(Dan Lynch retired as a lawyer in 1996 to devote himself full time to working to spread devotion to Our Lady of America; Jesus, King of All Nations; and Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have come to highly value his work, both in spreading the devotions and in his clear, compelling writing. Nineteen years ago tonight, on December 7, 1995, I received the pivotal visitation of my life. I will write in reference to it tomorrow. I completely support Lynch’s work – and was delighted that he offered to write this guest column to be published on this consequential day, the Eve of the Feast Day of Our Lady the Immaculate Conception – CJ)
By Dan Lynch
On December 8, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, our national patroness. We celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary nine months before we celebrate her birthday on September 8. Many people confuse this feast with the Incarnation that is the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. The Immaculate Conception means that from the first moment of Mary’s conception, she was free from any stain of original sin.
St. John Paul II said, “The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception introduces us into the heart of the mystery of Creation and Redemption. (See Ephesians 1: 4-12; 3: 9-11). God wanted to give life in abundance to the human creature (see John 10:10), on the condition, however, that His initiative would be met by a free and loving response. Man tragically cut off vital dialogue with the Creator, refusing this gift with the disobedience that led to sin. To the ‘yes’ of God, source of the fullness of life, the ‘no’ of man was placed in opposition, motivated by proud self-sufficiency, harbinger of death.” (See Romans 5:19). (Pope John Paul II, Message for the 12th World Day of the Sick, February 1, 2004.)
The Immaculate Conception,” he continued, “introduces the harmonious interlacing between the ‘yes’ of God and the ‘yes’ that Mary pronounced without reserve when the angel brought the heavenly announcement (see Luke 1:38). Her ‘yes’ in the name of humanity reopened the doors of Heaven to the world, thanks to the Incarnation of the Word of God in her womb by the work of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:35). In this way, the original project of creation was restored and strengthened in Christ; the Virgin Mother also shares in this project.”
There is an old saying, “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” This means that all of humanity was involved in this closure towards God. So, as St. John Paul II said in his address, “In view of Christ’s merits, only Mary of Nazareth was conceived without original sin and was completely open to the divine design so that the Heavenly Father was able to accomplish in her the project that He had for mankind.” In Mary, God restored His original creative intent.
Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854. In his Dogmatic Bull, Ineffabilis Deus, he affirmed that “the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God.” (DS, 2803). Only two years later, at Lourdes, France, the Blessed Virgin Mary told St. Bernadette in the native dialect, “Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou” – “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
America is consecrated to the Immaculate Conception. The Most Reverend John Carroll of Baltimore, America’s first Roman Catholic Bishop, consecrated the newly-created nation under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the title of the Immaculate Conception in 1792.
On May 13, 1846, the Bishops of the United States chose Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as the Patroness of our land. In 1847, Pope Pius IX granted their petition to recognize her under that title.
Our Lady of America
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a young nun in the United States in several apparitions during the latter half of the 20th century. The nun’s name was Sister Mary Ephrem (later Mildred Neuzil). She was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 2, 1916. In 1929, she entered the Sisters of the Precious Blood at Rome City, Indiana. In 1959, she became a Contemplative of the Indwelling Trinity in Fostoria, Ohio. In 1938, she began to have mystical experiences. Mary revealed to Sister Mildred her title of “Our Lady of America”, her image and her messages that continued until her death in her convent on January 10, 2000 at the age of 83.
On September 25, 1956, Our Lady of America said, “I am pleased, my children, with the love and honor my children in America give to me, especially through my glorious and unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception.” Sister Mildred wrote, “Then solemnly and distinctly, in calm yet majestic tones, I heard these words: “I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives.”
On September 27, 1956, she said, “I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful Mother.”
On October 5, 1956, Sister Mildred said, “I felt suddenly urged to write a prayer to Our Lady, Patroness of Our Land.” You may click here to pray this prayer.
On October 13, 1956, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC was still under construction. Our Lady appeared to Sister Mildred holding in her hands a small replica of the completed Shrine. She said, “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.”
