Veronica Lueken

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Veronica Lueken (July 12, 1923 – August 3, 1995) was a Roman Catholic housewife from Bayside, New York, who, between 1970 until her death in 1995, reported experiencing apparitions of the Virgin Mary and numerous Catholic saints. She gave messages from them at both Saint Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Bayside, and at the Vatican Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Park (the site of the 1964 New York World's Fair). Lueken and her husband Arthur Lueken (died 2002) had four children.

Bishop Francis Mugavero, then Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, stated in 1986 that "a thorough investigation revealed that the alleged visions of Bayside completely lacked authenticity" and that "the messages and other related propaganda contain statements which, among other things, are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church,".[1]

Marian apparitions[edit]

In June 1968, Lueken reported experiencing her first manifestation when she smelled a perfume of roses in her car while praying for the dying U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was shot in an assassination attempt, and would die the same day from his injuries. Lueken attested that Saint Thérèse of Lisieux appeared to her and dictated sacred poem-messages.[2]

Lueken reported her first Marian vision in her home on April 7, 1970, when the Virgin Mary informed Lueken that she would appear on the grounds of St. Robert Bellarmine Roman Catholic Church in Bayside on June 18, 1970, and subsequently, on all great feast days of the Catholic Church. From that day, Lueken reported a series of Marian apparitions on the property of St Robert Bellarmine in Bayside. According to her report, on the date of her first vision, Lueken was instructed by Mary to establish a Marian shrine on the site of the church, and to hold Rosary Vigils and Sunday holy hours of reparation for the Pope and priests. Lueken began to type up and circulate her prophecies, many of which had apocalyptic content. Overwhelmed by the influx of an estimated five hundred to two thousand Marian devotees, the parish ministers fenced off the church precincts in December 1974. In 1975, Monsignor James King, Chancellor of the Brooklyn Diocese, announced that the diocese did not believe in Veronica's apparitions.[2]

Lueken elaborated on her reported visions. Apart from the Virgin Mary and the aforementioned Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, she also said she received visitations from, among others, Saint Joseph, Saint Paul, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Theresa of Avila, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Bernadette Soubrious as well as St Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, to whom the church in question was dedicated. The Archangels Michael and Gabriel were said to have appeared to her. Most of the public apparitions occurred during the Rosary Vigils, during which Lueken would fall into a state of ecstasy and see the heavenly personages. Lueken would describe the vision given her and repeat what she heard. Almost all of the ecstasies were recorded live on audio tape in the presence of hundreds of pilgrims.[citation needed]

Following Monsignor King's comments, Lueken and her followers assembled on a traffic island near the site of the alleged visitation (1974/75). After objections raised by the Bayside Hills Civic Association, they negotiated a permanent site of worship at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.[3] The Rosary Vigils and Holy Hours have continued until the present day.[4]

Lueken and her followers established the Shrine of Our Lady of the Roses,[5] which survived her death in 1995. At the apex of this organization were Lueken (President) and her husband, Arthur (Vice President), Mrs. Ann Ferguson (Secretary), and Miss Maurine Ferguson and Michael Mangan (board members). Accompanying them, a Lay Order of Saint Michael existed to organize prayer vigils and assist the increasingly infirm and aging Lueken in administrative responsibilities associated with corresponding with her followers. At some point, Lueken predicted, the authenticity of her visions would be recognized, and there would be a basilica built on the site of her first visions at Bayside, as well as the appearance of a healing spring of 'curative waters to erupt', and the area would become the venue of a national Marian shrine in the United States. Author Michael P. Carroll has suggested "the Bayside apparitions were modeled directly upon those in Necedah."[6]

Status of the apparitions[edit]

According to various Catholic sources, the Bayside visitations do not fulfill criteria that would qualify the alleged events as legitimate Marian apparitions and so are unrecognized. In addition to these concerns, the Diocesan Bishop of Brooklyn at the time of the alleged apparitions, Bishop Mugavero made the following declaration on November 4, 1986:[1]

I, the undersigned Diocesan Bishop of Brooklyn, in my role as the legitimate shepherd of this particular Church, wish to confirm the constant position of the Diocese of Brooklyn that a thorough investigation revealed that the alleged "visions of Bayside" completely lacked authenticity.
...Therefore, in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I hereby declare that:
1. No credibility can be given to the so-called "apparitions" reported by Veronica Lueken and her followers.
2. The "messages" and other related propaganda contain statements which, among other things, are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, undermine the legitimate authority of bishops and councils and instill doubts in the minds of the faithful, for example, by claiming that, for years, an "imposter (sic) Pope" governed the Catholic Church in place of Paul VI.

