Have you ever heard of Our Lady of America? If you haven't, don't be embarrassed. The title is not well known in most Chicago circles because it hasn't been publicized by Church officials. However, for many Catholics in northern Ohio, Our Lady of America is an integral part of their faith.
The phrase refers to a name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary based on private revelations reported by Sister Mary Mildred Neuzil (then using the name Sister Mary Ephrem) of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. According to her diary, the Virgin Mary first appeared to her on September 25, 1956. This appearance by the Virgin Mary was both approved and promoted by Paul Francis Leibold, Archbishop of Cincinnati. However, the Vatican has not yet officially recognized or approved the alleged apparitions according to the personal diary of Sister Mary Ephrem, so it remains a local devotion in the United States. The revelations were first published in 1960, and then again nationally in 1972. Sister Mary died in 2000, at the age of 83.
If you're curious about all of this and would like to learn more, you're in for a treat. The Bethany House of Prayer is Presenting it's Fourth Annual “God Bless America” Conference on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. It will be at the Tinley Part Convention Center (18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477) from 8:00 am. - 5:00 pm. The conference will open with a prayer, followed by a rosary devotion, a song (“God Bless America”), and then a box lunch and several speakers. The event is being hosted with the permission of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, with Denise Riedl providing the songs and Larry Haptas providing the music. Speakers include:
- Father Chris Crotty, CPM
- Fathers of Mercy
- Founder, Institute of the Holy Spirit
- Healing and Deliverance, EWTN Speaker
- Mary Bernadette
- Author, Diary of a Prayer Warrior
- Father Stephen Lesniewski
- Author, pro-life video producer, and speaker
The topics they will speaking on include: 1) Our Lady's roles as Mother of Eucharist and Grace, 2) The Appearances of Our Lady of America, and 3) The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The registration fee for this conference is $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. If you would like to pay in advance, tickets can be made payable to: Bethany House of Prayer, P.O. Box 235, Lansing, Illinois 60438. The organization can also be reached via email BethanyHouseChicago@aol.com, or via phone at (312) 343-7987.
If you can't make this event, there will also be a later Our Lady of America Conference and Healing Mass, on Sept. 25, 2013, from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., at Stagg High School, 8015 W. 111th St., Palos Hills, IL. It is co-sponsored by St. Michael League and Bethany House of Prayer. For more information about the second conference, you can call (708) 707-0980.
Let's remember what a special event this is for Chicago area Catholics. At long last, we have a unique story about the Virgin Mary that is coming to America. So what are you waiting for? Come check it out while you can!