Today’s question: How do you know that God is real?

saints

Question: How do you know that God is real?

Answer: Many years ago, I decided to take some time off and devote two full years to the study of all world religions, after which I chose to be Catholic.

Then, I spent another ten years studying the faith while working in Catholic parishes; teaching, doing social work and heading up various offices and initiatives, just to see how things actually worked.

Today, I answer questions on-line and operate a Catholic website: http://www.askmeaboutgod.org.

I know God is real because he reveals himself to me in many different ways; particularly through study, worship and sacraments, through fellowship with other Christians and through occasional miracles of various kinds.

Once you come to know God it’s a fairly simple matter to pray without ceasing; staying in constant touch with the Almighty, in a very intimate, complete and powerful way.

The power of that relationship extends also to my friends and family; some of whom are not yet believers. I trust that, by the grace of God, all soon will be.

To sum it all up:

God answers my prayers.

God provides for all my needs.

God speaks to me when I need to hear from him.

God blesses me beyond measure.

God gives me hope.

For my part, I do my best to know, love and serve God,

every way I can, and to give him the thanks,

praise and worship that he is due.

Today’s Question: Do you have a favorite prayer?


Question:
Do you have a favorite prayer?

Answer: I have a number of “favorite” prayers, but here’s one of the simplest, which has proved to extraordinarily powerful and effective for me, especially in times of crisis:

“Lord, I could use a little help, right now!”

Miracles have sometimes, shortly followed.

This simple but powerful prayer is ALWAYS TRUE
and it also demonstrates TRUE FAITH,
since I wouldn’t have invoked divine assistance,
if I didn’t FULLY BELIEVE that I would RECEIVE IT.

Praise God, I’m NOT superstitious and have absolutely no regard for knocking on wood, “lucky” rabbit’s feet, natural forces, demons, or idols.

Such a prayer also leaves one’s ultimate fate solely in God’s most capable hands; which is where it always is and always should be; no matter what.

Try it. It works!

Today’s Question: Can you tell us of an experience in prayer?

Today’s Question: Can you tell us of an experience in prayer?

Answer: While on the way to an important Church meeting, the head gasket on my car engine failed, all the anti-freeze blew out, the engine overheated, the car stalled and I was stranded, about an hour (rush hour travel time) away.

I invoked God’s assistance, explaining that if he wanted me to get to the meeting, I would need a little help. Then, I said a quick, Hail Mary and turned the ignition key.

The car started. Steam was shooting out of the engine and all the trouble lights on the dash were shining brightly.

I pulled out into rush hour traffic, anyway.

The steam shortly quit coming out. Then, the trouble lights also went out.

I successfully made my way to the meeting (on time) and later, all the way back home, where I added a gallon or two of fresh anti-freeze.

I drove the same car for another two years.

I never knew that the Blessed Virgin Mary could fix a bad head gasket! Perhaps an angel was also involved.

I went on to experience a number of other miracles, both big and small, while working on that particular Church project.

True story!

Asked and answered today on Yahoo! Answers.

A study: What we can possibly know (with some degree of certainty) about the Anti-Christ

antichristcloseup

It is on the unquestionable authority of miracles that the truth of the Christian religion is established and believed by all those who are sincere seekers of the truth.

This impostor will make use of the same means to create objections against the Church of God.  According to St. Paul, his event will be sig­nalized by numerous signs and prodigies due to the operation of Satan; he will work all kinds of miracles, signs, and deceitful prodigies, whose “coming is according to the working of Satan, in ail power, in signs and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish,” (2 Thess, 2:9-10].  And we are told in the Apocalypse [13:13) that great will be the things which he will do to deceive mankind. “And he did great signs, so that he made also fire to come down from heaven unto the earth in the sight of men,” The same is said of him by the evangelist when he speaks of false prophets and false Christs. [Math. 13:22), “For there will rise up false Christs and false prophets and they shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect”.

