgin Mary appearing to three shepherd children at Our Lady of Fátima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 in Portugal in 1917 were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church in 1930. Five popes — Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

, Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

, Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

, Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 and Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 — have supported the Fátima messages as supernatural. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 was particularly attached to Fátima and credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life after he was shot in Rome on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fátima in May 1981. He donated the bullet that wounded him on that day to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is a Roman Catholic Marian basilica in Fátima, Portugal...

. Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

, in May 13, 2010, pray and gave the second Golden Rose
Golden Rose
The Golden Rose is a gold ornament, which popes of the Catholic Church have traditionally blessed annually. It is occasionally conferred as a token of reverence or affection...

 to Our Lady of Fátima and also had pronounced in front of more than 500,000 pilgrims a reference to the Fátima prophecy about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

.

In 1925, eight years after the Fátima events, Sister Lúcia
Lúcia Santos
Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos – Sister Mary Lucy of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, better known as Sister Lúcia of Fátima – was a Roman Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun from Portugal...

 reported another set of apparitions, which became known as the Pontevedra apparitions
Pontevedra apparitions
The Pontevedra apparitions are the Marian apparitions that Sister Lúcia, the visionary of Our Lady of Fátima, reported receiving while living in a Dorothean convent in Spain.-First apparition:...

. Also Blessed Alexandrina of Balasar
Alexandrina Maria da Costa
Alexandrina Maria da Costa , also known as Blessed Alexandrina of Balasar, was a Portuguese mystic of the Eucharist, who was born and died in Balasar . Alexandrina left many written works, which have been studied mainly in Italy by Fr. Umberto Pasquale and Signorile couple...

 reported several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (following the Our Lady of Fátima request of World Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Pope Pius XII Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Pope Pius XII Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary took place on October 31, 1942 just before major turning points in World War II. Pope Pius XII performed a Marian consecration, entrusting not only the Catholic Church but the whole human race to the Virgin Mary, doing so as “Father of...

).

Our Lady of Beauraing

The 33 apparitions of Our Lady of Beauraing
Our Lady of Beauraing
Our Lady of Beauraing is the title of 33 Marian apparitions reported in Beauraing, Belgium, between November 1932 and January 1933 by five children whose ages ranged between 9 and 15...

 were reported in Belgium between November 1932 and January 1933 by five local children ranging in age from 9 to 15 years. From 1933 to World War II, pilgrims flocked to the little village of Beauraing
Beauraing
Beauraing is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Namur. On January 1, 2006 Beauraing had a total population of 8,344. The total area is 174.55 km², giving a population density of 48 inhabitants per km²....

. The final approbation for the apparition was granted on July 2, 1949 under the authority of the Holy Office by the decree of Andre-Marie Charue, Bishop of Namur
Namur (city)
Namur is a city and municipality in Wallonia, in southern Belgium. It is both the capital of the province of Namur and of Wallonia....

, Belgium. These apparitions are also known as the Virgin of the Golden Heart.

Our Lady of Banneux

The apparitions of Our Lady of Banneux
Our Lady of Banneux
Our Lady of Banneux is the sobriquet given to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Mariette Beco, an adolescent girl living in Banneux, province of Liège...

 were reported by a young child, Mariette Beco a native of Banneux
Banneux
Banneux is a small town, southeast of Liège in Belgium.It is known because of the reported Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Banneux, also known as Our Lady of the Poor to a young girl called Mariette Beco.-External links:*...

, Belgium in the 1930s. They are also known as the Virgin of the Poor. The apparitions were approved by the Roman Catholic Church in 1949.

Beco reported eight visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary between January 15 and March 2, 1933. She reported seeing a Lady in White who declared herself to be the Virgin of the Poor and told her: "Believe in me and I will believe in you". In one vision, the Lady reportedly asked Mariette to drink from a small spring and later said that the spring was for healing. Over time the site drew pilgrims. Today, the small spring yields about 2,000 gallons of water a day with many reports of miraculous healings.

Our Lady of Akita

The apparitions of Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita is the title of Marian apparitions reported in 1973 bySister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer and penance. Sister Sasagawa stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "Pray very much the prayers of the...

 were reported in 1973 by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita
Akita, Akita
is the capital city of Akita Prefecture in the Tohoku region of Japan.As of June 11, 2005, with the merger of the former Kawabe District , the city has an estimated population of 323,310 and density of...

 in Japan. For several decades, Agnes Sasagawa had encountered many health problems but her health reportedly improved after drinking water from Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

. After going totally deaf, she went to live with the nuns in the remoteness of Yuzawadai. In 1973 she reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, as well as stigmata
Stigmata
Stigmata are bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, such as the hands and feet...

 and a weeping statue of the Virgin Mary which continued to weep over the next 6 years on 101 occasions. According to EWTN, in June 1988 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

) as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave definitive judgement on Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita is the title of Marian apparitions reported in 1973 bySister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer and penance. Sister Sasagawa stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "Pray very much the prayers of the...

 events and messages as reliable and worthy of belief.

