by Lourdes Policarpio
The period starting from the year 1830 (which saw the apparitions of Our Lady to Sr. Catherine Labouré in Paris) to the present has witnessed so many apparitions of the Blessed Mother, unprecedented in the history of mankind. But the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam to Ida Peerdeman (1905-1996) have not, in my opinion, gained the prominence they deserve, considering the importance of the messages there and the fact that these have been given a stamp of authenticity on May 31, 2002 by Bishop Josef Punt, Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam. To quote Bishop Punt’s landmark circular:
I observed that the devotion had taken its place in the spiritual life of millions all over the world, and that it possesses the support of many bishops. Many experiences of conversion and reconciliation, as well as healings and special protection also have been reported to me….In light and virtue of all these recommendations…I have come to the conclusion that the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam consist of a supernatural origin.
Our Lady of All Nations appeared to Ida 56 times and Ida also had Eucharistic experiences from 1958 to 1984. The messages given to Ida number over 60 and have been compiled into two volumes: the Messages of the Lady of All Nations and Eucharistic Experiences. One unique feature is that the Lady does not merely address the messages to Ida; in many, she addresses the “nations”. Unlike in Fatima and Medjugorje where the seers received “secrets”, in Amsterdam the Blessed Mother’s messages are meant for the world – and therefore, should be disseminated.
What are the principal messages of the Lady of All Nations and have they been heeded?
This, to me, is her central summons. While this is the same call to evangelize which has been the challenge to the Catholic Church for all ages, this particular call from the Blessed Mother aired in our times gains special significance since she repeatedly says to Ida that the world is “degenerating”. In her thirtieth apparition to Ida on 1 April 1951, Our Lady of All Nations says:
The world is becoming so degenerate, so materialistic, that it is high time to bring the simple faith again among the people. And this is all they need – the Cross with the Son of Man.
The task is very difficult for all Christians and the Lady said on 7 October 1945:
There He walks, alone in this world. It will get even worse until the moment when something dreadful will happen and all at once the Cross of Christ will stand in the center of the world. Now they must look, whether they like it or not.
In 27 May 1950, the Lady of All Nations repeated, "You will see that the Cross will be set up again only after much misery and disaster.”
In 7 May 1949, Ida was led into a scene with the Lady of All Nations saying,“This is the depth and the darkness of the times.” While the book, “The Messages of the Lady of All Nations” does not offer explanations on what the Lady says, the scene she shows Ida here shows empty pews in the churches. We can most likely infer that she is saying how church attendance has decreased and this is something many Filipino pilgrims going to Europe witness as they enter magnificent cathedrals which are, however, empty and have become merely tourist destinations. Indeed, the decline of the faith in Europe is something which today many of us have taken for granted.
In 1945, the Lady of All Nations said "Much, however, has to be altered in the Church. The formation of the clergy will have to be changed… Breadth of vision has to come, a more social outlook…” We ask ourselves if this message has been fulfilled with Second Vatican Council held from 1962 to 1965.
In 31 May 1956, the Lady of All Nations said that the pope (Pope John XXIII) should be told:
Celibacy still is the great strength of the Church… There are people who wish this changed. But this should happen only in very exceptional circumstances. Tell this to the Holy Father. He will understand me.
In those days, celibacy was not yet so much an issue and the Spiritual Director of Ida, Fr. Frehe, O.P., omitted the messages referring to celibacy. But if only to authenticate the messages, celibacy became an issue years after and it was only as a response that Fr. Frehe included Our Lady of All Nations' messages on celibacy.
Many times, the Lady of All Nations appealed that people should be brought to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, meaning the Holy Mass, and in very strong but beautiful words, expounded on the Eucharist:
Before the Lord Jesus Christ died His bodily death… He gave you the great Mystery, the great Miracle of every day, every hour, every minute. He gave you Himself. No, nations, (she shook her head vehemently as she said this) not merely a remembrance; no, nations, listen to what He said: not just an idea, but Himself, under the appearance of a little piece of bread, under the appearance of wine. This is how the Lord wants to come among you, day after day. Do accept it. Do act on it. He gives you the foretaste – the foretaste of eternal life.
One distinction of the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations to Ida is that here, Our Lady shows Ida scenes of various countries and in the process, comments and often admonishes the nations. In 1950, showing Ida a scene, she says, “These are the people that plan and bring about the destruction of the world.” The book simply quotes her and Ida does not explain which nations. Indeed, to understand the messages fully, one should have knowledge of history and governments.
Our Lady also views things from a different perspective, often looking into the future – one thing which we human beings are not capable of. We can only surmise that oftentimes, Ida did not understand what she was saying but however, took notes dutifully. Many messages would be obscure to the young but many prophecies have been fulfilled, like the Balkan War, the underground production of chemical weapons, and the cold war between the United States and Russia then.
