Magnificat Meal Movement

Richard Salbato


The tiny hamlet of Helidon, Australia is appropriately named. It looks like Hell on earth. The paint is peeling from the shabby shop fronts, now empty and closed down, and the once busy rural haven is reduced to a news stand, a post office and a pub. Yet this virtual ghost town, which has all the eerie feel of a deserted cowboy film set after John Wayne and the Hollywood cameras have moved on, is supposedly the site of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

This once thriving town fall into what appears a ghost town because of a woman named Debra Geileskey, now Debra Burslem.  In the early 1990s Debra and her husband, Gordan, ran a real-estate business and bought their own property as investments.  But they were $300,000 in debt.  Then Debra started having apparitions and visions.  Her husband left her and is now living with another girl and keeping her in court with countless lawsuits.

But Debra Geileskey, now Debra Burslem, never missed a beat in her claims to having apparitions and vision, which claim that The Second Coming of Christ will occur in this ghost town of Helidon.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, about Debra would convince anyone that she is having apparitions except for her great salesmanship from her history of selling real-estate.

And yet, because of the stupid spiritual pride of people, Debra has convinced enough people to amass a fortune of $3,500,000 Australian dollars in at least 20 properties, including homes, apartments, shops and farms and is said to own 10 companies.  She also owns 5 Mercedes Benz and uses "slaves" without pay to do all the work, cooking, cleaning, farming, driving, and even as body guards.

Followers of the cult are encouraged to join the commune as "slaves" for a year and follow strict prayer routines. The cult's head group in Australia is on private land and members stay amongst themselves, never venturing out as they believe the outside world is evil. About 60 members make up this core group.

Her cult's name refers to the Magnificat, the prayer of the Virgin Mary, and Meal refers to the Last Supper, although no Orthodox Catholic would call the Mass or Communion a meal.

How did this divorced woman fool so many people?

Former founding member of the cult,  Mr Mack said,

"Debra is a very dangerous woman. Her attraction is that she is offering something better. She is a clever saleswoman. She sold real estate and now she's selling her cult to people. I blame the Catholic Church because a lot of people are getting disenchanted with it.

"So I can understand why people would want to come here and follow Debra. She is a powerful woman and very convincing. I was sitting in a private house one day with a visiting Fillipino priest and she told us she was seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary and began having a conversation with Our Lady.

"I was convinced, and so was everybody else in the room. I couldn't feel any presence, but Debra was such a good actress, we totally believed it at the time. Looking back, it was astonishing how somebody sitting that close to you can deceive you so successfully. 

"She certainly had myself and the priest fooled. She's not crazy, it was all acting."

Things did not quite add up, though, when the priest later investigated one of Geileskey's so-called "miracles" when communion wafers seemed to appear in a bowl overnight from nowhere.

"She was claiming miracles that weren't miracles. She presented this incident as the multiplication of the loaves, you see. People believed it.

"When the priest checked, he realized some of the wafers were stale. They turned out to be leftover wafers she must have planted there to claim her miracle. The priest realized something wasn't right and challenged her. Three times he tried, then Debra claimed he was a pedophile and was being led by the devil."

Geileskey portrays herself as being at the Spiritual epicentre of a global movement with advisers in the Vatican. She also claims that priests and bishops from around the world come to her to seek counsel and, she says, the sick come to her for healing. None of this is true but people believe it.

15-year-old Irish leukaemia victim, Nora Hanley, from Kilrooskey, Co Roscommon was buried, weeks after her mother's quest for a "miracle cure" from Geieskey.   While staying in the cult commune, Nora stopped taking her medication and vital blood units. At least six other members of the cult have died after they ceased taking medication for serious illnesses when Geileskey encouraged them to swap to herbal remedies she sells, according to former members of the cult.

Magnificat Meal Movement leader Ms Debra Burslem (formerly Geileskey) has placed herself above the law marrying couples without legal authorisation.

Journalist and TV crews descended on the town of Helidon, west of Brisbane, for the rumored mass suicide but the only injury of the day was a smashed camera flash when a photographer got in the way of hired security guards.

Geileskey had written in a diary she had a vision revealing she would be dragged from a wooden two-story building, tied to a pile of sticks and set on fire by a priest on September 9, 1999.

The funeral pyre vision prompted police to set up a 24-hour watch in case Geileskey initiated a mass suicide of her blue-red clad followers, known as slaves.  Of course, nothing happened.

A cult leader, who claims to have visions of the Virgin Mary, is selling home loans and slimming tablets to raise money for a cathedral.

Geileksey also conned followers that she had been instructed by God to follow what she called the Eucharist diet. For 14 months she claimed to have lived on nothing but "holy" wafers and water. Except on 33 days when God told her to eat normally. As the diet progressed, observers became puzzled as to why she hadn't lost weight. Then her secret was discovered: The chubby Geileskey had been covertly feasting on take-away pizzas, biscuits and fizzy drinks, which were discovered in a cupboard by an MMM member who quit the group soon afterwards.