Father Mark Gantley, JCL, clarified on EWTN that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document related to "Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations" in 1974. Initially, a Diocesan Bishop is enabled to investigate the phenomenon in question. After he has completed his scrutiny, he may or may not ask for assistance from national Catholic Bishops Conferences, or refer the matter to the Holy See. St Michael's World Apostolate claims that the Vatican's guidelines for judging apparitions were not followed by the Brooklyn Diocese, no example of doctrinal error has been produced by the diocese, and claims Lueken was not questioned by the diocese. Furthermore, the Brooklyn Diocese has not made public any minutes and findings of this investigative committee to substantiate their claim that a full and thorough investigation was ever conducted.[7]

Organizations spreading the message[edit]

The Official Website of Our Lady of the Roses, Mary Help of Mothers Shrine[edit]

The Official authorized Shrine of Our Lady of the Roses Shrine at P.O. Box 52, Bayside NY 11361 and copyright owner of the messages to Veronica Lueken, Registration # TXu-1-698-972 and founded by Veronica Lueken, conducting Vigils in Flushing Meadows, NY.

These Last Days Ministries[edit]

Among the first websites to appear in support and to promote Lueken's messages was These Last Days Ministries,[8] which had a weekly radio show promoting the messages. The TLDM website contains most of the messages given to Veronica Lueken in audio as well as text. It is updated daily with articles that tie world events to prophecies given to her. These Last Days Ministries in located in Lowell, Michigan and run by Gary Wohlscheid.[citation needed]

St. Michael's World Apostolate[edit]

According to Michael Mangan, St Michael's World Apostolate (SMWA) is the official organization in charge of the Bayside Mission. Some in the Bayside movement dispute Mangan and SMWA's authority.[9] It is staffed full-time by the lay Order of St. Michael, a Roman Catholic community of seven celibate lay men who have dedicated their lives to promoting Lueken's messages. The Order promotes its message through online radio programs, a website and on-site printing presses. The group claims to have a mailing list of more than 50,000. SMWA holds a Sunday Holy Hour for the Pope and clergy on the location where Lueken received the apparitions and messages and evening Rosary Vigils throughout the year.

Mangan is the president of SMWA and head of the lay Order of Saint Michael. He joined Lueken's mission in 1978, and from 1989 to 1995 was in daily telephone contact with her. He was dismissed from Our Lady of the Roses on Oct 1, 1997 by Arthur Lueken, Vice President. The SWMA claims prophecies are valid but do not have to come to pass; Lueken was told over twenty times in the messages that all prophecy is conditional and does not have to happen [10]

See also[edit]


Primary sources[edit]

  • Veronica Lueken: The Virgin Mary's Bayside Prophecies: Volume 1: 1970-1973: Bayside, New York: 2002; ISBN 1-891981-01-3
  • Our Lady of the Roses Shrine: Roses From Heaven: Orange, Texas: Children of Mary: 1990.
  • David Clyde Skovmand: Prophecies Received by Mrs. Veronica Lueken (1997): Oakland: Our Lady's Worker of Northern California.

Contemporary media reports[edit]

  • Roberta Grant: "War of the Roses" Rolling Stone (21.02.80):43-46.
  • Phillip Nobile: "Our Lady of Bayside" New York11 (11.12.78): 47-60.


  • Daniel Wojcik: The End of the World as We Know It: Faith, Fatalism and Apocalypse in America: New York: New York University Press: 1997; ISBN 0-8147-9283-9
  • Michael Carroll: The Cult of the Virgin Mary: Psychological Origins: Princeton: Princeton University Press: 1986; ISBN 0-691-09420-9
  • Bishop Francis Mugavero: "Declaration Concerning the 'Bayside Movement'" (p. 209-211) in James LeBar (ed)Cults, Sects and the New Age: Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division: 1989; ISBN 0-87973-431-0
  • Sandra Zimdars-Swartz: Encountering Mary: From LaSalette to Medjugorge: Princeton: Princeton University Press: 1991; ISBN 0-691-07371-6
  • Michael W. Cuneo: The Smoke of Satan: Conservative and Traditionalist Dissent in Contemporary American Catholicism (Oxford, 1999) has a chapter on Lueken which includes interviews with supporters and opponents.[citation needed]

External links[edit]