Our Lady of Akita
|A series of articles on|
|Expressions of devotion|
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.
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 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.
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."
During a Sunday Mass in 1982, Sister Agnes was totally cured from her deafness. 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).
See also 
- 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
- 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.