Our Lady of Kibeho

The apparitions of Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho is a title of Marian apparitions which appeared to several adolescents, in the 1980s in Kibeho, in south-western Rwanda. The apparitions communicated various messages to the schoolchildren, including an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, foretelling...

 began on November 28, 1981 in the African college of Kibeho, Rwanda. The Virgin Mary repeatedly appeared to Alphonsine Mumureke, Nathalie Mukamazimpaka, and Marie Claire Mukangango. The apparition identified herself in the native Rwandan dialect as “Nyina wa Jambo", ( "Mother of the Word") which is synonymous to "Mother of God.” The apparitions communicated various messages to the schoolchildren, urging the people to love each other, and warning of an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, foretelling the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In 2001 the Holy See released a declaration approving the apparitions. The Marian sanctuary at Kibeho was named "Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows , the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows , and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life...

" in 1992, two years before the genocide. An estimated 500,000 pilgrims visit the site every year.

Our Lady of Good Success

The apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success
Our Lady of Good Success
Our Lady of Good Success, also called as Our Lady of Good Events is one of the titles of Blessed Virgin Mary. This title is shared among numerous images around the world — a number of images in Spain, one in Quito, Ecuador, and one in Parañaque, Philippines...

  began on the 2nd of February 1594 at the Conceptionist Convent in Quito, Ecuador. The Virgin Mary repeatedly appeared to Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, identifying herself as 'Our Lady of Good Success'. The apparition requested that a statue be made in her likeness and made several predictions concering a crisis in the church specifically a fall in vocations, a lack of availability of the sacraments and a fall in moral standards in the 20th century. The apparitions were approved by the local Bishop, Salvador de Riber on the 2nd of February 1611. In 1991 The Vatican granted the canonical coronation of our Lady of Good Success as 'Queen of Quito' after being petitioned by the Archbishop of Quito.

Our Lady of Good Help

One year after the apparitions in Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

, In Robinsonville (now called Champion) WI, a young Belgian immigrant woman named Adele Brise was walking through a wooded area when she saw a beautiful woman standing between a maple and a hemlock tree. She saw the lady again on her way to Mass, and walked past her again. After Mass she told her priest about the apparition, and he told her to ask the Lady "In God's name, who are you and what do you want of me?" When Adele walked past the spot again, the Lady was there, and Adele asked what she was told by the priest. The Lady replied, "I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners." She gave Adele the mission to teach the children of the area their Catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

, which Adele did faithfully. Soon after, Adele's father built a small chapel between the trees, and later two more churches were built on the spot before the present brick church, built in 1942. The apparitions were approved on December 8, 2010, by Bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay.

Coptic approved

Some apparitions taking place within the Coptic Orthodox Church have been approved by Coptic authorities. For an apparition to be approved, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church
Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church
The Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, which has about 16 million members worldwide, including about 12 million in Egypt...

 sends an official delegation made of bishops and priests, all of whom must witness the apparition and document miracles associated with it.

Our Lady of Zeitoun

Our Lady of Zeitoun was a mass Marian apparition that occurred in the Zeitoun
Zeitoun
Our Lady of Zeitoun, also known simply as El-Zeitoun, Zeitun or rarely Our Lady of Light, was a mass Marian apparition that occurred in the Zeitoun district of Cairo, Egypt, over a period of 2–3 years beginning on April 2, 1968.-Apparition:...

 district of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, over a period of 2–3 years beginning on April 2, 1968, in the period after the six day war. It was reportedly witnessed by many thousands of people, including Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

, and captured by newspaper photographers and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian television. According to witnesses, the Virgin Mary appeared in different forms over the Coptic Orthodox Church of Saint Mary at Zeitoun for a period of 2–3 years. The apparitions lasted from a few minutes up to several hours and were sometimes accompanied by dove-shaped luminous bodies. The sick and blind are said to have been cured, and many people converted
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 as a result. In a statement dated May 4, 1968, the Patriarchate of Cairo and Kyrillos VI stated that they considered the events at Zeitoun as valid, and that they had received many reports of immediate healings during the reported apparitions.

Our Lady of Assiut

The apparitions of Our Lady of Assiut
Our Lady of Assiut
The reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Our Lady of Assiut in 2000 and 2001 in Assiut, Egypt were witnessed by many thousands of people and were approved by the Coptic Church....

 were also mass apparitions in Assiut, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 during 2000 and 2001 and many thousands of witnesses produced photographs of them, which were reprinted in several newspapers. Video clips of the apparition have been posted on the internet. The reports state that during mass, pictures hung on the wall inside the altar, which show St Mary with a dove above her started to illuminate first, then the light from the dove in the pictures started to flow down. The lights thereafter appeared above the church as well and were seen by thousands of people. The coptic church approved of the apparitions.

Our Lady of Lourdes

The Anglican Communion has officially recognized the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 and has built an Anglican Marian Shrine on the location, relatively close the Roman Catholic shrine. In September 2008 Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 made a pilgrimage to Lourdes and preached at the shrine.

