Our Lady of America
It was on the eve of the feast of the North American martyrs, September 24, 1956 (pre-Vatican II), that Our Lady appeared to Sr . Mildred Mary (Ephrem) Neuzil . Our Lady came first as Our Lady of Lourdes, that place where she had identified herself to Bernadette as “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Our Lady promised that greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima would be granted here in America, the United States in particular, if we do as she desires. (Diary, Pg . 9)
Our Lady went on to thank her children in America for the honor they have shown her under her unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception as they worked to complete the Basilica of the National Shrine in our Nation’s capital.
We recall, it was August 15, 1913, when Bishop Thomas J . Shahan, Rector of Washington’s Catholic University, met with Pope Pius X for approval to erect this National Shrine to Our Lady under the title of her Immaculate Conception. His Holiness was so enthusiastic about this plan that he personally wrote the first check for $400.00 toward its construction. (Diary, pg . 10)
The Message of Our Lady of America
Later that day, again during a Holy Hour, Our Lady came a third time in connection with the feast of the North American martyrs, and again she repeated the call to her children in America to dedicate their lives to her Purity:
My child, I entrust you with this message that you must make known to my children in America. I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children in America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.(Diary, Pg . 11)
Sister declared that Our Lady called herself Our Lady of America in response to the love and desire that reached out for this special title in the hearts of her children in America. This title is a sign of Our Lady’s pleasure in the devotion of her children of America towards her, and this visit is a response to the longing, conscious or unconscious, in the hearts of her children in America. (Diary, Pg . 11)
Our Lady’s Desire for Our National Shrine
On October 5, 1956, Sr . Mildred writes how she suddenly felt urged to write a prayer to Our Lady, Patroness of our land. Although she did not hear any words, the thoughts came into her mind with such profundity, she could not stop until the magnificent Prayer to the Immaculate Conception was finished. (Diary, Pg .47)
A few days later, on October 13, 1956, Our Lady again appeared as Our Lady of America, but instead of a lily in her hand, she held, with both hands, a small replica of the finished Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
This is my shrine, my daughter. I am very pleased with it. Tell my children I thank them. Let them finish it quickly and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this. I will bless all those who, either by prayers, labor, or material aid, help to erect this shrine. (Diary, Pg . 14)
According to Sister Mildred, Our Lady often emphasized her desire that the Shrine in Washington, D.C., be made a place of special pilgrimage and that she be honored there under this image and this title – “Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.”
Strong warnings were repeated by Our Lady throughout 1957 and 1958, and thereafter, indicating that the hour grows late and Sister must tell the Bishops of the United States of Our Lady’s desires and how she wishes them to be carried out. Our Lady bids Sister to pray and do penance that this may come to pass.
In April of 1957, Our Lady spoke: Unless my children reform their lives, they will suffer great persecution. If man himself will not take upon himself the penance necessary to atone for his sins and those of others, God in His justice will have to send upon him the punishment necessary to atone for his transgressions. (Pg. 17)
In August, Mary says
What am I to do, child of my heart, when my children turn from me? The false peace of this world lures them and in the end will destroy them. They think they have done enough in consecrating themselves to my Immaculate Heart. It is not enough. That which I ask for and is most important many have not given me. What I ask, have asked, and will continue to ask is reformation of life. There must be sanctification from within. I will work my miracles of grace only in those who ask for them and empty their souls of the love and attachment to sin and all that is displeasing to my Son. Souls who cling to sin cannot have their hands free to receive the treasures of grace that I hold out to them. (Diary, pg . 19)