Archdiocese ends marriage case fees

CINCINNATI – In response to reforms announced by Pope Francis this week, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is eliminating the fees charged for marriage cases – the Tribunal process of seeking to have a marriage declared invalid.

The change, effective Monday, applies not only to new cases but also to anyone who has been paying on an installment basis for a case already concluded or for a case still in progress.

According to a press release issued by the diocese, Mercy Sister Victoria Vondenberger, director of the Tribunal for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said she is grateful for the elimination of fees. She is hopeful that the changes in procedures announced by Pope Francis, which take effect Dec. 8, will enable the Tribunal to process cases in less time to better serve the people whose lives await those decisions.

The fee for a formal declaration of nullity in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has been $300, about one-fifth of the actual cost of the case. However, arrangements were always made for someone who could not afford the expense, officials said. For what is called a “lack of form” case, meaning a Catholic did not get married before a priest or deacon and two witnesses, the fee has been $35.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 38th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with almost 500,000 Catholics. It encompasses 19 counties in the Dayton-Cincinnati area.

Titles and Descriptions of Satan from the Rite of Exorcism and What They Have to Teach Us

In the realm of demonology there is a cautious balance to maintain. Sadly, an exorcist must usually inflict pain upon demons in order to drive them out. This is done through the prayers of the Rite of Exorcism and through other things recommended by the rite such as the use of holy water, the use of relics, the touch of a stole, and the use of the Holy Cross.

And yet the exorcist must be careful not to hate demons or harbor unjust anger toward them. For in so doing, they would have him; he would be drawn into their territory. If they can get him to hate and to have vengeful anger then they have made him to be like themselves; he is theirs, little better than they save for the possibility that he can still repent.

Hence the exorcist and any who would pray for deliverance from demons for themselves or others, do well to stay inside the norms of the Church and Scripture. These norms warn and set limits for those who would confront demons, lest they stray by pride or anger.

What are some of these norms? Here are just a few, but they are properly cautionary to be sure.

  1. A lay person should never undertake to drive out demons except by the following simple formula: “I command you, all evil spirits to leave me at once in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.” At no time should a lay person ever engage a demon in conversation, ask questions, or in any way seek information.
  2. The same holds true for priests who engage in minor exorcisms. While they are permitted to use more elaborate imprecatory prayer found in the Manual of Minor Exorcisms, priests are not to go beyond the commands therein. They are not to ask questions or to demand names or signs from demons.
  3. Only appointed exorcists, delegated by the bishop, may or should inquire of the names and numbers of demons, their time of entry, why they possessed the individual, their rank, and so forth. The rite makes clear that only necessary questions should be asked. Other impertinent information is both unnecessary and harmful.
  4. Within the formal Rite of Exorcism, an exorcist does well to stick to the formulas, expressions, and norms of the rite. Banter, insulting language, and toe-to-toe debate are to be avoided. Good exorcists indicate that returning to the prayers of the rite is essential when demons seek to engage in debate, ridicule, and diversionary talk. Obmutesce pater mendacii (Be silent, father of lies) is a quick command from the rite to order the demons to be silent, and it is a good way to refuse to enter into pointless conversation or ridicule.

Scripture attests to the need to refrain from reviling demons:

For Even Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a reviling judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9)

Further, hate and ridicule of any person (angelic or human) whom God has created is an ungodly attitude. Scripture says,

For you O Lord love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for you would not fashion what you hate (Wisdom 11:24).

Therefore anyone who confronts demons or suffers their oppression is warned that hatred and unjust anger, reviling and ridiculing, is no way to fight them, for if we do so we become like them.

That said, exorcists and priests must often use strong language approved by the minor and major prayers of exorcism, most of which are drawn from Scripture or Sacred Tradition.

Consider, for example, the following rebuke of Satan from Scripture:

How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the farthest sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the lake of fire (Is 14:12-15).

These verses speak truth. They do not revile; they say what happened and they point to Lucifer’s prideful fall.

The Rite of Exorcism has collected many descriptions from Scripture and Tradition. They are not intended to ridicule or revile, but rather to remind Satan of who and what he has chosen to become. They remind him of his pride, his destruction by God’s justice, his ultimate fate, and the many ways he seeks to harm us. Consider, then, some of the “titles” and descriptions of Satan drawn from both the old and new rites of exorcism:

Enemy of the faith

Foe of the human race

Carrier of death

Robber of life

Shirker of justice

Root of evil

Fomenter of vice

Seducer of men

Traitor of the nations

Instigator of envy

Font of avarice

Source of discord

Exciter of sorrows


Seducer full of deceit and lies

Enemy of virtue

Persecutor of the innocent

Horrible dragon

Prince of accursed murder

Author of incest

Leader of sacrilege

Teacher of all negative action

Teacher of heretics

Inventor of every obscenity

Hateful one


Unclean spirit

Every satanic power  

Every assault of the infernal adversary  

Legions congregations and diabolical sects

Evil dragon

Diabolical legion

Inventor and teacher of every lie

Enemy of man’s salvation

Prince of this world

Deceiver of the human race

Ancient foe of mankind

Father of lies

Evil dragon

Cunning serpent 

All you powers of darkness

Get thee gone, Satan! 

I have compiled a pdf of these in both Latin and English here: Titles of Satan from the Rite of Exorcism.

Thus, whether driving out Satan in a major exorcism or seeking to expel his oppression in a minor exorcism, all are cautioned not to stray from the understandings and descriptions of Satan that the Church provides in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Again, the reason for this is that Satan seeks to draw us into his world of hatred and revilement. Do not go there in your thoughts and surely not in your heart.