Holy Writ furnishes three examples of the miracles that will be wrought by Antichrist: “He shall cause first to come down from heaven,” (Apoc, 13:13).  “He shall make the beast speak,” (Apoc, 13:15), And finally, he will pass for being dead (Apoc. 13:3), and then he will, as it were, raise himself to life, thus securing the admiration and homage of all men.  The holy Fathers are very explicit on this point and give many details on it.  St. Clement, in his workentitled Third Book of Recogni­tions, a work on which we may rely as being authentic in spite of the rude attacks made upon it, relates as coming from St. Peter himself that the accursed man will have power to perform miracles of beneficence like those of Our Saviour.  St, Hipollytus, in his work on the consumma­tion of time, does not hesitate to affirm wonderful things which he ap­parently held from apostolic tradition.  He will heal lepers, make the lame to walk, cast out demons, raise the dead to life.  He will know the most secret and hidden things.  He will move mountains, walk on the waves of the sea, turn day into night, and vine versa.  He will direct the course of the sun at will, and finally, appear as being the master of the elements.

He will therefore appear as having performed miracles similar to all those wrought by Jesus Christ, in order to eclipse His glory and purloin to his own advantage the honors due to the true Messiah.  But St. Paul warns us that all those miracles, so numerous and striking will be the work of deception.  “Therefore God shall send them the apparition of error to believe lying” (2 Thess. 2:11).  Those miracles will be deceptive in their origin, deceptive to their nature, deceptive in their form, decep­tive in their object.  Reason and faith, assure us that God alone can per­form genuine miracles.  “Blessed be the Lord and God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things”.  (Ps. 71:18).  Hence we are sufficiently warned that those miracles which Antichrist would attribute to his own divinity are the work of Satan, the father of lies, who performs – and cannot perform any other than – false miracles.

The greater part of those prodigies will be optical illusions and dia­bolical charms.  Men shall be deceived by appearances, hence the reason why the Scriptures say that he will work miracles before the eyes of man and not in the sight of God (Apoc, 13:13).

Some of them, it is true, will surpass all human power and will be materially prodigious.  This, however, is not to be wondered at.  In the hierarchy of beings, man is naturally inferior to the angels, even to the fallen angel, who has preserved his natural qualities.  The devils are able to do things which are impossible to man, yet their deeds are miracles relatively and not absolutely, since it does not belong to the province of any created being to perform a miracle properly so called; this re­quires the intervention of divine power, which belongs to God alone. Consequently, of this latter order of miracles, Antichrist will perform none, although some of his prodigies, such as raising the dead to life, which he will seem to do, must have all the appearance of true miracles.

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‘You see, Jan, all you must do is be available and do the work.’

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From the “Jesus” Film Project:

Jan Schlebusch, a wonderful man of God from South Africa, is one of the tens of thousands of volunteers who have shown ‘JESUS,’ using either 16-mm or on video. Jan had taken a most risky step. He was about to show ‘Jesus’ to a small group of hardened criminals in a maximum security prison in South Africa. He was alone in a room with the ‘toughest of the tough’ – robbers, rapists and murderers. Several of them were ‘lifers.’ Jan knew that any one of the prisoners could easily slit his throat with a knife when he dimmed the lights to show ‘Jesus.’

However, despite the pressure he felt, Jan was obedient. As the story unfolded many of the prisoners mocked and swore at the screen. Their language was foul and offensive. Gradually, they quieted down and became more interested in the story. Then an astounding thing happened.

During the crucifixion, several began to weep. By the time the prayer of invitation was completed, hardened criminals — every one of them — were on their knees, sobbing, asking God to forgive them, praying to invite Christ into their lives.

Shocked and amazed, Jan wasn’t sure of what had just happened.

He turned his head to the corner of the room…startled by the sight.

Standing before him was an awesome being, ten-feet tall, robed in brilliant white…an angel.

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God sustains his people – often on a very personal level.

presence

In Florida, a female student survived a rampage by notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, who murdered other girls in her sorority house but stopped in his tracks upon entering her room. He later said a mysterious force stopped him. She was saying the Rosary.

