The True Story of Our Lady of
is God’s plan for the role of Our Lady of
The story of Our Lady of America truly began on May 10,
1846 when one Archbishop and 22
It was not until eight years later, on December 8, 1854, that Pope Pius IX would define the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in his Apostolic Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus. Less than four years later, on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1858, Our Lady would confirm that dogma by identifying herself to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, as “I am the Immaculate Conception,” that singular privilege that flows from her Divine Maternity announced by the Angel Gabriel.
Moved by the great devotion to Mary of Bishop John
Carroll, the first Catholic bishop of these
Father Bernard McKenna of
Archbishop Giovanni Vincenzo Bonzano, the Apostolic
Delegate, blessed the site on May 16, 1920, honoring the first American prelate
Archbishop John Carroll, who is the Father of the American Hierarchy, by
wearing his vestments and using the “Carroll Altar” for the celebration. On September 23 of that year, James Cardinal
Gibbons of the archdiocese of
Act of Consecration to Our Blessed Mother
Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in Heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your spouse; God the Son, who chose Mary as your Mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.
Holy Trinity, we put the
Mary, Immaculate Virgin, our Mother, Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give ourselves to you. Protect us from every harm. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God.
Imprimatur: Patrick A. O’Boyle, Archbishop of
The following story expresses Our Lady’s
gratitude to the
August 2, 1916: The birth of a chosen “little one”
On this day Mildred Marie Neuzil was the first American
born child of Austrian parents John and Anna (Smerda) Neuzil. She was born in
September 12, 1930: Sister enters religious life
At age 14, Mildred Neuzil entered the active religious
congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, a papal community. (Maria Stein or
August 15, 1933: Sister takes first vows
At age 17, Mildred made her first vows as a professed
religious and received the name Sister Mary Ephrem, a name that means “doubly
fruitful.” She carried out her duties, mostly in domestic work and as a
kindergarten teacher. Her first mission
activity included multiple diocesan jurisdictions in
(Editor’s Note: There are no accidents with God. Sister began her religious service in
1938: Sister begins to have mystical experiences
Just five years after her First Profession of vows, Sister Mary Ephrem began to have mystical experiences which, in her simplicity, she thought were common to all religious, so she paid no undue attention to them.
August 15, 1939:
Sister Mary Ephrem takes perpetual vows with the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood and lived out those vows until the day she died.
1940s: Sanctification of the Christian family
Sister began to share these experiences with her confessor who cautioned her of an overactive imagination. These locutions with Jesus included special espousal with Him and an understanding that her mission was to converge on the sanctification of the Christian family.
1947: Sister’s mission work
In this year
Sister Mary Ephrem was sent for the first time to help at Kneipp Springs,
Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Marie) Neuzil was blessed to
have Rev. Paul Leibold as her spiritual director for 32 years, from 1940 – 1972
when he died. In 1958 he was promoted to
Auxiliary Bishop of
1948: Messages become more pressing
While stationed in
1949: New mission work
was stationed at St. Mark’s in
1954: Messages become a program of special devotion to Mary (L)
Sister is sent to
Our Lord often spoke (Locutions - L) to me in the past and already in the early 1940’s it was made known to me interiorly that my mission was to converge towards the sanctification of the family. I was not further enlightened at that time as to how this was to be accomplished. In the year 1954, however, Our Lord addressed the following words to me:
May 22, 1954: Our Lords words. (L)
My little white dove, if the world is dying, it is because it will not let Me give it life. I am the resurrection and the life, and unless souls seek their life in Me, they will find only death and destruction.
They fear man-made destroyers of life, yet destruction is in themselves. Man destroys himself through the evil that is in himself.
Implements of war kill only that which is without. Man kills that within himself which none but he can kill.
God is light, man is darkness, and unless he comes into the light, he will be forever darkness. The Voice of My Heart is the Voice of Mercy. If man will not listen, there is no more I can do, for he ties My hands.
May 29, 1954: Our Lords words. (L)
My Heart beats with compassion for the sorrows of man. Oh how gladly would I help him bear the weight of his terrible cross, fashioned, for the most part, by his own guilt! But Alas, he will have none of My help. So I am forced to stand by the side of the road and watch him struggle hopelessly in his agony.
O man, what have I done to you that you should refuse My aid.
My little white dove, do you know what I find most lacking in the world today? It is FAITH. There are so few souls that believe in Me and My love. They profess their belief and their love, but they do not live this belief. Their hearts are cold, for without faith there can be no love. Pray and sacrifice yourself, My Child, that faith may once again find entrance into the hearts of men.
July 11, 1954: Our Lords words. (L)
My daughter, I am not loved in the homes of men. And because I am not loved, the Divine Trinity refuses to dwell therein.
Children are not taught to love Me, because those who have charge over them have no time or patience to do so.
My Heart grieves over My children in the world. Their hearts are being driven farther and farther away from Me. They will not even listen to My Mother, because they have never been taught to listen.
I am a Beggar for love, but how few give to Me the means by which to satisfy My divine hunger. I hunger for the love of My own, and receive only the crumbs no other would accept.
My Father is angry. If My children will not listen to My Heart, which is a Voice of mercy and instruction, punishment will come swiftly and none shall be able to stay it. The pleadings of My Heart have held back the divine justice about to descend on an ungrateful and sinful generation.
Woe to parents who set a bad example to their children! Terrible will be their judgment. I will demand a strict accounting of every soul entrusted to their care.
Woe to Children who disobey and show disrespect towards their parents! ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’, on this shall they be judged most severely.
July 12-14, 1954: Our Lords words. (L)
Blessed are the homes that honor My Name and the Name of My Father.
Blessed are the homes where I am loved, for there the Holy Trinity dwells. Blessed are the parents and children who have made a home for God in their hearts. Little secretary of My Heart, write these instructions for the sanctification of My people.
My Father’s house is a house of prayer, and you have made it a den of thieves.
My children, every home and every soul is My Father’s house, for He made them and they are His, but many of them are no longer sanctified by His Presence. Thieves have entered in and stolen from Him His temples of prayer. It is you My children, who have let them in. If, My children, you will cleanse your temples, My Father will return and We will come and make our abode with you.
Return, My people, for My Heart hungers and thirsts for your love. If you will not return, the just anger of My Father will descend upon you. What would you – My love or My Father’s anger? Choose, and as you choose, so shall it be done. I will not force your free will, for that is yours to use as you desire.
Fall of 1954: Apparition of St. Michael, Angel of Peace
As a preparation for her mission, Sister is graced with an appearance of St. Michael, the Angel of Peace, who offered her a sword (to conquer the world, the self and the devil), a palm (for victory) and a cross (for the suffering she would be asked to endure in union with Jesus’ passion).
As Sister was suspicious of the offer of a palm of victory, for she could think of no victory of hers deserving of such a reward, St. Michael then asked her, “Will you accept the cross?” She replied, “Yes, I will accept the cross.” To this St. Michael then said:
“Then you will accept the palm and the sword. With the sword the saints conquered themselves, the world and the devil. I am the Angel of Peace, I come to those whose hearts are attuned to the Voice of God. To such as these I remain a perpetual light through blinding darkness. I was sent by Him who said, “I am the Light of the world.”
November 8, 1954: Our Lady’s words on the Family (L)
It is the wish of my Son that
fathers and mothers strive to imitate me and my chaste spouse in our holy life
As in our little home no sin was to be found, so it is the wish of the Heart of my Son and my Immaculate Heart that sin should, as far as possible, be unheard of in the homes of our children.
The Divine Trinity will dwell in
your midst only if you are faithful in practicing the virtues of our life at
I need your help to bring peace into the world. Do not disappoint me.
November 20, 1955: Apparition of St. Gabriel, Angel of Purity
I knelt down and asked him, “Who are you?” He replied, “I am the Angel Gabriel. I have come to tell you that Our Lord is pleased with your effort to do good. He asks that you go to His Mother and learn great purity of heart.”
visits of these two archangels, the apparitions of Our Lady herself began and
the favor and the responsibility to her
1956: Second assignment to Kneipp Springs
In 1956 Sister was stationed
in three different locations, in Ligonier,
interview with Sister Mary Ephrem, E. Michael Jones, editor of Fidelity
magazine, writes in the December 1983 issue about the days before the
first apparitions occurred there in
“Sister Mildred had just recently been transferred to the water cure staffed by her order of nuns in Indiana to wait on tables, but had not been happy about the move. When she got to her room, she felt, as she said later, ‘like jumping out of the window.’ She left her room that night and went to the chapel, but the feeling did not leave her. ‘It seemed to me,’ she said, ‘like I was in a ring of evil. I couldn’t get out of it, and it was telling me to get out of there.’ One night she awoke with the sense that something was perched on her pillow a little behind her head. Before she could discern just what it was, she felt it grab her face across the eyes and pull down on them. ‘Like this,’ she said and made a motion which implied that whatever it was had claws. She found no marks on her face afterward though. The next day she went to her superior and asked to be transferred back to Ligonier. She could have gone if she had found someone to wait on tables in her stead, but couldn’t and so didn’t, and as a result had her first encounter with the Blessed Mother instead.”