It may be hard to accept, but God does not hate Satan. God does not hate even the worst of sinners. Surely justice requires God to recognize the final disposition of a person (angelic or human). Some are justly permitted to live apart from God’s kingdom in a hellacious parallel universe; that is their choice. But God does not hate fallen angels or fallen humans. God is Love and Love does not hate—and neither should we.

We ought to be sober about what sin has done to demons, fallen angels who were once glorious. But now, through the ugly disfigurement of sin, they are in darkness and are horribly contrary to the glory for which they were made. They are to be pitied and kept at a distance. They will not change (for angels choose once and for all). Their lies are to be resisted. Though they can still appear as lightsome, it is only for a time and then their terrifying state of horror and darkness roars forth.

Do not be deceived. But do not hate, either. Be sober, watchful, and distant from the once-glorious fallen angels we rightly call demons.

Rainbow begins at World Trade Center day before 14th year since 9/11 attacks

Rainbow begins at World Trade Center day before 14th year since 9/11 attacks

Rainbow begins at World Trade Center day before 14th year since 9/11 attacks

(Image courtesy: Ben Sturner (@leverageagency / Twitter))

Stunning photos show a rainbow coming from the World Trade Center in New York City Thursday, one day before the city marks the 14th year since an attack on Lower Manhattan.

The rainbow made its debut at about 8 a.m. ET between rain showers.

Many photos were posted to social media from throughout the city, but the most remarkable were those showing the World Trade Center.

Ben Sturner was positioned just right to capture the rainbow:

Vatican bans “seers” from spreading “messages” inside Parish of Medjugorje



The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with an order signed by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, has prohibited the Parish Priest, Fra Marinko Sakota and the six supposed visionaries who claim they have been seeing the “Gospa” for 34 years, from delivering testimonies or spreading the “messages” inside the Parish of Medjugorje. This is a very hard blow inflicted on the “Ministry of Propaganda” in Medjugorje, the communication-machine of the supposed visionaries, named such because it is able to send the texts of the “messages”, translated into various languages, almost instantly, to every corner of the world also thanks to the social network and innumerable devotional sites.

This is the umpteenth confirmation, after the prohibition imposed on some of the visionaries from holding public meetings in Italian dioceses, that the recognition of the supposed apparitions is proceeding towards “black smoke”. As has been already anticipated by this Blog last June, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in light of the final report drafted by the so-called “Ruini Commission” has not recognized the “apparitions” as supernatural.  The Vatican ministry led by Cardinal Müller will meet within the next few weeks to formalize its assessment, it being understood that the last word will be left to Pope Francis, who in his turn, has made no mystery, even if veiled, about his skepticism about the authenticity of the Medjugore phenomena.  It is however, already possible to anticipate now what the assessment of the Church is going to be. The only concession for Medjugorje will be that it is recognized as a place of prayer, as without doubt, those who go there to receive the Sacraments, do so in good faith.
Anyway, considering the “apparitions” appear to have nothing supernatural about them, the faithful will be prohibited from taking part in “the ecstasies” of the six “visionaries”, and the latter  will be forbidden to divulge the texts of the messages they had [apparently] received from Our Lady.  Another NO, will regard the Parish of Medjugorje itself, St. James’, which will not become a Marian Sanctuary, as the six visionaries had wanted. It is however probable that the nomination of a Pontifical Legate, who, representing the Pope,  will verify respect for the rules at the place. But not only:  Bishops should not welcome the “visionaries” in their dioceses for public gatherings and testimonies, as happened until only a short time ago, but limit themselves to assuring that a priest accompany the pilgrims going to Medjugorje. The pilgrims themselves, going to Medjugorje, should not recognize, with their presence, the authenticity of the “apparitions” and should avoid any contact with the “visionaries”, concentrating themselves only on prayer and reception of the Sacraments.
Yet, why so much severity from the Vatican? Primarily for the theological inconsistency of the messages, then for the economic interests of the “visionaries” who have invested in hotels and travel agencies, then for the rivalry that has divided some of them and for the disobedience shown towards both the Bishop of Mostar, (their Diocese) and the Pope, who through the “Ruini Commission” had ordered them in vain, to consign the ten secrets they had [apparently] received from the “Gospa”.  One of the key-aspects that forced the Vatican to use an iron-fist is precisely that of money: true visionaries have never been seen to make a profit from their own apparitions. At this point, doubt is licit:  do the six “visionaries” of Medjugorje sustain that they see and speak to Our Lady because the alleged apparitions are real or only to call the largest number of pilgrims to travel with their agencies and stay in their hotels?

[A Rorate translation by contributor Francesca Romana]

The Apparitions at Turzovka

The Apparitions at Turzovka

Bishop Pavel M. Hnilica, Matúš Lašut and
Fr. Rene Laurentin at Mt. Zivcak, Turzovka

The messages given to Matúš Lašut (variously spelt as Matous Lasuta , Matthias Laschut, etc), which he reportedly recieved from the Virgin Mary at Turzovka, in former Czechoslovakia in 1958, also forewarn of a future catasrophic tsunami event caused by a mountain being thrown into the sea. While the apparitions of Our Lady at Turzovka have yet to be approved by the Church, it is a strong candidate for future recognition, due to the various miracles and healings reported at this site (see the link after the message below for a list of the miracles). Unfortunately, it can sometimes take many years for Marian apparitions to acheive formal Church approval, such as those of Our Lady of Laus – which occurred between 1664-1718, but were only officially recognised in 2008, or those of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin, which took place in 1859, but were first approved in 2010. So while any apparitions still awaiting Church approval should always be considered with discernment, they should not be entirely dismissed either.
Lašut first experienced the apparitions on 1st June 1958, while working as a forester at U Obrozku, Turzovka. He was walking through the woods, and had stopped to pray at a statue of Our Lady on a pine tree when he saw a beautiful woman arrayed in white garments who appeared to be floating in the air over a small cloud. The woman pointed to a tableux beside the pine, and Matous saw a map of the world depicted on it.

