Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 16th: Japan - Our Lady of Akita

The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa of Akita, Japan

The extraordinary events began on June 12, 1973, when Sr. Agnes saw brilliant mysterious rays emanate suddenly from the tabernacle. The same thing happened on each of the two days that followed.

On June 28, 1973, a cross-shaped wound appeared on the inside left hand of Sr. Agnes. It bled profusely and caused her much pain. On July 6, Sr. Agnes heard a voice coming from the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the chapel where she was praying. The statue was carved from a single block of wood from a Katsura tree and is three feet tall. On the same day, a few of the sisters noticed drops of blood flowing from the statue's right hand. On four occasions, this act of blood flow repeated itself. The wound in the statue's hand remained until September 29, when it disappeared. On September 29, the day the wound on the statue disappeared, the sisters noticed the statue had now begun to "sweat", especially on the forehead and neck. On August 3, Sr. Agnes received a second message. On October 13, she received a final third message.

Two years later on January 4, 1975, the statue of the Blessed Virgin began to weep. It continued to weep at intervals for the next 6 years and eight months. It wept on 101 occasions. (EWTN)

My guess is that I am not the only person who had no idea that Mary had appeared to a Japanese nun as recently as the 1970s, and that the Church had approved these apparitions:
June, 1988—Vatican City—Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gives definitive judgement on the Akita events and messages as reliable and worthy of belief.
You can read the messages given to Sr. Agnes at the EWTN website. More detail about the apparitions is given here. A number of booklets, DVDs and prayercards are available from Marianland.

You can find out about the modern Catholic Church in Japan from the Catholic Bishop's Conference of Japan. This site also includes a timeline of the history of the Japanese Church. Read more about Japanese Catholic history here at the website of the Daughters of Saint Paul in Japan.
Akita Prayer

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your heart, being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father pleading for the coming of His Kingdom.

Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and salvation of souls.

Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your special child. Amen.

(Source: St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church)

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