Our Lady of Walsingham

Father Alfred Hope Patten OSA, appointed as the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 Vicar of Walsingham in 1921, ignited Anglican interest in the pre-Reformation pilgrimage. It was his idea to create a new statue of Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham is a title used for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The title derives from the belief that Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, a devout Saxon noblewoman, in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England...

 based on the image depicted on the seal of the medieval priory. In 1922 the statue was set up in the Parish Church of Saint Mary and regular pilgrimage devotion followed. From the first night that the statue was placed there, people gathered around it to pray, asking Mary to join her prayers with theirs.
In the United States the National Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham for the Episcopal Church is located in Grace Episcopal Church
Grace Episcopal Church
-Alabama:*Grace Episcopal Church , listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Calhoun County, Alabama*Grace Episcopal Church , listed on the NRHP in Barbour County, Alabama...

, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
-Airport:Sheboygan is served by the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport, which is located several miles from the city.-Roads:Interstate 43 is the primary north-south transportation route into Sheboygan, and forms the west boundary of the city. U.S...

. Our Lady of Walsingham is remembered by Roman Catholics on 24 September and by Anglicans on 15 October. A parish of the Pastoral Provision named for Our Lady of Walsingham is in Houston, Texas. A Western Rite Antiochian Orthodox parish named for Our Lady of Walsingham is in Mesquite, Texas.

Not Approved or Approval is Undocumented

A list of some of the notable reports of Marian apparitions is provided below. The apparitions discussed here do not have approval, and only those apparitions listed and explained in the sections above have received either Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 or Coptic approval, and the others shown in the table here are simply based on legend, reports of individuals or are still awaiting approval. There are hundreds of other reported apparitions around the world without major references or church investigations and they can not be included in this section, due to their lack of notability.

A number of claimed apparitions sites which have yet to be fully approved continue to gather pilgrims and become the site of major Marian basilicas
Roman Catholic Marian churches
Throughout history, Roman Catholics have built churches to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, a large number of Roman Catholic churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin exist on all continents...

. The apparitions at these sites are often the subject of legends. An example is Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Walsingham is a title used for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The title derives from the belief that Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, a devout Saxon noblewoman, in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England...

 where according to legend the Blessed Virgin appeared in a vision to a noblewoman in 1061 and her son built a simple wooden structure there which later became an abbey. No details of the content of vision have been preserved, but pilgrims continued to arrive at Walsingham for centuries until 1st Earl of Sussex
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, , was an English statesman who served as chief minister of King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540....

 destroyed it in 1538.

The 1490 apparition reported by Italian peasant Benedetto Pareto regarding Our Lady of Guardia is somewhat similar, but has a happier ending. Pareto also reported that the Virgin Mary appeared to him and asked him to build a church atop the mountain. Pareto at first refused, saying that he was just a poor man, but he eventually built a small wooden structure which in time gathered many pilgrims. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guardia is now a thriving basilica atop Mount Figogna, near Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 Italy.

Some major Marian basilicas
Roman Catholic Marian churches
Throughout history, Roman Catholics have built churches to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, a large number of Roman Catholic churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin exist on all continents...

 and traditions are based on legends that do not involve any specific apparitions, but sacred objects that are assumed to have been associated with apparitions. The key example is the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
The town of Aparecida, in the SE region of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, houses two basilicas dedicated to Brazil's Patroness Saint, Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida, or "Our Lady of the Conception who Appeared," a reference to the appearance of the head, then the body of a statue of Mary in...

 in Aparecida
Aparecida
Aparecida is a Brazilian city and municipality in the state of São Paulo. It is located in the fertile valley of the River Paraíba do Sul on the southern bank. The population in 2004 was 35,754 and the area of the municipality is 121.232 km²...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. It is the second-largest Catholic place of worship in the world, second only to St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

 in Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

, and the largest Marian Church in the world, receiving over 6 million pilgrims a year. There is no specific vision or apparition associated with Our Lady of Aparecida
Our Lady of Aparecida
Our Lady of Aparecida is the patron saint of Brazil, venerated in the Catholic Church. A dark-skinned Marian image, Our Lady of Aparecida is represented by a short, clay statue of the Virgin Mary, currently housed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, in the town of...

, and it is based on a simple wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin (found by fishermen) which over the centuries drew millions of pilgrims, based on its reported healing powers. The festivals surrounding Our Lady of Chiquinquirá in Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 are based on a piece of wood which according to legend grew luminous with the image of the Blessed Virgin in 1709. In the case of Our Lady of Kazan
Our Lady of Kazan
Our Lady of Kazan, also called Theotokos of Kazan , was a holy icon of the highest stature within the Russian Orthodox Church, representing the Virgin Mary as the protector and patroness of the city of Kazan. Copies of the image are also venerated in the Catholic Church...