The following is a first-hand account of Matúš’ experiences:

I saw a picture of the globe, or better yet a plane representing the map of the world. Below the map I noticed a black board. Whenever I did not understand something an explanation would appear on it similar to movie subtitles… I saw a total of seven different clips:
1st clip: The map was three coloured- blue, green and yellow. The symbolic meaning of the green colour was “goodness”, of the yellow “evil”… Afterwards a Demand appeared on the board:
Repent! Pray for priests and the religious! Pray the Rosary!
2nd clip: I saw on the map that the yellow colour was spreading and the green was retreating, evil gaining and goodness losing ground.
3rd clip: The yellow colour has already flooded the entire world. A yellow and fiery rain was falling from the sky, as if yellow glistening pieces of tin were falling. The picture represented the sins of the entire world, multiplying of evil and its consequences. A warning appeared on the board:
If people do not amend, terrible disasters will come – separately and grouped – and people will die in many different ways.
4th clip: I saw explosions in the sea near the coast. Gigantic explosions hurled great masses of matter from its depths which flooded the earth. Wherever they fell, life ceased to exist. A warning appeared on the board: If people do not amend, they will die!
5th & 6th clips: These parts of the revelation I judged that I ought to leave for myself as a personal secret: the knowledge of them would not benefit people.
7th clip: It showed what the earth would look like if people converted and lived according to God’s commandments. The earth was illuminated by the sun rays. It was covered in brilliant greenery and many beautiful flowers. Happiness, harmony and peace could be seen everywhere. The appearance of the Immaculate Conception with a magnificent Rosary in Her hand and with Her right hand outstretched as if protecting nations, radiated above the earth.

(The full text can be found here)

Another website gives a different third-person account of these events, which contains the same general content as the material above, but with a few additions:

Our Lady then signaled Matous to look in the direction of the pine; he looked and saw a tableaux showing the globe, then all the different countries on earth were displayed. Different colours now appeared on the map, some green some yellow. The water was blue. An inscription explained that the green spots indicate countries where the population is good and the yellow spots denote countries marked for destruction owing to the bad behaviour of the people. The high country is more green and the flat land more yellow. Matous sees the yellow invading and covering more countries while the green is retreating. The message was that the world is getting worse and worse. Then an inscription emerged from the words “Do penance” By and by the yellow colour had invaded all lands. Then powerful explosions burst forth over the water and land. A dense rain of small leaves fall to the earth, and upon reaching the ground, these turned into flames. Soon all the touched soil is covered by fire. Matous sees this as a punishment by God. From the indications on the map, Matous can make out which countries will be destroyed and which ones will be protected under Mary’s mantle. However the seer is not permitted to communicate these precisions to any person except to the Holy Father in Rome…

Matous was made to see the great punishment to befall the world if mankind does not return to God. The description of the chastizement was made known to the seer; yet Our Lady also said that prayer can hold off the justice of God. Matous describes it thus: (i) The sun will cease to warm, there will be cold summers with poor harvests (ii) there will be terrible floods and other misfortunes through the elements (iii) there will be earthquakes and mountains will move (iv) Churches will collapse, houses will move and be carried away by the floods…

(See here for the full text).

The messages given to Matúš Lašut contain some very strong parallels with our earlier material concerning the threat of a mega-tsunami from the collapse of the volcano Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands, which we have linked to the “huge mountain, burning with fire” being thrown into the sea in Rev 8:8 (see the earlier post Mega-tsunami). The phrase “I saw explosions in the sea near the coast. Gigantic explosions hurled great masses of matter from its depths which flooded the earth” sounds remarkably evocative of a a powerful volcanic eruption causing a lateral collapse, which in turn generates a mega-tsunami. As does the latter message, which describes “terrible floods and other misfortunes through the elements… there will be earthquakes and mountains will move… Churches will collapse, houses will move and be carried away by the floods…”

Another element given here sounds very similar to the warning in the Second Secret of Fatima that “various nations will be annihilated”: “From the indications on the map, Matous can make out which countries will be destroyed and which ones will be protected under Mary’s mantle. Compare this to the conclusions made earlier in the post John Paul II – The Third Secret and a Prophecy of a Mega-tsunami?. Could this be the so-called “minor chastisement” of various Catholic prophecies?