September 25, 1956: Eve of the
feast of the North American martyrs, Our Lady appears as Our Lady of
evening holy hour, Our Lady came as Our Lady of Lourdes, though I felt Her presence
more than seeing her. She promised that greater miracles than those granted
I am pleased, my children, with
the love and honor my children in
For it is mainly through these
miracles of grace that the Holy Trinity is glorified among men and nations. Let
Our Lady emphasized her anxious concern about our inner lives.
September 26, 1956: Our Lady
appears twice under the new image of Our Lady of
After Mass the next morning, the feast of the North American Martyrs, Our Lady appeared to Sister, enveloped in a soft glow of light. Sister says:
I knew with full certainty that it was She, though She did not speak immediately. What I noticed was the smile on Our Lady’s beautiful countenance and the lily She held in her right hand. She wore a white veil reaching almost to the waist and a mantle and robe of pure white with not a single decoration of any kind. I noticed the green color of the lily stem in Her hand and the white sash or belt which She wore around Her waist. It seemed to be made of the same material as the robe. It was narrow, very narrow, and no ends of it could be seen at all. An oblong-shaped clasp or brooch held the ends of the mantle together at the top. It was all gold, as was the high and brilliant crown which She wore. Her hair and eyes seemed of medium brown. Her feet were bare, but these I did not always see, as they were sometimes covered by the moving clouds on which Our Lady stood. She continued to smile. Then I saw Her heart appear, encircled with red roses, the symbol of suffering as it was revealed to me, and sending forth flames of fire. With Her left hand Our Lady seemed to be holding up slightly the upper part of Her mantle, so that her Immaculate Heart could be seen. Then solemnly and distinctly, in calm and majestic tones, I heard these words:
“I am Our Lady of
She was very beautiful and her smile held me. Throughout my work of the day, I was conscious of our Lady’s presence in a very special manner, in a way distinctly new to me. That afternoon, during the last half of the Holy Hour, the Immaculate Virgin spoke to me at length in these words:
My child, I entrust YOU with this message that you must make known to my children in
After this date I saw Our Lady frequently Sister said.
September 27, 1956: Our Lady’s apparition holding the world in her hands as She wept over it
Our Lady again appeared to me while I was at prayer. She held the world in Her hands. From Her eyes tears were flowing upon it, as though She longed to cleanse it from its guilt. It was then that I heard these words filled with sorrow and longing:
Behold, O my children, the tears
of your Mother! Shall I weep in vain? Assuage the sorrow of my Heart over the
ingratitude of sinful men by the love and chasteness of your lives. Will you do this for me, beloved
children, or will you allow your Mother to weep in vain? I come to you, O
These are my words, O my daughter.
Make them known to my children. I desire
to make the whole of
October 1956: Locutions with
It is true, my daughter, that immediately after my conception, I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future Virgin-Father, cleansed from the stain of original sin.
I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men. My pure heart also was from the first moment of existence inflamed with love for God. Immediately, at the moment when my soul was cleansed from original sin, grace was infused into it in such abundance that, excluding my holy spouse, I surpassed the holiness of the highest angel in the angelic choir. My heart suffered with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield, as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men.
The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them. Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross. I became, in union with my holy spouse, co-redemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary, I cooperated, as no other, in the salvation of the world.
October 5, 1956: Our Lady places the words of the Prayer to the Immaculate Conception in Sister’s mind (L)
On December 5, 1956, I felt suddenly urged to write a prayer to Our Lady, Patroness of our land. I knelt by the little table in my room, and as I did so Our Lady came to me. She stood at my right side very close to me. Though I did not hear any words, the thoughts came into my mind one after the other, and I wrote without stopping until the prayer was finished.
[This Prayer is found on Pg. 47 of the
Our Lady of
October 13, 1956: Our Lady’s appearance highlighting her desire for the National Basilica in Washington, DC
Our Lady appeared to Sister Mary Ephrem in the same manner as she did on the feast of the North American martyrs, except that her Immaculate Heart did not appear. Instead of the lily, she held with both hands a small replica of the finished Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Sister was overwhelmed with Our Lady’s beautiful smile and heavenly way, her holiness. She then knelt down and wrote Our Lady’s words as she desired:
This is my shrine, my daughter. I am very pleased with it. Tell my children I thank them. Let them finish it quickly and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this. I will bless all those who, either by prayers, labor, or material aid, help to erect this shrine.
often emphasized her desire that the shrine in
The Shrine was completed and dedicated three years later on November 20, 1959.
November 15, 1956: Our Lady
teaches Sister a powerful ejaculation and asks for the drawing of her image as
Our Lady of
This morning Our Lady taught me this little prayer: “By thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil.”
“Our Lady then asked me to draw a
picture of her first appearance. She
also requested a statue made according to this likeness and placed, after being
solemnly carried in procession, in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in
(Editor’s Note: Sister Mildred explains in her letters that
this does not detract from devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is Empress of
1957 – 1958: Warnings! The hour grows late!
Sisters says Our Lady’s warnings came to her again and again. “The hour grows late,” Our Lady said. “My Son’s patience will not last forever. Help me hold back His anger which is about to descend on sinful and ungrateful men.”
To my spiritual director I was asked to send this message: “Hurry, my son, for the time is short but the punishment will be long, and for many, forever.”
the Bishops of the
Our Lady addressed Sister, speaking sadly but hopefully:
daughter, will my children in
February 3, 1957: Our Lady speaks on true peace and love (L)
Our Lady declares that peace must come from within, that to make our hearts more pleasing to her Son we must go to her, His Mother. She asks for a reform of life as proof of our love for her. She says “The Holy Trinity looks down with infinite delight upon such souls and makes them Its heaven upon earth.”
March, 1957: Our Lady pleads… (L)
O my sweet child, when will my desires be realized’? … O my little one, daughter of my Pure Heart, you must pray with greater fervor and offer yourself with greater love to the Heart of my Son.
April, 1957: Our Lady continues her warning. (L)
My sweet child, unless my children reform their lives, they will suffer great persecution. If man himself will not take upon himself the penance necessary to atone for his sins and those of others, God in his justice will have to send upon him punishment necessary to atone for his transgressions.
May 8, 1957: Archangel Michael appears again
Do not delay or the time of grace will pass and with it the peace you seek. … My little sister, the message is a dear one, there is no doubt. Make it known, do not hesitate. I, Michael, have spoken.
July 1, 1957: Our Lady of Nativity Cloister is established (See Note 5)
urging of Archbishop Karl J. Alter, the Precious Blood Sisters’ Chapter of 1954
voted to establish a cloister within its active community, an effort Sister
Mary Florecita Bidart had worked toward for 20 years. In December of 1954, Bishop George J. Rehring
gave permission for the cloister to be established in the Our Lady of Nativity
Convent in New Riegel,
August 5, 1957: Feast of Our Lady of Snows and the Divine Indwelling (A-L)
Our Lady spoke on the great gift of the Divine Indwelling, sanctification from within. This is what she means by reformation and renewal.
As Our Lady spoke this, she seemed at the time to be deeply occupied. Though the serenity of her countenance never left her, she spoke with a gravity that made her words all the more solemn. She seemed anxious to impress me with some idea of the greatness of this gift of God to us, namely, His Divine Presence within our souls through sanctifying grace.
Note: The Catholic Church teaches that
the fathomless mystery we call God has revealed Himself to humankind as a
Trinity of Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Trinity is the central
doctrine of Catholic faith. Upon it are
based all other teachings of the Church.
Pg. 19, HANDBOOK FOR TODAY’S CATHOLIC, quoting the CATECHISM OF THE
August 22, 1957: Feast of the Immaculate Heart (L)
Our Lady intensifies her plea for a reform of life.
“What I ask, have asked, and will continue to ask is reformation of life. There must be sanctification from within”.
She tells Sister to “go to the Bishop. Tell him of the desires of my Heart. He will help you.”