, legend holds that the Blessed Virgin revealed the location of the precious icon to a 10 year old girl in 1579.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located at the small town of Velankanni in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health...

 in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 in southern India does however have a legend that involves a number of apparitions. There is no historical record of the apparition of Our Lady of Good Health
Our Lady of Good Health
Our lady of Good Health, popularly called "Our Lady of Vailankanni" is artributed to Mary, mother of Jesus, in the small town of Velankanni, Tamil Nadu, India, located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. A Basilica artributed to both Portuguese and Indians stands in and around the sites of the...

 but the oral tradition suggests that there was an apparition to a Hindu boy in mid 16th century and later Portuguese sailors were saved by another apparition.Also another one major Marian apparitions in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 is of Korattymuthy
Korattymuthy
Korattymuthy is the locally known name of Hail Mary or Mother Mary of Catholic community at Koratty in Kerala State, India. Korattymuthy's Shrine is famous for its annual feast with 'Poovankula', Muttilizhayal offerings. Korattymuthy is also known as Our Lady With Poovan Bananas.-Background...

 at Koratty
Koratty
Koratty is a census town in Thrissur district in the Indian state of Kerala.- Demographics :As of 2001 India census, Koratty had a population of 17,463. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Koratty has an average literacy rate of 85%, higher than the national average of 59.5%:...

 in Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

. Similarly, the legend Our Lady of La Vang
Our Lady of La Vang
Our Lady of La Vang refers to a reported Marian apparition at a time when Catholics were persecuted and killed in Vietnam. The Shrine of our Lady of La Vang is situated in what is today Hai Phu commune in Hai Lang District of Quang Tri Province in Central Vietnam.- History :Fearing the spread of...

 is based on an apparition to a group of Vietnamese Catholics in the rain forest in 1798, and the site of a basilica.

The Basilica of our Our Lady of Siluva
Our Lady of Šiluva
Our Lady of Šiluva is Roman Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary in Šiluva, Lithuania. A Cathedral of the same name has been built and is dedicated to it. The icon is highly venerated in Lithuania and is often called "Lithuania's greatest treasure"....

 in Siluva
Šiluva
Šiluva is a small town of less than 1,000 inhabitants in Lithuania. It is located in the region of Samogitia.Šiluva was first mentioned in 1457 in relation to the building of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Bartholomew by the Lithuanian...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 is also based on a legend of an apparition to four children in 1608, and houses a famous painting (perhaps based on Salus Populi Romani
Salus Populi Romani
Salus Populi Romani -Protectress translates literally as "salvation or health" -is a title given in the 19th century to the Byzantine icon of the Madonna and Child, reputed to date to the Early Christian era, in the Borghese or Pauline Chapel of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome.It has...

) called Our Lady of Siluva, usually considered Lithuania's greatest treasure.

Although both She Shan Basilica in Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, China and Our Lady of China
Our Lady of China
Our Lady of China is the name given to an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Donglu, China, first appearing in 1900....

 in Donglu
Donglu
Donglü is a village in Qingyuan County, Hebei province, China.It has become known for the apparition of Mary, known as Our Lady of China, witnessed there in 1900, and the Marian shrine and pilgrimage site which have since developed.-Geography:...

, near Beijing, were popular pilgrimage sites at one time, with the arrest and imprisonment of the Catholic bishops in the 1950s by the communists and with the establishment of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association , abbreviated CPA, CPCA, or CCPA, is an association of people, established in 1957 by the People's Republic of China's Religious Affairs Bureau to exercise state supervision over mainland China's Catholics...

 against the Vatican, these pilgrimages have slowed down.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen
The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń is a Roman Catholic church located in the village of Licheń Stary near Konin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship in Poland. It was designed by Barbara Bielecka and built between 1994 and 2004...

, the largest church in Poland (and the 11th largest in the world) is based on legends on the Virgin Mary appearing to different people in the Lichen area in the early 19th century.

The apparitions of Our Lady of Good Help
Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help
The Chapel of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is a Marian shrine, located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. The chapel is in the community of Champion, Wisconsin, about 16 miles north east of Green Bay, Wisconsin...

 were reported by Adele Brise in 1859. In December 2010, Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Green Bay is a city in and the county seat of Brown County in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, located at the head of Green Bay, a sub-basin of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Fox River. It has an elevation of above sea level and is located north of Milwaukee. As of the 2010 United States Census,...

 approved the apparition as worthy of belief, as the first Marian apparition to be approved in the United States at the local level.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland is based on a reported appearance of the Virgin Mary along with Jesus Christ and other saints in Ireland in 1879.
Between 1958 and 1962, Mathew Lashut reported several apparitions of the Virgin Mary on a forest near Turzovka
Turzovka
Turzovka is a town in the Čadca District, Žilina Region in north-western Slovakia.-History:The present-day town was established in 1598 by a palatine of the Thurzo family...

, a town in north-western Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

. This apparition was predicted to come about as “a second Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

" or "the Lourdes of Slovakia” by the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Catholic mystic
Christian mysticism
Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions...

 and stigmatic Therese Neumann
Therese Neumann
Therese Neumann was a German Catholic mystic and stigmatic.She was born in the village of Konnersreuth in Bavaria, Germany, where she lived all her life. She was born into a large family with little income. She was a member of the Third Order of St...