Although the Bishop of Nitra issued a pastoral letter at the time, forbidding members of the diocese from taking part in the pilgrimages to Turzovka, this must be understood in the context that this part of Slovakia was still behind the Iron Curtain at this time, and therefore was part of the old communist order. The local communist regime was vehemently against the apparitions, and arrested Matúš, subjecting him to torture in a bid to force him to retract his claims. After his release he was then committed to a mental institution, and when doctors established that he was clinically sane, he was again imprisoned. The shrine at Mt. Zivcak was destroyed by the Communist Youth, and once it was rebuilt, the crowds of pilgrims making their way to Turzovka were frequently obstructed by the local authorities. The pastoral letter by the Bishop of Nitra was most likely urging the members of the diocese not to attend pilgrimages to the site of the apparitions in order to avoid conflict with the local communist government, and was not an official condemnation of the apparitions.
Lašut had very little to gain from these claims, and a great deal to lose – including his very own liberty and immediate access to his family. It is hard to imagine a family man concocting such a story merely for personal  fame. And the fact that many miracles have been connected to these apparitions further helps to bolster their authenticity.

You can find additional material on this subject at the Sanctus Christopher blog here.

Many of these links do not work.Here’s one that does.

Our Lady of Turzovka – 1958

The Seer Matus Lasut
Matus Lasut was by all accounts a simple man. From the age of five, when his mother died, he’d learned to bear hardships as a normal part of life. He grew up tending cows, often sleeping with them in the barn on a bed of straw. His family needed his back, not his brain, to survive so his formal education was limited to just the winter months. His real education took place in his work, where he learned to scratch out a living in the rocky soils of northwestern Slovakia. During the years of violent transition that his country went through – from an independent Czechoslovakian nation to a Nazi puppet state to a Communist satellite of the Soviets – Matus always worked the land. He labored quietly as a woodcutter until he was promoted to the respectable position of forest ranger by the local government.
His faith was simple also. Without a mother to instruct him, he had nevertheless learned the basics of being Catholic. He knew the Our Father and the Hail Mary and he understood a few points of the catechism. He followed the Church’s requirements regarding his marriage and the baptism of his children but he wasn’t so fervent when it came to Mass and confession and communion, not to mention charity for his fellow men. He didn’t particularly like many people but the ones he disliked he made certain they knew it. His faith wasn’t lacking so much as it was lazy. Yet Matus retained throughout his life an aspect that was characteristic of all Slovakians regardless of status, a second-natured devotion to Mary.
So it was on June 1, 1958 that Matus was making his rounds on Okruhla, a mountain near the village of Turzovka. As usual, just before 9 am, he stopped at a spot on the side of the mountain called Zivcak (literally meaning “at the picture”). On a pine tree by the side of the trail was an icon of the Mother of God of Perpetual Help and it was here that he knelt to pray:
“I quickly prayed the Pater Noster and Hail Mary, but before I finished, at the end of Hail Mary, all of a sudden I spotted a short flash of light on my left side. I looked in that direction and to my amazement I saw at a distance of approximately 12 meters, a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes about two meters above the ground as if on a mound…
“A faint gust of wind coming from the east slightly moved her veil to reveal on the left side of her head a lock of light chestnut-colored hair… I realized that this was no statue but a living being standing on a tiny cloud as if it was made from a mist…”
Matus went on to describe her as having folded hands and wearing a crown of twelve stars. Her hair fell over her shoulders from beneath a gold-edged veil of white that stretched to her feet. A blue girdle, also edged with gold, cinched her snowy-white dress. On each foot rested a rose of gold.
Hanging over her right arm was a rosary that reached to her knees – white beads for the Aves and gold ones for the Paters. Interestingly, though the vision indeed strongly resembled Our Lady of Lourdes, the rosary that she held was of five decades, not the six decade one described by St. Bernadette.
A field of white roses suddenly appeared below the Lady and surrounding it was a white picket fence; three of the boards were loose. The lady looked at Matus and pointed to where there was a little hammer and some nails. Matus immediately understood that she wanted him to repair the fence. Unquestioningly, he bent down and set to work. Upon completion, the lady seemed pleased. She then smiled at Matus, held out her arm and gently shook the rosary she was holding. He knew that she was asking him to pray the rosary – only Matus had never learned that special prayer of Our Lady.
Before his embarrassment overtook him, the Lady turned her head in the direction of the tree where her icon stood. Matus followed her glance. Before the pine was a canvas showing a map of the world and below it was a black screen.
The map depicted was not unusual in that the oceans between the continents were blue and the land was variously colored green and yellow. Matus was made to understand that the green signified nations that were good, pleasing to God. The yellow were those countries that had abandoned Him. At first, the colors were stable but soon they began to blur and shift until the entire map was yellow. Little explosions erupted on the map, first on the coasts and in the oceans. Eventually the whole world was in flames. On the black screen below the image, these words appeared:
Repent! Pray for priests and the religious! Pray the Rosary!
Frightened and confused, Matus looked back at the Lady. She motioned for him to look above her and a flash of lightning cracked the sky in the shape of a triangle. From the hole in the sky, Christ emerged in all His majesty, wearing a long white robe and with a red cape draped over his shoulder. Under his left arm he carried a cross and in the middle of his chest there pulsed an image of his Sacred Heart. Three brilliant rays shot forth from the Heart. Two passed by each side of Matus but center one flashed right through him and he shut his eyes and collapsed to the ground.
He awoke to the sound of bells. They were the bells of the nearby church announcing the Angelus – it was noon – he had been there for three hours.