September, 16-27, 1957: Our Lady’s admonition to priests to live lives of penance and self-denial, upholding the sanctity and dignity of their calling. (L)
My dear daughter, sweet child, write my words carefully, because they are of the utmost importance. I address them to my beloved sons, the priests, dedicated to the most intense and extraordinary imitation of my Son in the perfect carrying on of His Eternal Priesthood.
Beloved sons, so cherished and greatly blessed among the sons of men, be careful to uphold the sanctity and dignity of your calling. Let the faithful see in you the favored and especially loved imitators of the Son of God. Be modest in your dress and speech as becomes those of so exalted a vocation. The apparel and manners of a man of the world is not for you, who, though living in the world, must not take on its ways.
Dear sons, I ask you to practice self-denial and penance in a special manner, because it is you who must lead my children in the way of peace. Yet this peace will come only by way of the sword, the flaming sword of love. If, therefore, you love my Son and wish to honor me, heed my admonition and be the first to give the example of a life of penance and self-denial. …
I am pleased, dearly beloved sons, by the honor and love you have until now accorded me. Will you now go further and honor me yet more by taking my words to your hearts and doing what I ask?
October 7, 1957: Feast of the
Holy Rosary and special message to her children in
My beloved daughter, what I am about to tell you concerns in a particular way my children of
November 22-23, 1957: Mary appears as Our Lady, the Immaculate Tabernacle of the Indwelling God
Our Lady appeared, standing on a globe, her right foot resting on a crescent moon, the left on the snout of a small fire breathing dragon. She was dressed all in white and her hair could be seen through her transparent veil which was long enough to half envelope the globe. The veil was held about her head by a wreath of white roses, and a white rose rested on each foot. On her breast, the Triangle and the Eye, the symbol of the Divine Indwelling, could be visibly seen. A strong beam of light shown from the Divine Presence within Our Lady onto the globe at her feet. Then halfway around the figure of Our Lady above her head appeared a scroll on which were written in letters of gold the words: “All the glory of the King’s daughter is within.” Though it did not appear that her lips moved, I heard these words quite plainly: I am Our Lady of the Divine Indwelling, handmaid of Him Who dwells within.
February 11, 1958: Our Lady
My Immaculate Heart will win in the end, and the Spirit of Christ will dwell in the hearts of men. Those in whom this Spirit is not found will be condemned to eternal hell-fire.
Our Lady tells Sister that nothing is accomplished without pain and bids her prepare to suffer much because suffering completes the work of divine grace in the soul.
Our Lady also spoke of her particular interest in the youth of our nation and called on them to be leaders in this movement of renewal on the face of the earth, sharing with her army of chaste soldiers the title “Torchbearers of the Queen.”
“They must be prepared with the knowledge of
the Divine Indwelling. It is to the youth of
Our Lady promised that the statue in the National Basilica would be a special safeguard for our country and that a picture or statue in the home would bring protection to that home. The medal with the image of Our Lady of America on the front and the Coat-of-Arms of the Christian Family on the back would be a shield against evil for those who wear it with devotion and they would receive the grace of intense purity of heart and a great love for Mary and her Son.
“America, the United States in particular is being given the tremendous, yet privileged, opportunity to lead all nations in a spiritual renewal never before so necessary, so important, so vital. ”
[For details on the medal, see Appendix, pg. 47 of the booklet.]
18, 19, 1958:
Fathers must come to me, small one, to learn obedience to authority: to the Church always, as the mouthpiece of God, and to the laws of the country in which they live, insofar as these do not go against God and their neighbors.
Mine was perfect obedience to the Divine Will, as it was shown and made known to me by the Jewish law and religion. To be careless in this is most displeasing to God and will be severely punished in the next world.
Fatherhood is from God, and it must take once again its rightful place among men.
My special protection of the Holy Father and the Church should be made known to him. God wishes to make this known to him that he may receive thereby renewed consolation and encouragement. During the war, little daughter, it was I who saved him from death at the hands of his enemies.
(Editor’s Note: Late in World War
II, Hitler issued a direct order to the chief of the German SS in
March 30, 1958:
Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way. Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time, and each time I held Him in my arms. Those who honor me in this way will be consoled by my presence at their death and I myself will conduct them safely into the presence of Jesus and Mary.
May 1958: Sister Mary Ephrem enters Our Lady of Nativity Cloister to live a hidden life (A) (See Note 5)
Several weeks after I had entered the Cloister in New Riegel, OH and was overwhelmed with a sense of frustration and heaviness of heart, Our Lady suddenly appeared to me and said:
“Do not be afraid. I will keep my promise. Everything will be all right. Do not fear.”
These words consoled me very much, and I went to prayer with a peaceful heart.
(Editor’s Note: Bishop Leibold advised Sr. Mary Ephrem to enter the cloister and to live a hidden life.)
February 23, 1959: Placed the message in the hands of the bishops (A)
Nine months before the National Shrine was finished, Our Lady admonished Sister “to work on the message as soon as possible so that it might be placed in the hands of the Bishops who would be responsible for its fulfillment. In a very serious manner Our Lady warned me that I must not delay any longer to do this as the time is now.”
Note: Sister worked closely with Bishop
Leibold and the bishops of the
July 18, 1959: Jesus laments over His priests and religious (L)
Oh, the pride of souls! How they resist My grace! O My priests, My religious, what would I not do for you if you would only let me! I come daily laden with graces which you daily refuse. What am I to say to you, my best beloved? How long will you resist My love? It is from you I expect everything, and you give Me but the husks of your affections. How long will I bear with you, O My chosen ones? How long will you spurn My approaches?
My little white dove, it was this ingratitude on the part of My priests and My religious that caused Me so much sorrow in My passion. Oh, how they resist My grace! How they fight against My love! So fearful are they that I will deprive them of their tawdry trinkets that they turn their backs lest they see the reproach in My eyes.
September, 1959: Pope John XXIII’s letter, given from
It was an extremely gratifying and enduring joy that filled our hearts on receipt of news…that a shrine is to be dedicated to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God. There now rises up to heaven a shrine, high and massive, wondrously bright within…The Virgin Mother of God is our Mother, our Queen, the sure way by which we approach most speedily to Jesus Christ, Who was given to us by her. But a temple built of stones is of little significance unless there arises a temple mystically erected within our minds. Therefore…let an altar of the Most Blessed Virgin be set up in the heart of each one of the faithful; let families, held together by the sanctity of marriage, by mutual love, by moral integrity and a common spiritual life, reproduce her virtues and be fortified by her protection.
November 20, 1959: Dedication of the completed Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC
(Editor’s Note: This Shrine is truly the Church of the American
people and is under the authority of all the
(Also see notes on the National Shrine at the beginning of this piece.)
December 20, 1959: Our Lady laments our ingratitude (A)
O my child, tell your spiritual father [Bishop Leibold] that I come again to warn and to plead.
See I weep, but my children show me no compassion. They behold the sword in my heart but will make no move to withdraw it. I give them love; they give me only ingratitude. Weep, then, dear child, weep with your Mother over the sins of men. Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away.
(Editors Note: Except on a few occasions, as when she showed herself as Our Lady of the Divine Indwelling, Our Lady always came to Sr. Mary Ephrem in the manner in which she appeared on September 26, 1956, namely, as Our Lady of America.)
February 2, 1960: Bishop Leibold compiles the messages (handwritten/then typed), “not for official publication, but only as a private diary”* (*words of Bishop Leibold)
(Note: The Archbishop to whom the messages were first given passed away and Bishop Leibold succeeded him.)
Bishop Paul F. Leibold, V.G. of the Cincinnati Archdiocese where the Sisters of the Precious Blood’s motherhouse is located, personally compiled the Diary “without direct references” to specific places in which apparitions or spiritual messages had occurred. He wrote the foreword and had Sister “type” the messages as a “private diary,” author anonymous. To protect Sister Mary Ephrem’s identity and hidden life, she remained unnamed. In the Diary Sister is referred to as “a religious Sister,” the “Little White Dove,” or “this Sister.” This Diary existed in handwritten and/or typewritten form only at this time and was given only to some of the sisters internally and the necessary religious superiors and Church officials, not to the public.
1960’s: Sister Monica Schrott’s effort with the National Basilica extends over two decades
Monica Schrott, OCD, a cloistered Carmelite nun in
cloister, Sister Monica personally launched a 20 year mission of correspondence
with the National Shrine directors to place there a white statue of Our Lady of
America that she had made by Archangelo Cascieri of
Note: The “Latrobe” statue made by Sr. Monica resided with the Carmelites of
the Assumption in
April 4, 1960: Our Lady’s message to the Archbishop regarding the medal. (A)
Tell His Grace, my beloved son, that it is through the medal that he will receive the sign for which he asks. I ask him to have the medal struck and distributed everywhere and he will receive not only the one sign for which he has asked but so many, so many that he will have cause to be greatly astonished.