.

The reported apparitions of Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho is a title of Marian apparitions which appeared to several adolescents, in the 1980s in Kibeho, in south-western Rwanda. The apparitions communicated various messages to the schoolchildren, including an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, foretelling...

 in 1982 included exceptionally long and dramatic visions lasting eight hours. According to the teenage visionaries, in 1982 the Virgin Mary asked everyone to pray to prevent a terrible war. A war and genocide eventually took place at the same location in 1995 and claimed the lives of some of visionaries. The apparitions were accepted by the local Roman Catholic bishop, Bishop Misago, but have not been given final approval by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

. The bishop himself went on trial for nine months on charges of involvement in the genocide but was not convicted.

The reported apparitions of Our Lady of America
Our Lady of America
Our Lady of America is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary based on private revelations reported by Sister Mary Mildred Neuzil of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. Devotion to Our Lady of America was approved and promoted by Paul Francis Leibold, Archbishop of...

 in 1956 in Rome City, Indiana, did receive a positive response from the local bishop and have been Canonically-approved by several Archbishops and Bishops, but no decision has been rendered with regard to the supernatural origin and characters of the reported apparitions. Pilgrims arrive daily to pray and offer their devotion in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel which sits on the grounds of what is now called Sylvan Springs.

The fact that pilgrims continue arriving at a reported apparition site and the fact that church figures a continent away may be sympathetic towards the apparition does not mean that approval has been obtained. For instance, although the Village of Pellevoisin
Pellevoisin
Pellevoisin is a commune in the Indre department in central France.-Marian apparitions:Pellevoisin has been a place of pilgrimage since 9 September 1877: On 14 February 1876, while she was dying on her bed of pulmonary tuberculosis, acute peritonitis and abdominal tumor, Estelle Faguette reportedly...

 in France does receive pilgrims, and there is a small shrine of Our Lady of Pellevoisin in St. Paul's church in New York, according to the University of Dayton Marian Library, archbishops of Bourges
Bourges
Bourges is a city in central France on the Yèvre river. It is the capital of the department of Cher and also was the capital of the former province of Berry.-History:...

 have never pronounced on the subject of Pellevoisin and have been very reserved on the topic. However, various independent (and colorful) lists of apparitions websites declare Pellevoisin as approved, with no clear reference for the approval.

The apparitions reported between 1945 and 1959 by Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 as The Lady of all Nations
The Lady of all Nations
On March 25, 1945, a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared to a woman named Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. “Our Lady of All Nations” is a title used to describe this Marian apparition. Over the course of Ida’s life, Mary appeared to her fifty-six times. However, the visions did not end...

 include a short prayer called the Amsterdam Blessing. In May 2002, Bishop Jozef Marianus Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam issued a letter that declared this apparition as having a supernatural origin. However, this apparition has not been officially approved by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, and has approval only at the local bishop level.
Between 1990 and 1995, two young girls - Ivetka Korcakova (born 1978) and Katka Ceselkova (born 1977) - reported several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of The Immaculate Purity on the Zvir Mountain, in Litmanová
Litmanová
Litmanová is a village and municipality in Stará Ľubovňa District in the Prešov Region of northern Slovakia.A small ski resort and a Catholic religious site are located in Litmanová.-History:...

, a village of northern Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

. During these religious events, the visionaries were accompanied by many priests and now there is a Marian shrine
Shrines to the Virgin Mary
In the culture and practice of some Christian Churches - mainly, but not solely, the Roman Catholic Church - a Shrine to the Virgin Mary is a shrine marking an apparition or other miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a site on which is centered a historically strong Marian devotion...

 on the place of apparitions. Many people, not only Slovaks, make pilgrimages to this location to celebrate the Divine Liturgy
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 and obtain water from a holy stream.

Since 1992, some reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Virgin of the Eucharist in Manduria
Manduria
Manduria is a city and comune of Apulia, Italy, in the province of Taranto. With c. 30,000 inhabitants, it is located 35 km east of Taranto, and 14 km north of the coast.-History:...

, south of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, are also receiving many attention worldwide, in particular by the Catholic youth. Debora Marasco, the visionary, founded a Catholic Movement for the young people named "Manduria for Young People". A similar phenomenon with Catholic youth is occurring near São Marcos da Serra
São Marcos da Serra
São Marcos da Serra is a Portuguese parish in the municipality of Silves. The village is north north east of the town of Silves and is south south east of Lisbon . The village is in an area were the two mountain ridges of Caldeirão and the Monchique meet. The Odelouca Stream skirts around the...

, in Algarve, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, were other reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Mother of Goodness attract, since 1999, many young people and priests
Priesthood (Catholic Church)
The ministerial orders of the Catholic Church include the orders of bishops, deacons and presbyters, which in Latin is sacerdos. The ordained priesthood and common priesthood are different in function and essence....

 to the place of apparitions. The Holy See has never officially approved or disapproved this apparitions.