The Shrine was later completed and on November 20, 1959, it was dedicated, and the Bishops of the United States consecrated the country to the Immaculate Conception. On November 11, 2006, the United States Bishops’ re-consecrated the country to her at what is now the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
On November 15, 1956, Our Lady of America asked Sister Mildred to draw a picture of her first appearance and requested that a statue be made according to this likeness and that it be placed, after being solemnly carried in procession, in the Shrine.
Our Lady wishes to be honored there in a special way as “Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.” Our Lady promised that the placement of her statue in the Shrine would be a safeguard for our country.
An artist created a life-sized statue, as Our Lady requested, based upon Sister Mildred’s description. In November 2006, I found myself in the unlikely position of driving my first truck and trailer. I hauled this statue without the help of a GPS to the United States Bishops’ Conference in Baltimore, Maryland from Indiana, over the mountains and rivers and through the valleys into the heart of downtown Baltimore. There I got lost down a narrow one-way street in which I had to make a near miraculous U-turn and find my way out to the Conference hotel.
I helped a few other promoters of the devotion to Our Lady of America and together we set up and displayed her statue in the Bishops’ Concelebrated Mass Room where it remained for the duration of the conference.
Archbishop (now Cardinal) Raymond Burke requested the display of this statue at the conference for the benefit of all of the bishops. On November 15, 2006, Archbishop Burke blessed this new statue. I was curious whether this date had any special significance. So, I re-read Our Lady’s messages and discovered that this blessing providentially occurred precisely on the 50th anniversary of her request that her statue be placed and honored in the Shrine.
Archbishop Burke, a world-renowned Canon lawyer, wrote to all of the United States bishops on May 31, 2007 and stated that that the devotion to Our Lady of America was canonically approved. Click here to see Cardinal Burke’s letter.
There were high hopes that several bishops would process this statue into the National Shrine during the 2014 Bishops’ Conference in November. Sadly, this did not happen.
A promoter of the devotion was present at the conference and tried to persuade these bishops to process the statue, but they did not. Some were interested, but not enough to make it happen.
The Practice of the Devotion
Cardinal Burke said, “I think it is a very beautiful devotion and especially fitting for our time. Our Lady’s message on the living of the Holy Trinity within us, and its manifestation in the purity of the young is so much needed in our culture, today.”
The elements of the devotion to Our Lady of America are the image; the statue; the medal; purity and the Divine Indwelling; the prayers and honoring St. Joseph. She gave us the tools to practice the devotion by displaying, honoring and venerating the image or statue; wearing the medal with great devotion; practicing the virtue of purity; praying the prayers, especially the family Rosary; honoring St. Joseph, especially on First Wednesdays and by practicing her own personal spirituality of The Divine Indwelling. Our Lady of America called herself the “Tabernacle of the Divine Indwelling.”
Our Lady of America revealed the ejaculation to be struck on her medal, “By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, deliver us from evil.” If we practice the devotion to Our Lady of America, she promises us peace and her protection.
Our Lady of America entrusted a mission to America. She asked us to practice the virtue of purity and to further the cause of faith and purity among people and nations. She revealed that the youth of America are challenged to be the leaders of a movement of renewal on the face of the earth.
On September 26, 1956, Our Lady appeared to Sister Mildred and called her children in America to dedicate their lives to her purity. She said,
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.
She entrusted Sister, as she said, with “this message that you must make known to my children in America… to further the cause of faith and purity among people and nations”, especially through its youth.
She revealed that the youth of America are challenged to be the leaders of this movement of renewal on the face of the earth and that they must be prepared for it by instilling in them the knowledge and study of the Divine Indwelling so that the Divine Presence becomes an intimate and necessary part of their life and daily living. Those who are willing wholeheartedly to follow her in her great battle against evil will bear the special title of “Torchbearers of the Queen,” bearing the torch of Divine Love that will conquer hate.
So what are we to do? How can we support this “movement of renewal on the face of the earth” and finalize the solemn procession and display of the statue of Our Lady of America in our National Shrine?
I believe that our bishops want to be convinced that the devotion to Our Lady of America is a part of the popular piety of Americans. They want to see a great force of popular support for this devotion.