My child, God works often through little and humble things and such instruments should never be despised but accepted and used with love and gratitude. It will be through the medal that God’s Will will be manifested and glorified and my desires carried out to the very end.
I place my confidence in my faithfu1 sons, the Bishops, who will not fail to take up my cause and make it bear much fruit for sanctification among so many and countless souls.
Send this word then to my beloved son, the Archbishop, and have no fear sweet child for I will keep my promise for I am the ever faithful Virgin.
As Sister Mary Ephrem hesitated because of certain doubts and fears concerning the reception of this message, Our Lady appeared in the early morning hours of April 6, 1960 to gently reproach her for her lack of confidence. Our Lady told her not to delay in sending the bishop the words she had written. Our Lady said,
“My children must know my desires. If my desires are not fulfilled much suffering will come to this Land.”
(Editors Note: The prior Archbishop passed away and Bishop Leibold succeeded him and carried out Our Lady’s request).
May 1, 1961: Bishop Leibold puts his imprimatur on Sister Mary Ephrem’s sketch of the medal.
(Editor’s Note: In response to “May Day” celebrations for
workers by the Communists, Pope Pius XII had instituted the feast of
Bishop Leibold then had the medal struck and personally paid for all medals until his death in 1972. He designed the prayer pamphlet to go with the medal. It contained the Prayer to the Immaculate Conception and the Prayer to the Indwelling Most Holy Trinity, as well as the magnificent explanation of the medal itself.
(See Pgs. 47-48 of the Diary for this pamphlet information.)
May 22, 1962: Bishop George Rehring of the Toledo diocese favors distribution of the medal by Bishop Leibold
Sister Mary Florecita Bidart, foundress of the Our Lady of Nativity Cloister, wrote to Mother Aquinas of the Sisters of the Precious Blood informing her that Bishop Rehring was in favor of distributing the medal that symbolized so well the doctrine of the Divine Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, lived out so perfectly in the Holy Family, model for every family on earth and source of all true holiness. He gave suggestions for the promotion of the devotion.
Mother Mary Aquinas wrote Sister Florecita on August 31, 1961:
I was very happy to hear that Bishop Leibold will go ahead with the medal himself. It is a great relief to me to know that it is being made, and we hope it eventually will be circulated. I have great confidence in the message of our Blessed Lady.
January 25, 1963: Imprimatur on the Prayer to the Indwelling Trinity
Leibold, V.G. of
July 1, 1963: Archbishop Leibold writes regarding the devotion
First I received the leaflets on our Lady of America. I will gradually drop them around places as the opportunity presents itself. I still think of it as a private devotion and await our Lady’s action to make the seeds you are planting grow and, as it were, cause a spontaneous demand for the object of devotion, rather than engaging in any high pressure pushing of it.
(Note: Archbishop Leibold was never in favor of sensationalism, but wanted this devotion to grow slowly and deeply.)
June 18, 1970: Archbishop Leibold writes Msgr. McDonough at the National Shrine
The Archbishop wrote Msgr. McDonough regarding Sr. Monica
Schrott’s request to place a statue of Our Lady of America in the National
September 3, 1971: Archbishop Leibold makes wooden plaques
Archbishop Leibold made a series of wooden plaques of Our
Lady of America. One hung in the Our Lady of the Nativity Convent in New Riegel
and was used in processions at the convent. Another hung in his Chancery office
In a letter to William Weberding of Weberding Woodworking Shop, the Archbishop made a proposal for the construction of a wooden or marble statue for an outdoor Shrine to Our Lady of America at the New Riegel Convent. He had a patron’s offer of $2000 for the statue which would aid in serving public devotions to Our Lady of America at the Convent where they were regularly celebrated.
He also had 3 petite ivory statues made in
November 9, 1971:
The Diary is again copied on mimeograph as typed pages, still not for official publication or distribution, but only for internal use
February 22, 1972: Our Lady’s image in the home
When a picture or statue of
myself as Our Lady of
June 1, 1972: Archbishop Paul F. Leibold dies suddenly
his death, Archbishop Leibold of
Leibold was born on December 22, 1914 in
Thousands attend Archbishop
The Archbishop’s personal secretary, Father Francis G. Lammeier, wrote Sister Mary Ephrem on August 13, 1972:
“With things as busy as they are, I still do not have time to think. I still am not fully aware that the Archbishop died. I am no dreamer; I know he is dead and is enjoying his reward, but I just can not realize it or be aware of it. I still think often, he will come in the office or I will see him and he will give me that quiet and peaceful smile. I think of him so often. I said many times, I was privileged to be associated with him. He kept a tremendous schedule. If I had been Secretary and Master of Ceremonies with any other Bishop with this schedule, I would have been out of my tree. But with him, it was indeed a pleasure. Often I got tired and certainly he did, but there was no pressure of any kind. He was the kindly, understanding and humble priest. He did not stand on dignity or position but was just himself. He was the Archbishop and I most assuredly respected him for his position, but he was also a dear friend.”
In August Father Lammeier sent the plaque of Our Lady of America that hung in the Cincinnati Chancery and a large collection of letters/ personal spiritual writings of the Archbishop’s to Sister Mary Ephrem for safe keeping and to be organized for future investigation and publication. He confirmed how deeply the Archbishop believed in this message and expressed his willingness to speak to any bishop in this regard. No bishop to date (2008) has ever gone to this living source of information or to the remaining sister who has all the original documentation and personal history of Sr. Mary Ephrem. Some of the secondary sources that have been relied on in the public media have often been misleading.
December 12, 1977: Separation
The Contemplative Sisters inform Sister Charmaine, President of the active group, and her Council of their desire to separate (See Note 5)
“For the past twenty-one years we, the Contemplative Sisters, have attempted to live our monastic, contemplative way of life within the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. Through the years it has become progressively more difficult for us to live out our way of life from within the framework of policies and norms intended for the entire Congregation. The difficulties we have encountered along the way have brought us to question whether or not we are trying to do an impossible thing; namely, to live one way of life from within another way of life. From our experience we have realized the need on our part for a greater independence in decision-making areas such as government, finances, formation, administration, membership. It has become increasingly clear to us that, if we are to continue to live out our calling to a contemplative way of life in the manner we deem most suitable to its realization, then we must proceed toward greater autonomy. It is with this in mind that we have drawn up this petition for separation from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood.”
(Editor’s note: This letter was signed by the 7 contemplative sisters: Sister Florecita Bidart, Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Marie) Neuzil, Sister Mary Louise Voisard, Sister Mary Joseph Therese Fuller, Sister Virginia Manss, Sister Mildred Elaine Becker and Sister Shirley Wishoski.)
January 5, 1978: Separation Confirmed
The Contemplative Sisters confirm their request for a complete break from the active Congregation to Sister Charmaine and her Council
“In our continued attempt to deal with you openly and honestly about this matter, we wish to convey to you that we do not see further negotiation for a greater autonomy within the Congregation as being a viable alternative to the total separation we propose. It is our determination that the time in our history has come for a complete break from the Congregation and that, in and through all the circumstances and events which surround our lives, it is the Spirit Who moves us in this direction.”
(This letter was again signed by the 7 Contemplative Sisters.)
9, 1978: Separation sent to
The request for separation is sent to Pope Paul VI with a request to start a new Religious Institute and to retain their religious vows
“We, the Contemplative Sisters of the Precious Blood, submit this petition for separation from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, and ask to begin a new Diocesan Religious Institute that is Contemplative and has the structure of an autonomous religious house. We also ask of Your Holiness that we be permitted to retain our religious vows.”
(This letter was also signed by the 7 Contemplative Sisters.)
March 1, 1978:
The Contemplative Sisters wrote
Most Rev. Richard Ackerman of the
informed him that the Community Council of the Sisters of the Precious Blood
had notified the local Ordinaries of both the
April 3, 1979: Death of Sr. Mary Florecita Bidart, Foundress of the Cloister
After years of faithfully serving the Sisters of the Precious Blood, Sister Florecita died at age 74. Those who knew her have no doubt that they had lived with a saint! In “We Lived with a Saint,” written by Sister Mary Ephrem and Sister Joseph Therese, it states:
December of 1977, the Officials from
remains: Was proper Canonical due process ever given to these Sisters by the
active group or by the
The Contemplative Sisters requested an extension so they could decide what to do. Sister Mary Ephrem met with the sisters and concluded they must separate if they wished to preserve their contemplative way of life. That resolve was stated in the letter to Sister Charmaine dated December 12, 1977, and finalized in a second letter to her on January 5, 1978, and then made in the request to Pope Paul VI on February 9, 1978 when they asked for complete separation from the active congregation while retaining their religious vows.