Link

The Miracles of St. Padre Pio (Saint Pio of Pietrelcina)

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A characteristic of many of the miraculous cures effected through Padre Pio’s intercession was that the damaged organ would remain damaged, but would begin to function perfectly after his intervention.

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This light-hearted but informative video explains the connection between Halloween and All Saints Day, plus much, much more.

Watch the video

Frequent miracles and many converts are “par” for the course in the Catholic Diocese of Itangar, India.

Unexpected cases of healing are being witnessed in the Diocese of Itangar. Meanwhile, Catholic presence has increased by 40%.

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Reader question: How does God perform miracles? Is the magic really powerful?

D.B. (on Yahoo Answers) recently asked: How does God perform miracles? Is the magic really powerful?

Doug Lawrence answers: Most things that appear to us as miracles are simply events that were duly scheduled and provided for long, long ago by the creator God of heaven and earth, who made all things out of nothing, according to the power of his word, who knows the end from the beginning, and all things in between  … and who also has an exquisitely flawless sense of timing.

This is not to say that God cannot or will not occasionally go through the trouble of re-shuffling every event in the history of creation in order to perform a miracle. But when you can look at things from God’s unique perspective, such a task would rarely be necessary.

The logic goes something like this: Even before God created the heavens and the earth (an estimated 15 billion years ago) he already knew that you would post this question on the internet, so he also created and supplied the “provision” that would be necessary to furnish your answer: Among certain other things … me!

Such is the divine nature. No “magic” is required.

Link

Why frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance can work miracles.


Romans 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for you are not under the law, but under grace.

Grace is the currency of Heaven … and it’s also the way God enables, empowers, and sanctifies those who love him.

Probably one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the fact that (like all sacraments) it infuses abundant grace into the soul.

How much grace?

For the sake of argument, let’s call it “enough to replace all that had been lost, through sin … plus a little more.”

What does this mean, for Catholics who are seriously pursuing personal holiness, conversion, and ultimate perfection in Jesus Christ?

Every time you make a good confession … no matter how grievously you might have offended God … you leave … absolved of all your sins … but also with (at least) a little more grace in your soul … than you ever had before.

Imagine what would happen,
if every time you went to the bank,
you left with more money in your account
than when you went in!

Scripture informs us that God has always empowered the weak and the infirm in this way:

2Corinthians 12:9  And he said to me:
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for power is made perfect in infirmity.
Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Regularly presenting ourselves before the Lord, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, serves to empower us to overcome any and all of our human infirmities (spiritual weaknesses, and even physical illnesses) through the sufficiency of God’s abundant grace.

Accepting this fact and acting on it (in humility and faith) not only keeps the forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil under control … but it is a sure and certain way to please God … since it also keeps us perfectly centered in his will … and his plan.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven!

Based on all of this, how often should a Catholic go to confession? Probably a lot more often than we do!

Related article

A Supernatural Lost and Found Department

Many, it seems, have had the experience of losing something dear and important, only to find it show up again, in a way that implies the miraculous — and in some cases, seems to preclude any other explanation.

That’s Our Lord: always recovering what we lose! It’s not always a miraculous “materialization.” Most often, He simply directs us as to where to look — whether in our spiritual lives or physical reality.

We have related some of the feedback before. But there has been additional mail.

“About 12 years ago my husband lost his wedding ring,” noted, for example, Peggy Diesburg of Denver. “For three weeks we looked all over for it.  Underneath beds, behind and under furniture. We could not find it anywhere.

“Then on a Sunday morning the ring was lying on top of the bedroom dresser in a very obvious place. Now it’s a place we passed every day (as much as five or six times a day). This was our bedroom dresser! Every day my husband would take his clothes out of the drawer in the dresser and would have easily noticed the ring had it been laying on top. When my husband found the ring on the dresser, he thought I had found the ring and failed to tell him. Of course, that was not the case. I was as surprised as he was when it was found. We both looked at each other in amazement. Definitely a miracle! No other explanation except a miracle.”

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This Week’s Ask Alice: How To Help A Friend Who Has Been Diagnosed With A Terminal Illness.