In January 1957, Our Lady of America told Sister Mildred to tell her spiritual director to send this message:
Hurry, my son, for the time is short but the punishment will be long, and for many, forever.
Tell the Bishops of the United States, my loyal sons, of my desires and how I wish them to be carried out. Through him who is head over you, make known the longings of my Immaculate Heart to establish the reign of my Divine Son in the hearts of men and thus save them from the scourge of heaven, both now and hereafter.
Our Lady, again addressing herself to Sister, spoke sadly yet hopefully,
My daughter, will my children in America listen to my pleadings and console my Immaculate Heart? Will my loyal sons carry out my desires and thus help me bring the peace of Christ once again to mankind?
Pray and do penance, my sweet child, that this may come to pass. Trust me and love me; I so desire it. Do not forget your poor Mother, who weeps over the loss of so many of her children.
So, we need to work and pray harder that our bishops will believe Our Lady’s requests and act upon them.
This is what we need to do:
- Pray the Novena to Our Lady of America for True Change and Hope for America.
- Sign the Petition for the Solemn Procession and Placement of the Statue of Our Lady of America in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
- Send your Bishop a personal letter and ask him to promote the Devotion in your diocese and with his brother bishops to respond to Our Lady’s requests.
Click here to see a sample letter for your use.
- Practice the Devotion.
- Practice personal purity in your mind, your heart and your body, especially sexual purity.
- Practice the Blessed Virgin Mary’s personal spirituality of the Divine Indwelling.
- Wear her medal.
- Install her image in your own home for its safeguard.
- Host a Visitation of the Image of Our Lady of America.
- Please pray for us and support our Apostolate.
Our failure to practice the virtue of purity, as desired by Our Lady of America, caused what St. John Paul II called our “Culture of Death” and resulted in the practice of fornication, adultery, contraception, abortion, infanticide, suicide and the death of the family, our economy and our culture.
Now, at a time when we are faced with the dangers of untold terror, violence and war, riots and civil unrest, the use of nuclear weapons by rogue regimes, worldwide persecution of Christians, economic devastation and the plague of Ebola, Our Lady’s requests are most urgent and beg your attention!
We must practice the virtue of purity and the statue of the Queen of Our Country must be solemnly processed and displayed in our National Shrine to be a safeguard for our country.
We just can’t wait for this to happen. We need to practice the devotion ourselves and not point our fingers at the bishops to solemnly process and display her statue. We need to respond to Our Lady’s requests for purity: purity of mind, of heart, and of body.
Our Lady of Fatima revealed that there are many souls in hell because of their impurity and sins of the flesh. We need to examine the acts of our bodies. Are we committing fornication? Are we committing adultery? Are we committing contraception? Are we addicted to pornography? Have we committed unrepentant sterilization or abortion? If so, we need to repent and accept God’s mercy in the sacrament of Confession with a firm purpose of amendment.
We need to examine the purity of our thoughts. Are they filled with lust? We also need to examine the purity of our hearts. Do we act only out of our own self-interest or for the best interest of others?
Our Lady of America warned us in January 1957,
The hour grows late. My Son’s patience will not last forever. Help me hold back His anger, which is about to descend on sinful and ungrateful men. Suffering and anguish, such as never before experienced, is about to overtake mankind. It is the darkest hour. But if men will come to me, my Immaculate Heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves. Help me bring once again the sunshine of God’s peace upon the world.
Let us dry her tears and respond to her requests! She pleaded,
Behold, O my children, the tears of your Mother! Shall I weep in vain? Assuage the sorrow of my Heart over the ingratitude of sinful men by the love and chasteness of your lives. Will you do this for me, beloved children, or will you allow your Mother to weep in vain? I come to you, O children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to my voice. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God. Be my army of chaste soldiers, ready to fight to the death to preserve the purity of your souls. I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful Mother. (Our Lady of America, September 27, 1956).
Dan Lynch Apostolates
promoting devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Jesus King of All Nations,
Our Lady of America and Saint John Paul II
144 Sheldon Road, St. Albans, VT 05478
Phone: 802-524-5350 – Fax: 802-524-5673