Although everything Sister Florecita had worked for was destroyed by the policies of the active group, Sister’s faith and trust in the Lord did not waiver and she accepted rejection and unjust treatment in the spirit of her Suffering Lord. According to “We Lived with a Saint,” Sister Florecita was even called a failure by the Bishop of the Toledo diocese just two months before her death because he believed the untrue stories he had been told. (See Note 5)
(Editor’s Note: Jean-Baptiste Chautard wrote in The Soul of
the Apostolate: “It is a terrible misfortune when there is not to be found one
really interior soul among all those at the head of important Catholic
projects. Then it seems as though the
supernatural had undergone an eclipse, and the power of God were in
chains. And the saints teach us that,
when this happens, a whole nation may fall into a decline, and
A week before Sister Florecita’s
death, the Officials once again came from
Sister Florecita never, never felt any bitterness, she asked that her body NOT
be returned to
Basil Heiser at the Sacred Congregation for Religious in
In the years just prior to Sister Florecita’s death,
numerous priests and sisters who had studied the contemplative lifestyle of the
Sisters at Our Lady of Nativity Cloister had advised them to separate from the
McNicholas, who helped get the cloister started, warned the contemplative
group, “Because your Congregation has always been too geared toward activity, I
doubt if the Sisters of the Precious Blood will ever understand and appreciate
a Contemplative Group.” He even
warned them to expect problems down the road.
Now separation was forced upon them. Sr. Mary Ephrem finished a new Rule
of Life for the Contemplatives of the Indwelling Most Holy Trinity begun by
Sister Mary Florecita. It had been
December 31, 1979: The Sisters of the Precious Blood sell the Our Lady of Nativity Convent and property
Just months after Sister Florecita’s death, the convent building and 2 acre property was sold to local businessman, Herman Clouse, for $150,000. The Seneca County Courthouse shows this land contract being signed on January 31, 1980 and only finalized in 1994. When Mother Aquinas originally gave Sister Florecita part of the convent for the cloister, it was on the condition that she find the donations herself to renovate the dilapidated building and be totally self-supporting. Receipts show that Sister Florecita had put $800,000 worth of renovations into the convent and even added a whole new wing of bedrooms. After years of service to the active community and after all the money they themselves had raised for the convent, being financially independent of the active group, nothing was given to these contemplative sisters when it was sold. In fact part of the property (15 acres) was given away for $1.00 and only taxes ($12,000) was paid for all this land. (This deed of sale seems illegal.)
Instead, they were put out to fend for themselves, not at all like the just division of property and charitable treatment afforded the Precious Blood Sisters by the Precious Blood Fathers in 1878 when the Church decreed male congregations holding common property with female congregations should separate. The history of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, Not With Silver or Gold, page 233, describes the fair way the Fathers handled that separation with the Sisters.
Additionally, a 15 acre property along the Sandusky River in Tiffin, OH, 1020 West County Road 6, was given exclusively to the Contemplative Sisters by Father Charles Edward Coughlin from Michigan, so they could build a new monastery or retreat for themselves. When the active group heard of this deed, they asked to see it and then sold it rapidly in a closed market deal. The current owners are Kenneth and Marie Schroth. Attorneys Marley and Marley from Fostoria, convinced this property, given by the priest precisely and only to the cloister, which was a separate papal enclosure and should have the right of separate ownership, had begun proceedings to protect it for the Contemplative Sisters by incorporating them when it was sold before this could be done.
the Our Lady of Nativity Convent in New Riegel, Mr. Clouse renamed it the
(See the letter following, written in August of 1981 by Sister Mary Ephrem to Sister Zita of the Marist Sisters in Massachusetts, regarding this forced separation and the trials the remaining sisters endured.)
August 14, 1980: Non-acceptance of the Message
Our Lady tells Sister,
Beloved daughter, you are not being accepted because you are a small one. But in the end all will come as I desire. Those who oppose you will receive light to understand.
November 22, 1980: Leadership of the
It is the
February 11, 1981: The shortness of time and a terrible purification about to fall upon all nations
Mary Ephrem speaks of the shortness of time allotted to us to pray and make the
necessary sacrifices to bring about world peace. There is an urgency about Our Lady’s warnings
of a terrible
purification that is about to fall upon all nations. She advises us to pray the family rosary with
as many family members present as possible, and to pray the prayer to the
Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the
Our Lady warns
their hatred is now particularly focused on the
April and July, 1981: Special warnings from Our Lady and Our Lord on the insidiousness of evil
“Dear child, evil is so insidious that it often passes for good. The simple and pure of heart alone can detect the difference. Many good works and many a good person or persons are thwarted and destroyed by apparently good people who are manipulated by the powers of evil because they do not possess that finer sense of being able to detect a false spirit from a true one.
Many unnatural acts are being committed in the name of love. This evil is being disguised and tolerated as an intrinsic right like any other. Even some of My priests and consecrated virgins are being caught up into this web of evil, not realizing its terrible consequences.
My dearest one, many false doctrines are being taught and for many the true Christ is never made known ….Seek Me for I only am truth, I only am the Christ.
August, 1981: Sister Mary Ephrem writes Sister Mary Zita regarding the loss of the monastery
“Yes, Sister, we were forced out of our monastery through jealousy and lack of understanding. The Superiors did not seem to appreciate or try to understand our contemplative vocation. According to them, ours was a wasted life. I’m just afraid, dear Sister, that prayer, real prayer, has taken a back seat in the lives of quite a few priests and nuns. Everything else seems to be considered of greater importance. That is where the powers of evil are wreaking their havoc. They are influencing even many good people by appearing as angels of light. This is where the great danger is. Two of our group left the Order. The other two went back into the active life of the Order and the three of us, including our dear Foundress, asked for an extended leave so as to be able to continue our contemplative life. In the meantime, our dear Foundress passed away, a heart attack brought on by shock and grief. She was a saint. The two of us remained with her until she passed away.
We are striving to continue our contemplative way of life amid pain and hardship. I was told years back that I would have much to suffer, and I was asked if I would be willing and would accept all this suffering to give Him, our Lord, for souls. My answer was “Yes” as proof of my love for Him. Dear Sister, never did I realize what would be asked of me or what I would have to face, but I do not regret any of it, as I love Him so much.”
August 22, 1981: Angel Sultra and Archangel Sardus appear
Angel Sultra, Power of God, is the
guardian and protector of the
1981: Later messages after Archbishop Leibold’s death are printed at the direction of Fr. Edmund Morman, Sister’s new spiritual director
the first that the messages are put in booklet form and published with a
printer, with the later messages added as an addendum. It is
the first publication of the complete Diary of Our Lady of
1983: Sister Mildred describes the betrayal she felt from the active group’s forced closing of the cloister
In his December 1983 article in Fidelity magazine, E. Michael Jones writes about his interview with Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred) Neuzil and the forcing of the contemplative sisters out of their monastery.
“As part of the specious renewal of religious life in this country, one based oftentimes on a willful misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council, and as a result of internal dissension within the order, the Sisters of the Precious Blood terminated their cloister. Sister Mildred, because she chose to remain in the contemplative life, was forced to leave her order along with one other nun and the foundress of the order, who was in her seventies at the time. The foundress has since died and now Sister Mildred and her fellow sister lead the contemplative life in a house across from a nearby Union Carbide plant. They are now attempting to breed dogs as a way of supporting themselves. Sister Mildred still feels betrayed and considers her anger a sign of her own spiritual imperfection.
“You’d think having the visions would make a difference,” she said as I drove her away from the former cloister, “but they don’t. The anger is fading, but the pain will always be with me.” Pg. 6, Fidelity, Dec. 1983.
February 17, 1986: Death of Fr. Edmund Morman, SVD
Father died in an automobile accident on Presidents Day, February 17. He had a great love for our presidents and it is said that he carried pictures of his favorite presidents in his wallet. The Holy Family Renewal Center where the Our Lady of Nativity Convent used to be is renamed the Rev. Edmund Morman Hall in memory of this beloved priest and tireless advocate for Our Lady of America and Sr. Mary Ephrem. In June of 2001 the building, except the new Cloister addition, was destroyed by fire. The remainder of the building was razed in the summer of 2003. That original convent/cloister site called the “Cradle of the Community” for the Precious Blood sisters was declared an historical site by the Ohio Historical Society and dedicated as such on October 14, 2007.