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Phil Asks: Have you ever been at a loss for words when a close friend has been given bad news? And what would you do after they receive bitter news that they have a year to live?

A close friend who I worked with this past Holiday period, discovered she has cancer. So what is the correct cancer etiquette? Or is there such a thing?

With the news of terminal cancer only a few days old, I still need to know:

· When to speak, when to be silent?

· What to say, what not to say?

· How to listen, and how to listen some more?

Alice Responds: Your compassionate letter about a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer, touched my heart.

On December 29, our daughter, Heather, completed her fourth round of chemotherapy. Now she awaits her second stem cell transplant, for which an adult donor must be found.

Since her original diagnosis of Hodgkins Disease in February of 2007, Heather has patiently endured the mistakes of people who speak before they think, about her challenging situation.

Although I’m not Miss Manners, I’d like to share a few tips from Heather’s experiences in the hope that we all can be more sensitive to our friends in need.

CANCER DO’S AND DON’TS FOR SENSITIVE FRIENDS

DON’T PROBE. Don’t ask life-or-death questions regarding the prognosis or outcome of a friend’s illness.

DON’T OFFER UNSOLICITED ADVICE. Don’t pressure your friend to find another doctor or go to a different hospital. Your friend’s decision involves many variables such as medical insurance or lack of insurance. In most cases, she is receiving care from a doctor she trusts.

DON’T BE A CREPE-HANGER. If your uncle died from cancer, don’t tell your friend about your late uncle’s demise.Also, your friend doesn’t need to hear your theory about why she became ill. She needs your support, not criticism.

DO ASK, “HOW ARE YOU FEELING?” This simple question offers your friend an opportunity to share every detail of her illness or steer the conversation in a different direction if she’s not in the mood for a lengthy chat.

DO LISTEN. Our sick friends need consolers and empathetic listeners. If they want our advice, they will ask for it.

DO SPEAK WORDS OF LOVE. “I love you,” “I’m praying for you,” “I’m here for you.” Love is the universal language of the heart. Before you phone or visit, pray that the Holy Spirit gives you loving words to speak to your friend.

DO CALL TO SAY HELLO. Some people never call a sick friend because they don’t know what to say. “Hello” is the proper greeting. Then let your friend lead the conversation, and you follow.

DO SEND CARDS. Cards that say, “Thinking of you,” or “Here’s a hug,” are always appreciated. Flowers or a box of her favorite cookies work well, too.

Heather’s strong faith, positive attitude, and zest for life make her an inspiration to everyone who knows her.

No one would have guessed that the woman wearing an elegant black gown with stilettos, at the Eve of the Eve Party, at Union Station, had endured 3 1/2 hours of chemotherapy the previous afternoon.

Throughout her treatments, Heather teaches her 6th graders every day and takes courses to complete her administration degree at night. Her loving husband, Mike, shares her abiding faith in God.

Clearly, Heather’s illness is a test of our faith. But I believe in miracles!!!

On Thanksgiving Day our dear friend, Fr. Walter, anointed Heather. Many people are praying for her healing.

Heather is in the care of an excellent earthly oncologist. Moreover, her eternal oncologist is almighty and awesome! I have complete confidence in God’s power to heal my precious daughter and anticipate the day when I’ll proclaim Heather’s healing in this column!

Although your friend was told she has one year to live, her oncologist is simply guessing. Only God knows the exact length of your friend’s life, and He isn’t telling. Meanwhile, there’s always hope for your friend. Never underestimate the power of prayer, the fabric from which miracles are fashioned.

An excellent book about “how people prevail in the face of illness” is, “The Anatomy of Hope” by Jerome Groopman, M.D. With love and prayers, you can be a beacon of hope that will brighten your friend’s life.

Thank you for caring about your friend. We will remember to keep both you and her in our daily prayers. Please keep me updated about her health.

In Christ’s love,

Alice

“Ask Alice”: Catholic Answers From A Female Point of View. Every Thursday.