He sat up and looked around. The map was gone, as were the flowers and the fence. And the Lady was gone too, but on a rock just below where she had appeared, lay her rosary. He picked it up and began to pray. The Glorious Mysteries formed miraculously on his lips.
When Matus finished his rosary, the understanding came to him that the three fence-boards that the Lady had asked him to repair were indicative of the repairs that he needed to make in his own life. They were his three main shortcomings and he was supposed to fix them through the prayer of the Holy Rosary, the receiving of the Sacraments frequently, and a friendship with all people.
“After the apparition, I felt a great infusion of faith. First of all, I had to make peace with people whom I had come into conflict with. I would like to have avoided it but felt I had to do this. After returning from the mountain that very evening I went to beg forgiveness from all those people in Turzovka and the surrounding area. I did it as if against my own will. I took me until late in the night. People were surprised, some laughed at me, others thought that I had gone insane. The next day in the morning, I made confession and went to communion. From that time on, I was released from all my illness; first of all from heavy cough which had troubled me for many years and which the doctors claimed to be incurable.”
He told no one of what he had seen.
Matus was visited six more times at Zivcak by the Lady. Each time she appeared the same way, as Our Lady of Lourdes, and each time a vision was given to him in the same way, on a screen with words subtitled below it. Each vision dealt with the sinful condition of the world and the coming of a divine chastisement that could only be put off through prayer and penance. He gave a general description of some of his visions but he also saw specific names, places, and dates which he would keep secret from everyone except the Holy Father. (The Vatican has never made these revelations public, probably as the events are still under review). On the seventh and final appearance on August 14, 1958, she came under the guise of the Immaculate Conception.
During the time that Matus was having his visions, people began to notice a marked change in him. They pestered and questioned him until finally he broke his silence and told his story. On September 8th, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, a thousand people accompanied him on a visit to the icon on the hill. There, he surprised his new friends by announcing that in three days, he would be imprisoned.
That night, a police car stopped at his front door. Neighbors flocked to Matus’ house and prevented him from being taken away but he was ordered to appear at the police station the next day on charges of inciting insurrection. The communist authorities were not about to brook any supernatural resistance to their authority. He did as ordered, and two days later they decided it would be better to classify him as mentally ill; he was confined to a psychiatric hospital “for his own protection.”
Matus Lasut was moved in and out of various prisons and hospitals by the “committees” in charge of his case. He faced nineteen separate investigations and signed 120 sworn testimonies. During the course of his investigation, he was often subject to twice-daily interrogations. Electrocution. Hypnotism.Chemical cures.
Matus never broke and never renounced his story. From the official records kept during one inquisition, the simple forest ranger reaffirmed his faith to the procurator:
“Mr. Procurator, do you have a mother?”
“Yes, naturally.”
“And could you deny your mother?”
“No, this I could not do.”
“So, you can see why I cannot deny my heavenly mother either.”
After five years, Matus Lasut was finally released from prison but lived under constant surveillance for the rest of his life. Left half-blind and nearly toothless from the “treatments” inflicted upon him, he went right back to returning to his mountain. He found that despite attempts by the police to deter pilgrims by cutting down trees and burning images of the Holy Virgin, the site of the apparitions was growing dearer and stronger in the hearts of his countrymen every day. In fact, visitors from other parts of Czechoslovakia began to trickle in to Turzovka and soon they followed by Austrians and Germans and others. Many offered money to Matus but he never accepted a penny, preferring to live out his life in poverty.
But the story of Our Lady of Turzovka doesn’t end there.
The remainder of the story begins with a man named Jaroslav Zaalenka. He had a dream in which a beautiful lady told him to go up to the mountain (Okruhla) and dig. Not understanding what he was supposed to do, he didn’t follow her directions until after the third night of the same dream. He brought his shovel to the mountain and wandered around looking for a place he should dig. At a loss for guidance, he picked a random place that wasn’t too rocky. No sooner had he begun when the lady from his dream suddenly appeared and spoke to him. “Not here,” she said, “but over there, where you see those ferns.” He walked over to the ferns and set his shovel below the roots. As his foot pushed the shovel into soft ground, the ferns vanished and water began to bubble up. He turned to look back at the lady but she was gone. Six more springs formed on the mountain over the ensuing years when there had never been a single one recorded in its history.
Word of miraculous cures began to spread.
Nuns, priests, doctors, engineers, and people from all walks of life swore to the healing effects of this water. Lung cancer. Blindness. Paralysis. Soon, upon request, jars of the water were being sent to Rome. The prophecy reportedly made by the visionary and stigmatist Therese Neumann to Slovakian Bishop Karol Kaspar in the 1920’s had apparently been fulfilled: “In a few years, you will have in Slovakia another Lourdes where you will go on pilgrimages.” Even the name of Padre Pio was brought into the mix after he wrote in a letter to a Slovakian Jesuit priest, “Turzovka – ít is an authentic apparition. In time, it will become the Slovak Lourdes!”
Turzovka grew beyond control. Visions and voices and unexplainable events spread like a contagion among those who visited the site. Perhaps through modern eyes, jaded by the experience of so many hoaxes and false apparitions, we might see the related phenomena as fakeries by hucksters or hallucinations by “groupies.” Yet, looking at each case individually, there seems to be nothing malicious, nothing sinister behind them. There doesn’t seem to have been an “industry” that profited from the appearance of Our Lady. Nothing but good seems to have come of it. And nothing contrary to the Faith.