Morman’s letter to Most. Rev. John A. Donovan of the
“I was present and was able to counsel and comfort the Sisters here during their time of terrible trial, and at the death of Sister Florecita. Now on December 31, 1979 the convent was sold and all the Sisters remaining left, among them Sister M. Leandra who had taken care of Bishop George G. Rehring until he retired.”
1988: National Rosary Congress and Our Lady of
Fr. Lionel Pare and Mr. John Downs had a statue of Our
Lady of America carved for procession at the 1988 National Rosary Congress. Having
been inspired by the 1982 article in Fatima
Findings, authored by Fr. John Ryan, founder of the Reparation Society in
Mrs. Donna Mae Halsted of Meadow Vista, CA, sculpted a
300 lb. 4 foot statue of Our Lady of America, a 19 inch statue and a painting
of Our Lady of America according to the specifications given her by Sr. Mary
Ephrem which were then approved by Sr. Mary Ephrem herself. The statue was
created for the youth of northern
In addition to those people mentioned throughout this
history, many other religious and lay people have taken part in this dedicated
and continuous promotion of Our Lady’s cause over the years. Some of these devoted individuals are Fr.
Walter Abbott, S.J. editor of the Vatican II documents; Fr. William Carroll, a
Mariologist from Boston; Fr. Jack Meade; Fr. Luke Zimmer; Fr. Hebert, S.M.; Fr.
Kazimir Chwalek; Fr. Smolenski of St. Joseph’s Place; Michael Brown of www.spiritdaily.com; both Sr. Benita and
Sr. Mary Zita of the Marist Sisters; Marie Hunt; Helen and Carl Fahrner,
statue created in the previous year by Mrs. Halsted is processed in
July 1993: First Wednesday Mass
with Fr. Siro Dal Degan and talks on Our Lady of America at St. Philomene’s
September, 1993: First Wednesday
Mass in honor of
1993 Sacred Heart Cenacle,
October, 1993: Marian Conference in
October, 1993: Northwest
Eucharistic Marian Conference, Lacey,
December 5, 1993: Talks on Our Lady of
December 7, 1993: Our Lady of
America statue is taken to the Magnificat Catholic Women’s Luncheon in
1993 The Petition Drive to place Our Lady of
October, 1994: Our Lady’s statue goes on the 101 Foundation Peace Flight to underground China, Japan, the Philippines, Belgium, Fatima and elsewhere
Fr. Luke Zimmer and Darlene Claflin took the small
pilgrim statue of Our Lady of America to Asia and
January 1, 1994: Sister Mary Ephrem wills all her earthly possessions, all her copyrights and trademarks for the devotion to Our Lady of America to Sister Joseph Therese (Patricia Ann) Fuller
Along with willing her possessions and copyrights and trademarks to Sister Joseph Therese, Sister Mary Ephrem personally charged Sister with the protection of the messages, guarding them against additions, deletions and any form of contamination. That charge is greater than any legal document.
(see copy of Sister Mary Ephrem’s will that follows)
1994: Cause of Our Lady of
Lionel Pare was the first person to bring the cause of Our Lady of America and
Sr. Mary Ephrem to the
January, 1994: The Icon of Our
The Icon of Our Lady of America was shown being blessed and installed in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the issue of SOPHIA, the Melkite Journal of the Eparchy of Newton, MA.
January 5, 1994:
Audrey Frank speaks on Our Lady of America and Pro-Life issues at the Poor Clares’ St. Joseph Monastery.
1994 onward: Sr. Mary Ephrem’s cross takes on new form
Sister Mildred led a life of hidden sufferings which she accepted with love and great patience. Given a haven of rest, but not from suffering as Our Lady said, she endured a broken hip in January 1994 which compounded her physical adversities. With crippling arthritis, a ruptured appendix and especially severe asthma, Sister’s distresses were, at times, life threatening. . Despite adversity Sister worked tirelessly for Our Lady of America and her cloistered family. With each step closer, and usually on the eve of each victory reported for Our Lady of America, Sister Mildred would suffer intense physical pains and many times battled spiritual attacks designed to discourage her from praying.
For example, just before World Youth Day 1993, one night she suffered from terrible abdominal pain and the “old Boy” (her name for Satan) suddenly appeared as his horrible real self, trying to entice her to “just say that you made it all up and I promise you will not suffer anymore pain.” She stated, “If God required her life or suffering, so be it.” She reported on the “old Boy’s” physical assaults and hateful glares. After World Youth Day her physical pain intensified with each victory; she was especially inflicted with the terrible crippling pain of osteoarthritis complicated by rheumatoid arthritis. Medical treatments to alleviate pain were negligible or made her suffering worse with the complications of side effects. She would hide her moans when people were near her. Certain points on her body radiated such excruciating pain that it was sometimes quietly wondered if she had the hidden stigmata.
Her deteriorating condition pained all who saw her gnarled hands and body contorted into a near 45-degree angle before she died. Especially tortured by the sight of Sister Mary Ephrem’s enduring pain was Sr. Joseph Therese, CIT, her long time companion, caregiver and cherished Sister, who broke down in tears several times, crying, “I can’t watch you suffer like this anymore.” They were bonded by love and endured all for love of Jesus. They even shared August 2nd birthdays – the feast of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels! Sister Mary Ephrem was often seen surrounded by angels and loved to send people from her presence with “May the angels go with you!”
19-26, 1994: National Rosary Congress
and Year of the Family at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in
Fr. Lionel Pare and the Fatima Blue Army invited the
Torchbearers of the Queen Youth, St. Dominic’s,
1994: The devotion is promoted all around the country
- January – February, 1994: Pilgrim statue visits/talks are hosted in the
New England area by Fr. Smolenski at St. Martha’s,
- Visits and talks are hosted in
- Statue visits and talks by Audrey Frank included Gaithersburg, MD; Mt. St. Mary’s, Emmitsburg, MD, welcomed by Msgr. Hugh Phillips, Potomac, MD; Rosary Cenacle, GOSPA prayer meeting Holy Hour and blessing by Fr. Kazimer Chwalek held at the Convent Chapel of the Oblates of the Blessed Sacrament in Washington, D.C. (where a young cloistered sister said it was through Our Lady of America and Sister Mary Ephrem that she found her vocation, and that she prays daily for the fulfillment of Our Lady of America’s desires).
- Presentation to St. Mary’s youth group,
- Six weeks Pilgrimage with Our Lady of
America small World Youth Day statue sponsored by 3rd Order Marist
and Legion of Mary in
- Fr. William Carroll,
- Joseph’s Hall, 3rd Order Marist Mass, Benediction, Rosary.
- Marist Convent,
- Little Audrey Santo Mass and Rosary, January 21, 1994, Feast of St. Agnes.
- Marian prayer group -
- St. Hedwig’s Church, Pastor Fr. Brunislaw
- Our Lady of
- March 25,1994 Procession, crowning,
consecration St. Dominic’s,
- May 1994 Small statue and Our Lady of America picture in Youth Rosary procession at Sacramento Diocese annual Mary’s Hour, St. Rose Church.
- AUGUST 1994 Youth for Life NATIONAL YOUTH DAY REUNION CONFERENCE: American & Canadian Youth reunite after World Youth Day for a Marian Conference in Prayer, Adoration, and Torchbearers of the Queen process 300 pound statue of Our Lady of America with Youth for Life image of Our Lady of Guadalupe during the Pro Life 6 mile Rosary & Divine Mercy walk to Denver abortion clinic.
- October 1994 - Diocese Fresno, California, Marian Conference Newsletter article on Our Lady of America.
1995: Promotion of the devotion continues
- Torchbearers of the Queen youth group
- June 1995 - Holy Innocents Pro Life Mass/Rosary and talk
- St. Philomene’s Church,
- July 1995 - Fr. Orbis, Divine Word
Missionary, Retreat & Mass at
- October 13, 1995 - Holy Innocents, Pro Life Rosary & Mass celebrated by Bishop Weigand
- St. Philomene’s Church - Youth process 300 lb. Statue of Our Lady of America, Rosary, Mass and Pro Life talk.
- November 27,1995 - Mary’s Peace Mass, St.