I’ve asked Alice to handle some of the many
Catholic faith questions
that regularly
come in to this site, and she has kindly agreed to help.

Alice is a life-long Catholic who knows
that faithful participation in the work, worship,
sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church …
while essential for salvation … is not without its’ challenges.
Alice is a charitable soul, known for taking in strays of all kinds.
She’s an experienced catechist, a professional writer,
artist, wife, mother, and friend to all.
A staunch advocate for priests,
Alice is also an outspoken critic of wayward clerics,
institutionalized corruption and cronyism …
whatever the quarter.
Alice believes in miracles,
and has played an integral part in many of them.

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Justice Scalia: “Many militant atheists take this line. Prove it to me; I am not interested in your proof.”

Although the sophisticated may deride them as simple-minded, committed Christians should have the courage to embrace their faith he said. “It isn’t irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses to miracles”  Scalia said.

“What is irrational,” he said, “is to reject a priori, with no investigation, the possibility of miracles in general and of Jesus Christ’s resurrection in particular — which is, of course, precisely what the worldly wise do.”

Scalia cited the 10-year-old case of a priest in the Washington archdiocese who was said to have the stigmata. Statues of Mary and the saints appeared to weep in his presence. Reporters for The Washington Post did a story and were unable to find an explanation for the strange phenomena.

“Why wasn’t that church absolutely packed with nonbelievers,” Scalia asked, “seeking to determine if there might be something to this?”

The answer was obvious, he said with disdain: “The wise do not investigate such silliness.”

Link

Once upon a time, there was a Catholic Saint who could fly

St. Joseph of Cupertino “cruising”

On hearing the names of Jesus or Mary, the singing of hymns, during the feast of St. Francis, or while praying at Mass, he would go into dazed state and soar into the air, remaining there until a superior commanded him to come down.

Joseph, and God,  liked zero-G so much, He decided to let Joseph experience anti-gravity on a pretty regular basis. But the event that caught everyone’s attention? I thought you’d never ask.

Joseph’s most famous flight allegedly occurred during a papal audience before Pope Urban VIII. When he bent down to kiss the Pope’s feet, he was suddenly filled with reverence for Christ’s Vicar on earth, and was lifted up into the air. Only when the Minister General of the Order, who was part of the audience, ordered him down was Joseph able to return to the floor.

Imagine something like that happening during Our Pope’s visit to the United Kingdom today. Guess what else?

Joseph gave off a sweet smell because he was pure. Joseph could also smell the bad odor of a sinful person. When they would come, sometimes he would tell them that they stank and that they should go wash themselves. By this, he meant for them to go to confession.

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A “Feud” with the Flying Saint

17th Century ‘Lady in Blue’ Instructs Indians in the Southwest – Without Leaving Spain

An Abbess living in Spain bilocates to America

Her extraordinary bilocations to the New World were a source of wonder to the Spanish Church and Crown. The authenticity of the miracle of her more than 500 visits to America was carefully examined and documented by the proper authorities to ensure that there was no fraud or error. She was also carefully examined twice by the Inquisition in the years 1635 and 1650.

In his Memorial of 1630, a report on the state of the missions and colony, Fr. Benavides made a precise account of the Indians who had been instructed by the “Lady in Blue.” His Memorial of 1634, written after he had met and visited with Mother Mary of Agreda in 1631, also describes that meeting and his favorable impressions of the Conceptionist Abbess (see Part Two). When he left Agreda, Fr. Benavides asked Mary of Agreda to write a letter addressed to the missionaries of the New World. Her words inspired religious to labor in the American missionary fields for many years to come.