Several apparition related sites on the internet exist, often with detailed messages that sound pious, accompanied by testimonies from local witnesses, and even local priests and bishops. However, these representations do not always amount to authenticity or Vatican approval. An example is the website for the apparitions of Our Lady of the Eucharist in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 since the year 2000. The website for Our Lady of the Eucharist includes a clear letter and a photo from Bishop Claudio Gatti who approved the apparition. Yet a more detailed search of the same website produces a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 reducing the said Bishop to lay rank following a series of meetings at the Vatican on this and other matters (e.g. the Bishop's position of marriage for priests). The Bishop now uses the title ordained by God rather than Catholic Bishop. At Soufanieh
Our Lady of Soufanieh
Our Lady of Soufanieh refers to Marian apparitions reported to have occurred in Soufanieh, a suburb of Damascus in Syria.- History :The apparitions reportedly occurred on December of 1982, and January, February and March 1983...

, a suburb of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 a series of apparitions have reportedly been observed between 1982 and 2004, without any approval to date.

As a general pattern, in most cases, formal Vatican approval for apparitions usually requires at least a century, even if the local diocese issues a preliminary letter permitting devotions. For instance, Our Lady of Laus
Our Lady of Laus
The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus between 1664 and 1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France by Benoite Rencurel, a young shepherdess, are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Catholic Church.According to Father Salvatore M...

 was recognized by the local bishop in 1665 but was only granted approval by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 in 2008. As current examples, Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho
Our Lady of Kibeho is a title of Marian apparitions which appeared to several adolescents, in the 1980s in Kibeho, in south-western Rwanda. The apparitions communicated various messages to the schoolchildren, including an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, foretelling...

 have received recognition from the local diocese, but there has been no formal approval from the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. However, the 1973 apparitions of Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita is the title of Marian apparitions reported in 1973 bySister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer and penance. Sister Sasagawa stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "Pray very much the prayers of the...

 were approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 in 1988, with a faster pace than usual.

Condemned by an Ordinary of the Catholic Church

Not all reports of visions and apparitions can be taken seriously, even if they sound truly pious. For instance, the messages reported by
Catalina Rivas were later found to correspond to exact pages of books written by others, and published instructional literature for Catholic seminarians. Claimed apparitions and miracles at Holy Love Ministries in Elyria, Ohio were denounced by local Bishop Richard Lennon as "not supernatural in origin" and "forbid members of the clergy of any ecclesiastical jurisdiction" to celebrate the Sacraments on the site. He also declared "that the Confraternity of the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary is not an approved association of the Christian faithful in the Diocese of Cleveland and may not legitimately use the name 'Catholic' or represent itself as a Catholic group.".
The reported Garabandal apparitions from 1961 to 1965 were examined by the local Bishop and were declared as not having evidence of being of supernatural origin. However the apparitions were not declared as a hoax and the possibility of future approval was left open. At Garabandal, an apparition by Saint Michael, the Archangel was reported first, announcing the arrival of the Virgin Mary (under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries...

).
Among recent visions, the reported apparitions of The Virgin Mary to six children in Međugorje in 1981 have received much attention despite official condemnation by the local Bishop. The Our Lady of Međugorje messages are published and distributed worldwide and often emphasize five key elements: Daily prayer of the Holy Rosary, Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, Daily reading of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, Monthly Confessions and Holy Communion. On March 17, 2010, the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 announced it was beginning a formal investigation of the apparitions at Medugorje. Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 Camillo Ruini is to head the commission that will study the matter.

The visions at Medjugorje have been condemned by Bishop Pavao Žanić
Pavao Žanić
Pavao Žanić was the bishop of Mostar-Duvno in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1980 to 1993. A leading critic of the alleged apparitions at Međugorje, he was the local ordinary in 1981 when the apparitions began.-Biography:...

. The Bishop affirms his complete certainty that Our Lady did not appear in Medjugorje. The Commission to investigate the apparitions has continually underlined the theological and disciplinary difficulties posed by the events and the messages of Medjugorje. The Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 had not overturned the ruling by the Bishop at this time. In 1991, the Zadar document declaired, "On the basis of the investigations so far it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations."

Purported locutions received by the late Veronica Lueken
Veronica Lueken
Veronica Lueken was a Roman Catholic housewife who lived in Bayside, New York. From 1970 until her death, she reported to experience apparitions of the Virgin Mary and numerous Catholic saints...

 from 1968-1994 were declared invalid by Bishop Francis Mugavero
Francis Mugavero
Francis John Mugavero was the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn...

, then Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes territory that was previously part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, was established as a separate diocese in 1853 when the City of Brooklyn was separate from New York City....

. Similarly, reports of Our Lady of Surbiton claiming that the Virgin Mary appeared every day under a pine tree in England were flatly rejected by the Vatican as a fraud.