Charles Borromeo, Sacramento, CA. Northern California youth groups process Our
Lady of America and lead Rosary/Divine Mercy Chaplet, followed by Mass. Music by St. Rose’s Life Teen Music Group,
World Youth Day in the
Youth “Torchbearers of the Queen” travel with the small
pilgrim statue of Our Lady of America to World Youth Day in
1996: Promotion of the devotion spreads still more
- Sacred Heart Cenacle Rosary at the
- August 1996 - Massachusetts Petition drives/Our Lady of America talks sponsored by New England Our Lady of America group with Life Foundation speakers on Our Lady of Guadalupe and Divine Mercy.
- Procession of small Pilgrim statue at
November 11, 1997: Archbishop Leibold’s appearance
At precisely 1:00 pm on Veteran’s Day, Archbishop Paul Leibold suddenly appears before Sister Mildred Marie, startling her, and he reassures Sister that he will finish from heaven what he started on earth. (Having Our Lady of America’s Statue placed in the National Shrine.) Then, at exactly 1:01 pm, Archbishop Leibold is gone! He appears every day at 1:00 pm and leaves at 1:01 pm for a full year! Thereafter he remains at her side, along with her other constant companions, Our Lady of America, St. Michael, the angels, and now the Holy Spirit in the form of a white dove resting on her lap. They remain present with her until she dies.
1997: Promotion of the devotion continues with undying dedication
- Cecile and Bill Degan and a Bishop from
- November 1997-
- August meeting with MA Our Lady of America
group at Marist Convent, arranged by Sr. Benita and Sr. Zita. In attendance
were Fr. Jack Meade, Fr. William Carroll, Fr. Walter Abbott and Audrey Frank
from CA Torchbearers of the Queen Group to discuss petitions and ways to place
Our Lady’s statue in the National Shrine. Fr. Abbott, S.J. gives “Inside the
Vatican” editorial in which Pope John Paul II would like to visit a US Marian
shrine one more time before he
dies. Recommended is a formal study of the messages of Our Lady of America and
the unique graces bestowed upon
Youth 2000 Eucharistic 3 Day Retreat, St. Rose Church,
1997: World Youth Day in
May, 1997: Pope John Paul II expresses his desire to visit the United States one more time in relation to some Marian occasion In his editorial, “The Consecration,” in the May, 1997 issue of Inside the Vatican, Robert Moynihan quotes Pope John Paul II’s private secretary, Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz, that the Holy Father desires to visit the United States one more time. He wishes to honor the Blessed Mother, to address the sexual morality in the West and to urge Americans to turn to Mary and to dramatically and symbolically link the great Western democracy more closely to her. Mr. Moynihan states:
the Pope, Mary, Daughter of Sion, is the perfect example and embodiment of “fairest
love,” for it was through such love that the Son of God took on human flesh.
Much has been made about the need to consecrate
But the need to consecrate
1998: Promotion of Our Lady’s cause is relentless
- Sister Mary Benita, SMSM, traveled home to
- September 1998 -
- September 1998 -
July 1998: Sr. Mary Ephrem focuses on the importance of the Divine Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity in our souls, the central doctrine of our Faith
Sr. Mary Ephrem relates that all the Church approved apparitions of Mary converge in this one to Our Lady of America because of its central focus on the awesome mystery and doctrine of the Divine Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity in our souls, sanctifying grace, the source of all holiness, which must come from within! The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the mystery of the Trinity the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith.
In August of 1998 Sister Joseph Therese finds Sister Mary Ephrem all aglow with a most radiant light emanating from her smiling face. Sister Joseph Therese falls to the ground on her knees, wondrously gazing at Sister Mary Ephrem’s most beautiful countenance. When she asks Sister, “What is it? What’s going on?’ Sister answers delightedly, “There are angels everywhere, and light everywhere. Every bit of space is occupied with angels!”
Rose Church, Roseville, CA Youth Eucharistic 3 day Retreat - Our Lady of
January 1, 2000: Our Lady is crowned at the National Basilica on the first day of the New Millennium, the First Saturday
Members of the Reparation Society from
January 10, 2000: The death of Sr. Mary Ephrem Neuzil, the “little secretary of Jesus’ Heart” and the “little white dove”
January 10, 2000, the first year of the New Millennium, this humble, holy soul,
Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Marie) Neuzil, at age 83, was set free from the
cross she had so willingly embraced for the cause of Our Lady of America. She was set free to receive her full communion with the Most Holy and Triune
God that had dwelt so intimately within her while on earth. Her funeral Mass
was celebrated at the Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation in
Mary Ephrem committed the completion of her work and the protection of the
purity of the message of Our Lady of
April/May, 2000: The Message is put in the hands of America’s Cardinals and Bishops and Pope John Paul II
Since Our Lady herself asked that her request to be honored
in the National Basilica be put in the hands of her beloved sons, her bishops,
nearly 300 packets of information on Our Lady of America were sent to
Cardinals, Bishops and Auxiliary Bishops.
Information was both mailed to and taken to
May, 2000: Michael Brown features many articles on Our
When Our Lady’s messages were covered on Michael Brown’s
web site, www.spiritdaily.com, calls
came into the Our Lady of America Center in
2000: World Youth Day in
September 26, 2000:
The plaque of Our Lady of
One of the plaques of Our Lady of America, commissioned by
the late Archbishop Leibold, was processed by a St. Boniface Pro-Life group in
the Pro-Life Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in
2000 – 2001: A Newsletter for Our Lady of
Newsletters Volume I and II outlining the information and messages of Our Lady of America were mailed to bishops and laity around the country. They were halted when scandal broke out in the Church, calling for a retreat into prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Summer 2001: Our
Under last minute inspiration, Maureen Flynn, editor, changes
plans for the summer 2001 edition of the Signs
and Wonders magazine and decides to feature Our Lady of America. The cover is done in red, white and blue and
pictures Our Lady of America centered with the images of the National Capital,
the seat of our American government, and the National Basilica, seat of the
October 2 – December 22, 2001:
The large pilgrim statue of Our Lady of America is taken on a 3 month tour around the country, stopping at the National Basilica for the Week of Prayer to end abortion, the third time the statue is processed at the Basilica
The 4 foot statue of Our Lady of America was taken on a 3
month tour throughout
- National Week of Prayer and Fasting at
the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,
- Ground Zero - following 9/11/2001.
- Marist Sisters Convent,
- Fr. Tom Di Lorenzo - Charismatic Mass
& a Radio Interview, St. Mary’s
- St. John
- The pilgrim statue was taken to the John
Paul II Conference of Christian Spirituality in
- At Thanksgiving time, Mother Angelica brought Our Lady of America’s statue into her private cloister chapel and Collin Donovan, EWTN Theologian, introduced Our Lady of America to the EWTN board.
- Archbishop Flores granted permission to
Anna Jimenez to have the statue of Our Lady of America brought to St. Therese,
the Little Flower’s
- The statue was invited to the Marian
Conference by Mimi Kelly of the Mir
Prayer Group in
- The Marian Helpers Radio Program featured Our Lady of America and Sr. Mary Ephrem on their program.
- Archbishop Phillip Hannan’s Focus Television did a 60 Minute special on Sr. Mary Ephrem’s life and the messages of Our Lady of America.
2002: Lay theologian Hugh Owens helps promote the devotion
Hugh Owens, lay theologian associated with the John Paul
II Institute in
2002: World Youth Day in
2003: A request for a statue from the
Fr. Santiago from a poor parish in the
January, 2004: The Pilgrims of St. Michael distribute 34,000 copies of their article on Our Lady of America at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC
Pilgrims of St. Michael, a lay group of evangelists based in
October 2004: Pilgrims from various towns of the
Jean Swenson of Pt. Pleasant, NJ, a devoted child of Mary, has conducted
pilgrimages to the National Basilica each October for the past 29 years in
honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Fatima. This particular pilgrimage added a special
tribute to Our Lady of America and prayers to place our military men and women
in her protection. Our Lady of America’s small statue and framed image were
placed near the Crypt altar during the liturgy while pilgrims prayed for
August, 2004: A new church in
A beautiful stained glass window
with the second image of Our Lady of America approved by Sister Mary Ephrem in
1993 is placed in the new St. Mary’s Church in
January, 2005: Our Lady of America is again promoted by the Pilgrims of St. Michael at the March for Life in Washington, DC
Pilgrims of St. Michael again distribute over 30,000 copies of the newsletter
with the message of Our Lady of America for her children in
2005 World Youth Day in
2005: Our Lady’s statue is processed in
February, Bishop David Ricken of
April 27, 2005: Sr. Monica Schrott, OCD, dies
Monica Schrott, OCD, a long time friend of Sr. Mary Ephrem’s and an ardent
advocate for the cause of the statue of
Our Lady of America in the National Basilica dies at Carmel of the
Assumption in Latrobe, PA. Surely Sr.
