Thursday, September 2, 2010

31. RETRO-SANTO: Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace

OUR LADY OF MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE. Carved by Irineo Cristobal, based on the description of the visionary Sis. Teresing Castillo, to whom Our Lady appeared in 1948.

In 1948, a series of extraordinary events happened in Lipa, Batangas. A postulant of the Carmelite Order, Teresita Castillo witnessed an apparition of Our Lady while in prayer at the convent garden on September 12. Our Lady appeared dressed in a white, belted robe, holding a rosary in her clasped hands. She instructed the novice to appear for 15 successive days, requested for monthly Masses, and asked that an image of her be placed on the apparition site.

Her instructions were specific: “I want you to describe me to your chaplain…I want it (the image) as big as the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes at the cloister."

The statue that was carved by santero Irineo Cristobal was of medium size and followed Teresita’s description. But instead of clasped hands, the image has outstretched arms to her side, with the right hand still holding a golden rosary. When Our Lady appeared for the last time to the young novice, she declared her identity thus: “I am the Mediatrix of All Grace”.

Unexplained things happened soon after that, the most miraculous being the shower of roses that had holy images imprinted on them, like the faces of Christ and Mary. Filipinos all over the Philippines trooped to Lipa to witness the phenomenon and devotion grew around the image. But in 1951, the Philippine Church hierarchy declared the events a hoax. Bishop Alfredo Verzosa, and early believer of the apparition, and the Carmelite prioress were relieved of their duties and the statue was withdrawn from public veneration. In fact, it was ordered to be destroyed but the good nuns stowed it away for safekeeping.

In 1981 that the Archbishop of Lipa, Msgr. Mariano Gaviola reviewed the case and in 1992, he gave permission to bring out the image of Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Grace again. On 12 November 2009, Archbishop Arguelles ordered the lifting of all bans, written or unwritten that curtail or diminish the devotion to Mary Mediatrix of All Grace.

Today, the veneration of the original image at the apparition site of the Carmelite Monastery continues, and regular pilgrimages to Lipa are undertaken by the faithful to honor the Mediatrix of All Grace for favoring with her visits, the only Christian nation in Asia.

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