That Mary of Agreda played an influential role in our country is undeniable. Some years later Fr. Eusebio Kino found old Indians in New Mexico and Arizona who told stories about how a beautiful white woman dressed in blue had spoken to them about the Catholic Faith. Fr. Junipero Serra wrote that it was the “Seraphic Mother Mary of Jesus” who had inspired him to work in the vineyard of the Lord in California. (1)

Today Mother Mary of Agreda is better known for her momentous work on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mystical City of God. Perhaps one reason that American Catholics know so little about her well-documented bilocations to America is because for centuries Friar Benavides’ Memorials were concealed in the Archives of the Propaganda Fide in Rome and unknown to the English speaking world. His expanded 1634 Memorial was only translated into English and made available to the public in 1945. (2) Many of the details from this article were taken from that document, as well as from several scholarly articles on the topic. (3)

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The rest of the story

The 67 miracles of Lourdes

Catherine Latapie was the first person to be miraculously cured at Lourdes.  She was healed of paralysis in 1858.  And on the same day she was cured, she gave birth to a boy who later became a priest.

Her spectacular cure was a test case that started an era of reported miracles that’s lasted ever since.  These claims have increased over the years, and led to the setting up of a “Medical Bureau” at the Marian shrine in 1905. The office studies cases of those who claim to have been miraculously cured.

Watch the “miracle” video

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Submitted by Doria2

The Miracles of St. Padre Pio

A woman carrying a suitcase got in line with the other ladies waiting to confess to Padre Pio. He was, by now, famous for the many wonders obtained by his prayers and intercession.

When her turn came, she opened the suitcase in front of the well known priest and burst into tears. In the suitcase, along with the clothing, was the body of a little boy about six months old.

She had traveled to San Giovanni Rotondo, the home of Padre Pio, with the intent of asking him to heal her sick son. On the way, the boy died. However, with immense faith, the grieving woman put the infant into the suitcase and continued her journey.

As the poor hysterical mother screamed in desperation, Padre Pio took the little boy’s body in his arms and prayed for a few moments. Then he said authoritatively to the mother, “But why are you yelling so much? Don’t you see that your child is sleeping?”

The woman stopped her shouting to find that her little boy was breathing normally — sleeping tranquilly. A baby was raised from the dead — a miracle.

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Our Lady of Fatima and the “Angel of Portugal”

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Four shepherdesses finished their noon-time meal among the rocks at the high ridge called the Cabeço. [1] It was about one kilometer from the hamlet of Aljustrel, Portugal. Lucia, Teresa, Maria Rosa and Maria Justino loved that ridge as it provided beautiful views from far above the innumerable gray green olive trees, the darker green evergreens and the many stocky holm oaks in the valley below. As they stood at the crest of the ridge near the old windmill, they could see for miles in all directions. It was a peaceful view for these young Catholic girls in a very troubled time for Catholics in that country. Seven years before, their Catholic King, Carlos I, was assassinated. Five years before, in 1910, a Masonic republican revolution expelled the papal nuncio — the Pope’s ambassador, as Catholic seminaries and the residences of the Catholic bishops were confiscated throughout the country. Members of religious orders were dispersed and the government forbade religious processions and the wearing of clerical garb. Church services were regulated by government-appointed lay committees. Bishops and priests were tried, imprisoned and exiled. In this brutal way, the Church and state were forcibly separated. The Masons were pleased. But there at the Cabeço that afternoon the air was clean, fragrant and peaceful. Lucia and her friends began to say a Rosary.

The view was clear and cloudless. It was a quiet day in a place of rural beauty. No one expected anything remarkable to happen this noon for this place was created for the ordinary. Nevertheless, as the girls prayed, they saw something extraordinary. In the otherwise clear heavens, a small solitary mist formed in the sky far above the pious girls. The mist grew into a small cloud. It was remarkably bright as it developed before their uplifted eyes. The girls watched it grow in wonder. Then the cloud revealed within it a glowing image that looked like a human form. They stared at it mesmerized. The form appeared like an unfinished statue of crystal ice that sunlight made transparent. The brilliant human image, without detailed features, was suspended in that shroud of misty air only momentarily above the praying girls and the motionless trees. And then it was gone. The girls stopped and asked each other what they had seen in the sky. They were at a complete loss to identify it. After a pause they finished their Rosary. Then the girls went home with the sheep and tried to describe to their parents what they saw drifting above them. Lucia’s mother’s response was probably typical: “children’s nonsense” she called the account.

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Submitted by Nancy W.