Toowoomba Catholic Bishop William Morris declared the group a cult in 1996 and an investigation by the Vatican's Congregation for Doctrine and Faith concluded in 1999 that the writings published by the Movement 'led to the inevitable conclusion that it neither had, nor desired, any place in the Catholic Church.' When presented with these uncomfortable findings by Father Keegan, Geileskey's parting gesture was to deliver a curse, made in writing, to the astonished priest and his parish.

"Its initials MMM should really stand for Make More Money," he said. 

MEMBERS of the Magnificat Meal Movement religious group had excommunicated themselves from the Catholic Church and could not receive communion, Toowoomba Bishop William Morris says.

"Any attendance by Magnificat Meal members at Mass can only be understood as a protest against the Church and not as a genuine desire to pray with the Church," Bishop Morris said in a letter to parishioners.

"In those circumstances, they could not possibly expect to receive communion."

Members and Ex-members

Mr Haughey, 42, is believed to have pledged most of his money to Geileskey and the MMM. But while Geileskey enjoys the high life of regular trips to America, world travel and cruises around Queensland in a fleet of Mercedes Benz cars with personalised number plates, brainwashed sect "slaves" like Mr Haughey and his wife work the land like dirt-poor farmers or help out with cooking and cleaning duties and mass. 

Geileksey tells her slavish followers that the Virgin Mary wishes them to hand over their money and sign over property. She is seen being chauffeured around Helidon in Mercedes cars bearing the number plate CORMA 1, 2, and 3. The special plates stand for the title she gives the Virgin Mary: "Co-Redemtrice, Mediator and Advocate." Geileskey also states her special interest is to shelter young girls "to protect their virginity."

Former member of the cult, Australian Dawn O'Brien said devoted followers had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cause after Geileskey declared Christ would return to Helidon when the building was completed. "People gave her that money to build a basilica? not to buy property for herself. It's disgraceful," said Mrs O'Brien. "What about all the people who gave her a third of their houses and have now left and want their money back?" Since setting up her cult in a former convent in Helidon, Geileskey and her followers have bought up dozens of homes in the town and will not let anybody open up new businesses.

Author Wally Maggs, Debra Geileskey's former ghost-writer who denounced the cult in 1999, said yesterday it was possible that a parent could have been urged not to relinquish the child to avoid "suffering terrible things".  "Debra tells them the people on the outside are living in a wicked world. She works through fear," Mr Maggs said.  "This would be an enormous threat to her."

Irish Cult Specialist

Mike Garde, a cult specialist who advises the archbishop of Dublin says: "This woman Debra is controlling everybody in that cult. She's has made herself out to be the only source of God to them. That's a very powerful concept and one that has clearly sucked people in."

"Exit counseling from a cult is important because if people process their experiences they are more likely to recover in a shorter time. If they pretend it never happened they can feel guilty for leaving and they can be left with terrible trauma," he says.

So far, however, Garde has had no success in extricating any people from the cult. "It's a slow process but I'm determined, I won't give up," he says. "The danger is Debra lives between reality and fantasy - she is not living in the real world," he said. "Just because the movement is jelly-like at the moment, the potential is there for catastrophe."

Recruits from Other False Cults

The MMM first began to recruit Irish members when it approached a tour of pilgrims at Medjugorje.

Retired architect Frank Mack, who met Geileskey at a charismatic prayer meeting in Melbourne before she began the movement 15 years ago and also moved to Helidon, today describes her as "evil" adding: "Debra is a dangerous woman who uses clever techniques to exploit people for their money. I think she learned the tricks of her trade during her visits to America. She is definitely a con artist." Mr Mack, an articulate, reasoned and intelligent Catholic, readily admits he and his wife, Ann, were taken in for over a year by Geileskey's claims that she witnessed miracles and had visions of the Virgin Mary.

"People like Debra know how to plumb the depths. It's not new. There have been many, many frauds before her and there will no doubt be many, many in the future. "And they are very corrosive and very damaging to religion. It puts people off."

I am Special


There are two major reasons for people getting involved in stupid cults like this one and both are sins.  First is falling for the statements of the seer that they are special and called by Our Lord or Lady to be special, or the remnant or the only ones to be saved or just to be personal friends of someone who talks with God. Second is like the first but the making themselves important by being associated with someone who talks with God and therefore using God to make themselves important to the world.  Both, feeling that they are special to God and special to the people around them because they are special to God, are sins.  We are all special to God but no one is more special than any other. God loves the sinner as well as the saint.  But the secret to sainthood is to take the back seat in your mind and all saints feel un-special. 


Former MMM members claim they lent Ms Geileskey money for one of the Lockyer Valley properties which she intended to cultivate as a tree farm. They claimed to be most upset by alleged letters written by Ms Geileskey which linked the couple to the production of a pornographic movie. They became members of MMM after seeing a video of Ms Geileskey in the 1980s and they became friends before the money was lent to Ms Geileskey about four years ago. The relationship soured and they began to have her doubts about the so-called cult leader when she refused to respond to requests for the money.


Many thanks to Claire Monsour for exposing this movement. She even helped those who were taken in by it, and financed those who exposed it. 

Richard Salbato


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