Some reported apparitions attract negative publicity at the location of the apparition. For instance, the latter parts of the reported messages from Gianna Talone
Gianna Talone
Gianna Talone Sullivan is a clinical pharmacist by profession, but is best known as the author of a series of books called I am your Jesus of Mercy that report visions of Jesus and Mary....

 were disapproved by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore
The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore is a particular church of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The archdiocese comprises the City of Baltimore as well as Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington Counties in Maryland...

 and a group of Emmitsburg, Maryland
Emmitsburg, Maryland
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 2,290 people, 811 households, and 553 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,992.9 people per square mile . There were 862 housing units at an average density of 750.2 per square mile...

 residents started a campaign against Talone and accused her of running a cult. To date, the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 has let the Talone matter rest at the local level of the archdiocese.

Unapproved apparitions claimed by schismatic groups

Some purported Marian apparitions initiated events which led to schism
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

 of Catholics forming their own independent churches
Breakaway Catholic Churches
Catholics not in communion with Rome, or Breakaway Catholics, are those religious groups that, while consciously embracing Catholic tradition, have chosen to separate from the Roman Catholic Church. They differ from Protestantism in that they practice rites, rituals and devotions specific to...

 as a result of Rome's disapproval of them. Notable examples include the revelations of Feliksa Kozłowska between 1893 and 1918 which led to the founding of the Mariavite
Mariavite Church
The Mariavite Church is an independent Christian church that emerged from the Catholic Church of Poland at the turn of the 20th century. Initially, it was an internal movement leading to a reform of the Polish clergy. After a conflict with Polish bishops, it became a separate and independent...

 and the Old Catholic Mariavite churches. Others include the Palmarian Catholic Church
Palmarian Catholic Church
The Christian Palmarian Church of the Carmelites of the Holy Face , commonly called the Palmarian Catholic Church , is a schismatic Catholic church with its own pope, Gregory XVIII.-Origins:...

 which began after a series of purported apparitions in Palmar de Troya, while Fraternite Notre Dame
Fraternite Notre Dame
Fraternite Notre Dame is a Traditional Catholic Order of Bishops, priests, Friars and Nuns. There is also a Third Order attached to them.-Origins:...

, a Traditionalist Catholic
Traditionalist Catholic
Traditionalist Catholics are Roman Catholics who believe that there should be a restoration of many or all of the liturgical forms, public and private devotions and presentations of Catholic teachings which prevailed in the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council...

 church traces its origins to apparitions that were reported in Frechou
Fréchou
Fréchou is a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department in south-western France. The town is known for being the site of the apparitions that led to the founding of the Traditionalist Catholic schismatic group Fraternite Notre Dame.-See also:*...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and is led by Bishop Jean Marie Kozik who was consecrated by Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese Archbishop Ngo Dinh Thuc.

Criticism

Some Protestant Christians and non-Christians regard claims of Marian apparitions as being hallucination
Hallucination
A hallucination, in the broadest sense of the word, is a perception in the absence of a stimulus. In a stricter sense, hallucinations are defined as perceptions in a conscious and awake state in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of real perception, in that they are vivid,...

s encouraged by superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

, and occasionally simply as deliberate hoaxes to attract attention. Many such apparitions are reported in economically depressed areas, attracting many pilgrims who bring trade and money into the region. For instance, some sources dispute the very existence of Saint Juan Diego.

Some spontaneous healings reported at apparition sites such as Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

 are also disputed by some scientists. Other scientists have claimed that a handful of unexplained cures have occurred; the Lourdes Medical Bureau
Lourdes Medical Bureau
The Lourdes Medical Bureau is a medical organization based in Lourdes, France. It is an official organization within the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, but is administered and run only by doctors...

 has recorded sixty "inexplicable" healings which match its requirements. Critics maintain that some other healings are incomplete, leaving the sufferer with disabilities or chronic illness, and that other claimed healings are likely to be the relatively rare but unmiraculous spontaneous remission
Spontaneous remission
Spontaneous healing, also called spontaneous remission or spontaneous regression, means an unexpected improvement or cure from a disease which usually is taking a different course. Both terms are mainly used for unexpected transient or final improvements in cancer. Spontaneous remissions concern...

 of illness or injury. Such remissions might be expected to occur in a few of the large numbers of ill (and perhaps credulous) people who visit such sites. That viewpoint is debated by religious people and by some in the medical profession. The Lourdes Medical Bureau will not review cases of claimed healing involving illnesses known sometimes to go into remission by themselves, or incomplete healings, or those which take place gradually.

See also

  • Visions of Jesus and Mary
    Visions of Jesus and Mary
    Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary until today, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited...

  • Roman Catholic Mariology
  • Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
    Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
    Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God...

  • Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Shrines to the Virgin Mary
    Shrines to the Virgin Mary
    In the culture and practice of some Christian Churches - mainly, but not solely, the Roman Catholic Church - a Shrine to the Virgin Mary is a shrine marking an apparition or other miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a site on which is centered a historically strong Marian devotion...

  • Marian devotions
    Marian devotions
    A Marian devotion is a gift of oneself, or one's activities to the Virgin Mary. It is a willingness and desire to dedicate oneself to, or venerate her; either in terms of prayers or in terms of a set of pious acts...