One of the more tender stories , of typically Slovakian flavor, regards a bus filled with passengers that stopped at Cadca, a village about 10 kilometers from Turzovka. A barefooted woman with a rosary in her belt boarded the bus. “Where are you going?” the driver asked her. “Turzovka,” she replied. The driver calculated the fare and handed her a ticket but the woman said that she had no money to pay for it. One of the passengers offered to pay her fare but the woman smiled at him and said she couldn’t accept his offer because he already had three children at home for whom he must care.
The driver, feeling pity for the woman, then offered to pay for her himself. He was taken aback when she told him that she could not accept his help either because although he was not married, she knew that wanted to be. He indeed did need to save every coin for the hard times that he would soon be facing.
By this time, the passengers had begun to pay attention. One of them came up with the idea for everyone aboard to each pay a tiny portion of her fare. The lady agreed to this but before she took a seat, someone insisted that she first show her identification as no one had ever seen her in those parts before.
The lady looked at the bus driver and announced that her ID was in his pocket. The surprised driver reached into his jacket. All that was there was a holy card picturing the Holy Virgin.
The woman disappeared before their eyes.
An extensive list of miracles and stories is still being compiled to this day at this “Lourdes of Slovakia.” Perhaps the greatest miracle to occur though, was that Slovakia and its faithful devotion to the Mother of God, survived through decades of relentless persecution to outlast the Soviet Union. After the communists departed, the dream of millions finally came true. A permanent shrine was finally allowed to be built at the site of the apparitions in 1993.
Matous Lasuta, Turzovka, Czeckoslovakia, 1958
Status: Currently Being Investigated
Episcopal Remarks: – N/A
Corroboration by Other Seers: This apparition was predicted to come about as “A Second Lourdes, of Slovakia” by the visionary Theresa Neumann
Biographical Information: Matous Lasuta was born April 10, 1916. He lost his mother when he was four years old . He became employed as a hand boy by a pious family. Next he enetered the military service. After his service in the military, he was married. He and his wife had four daughters, one of whom died. Matous became a woodcutter, however he was promoted to forester in 1956. The “U Obrozku” (round mountain at the apex of which was a shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help) was situated in his forestry district. During his regular rounds through the forest he never forgot to stop and pray at the shrine. He kept the little shrine adorned with flowers in season. On June 1, 1958, the 100th anniversary of the appairtions of Our Lady at Lourdes and on the Feast Day of the Most Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother first appeared to Matous at “U Obrozku” This occurred at 9.00AM. Matous had never learned to pray the rosary, however he was on his knees before the holy picture of Our Lady praying, when he saw a flash of light and felt his head spinning, the trees dissapeared and then he saw a beautiful rose garden. The rose garden was round and surrounded by a little white fence, in the centre the roses were taller and from the centre streamed a light brighter than the sun. In this light and floating on a cloud about threee and a half meters above the ground was a beautiful lady, youn, slim and of extraordinary height. Her expression was serious yet majestic and She was smiling. A rosary hung from Her left arm. Her face was oval and very white, Her eyes were azure blue and chestnut hair peeked out from behind Her veil. She radiated grandeur and majesty. She was clad in a snow white dress with a blue girdle and Her Hands were joined, just as Our Lady appeared at Lourdes. She was about 17 or 18, of heavenly beauty and taller than any human being. Matous immediately knew that She was the Blessed Virgin Mary. She pointed Her right index finger to the ground. Matous looked and saw three boards which had become detached from the white fence. He understood that he was to fix Her garden fence so he picked up a little hammer and nails and nailed the boards back on. She seemed pleased. Then Our Lady shook the beautiful rosary beads She was holding while she looked at Matous. He was ashamed and embarassed because he knew She was asking him to say the rosary, yet he did not know how to pray the rosary, nor did he even own a rosary. Our Lady then signaled Matous to look in the direction of the pine; he looked and saw a tableaux showing the globe, then all the different countries on earth were displayed. Different colours now appeared on the map, some green some yellow. The water was blue. An inscription explained that the green spots indicate countries where the population is good and the yellow spots denote countries marked for destruction owing to the bad behaviour of the people. The high country is more green and the flat land more yellow. Matous sees the yellow invading and covering more countries while the green is retreating. The message was that the world is getting worse and worse. Then an inscription emerged from the words “Do penance” By and by the yellow colour had invaded all lands. Then powerful explosions burst forth over the water and land. A dense rain of small leaves fall to the earth, and upon reaching the ground, these turned into flames. Soon all the touched soil is covered by fire. Matous sees this as a punishment by God. From the indications on the map, Matous can make out which countries will be destroyed and which ones will be protected under Mary’s mantle. However the seer is not permitted to communicate these precisions to any person except to the Holy Father in Rome. Then once more Matous sees the word “Do penance.” It is made known to Matous that what he had seen, he is to tell the world. Towards the end of this first apparition Our Lady pointed across the trees. Looking in that direction Matous sees heaven descending to earth, then the seer sees Our Saviour in Splendour with the cross beside Him. From Our Lord’s heart three arrows of light stream forth, the one in the middle penetrates Patous and he falls to the ground. Matous feels that Mary was telling Him “If you carry out My order, you will go there (heaven).” When the seer fully comes to himself the Mother of God had dissapeared; but She had left the rosary on the grasss, which She previously offered to him. Matous picked up the rosary and to his great surprise was able to say the rosary, including all the mysteries. He immediately said the five Glorious Mysteries, at which moment he heard the bells from the church at Vipaka announce the Angelus at noon. He now realized that the apparition had lasted three hours. Matous reviewed his life and decided to humble himself and personally ask the forgiveness of all he had hurt. That very day he visited the people to ask for forgiveness. This lasted till midnight and the people he visited thought he was crazy. He did not want anything on his heart before he received Jesus in the Eucharist. After