Are Virgin Mary sightings reliable?
There have been many Virgin Mary sightings reported throughout the years that one begins to ask if they are all true sightings of the Mother of Jesus. Some of the sightings reported have been claimed as authentic, but there are others, which are in question.
The Bible says, "Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God; every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God. . ." (1 John 4:1-2.)
I am going to include here a few of the Virgin Mary sightings that have been reported over the years since 40 AD when Mary first appeared to James the Apostle in Spain. In most of the appearances, she appears in a white light holding her Son in her arms with her feet surrounded by a mist or cloud. Some appearances are preceded by lightning and thunder from a clear sky, and sometimes there are angelic beings or clouds of unusual shapes such as a cross or a doorway.
The most famous sighting is Our Lady of Lourdes in France in the year 1858. Mary appears to a 14-year-old girl by the name of Bernadette who lived in Pyrenees at a time of turmoil. She was encountered by Mary in a grotto, and made several visitations to her over a 6-month period. During this time, Mary instructed Bernadette to dig a hole in the ground, drink, and bathe in it, and later this became a spring of healing. Lourdes soon became known as the world's major pilgrimage site where thousands have been cured from a variety of illnesses, both physical and spiritual.
In Walsingham, England, around 1061, Lady Richeldis de Faverches, was visited three times by Mary. Mary showed her the house in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus. Mary asked her to build a replica of that house in Nazareth to be dedicated as a memorial. Walsingham became one of the greatest pilgrimage sites in all of Europe when people came to view this shrine.
Domingo de Guzman was a Spanish preacher who went to southern France to oppose the Albegesian heresy. In 1208, while he was praying at a chapel in Prouille, France, Mary apparently appeared to him, gave him the Rosary and urged him to preach the Rosary as a remedy against heresy and sin. Domingo founded an order of preaching friars who went on to halt the Albegesian heresy and establish monasteries all over the world. The order is commonly referred to as the Dominicans.
In the U.S., there is an image resembling the Virgin Mary seen in the reflection of a building in Clearwater, Florida. In 2004, vandals broke the glass in the windows and damaged the image. Someone throwing a corrosive liquid at it has also damaged it in the past, but the image later returned.
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