  • Dogma (Roman Catholic)
    Dogma (Roman Catholic)
    In the Roman Catholic Church, a dogma is an article of faith revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church presents to be believed. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basic truth from which salvation and life is derived for Christians. Dogmata regulate the language, how the truth of...

  • Immaculate Heart of Mary
    Immaculate Heart of Mary
    The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

  • Weeping statue
    Weeping statue
    A weeping statue is a statue which has been claimed to be shedding tears or weeping by supernatural means. Statues weeping tears of a substance which appears to be human blood, oil, and scented liquids have all been reported. Other claimed phenomena are sometimes associated with weeping statues...

  • Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena

External links



Gallery of apparition-based Marian churches

Marian apparitions, and sacred objects related to them, have led to the construction of some of the largest Roman Catholic Marian churches
Roman Catholic Marian churches
Throughout history, Roman Catholics have built churches to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, a large number of Roman Catholic churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin exist on all continents...

.


Image:Piazza Esquilino, Santa Maria Maggiore.JPG|Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, 5th century
Image:Basilica_del_Pilar_ZaragozaAragon%28Spain%29.jpg|Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar
Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar
The Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. The Basilica venerates Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of the Pillar praised as Mother of the Hispanic Peoples by Pope John Paul II...

 Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 Spain, 1681
Image:Panorama LaSalette.jpg|Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette
Our Lady of La Salette
La Salette is a small mountaintop village near Grenoble, France. It is most noted for an apparition of the Virgin Mary that was reported in 1846 by two shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, followed by numerous accounts of miraculous healings....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Image:Nostra signora della guardia2.jpg|Nostra Signora della Guardia
Shrine of Nostra Signora della Guardia
The “Shrine of Nostra Signora della Guardia” is a Catholic place of pilgrimage and is located on the top of Mount Figogna , in the Municipality of Ceranesi, about 20 km from the city of Genoa, in the northwest of Italy....

, Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, 1889
Image:Sanctuary NDL 2.jpg|Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain is an area of ground surrounding the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France...

, 1864
Image:Sanctuary_NDL_3.jpg|Rosary Basilica
Rosary Basilica
The Basilica of our Lady of the Rosary is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica within the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. Its main theme is a celebration and depiction of the Rosary.-History:...

 in Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

, 1902
Image:Candelaria BW 4.JPG|Basilica of Candelaria
Basilica of Candelaria
The Basilica of the Royal Marian Shrine of the Our Lady of Candelaria is a Roman catholic minor basilica, the first Marian shrine of the Canary Islands, located in the municipality and city of Candelaria on the island of Tenerife . It is located c...

, Tenerife
Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 906,854 inhabitants, 43% of the total population of the Canary Islands. About five million tourists visit Tenerife each year, the...

 (Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

), 1959
Image:Fatima.jpg|Our Lady of Fatima Basilica, Fátima, Portugal
Fátima, Portugal
Fátima is a city in Portugal famous for the Marian apparitions, recognized by the Catholic Church, that took place there in 1917. The town itself has a population of 7,756 and is located in the municipality of Ourém, in the Centro Region and Médio Tejo Subregion...


Image:Vailankanni Basilica.JPG|Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located at the small town of Velankanni in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health...

, Vailankanni
Vailankanni
Velankanni , officially spelled as Vailankanni , also spelled as "Velanganni" , is a Parish under Tanjore Roman Catholic Diocese and a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu...

, India
Image:Knockbasilica.JPG|Basilica of Our Lady of Knock, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...


Image:Church in Međugorje, B-H, June 4th 2007 (4).jpg|Our Lady of Međugorje, Međugorje
Image:Notre-dame-du-Laus (basilique - 2).JPG|Basilica of Our Lady of Laus
Our Lady of Laus
The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus between 1664 and 1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France by Benoite Rencurel, a young shepherdess, are the first Marian apparitions to be approved in the 21st century by the Catholic Church.According to Father Salvatore M...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Image:Santuario nacional.jpg| Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida
Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
The town of Aparecida, in the SE region of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, houses two basilicas dedicated to Brazil's Patroness Saint, Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida, or "Our Lady of the Conception who Appeared," a reference to the appearance of the head, then the body of a statue of Mary in...

, Aparecida
Aparecida
Aparecida is a Brazilian city and municipality in the state of São Paulo. It is located in the fertile valley of the River Paraíba do Sul on the southern bank. The population in 2004 was 35,754 and the area of the municipality is 121.232 km²...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, 1955
Image:Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (new).JPG|Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, minor basilica and National Shrine of Mexico in the north of Mexico City. The shrine was built nearby the place where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 1974
Image:3 Stary Lichen 44.jpg|Sanctuary of Our Lady of Licheń
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen
The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń is a Roman Catholic church located in the village of Licheń Stary near Konin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship in Poland. It was designed by Barbara Bielecka and built between 1994 and 2004...

, Stary Licheń, Poland, 2004
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