this first apparition Matous received six additional apparitions. In each of the seven apparitions, Matous was given the message pictorially, and each time the subject matter was different. On June 7, 1958 Matous received the second apparition and was given the message of the horrible spectacle of the sins of mankind. Then on June 27, 1958 he was made to see the punishment that will strike the worldn if mankind does not return to God. During the apparition of July 1, 1958 Our Lady showed Matous how the chastisement could be avoided or made lighter through prayer, the rosary and penance. Prayer can hold off the justice of God but such prayer must come first from the heart, not proceed only from the intellect. The features of the last three apparitions remain Matous’ secret. These have not been revealed. For several weeks after the apparitions Matous remained silent. He changed. He attended daily Mass. However the happenings leaked out and Matous was urged to tell all to the people. On Sunday September 8, 1958, Feast of the Nativity of Mary, he went for the first time with a group of people to the place of the apparitions; to pray. After they finished praying Matous told the people “In three days I will leave you” In fact on the next Wednesday Matous was arrested and placed in jail. The rosary which Matous received from Our Blessed Virgin, and which he had always kept around his neck, dissapeared mysteriously at the moment he was arrested. He was submitted to several trials in court. The judge offered to release Matous and to promote him and give him a raise in salary if he would only admit he fell asleep and had a dream about Our Lady; but did not have an apparition. Matous asked the judge if he could renounce his own mother. Of course when the judge said he could not, Matous said neither could he renounce his own heavenly Mother. As a result of this trial Matous was declared insane and confined to a mental institution. When he was released after ten months he was discharged from his job and lost all his rights. The Church was suppressed in Czechoslovakia. The communist controlled government and Masonic influences were reportedly doing all in their power to make the memory of Our Lady of Turzovka “go away” The communists became more aggressive in their effrotts to stop devotion to Our Lady and also to prevent people from going to the place of the apparitions. The communist authorities had the pine tree cut down. They prohibited vehicle traffic to the site of the apparitions, but neverthelesss more and more people kept coming up the mountain to pray and show their devotion to Our Lady of Turzovka. The pilgrims who had received physical and spiritual health in their gratitude had erected little altars crosses and statues on the mountainside. From the very wood of the pine tree which had been cut down, the villagers made a cross which was erected on the exact spot where the pine tree had stood. On 36 separate occasions since 1958 the communists broke down the altars, the statues, crosses and candles that covered the mountainside at the apparition site. Still people from all over kept coming to Turzovka. One year after Matous was released from the mental institution, he was rearrested and sentenced to three years in prison. After his release from prison and during these more recent times, Matous is less bothered by the government police although they still keep an eye on him. At one point during the apparitions Our Lady indicated that a spring of healing water would come to flow in a place where no spring existed. It is reported that for three consecutive nights a man by the name of Jaroslav Zaalenka had a vision in which a lady told him that he must go to the “U Obrozku” and dig there. On the third day he went there but did not know exactly where to dig. He started to dig when the very lady of his vision, now present on the mountain said to him “Do not dig here but over there where you see those ferns” He went to that place and began to dig. Then the ferns mysteriously vanished. When he looked around for the lady, she too had vanished. From that moment a spring gushed there and exists today. Today there are seven springs on the mountain. Through the use of this spring water many physical and spiritual healings have been reported. For this reason this place has become known as the “Lourdes of Slovakia.” In addition to the healings other phenomena have been reported relating to the water. There have been several instances where miraculous images are formed within the ice when the water is frozen. Even more amazing when the ice thawed out and was refrozen sometimes other miraculous images depicting entirely different scenes appeared. Numerous signs and wonders occurred not only at the site of the apparition but at other places. On such occurrence happened when passengers boarding the bus at Cadec headed for Turzovka included among there number a bare footed woman with a rosary on her belt. The driver asked her destination and she said “Turzovka”. He took a ticket from his book and gave it to her. She said she had no money. A passenger offered to pay her fare, but she declind because “He had three children at home for whom he must care” So the driver offered to pay for her fare. Again she declined tellhim that he was single and wanted to get married and that he would have some very difficult times ahead. The passengers were amazed that she could accurately relate such personal conditions. Thereupon all the passengers said they would each pay a portion of her fare but they wanted her first to show her identification. The lady replied that the driver had her ID in his pocket. The driver reached into his pocket and to his surprise pulled out a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thereupon the lady dissapeared. Everyone on the bus was astonished. 1
1. Peter Heintz A Guide to Apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary (Gabriel Press, Sacramento, California 1995) p. 243 -248
The Messages
Our Lady, June 1, 1958 “Do penance! Do penance!” This message appeared in the very first tableaux that was shown Matous during the first apparition. The inscription showed these words, not just once but twice! “As for penance, it must consist above all in abstaining from evil and doing good” Also Our Lady said that penance is not only for sinners but for all. During his three hours of ecstasy on this day Matous was cured of all his sickness including his chronic bronchitis.
Vision, June 1, 1958: Matous saw pictorially the increasing invasion of the nations by evil. He also saw a glimpse of heaven towards the end of the apparition and a vision of Jesus on the cross.
Our Lady, June 7, 1958: The Tableaux showed the horrible spectacle of the sins of man. These sins surely are repulsive to God.