Mary Ephrem and Our Lady of America have welcomed her home! The statue she so
vigorously promoted was a joint effort with Sr. Mary Ephrem, Archbishop Leibold
and the Bishop of Connare, PA. Like all
other things that truly belonged to Sr. Mary Ephrem and this devotion, this
statue done under Sister Mary Ephrem’s guidance, was willed to Sr. Joseph
Therese, the sole remaining contemplative sister charged by the visionary to
guard the purity of the devotion. It was
hand delivered to Sister Joseph Therese at the
2008: World Youth Day in
Information on Our Lady of
The web address is www.ourladyofamerica.com
1. SISTER MILDRED MARY NEUZIL, of 1112 McDougal Street, Fostoria, Ohio, being of full age, of sound mind and memory, and not under any restrain, do make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all Wills and Codicils by my heretofore made.
ITEM I. I direct that all my just debts, expenses of last illness, and funeral expenses, together with the expenses of the administration of my estate, and all State and Federal estate, inheritance, succession or Legacy tax which may become due by reason of my decease, be paid out of my estate as soon as practicable after my decease.
ITEM II. All the property, real and personal, of every king and description, wheresoever situates, which I may own or have the right to dispose of at the time of my decease, including but not limited to any and all copyrights and other items concerning “Our Lady of America” and/or the Contemplative Sisters and/or the home at 1112 McDougal Street, Fostoria, Ohio, and all other real and personal property, which I may own or have the right to dispose of I give, bequeath and devise to Sister Joseph Therese, aka, Patricia Fuller, absolutely and in fee simple, per stirpes.
ITEM III. I make, nominate and appoint Sister Joseph Therese, aka, Patricia Fuller, to be the executor of this, my Last Will and Testament, hereby authorizing and empowering my said executor to compound, compromise, settle and adjust all claims and demands in favor of or against my estate, and to sell oat private or public sale, without curt order, at such prices and upon such terms of credit or otherwise, as she may deem best, the whole or any past of my real or personal property, and to execute acknowledge and deliver deeds and other proper instruments or conveyance hereof to the purchaser or purchasers.
I request that no bond be required of Sister Joseph Therese, as such fiduciary.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have
hereunto set my hand at
SISTER MILDRED MARY NEUZIL
Signed by the said SISTER MILDRED MARY NEUZIL, and by her acknowledged to be her Last Will and Testament, herby before us and in our presence, and by us subscribed as attesting witnesses, in her presence and at her request, and in the presence of each other, this 31st day of January, A.D. 1994.
Signed R. Burger
------------------------------- Residing at
Signed Connie S. Wolford
------------------- Residing at
1. Certificate of Copyright for Our Lady of America sculpture
2. Certificate of Copyright for Our Lady of America cassette
3. Certificate of Copyright for Our Lady of America painting
4. Certificate of Copyright for Our Lady of America novena
(a copy of the actual Signed document in my possession)
before the start or close of
We Lived With A Saint
By Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil (Seer of Our Lady of
Sister Mary Florecita Bidart
was born on May 4, 1904, in
For over 30 years Sister
Florecita taught in schools of the Congregation of the Precious Blood in
For sometime Sister was also
director of the
Whatever Sister Florecita undertook, with her complete trust in God, turned out to be a tremendous success; yet, she was never ambitious in seeking glory for herself, but only for God.
Sister always felt drawn to a
Sister Mary Florecita worked toward this idea for over 25 years, and at four General Chapters Sister was promised that the Cloister would be voted on but each time it was never brought to the floor until, at one Chapter, Archbishop Alter, himself, brought it to the Chapter floor and since the Bishop, himself, presented the petition, it was voted, passed and accepted by the Congregation.
With the help and encouragement of Archbishop McNicholas, Archbishop Alter, Bishop Marling, Archbishop Leibold, Msgr. Markham and Bishop Rehring, Sister Florecita’s dream became a reality. Archbishop McNicholas did say to Sister: “Because your Congregation has always been too geared toward activity, I doubt if the Sisters of the Precious Blood will ever understand and appreciate a Contemplative Group.” His prediction has been proven true.
Mother Aquinas told Sister Florecita that she could have part of the New Riegel convent for the Cloister, if she could remodel and do whatever was needed on her own through donations, etc. It meant a lot of hard work and planning for Sister as she also was teaching school here at St. Boniface and working at night on the Cloister.
The interior of the present convent was completely renovated and the grounds within the enclosure were beautifully landscaped. Additional ground in the back was purchased by Sister Florecita for a large vegetable garden and an enclosure wall was built. Printing equipment was purchased as needed. All this was paid for by donations from Sister Florecita’s friends and benefactors.
Twelve years ago, Sister
found it necessary to put up a new wing as added quarters were required for
they were growing in number. Again the building and furnishings were paid for
by Sister Florecita from donations received.
The Congregation in
A figure well over $800,000 was spent at New Riegel.
The Statues of the
In December of 1977, the
The Contemplative Group at
New Riegel, seeing the injustice of the whole matter, asked the Officials in
For sometime, because of the difficulty and pressures the Congregation put on the Cloister, this idea for separation was thought about but Sister Florecita would always say, “When the Lord wants us to separate, He will give us a sign.” And this He did by their forcing to break up the Contemplative Community. Part of the difficulty we were experiencing was due to the Congregation trying to force their polices of an active life upon us.
Sister Mary Florecita had all the Characteristics of a true Foundress – Absolute Faith and Trust in God; Strength of Character; True Generosity; Insight; Simplicity; Discernment and Vision.
So like all Great Souls she was much misunderstood. In spite of being rejected, treated unjustly, brought to judgment without a trial, Sister went on trusting in God, remaining faithful and accusing no one.
Even though the Congregation to which she had belonged, completely destroyed all that she spent her life working and suffering for, Sister’s faith and trust in God was unwavering. Sister was also called a failure by the Bishop of the Diocese just two months before her death because of the untrue stories told him.
We know that Sister Florecita was not a failure but too much of the success for certain minds to comprehend. Like Christ, Himself, who went before her, was also considered a failure and was completely rejected by so many, the same is true with sister. Sister Florecita’s work and belief in Contemplative Prayer as a Way of Life will continue in the lives of her two Contemplative Sisters, who survive her and in the years for those that will follow.
Yes, Sister was too much of a success to be accepted for what she really was. Her generosity of heart was of such an all embracing nature that it was bound to be misconstrued and criticized by those who did not really know her and the Seal of Success on her work as God sees it. This will be proven in the years now following her death.
A week before Sister
Florecita’s death, the Officials once again came from
Sister Florecita along with
us asked for exclaustration. Several
weeks ago when we spoke to Father Basil Heiser at the Sacred Congregation for
The Sacred Congregation in
We thank God for giving us the privilege of living with a Saint. We know that at all times she will be with us as she promised she would be both in life and in death. Before she died, she called us, “The Little Trinity.” As a priest friend once said of her, she is like a cowboy, a truly free spirit, riding the prairie, her eyes fixed on God. Sister Mary Florecita never let herself be upset by little things. She considered these of no consequences and a waste of time to dwell upon. She was a woman of greatness, concerned only about the greater things of life and her relationship with God. One of her favorite mottos was, “Never look back with bitterness or regret. The past is past! Rather, go forward to the work of God waiting for you.” Her special psalm was Psalm 37, “Commit your life to the Lord: Trust in Him and He will act, etc.”
As Father Gorman said at the Eulogy of Sister’s Funeral Mass, “She died before she died and so she did not die.” Sister Mary Florecita Bidart lives forever, especially in the hearts and lives of her two surviving Contemplative Sisters, Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil and Sister Joseph Therese Fuller.
She marched to the music of a different drummer.
If anyone would like to know any more about Sister Florecita, please write to Sister Mildred Marie and Sister Joseph Therese.
Written and signed by
Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil
Sister Joseph Therese Fuller
I think this letter is important because people today are claiming that Sister Joseph Therese Fuller is not a nun. If she is not a nun (More evidence that she is coming soon), then the seer of Our Lady of American, was not a nun either. So by attacking Sister Joseph Therese Fuller, they are attacking Our Lady of America.
New web site for Our Lady of America – www.ourladyofamerica.com
Copyright – Contemplative Sisters of the Indwelling Trinity