On 31 December 1951, Our Lady of All Nations said:
In Russia, a great change will come about… after much conflict. China will turn to Mother Church… after much conflict. America, remember your Faith. Do not sow wrong ideas and confusion among your people and abroad. Europe, you should seek to establish peace among yourselves. Help those who are in need - in spiritual need.
In many apparitions, Our Lady has given miracles and signs so that people may believe. But in Amsterdam, she refused to give a public sign or miracle saying, “My signs are contained in my words.” This in effect means studying the messages and comparing them with the turn of events in the world.
However, to ease the tension on the seer who understandably had doubts and anxieties, Our Lady of All Nations did give a sign. On 19 February 1958, she predicted that Pius XII, who was perfectly healthy at that time, would die at the beginning of October 1958. Ida wrote down the message and handed it privately to Fr. Frehe with the instruction that it should not be opened before the beginning of October 1958. Pope Pius XII died unexpectedly on 9 October 1958. The day of someone’s death is said to be known to God alone and that the prediction came true is deemed by many as a sign of the authenticity of the messages.
From 1945 to 1951, many of the things Our Lady of All Nations told Ida pertained to the Church and the nations. In 1951, she entered into a new phase. Bringing Ida in front of the Cross, she said “Let all men return to the Cross! Only this can bring peace and tranquility.” Then she gave Ida a prayer to be said in front of the Cross.
“The whole world is degenerating and for this reason the Son sends the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary.” Thus, Mary under the title of the Lady of All Nations was sent by Heaven as a means to counter triple evils: moral deterioration, natural disasters, and wars. In Amsterdam, she teaches us to invoke the Lord Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to renew the earth and assures us that she will be our Advocate. She gave Ida specific instructions as to how she should be depicted as Lady of All Nations. The painting of the image was entrusted to the German painter Heinrich Repke.
What is bothersome for Church scholars is what Our Lady says in Amsterdam that in this age, she should no longer be regarded as Mary or the simple Mary of Nazareth but that following the Will of the Father, she comes to be called as the Lady of All Nations. She is in fact telling us of the added stature and dignity we should give her – and this apparently rattles some in the Church.
The phrase “who once was Mary” is the subject of much discussion and at present, the Church-approved version of the prayer goes “May the Lady of All Nations, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our Advocate” instead of what the Lady requests “May the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary, be our Advocate.”
Way back in the 1950s, the phrase “who once was Mary” was deleted and this was the reaction of Our Lady:
Tell the theologians that I am not pleased about their alteration of the prayer. "May the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary, be our Advocate" – that must remain as it is…"The Lady" came with the Sacrifice of the Cross: The Son said to His Mother, "Woman, behold thy son." So you see, it was at the Sacrifice of the Cross that the change came about.
One reason why the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations should stand out in importance is because here, Our Lady asks that the Church officially declare her as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. The Catholic Church has proclaimed four dogmas on the person of Mary: Mother of God (431), Perpetual Virgin (649), Immaculate Conception (1854), and Assumption (1950). The fifth dogma being proposed – Mary as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate – defines Mary’s role in the divine scheme of salvation.
Christians believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. But did He have a Co-Redemptrix in the person of His Mother? While advocates of the dogma have come up with volumes explaining the theology behind it, there are many non-believers and many more who are indifferent to the whole thing. Here is what Our Lady said on 17 February 1952:
The Lord and Master selected a Woman, called "Miriam" or "Mary" from among all the peoples of the world. She was destined, through the Will of the Father, to bring the Son of Man into the world, together with His Church and the Cross. The Lady was the Handmaid of the Lord. She bore the Son of Man through the Will of the Father and was thus necessarily allied with the Church and the Cross. This Woman stands in front of you in this present time as the Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.
Our Lady of All Nations has told Ida it will be rough-sailing for this dogma.“A struggle will ensue. You will be attacked by others… Do battle and ask for the dogma: it is the crowning glory of your Lady.”
In 1952, she said: “Today I have come to tell you that the great movement for the Lady of All Nations must begin now.” Various movements have risen for a “signature campaign” requesting the Holy Father to declare the fifth Marian dogma. In December 1999, it was reported that the signatures gathered have reached over six million. Many bishops are at the forefront, including Bishop Josef Punt of Amsterdam. In the Philippines, there are thousands of advocates.
But as Our Lady predicted, there is still much dissension. It cannot just be predicted when or how soon the dogma will be proclaimed.
What can we simple lay people do? How can we heed our Heavenly Mother’s requests? The Lady said the short prayer and the picture precede the fifth dogma. She requests us to say the prayer as often as we can, preferably before a Crucifix. Many add the prayer at the end of the Rosary.
The proclamation of the fifth dogma will be a triumph for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, official recognition as it were of what she has been for us: Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. It will also bring us peace, the true peace that comes from God.
The Second Coming of Christ will take place in your lifetime.
According to this book which contains a series of incredible messages and prophecies to an Irish seer, our present generation will witness the Second Coming of Christ.
Click here to read a book review that summarises the key messages of the book.
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