Our Lady of Akita
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|Key Marian apparitions|
Our Lady of Akita is the title of Marian apparitions reported in 1973 by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer and penance. Sister Sasagawa stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach."
For several decades, Agnes Sasagawa had encountered many health problems as a result of a poorly performed appendix operation and was immobile for over a decade. Her health reportedly improved after drinking water from Lourdes. After going totally deaf, she went to live with the nuns in the remoteness of Yuzawadai in Akita prefecture.
In 1973 Sister Agnes reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, as well as stigmata and a weeping statue of the Virgin Mary which, it is said, continued to weep over the next 6 years on 101 occasions. The nuns at Yuzawadai also reported stigmata on the statue, as well as on the hands of Sister Agnes. The stigmata on the statue is said to have appeared before the tears started, and disappeared after the tears.
Sister Agnes only reported three messages from the Blessed Virgin during 1973, but the Virgin Mary Statue is reported to have continued to weep thereafter. Sister Agnes reported that she first heard the statue calling her, and then the first message began.
In June 1988 Bishop Ito brought his pastoral letter of April 22, 1984 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who allowed the pastoral letter and its dissemination to the faithful. On April 1990, the apostolic nuncio in Japan, Bishop William Aquin Carew in an interview with 30 DAYS, a Catholic Magazine, noted of Cardinal Ratzinger that: “His Eminence did not give any judgment on the reliability or credibility of the ‘messages of the Virgin.’
Sister Agnes reports that in the first message the Virgin Mary asked her to recite a prayer of reparation together, and told her in 1973 that her deafness will be cured. The other reported messages ask for the praying of the rosary and to pray to repair the sins of others, as Acts of Reparation. The second message is said to have included the following:
- "Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates."
The third message warned of possible worldwide calamities if men did not repent and emphasized the need to pray the rosary. It stated that it was the final message to Sister Agnes and ended with the statement:
- "Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."
More concerning the messages heard by Sister Agnes is publicly available via the Eternal Word Television Network.
During a Sunday Mass in 1982, Sister Agnes was totally cured from her deafness. It is worth noting that professional medical examinations were performed initially after she'd lost her hearing (verifying that she was 'incurably deaf'), and again after she was healed (verifying that her hearing was 'normal'). Some time later, a Korean woman with a terminal brain tumor was miraculously cured after friends and relatives prayed for the intercession of Our Lady of Akita. She received visions of Mary related to the Akita events during her recovery, the first while comatose. Her disease was diagnosed and (later) cure verified by medical professionals in Korea.
Bishop John Shojiro Ito of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Niigata who had been an eyewitness to some of the events at Akita initially approved the apparition in 1984. In 1988 he went to Rome to consult with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI).
In March 2011, Japan received the deadliest earthquake (and resulting tsunami) in her recorded history. The earthquake's epicenter was 90 miles from where Our Lady of Akita warned of terrible destruction if people did not repent; despite the close proximity, the city was found to suffer less damage than surrounding regions.
- Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons by Raymond L. Burke 2008 ISBN 1-57918-355-7 page 880
- Weeping statue of Akita
- Beads and prayers: the rosary in history and devotion by John D. Miller 2002 ISBN 0-86012-320-0 page 159
- The Everything Mary Book: The Life and Legacy of the Blessed Mother by Jenny Schroedel, John Schroedel 2006 ISBN 1-59337-713-4 page 137-138
- The Fatima Prophecies: At the Doorstep of the World by Thomas W. Petrisko, Fr Rene Laurentin, Michael J. Fontecchio 1998 ISBN 1-891903-30-6 page 172
- Those who saw her: apparitions of Mary by Catherine M. Odell 1995 ISBN 0-87973-664-X pages 177-193
- Akita Apparition Letter, April 22, 1984, by Most. Rev. John Shojiro Ito, Bishop of Niigata, @ campus.udayton.edu
- Teiji Yasuda, O.S.V. and trans. John M. Haffert, Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary (101 Foundation, Inc., Asbury, New Jersey, 1990).
- Francis Fukushima, Akita, Queenship Publishing, ISBN 1-882972-30-9.
- Teiji Yasuda, 1989, Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary, ISBN 1-890137-20-0.
- Robin Ruggles, Apparition Shrines, Paulist Press ISBN 0-8198-4799-2
- John Haffert, 1989 The Meaning of Akita ISBN 978-1-890137-05-2
John Haffert (Co-Founder of the Blue Army of Fatima) speaks on the Apparitions at Akita.