I say it was
"controversial" because at one point the local bishops
declared Teresita's experiences fraudulent. We may never know the
truth. Later several on a committee of bishops confessed before
they died that they had been coerced into signing a negative judgment.
An initial positive ruling by the local bishop was neutralized when
he was stripped of his administrative powers and his equally favorably
auxiliary bishop was banished to another diocese. Meanwhile, Teresita
was followed by at least five other major reputed Filipino seers
who had the same phenomenon. According to reports, they are Lola
Thelma, caretaker of a Lourdes grotto in Quezon City; Carmelo Cortez
and his older sister Puring Fruto, of San Francisco del Monte in
Quezon City, Lito Valero of Manila, and an alleged stigmatist named
Alan Robinson, who is now said to live in the U.S.
Are they real?
Are they good? We have not investigated this phenomenon enough to
have reached a conclusion, and doubt we ever will. I have seen dozens
of these images, and believe they are inexplicable, but like any
phenomenon we must then ask the Holy Spirit to help us discern from
whence they originate. We are only too well aware that the devil
is always handy with counterfeits.
If from heaven, these are extraordinary signs to an extraordinary nation. For
in the past two decades the Philippines has risen as a miracle of
Catholicism, sending into the world missionaries in a way that Ireland
once did. It is a tremendously devout nation -- and at the same
time one that has suffered more than its share of disasters (especially
in the way of volcanoes, quakes, and typhoons) and persecutions
by Muslim elements (some of whom are linked to Osama Bin Laden;
one terrorist cell plotted to kill the Pope during a visit in 1995,
but were discovered a week before by a miraculous explosion!).
It was one of
many Filipino miracles. We note that during the rebellion against
dictator Ferdinand Marcos, thousands of Filipinos took rosaries
in hand and blocked his troops from taking back a constabulary.
The troops were ready to fire when a lady dressed in a long white
gown suddenly appeared and raised her hands, asking the astonished
troops not to fire.
at the corner of Ortigas Avenue and Epifanio de los Santos in Manila.
This is not folklore. There were many witnesses. The account was
well-known by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin-- whom soldiers sought
out to tell what happened.
A close inspection
of the actual petals shows no marks or other indications that they
were etched or drawn by humans hands, notes the report, and I have
to say I have been baffled. These are not nebulous forms. The images
are extraordinarily detailed, with facial features readily apparent.
There are thousands of them and I believe from more than just a
half dozen seers. Some seem very holy and some a bit unnerving.
But let's stay
on the positive side. The Lipa message: pray. Pray to stop persecution.
Pray to halt bloodshed. The enemy is trying to destroy the Church,
the Virgin allegedly told Teresita, but "be not afraid, for
the love of my Son will soften the hardest of hearts and my motherly
love will be their strength to crush the enemies of God."