Our Lady, June 27, 1958: Matous was made to see the great punishment to befall the world if mankind does not return to God. The description of the chastizement was made known to the seer; yet Our Lady also said that prayer can hold off the justice of God. Matous describes it thus: (i) The sun will cease to warm, there will be cold summers with poor harvests (ii) there will be terrible floods and other misfortunes through the elements (iii) there will be earthquakes and mountains will move (iv) Churches will collapse, houses will move and be carried away by the floods (v) the non believers will blaspheme in their despair (vi) The air will be filled with demon-like forms which are the incorporations of sin and vice. These phantoms will terrify humanity Our Lady also said “These days will start with rolling thunder and trembling of the earth. Then close well your habitation, pray, cross yourselves with the sign of the cross, repent of your sins, call upon the Mother of God for help, and She will take you under Her protection”
Our Lady, July 1, 1958: Our Lady showed Matous how the Chastizement could be avoided or lessened through prayer, the praying of the rosary and penance. Our Lady also said “The angels who are entrusted with the work of destruction are ready but the wrath of God can be stayed by praying the rosary , by penance and sincere repentance” Our Lady told Matous that after the Great punishment then nature will calm down and a bright light will appear; but the world will not be recognizable. Everything will be destroyed. It will be difficult to find life and living beings. God will punish the wicked and those who will have blasphemed Him. What will happen to the good? Our Lady said: “All my children will receive and carry the sign of the cross on their foreheads. This sign only my chosen ones will see. These chosen ones will be instructed by my angels how to conduct themselves. My faithful will be without any kind of fear during the most difficult hours. They will be protected by the good spirits and will be fed by Heaven from where they will receive further instructions. They will fall into a deathlike sleep, but they will be protected by angels. When they awake they will be like those newly born. Their bodies will be beautiful and their souls will be steeped in God. The earth will be beautiful and my chosen ones will se how God takes care of them.”
Miraculous images, September 8, 1963: Some people went to Tuzovka and brought water to keep in case of sickness. The water was placed in two bottles. On January 24, 1964 a woman was in pain so they fetched the bottles and found the water was frozen. In the first bottle they saqw the heights of Turzovka and above it a Chalice with a silver cross in the centre. In the second bottle was also shown the heights of Turzovka and above it a clock which showed the time as five minutes before 12 O’Clock. On February 7, 1964 the ice now contained the images of two Chalices with a silver disk inside. Then on February 15, 1964 the Easter Lamb appeared in the ice. On March 5, 1964 the Easter Lamb appeared in the ice. On March 5, 1964 yet other images appeared in the frozen bottles of water. The first was the Immaculate Conception showing Our Lady with Her hands folded and a crown on Her head. The second showed Our Lady with a radiating heart standing on a pedestal.
Miraculous images, undated, 1963: A glass of water belonging to Mrs Agnes Koneana was frozen and an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was exquisitely shown in the ice. This was shown to some officials who just shook their heads. The iced water was allowed to thaw and was refrozen. This time an image of a Chalice with a Host suspended above it appeared in the ice.
Our Lady, undated, June 1964: There is a beatutiful story reported concerning an exquisitely carved statue of Our Lady of Turzovka which is destined to be set in a prominent place in the new Basilica which is to be built on the mountain of the apparitions. Alois Lasak a retired coal miner who lived in Hlucin some distance from Turzovka felt drawn to Turzovka and would take the bus and visit the shrine at least once a month commencing in 1960. On one such visit in June 1964 Aloid saw blood flow from the Crucified Christ on the cross which had been erected on the spot where the apparitions had occurred. Alois also saw Christ on the cross throw His head back and open His eyes, then bend His head forward and close His eyes again. This happened three times during this vision. The next day Alois had another vision inside his own house. Our Lady appeared to him and commissioned him to carve a statue of Our Lady of Turzovka. She told Alois “What you see is to be done by you. This work, once finished, you will deliver it to the believers. You must not fear, I shall help you. Even the face I shall supply” During this vision Alois was also shown the passion of Christ. The vision lasted four hours and left Alois weak and trembling. He had no experience in carving or sculpting and he was afraid. After talking to his wife he decided to visit the shrine again. When Alois arrived at “U Obrozku” and aged man remarked “Among you is a man who will carve a statue of Our Lady of Turzovka” This man then lead Alois to the cross (the very first cross where Alois had the vision). Incidentally in 1958 Our Lady had directed Matous to make a cross from the downed pine tree and erect it on the spot where She had appeared. This was done but the communists burned the cross. The pilgrims erected a new cross and placed the partially burned original cross on the new cross. The new cross was burned and again replaced always preserving the partially burned cross. This happened three separate times. It was to this third new cross that the aged man led Alois. Here the aged man insisted that Alois remove the partially burned cross and carve a small cross and a heart from it, and that these two objects should be placed inside the statue to be carved by Alois. It was done. Someone obtained the wood for the statue, the cross and heart were placed in a cavity dug out inside the wood. After the wood was halved the two halves were glued together and Alois proceeded to carve the statue –a feat which he completed in two months!
Our Lady and Our Lord, May 1, 1965: A great sign occurred in Turzovka, witnessed by some 1200 pilgrims and vacationers. On two opposite sides of the sky there appeared huge brilliant shrines. These twp shrines then came together in the middle of the sky to form in brilliance a huge heart. On one side of the heart appeared the Immaculate Conception, while Our Saviour appeared on the other side. In front of Our Saviour was a big red cross. This lasted for ten minutes. People fell to their knees and prayed with great fervour.
Our Lady, undated: Our Lady told Matous that prayer can hold off the justice of God but such prayer must come from the heart, not proceed only from the intellect and it must not be said absentmindedly. And to the prayer must be added good works. These good works must not consist in a bare distribution of food, clothing or money, but the gifts must be accompanied by encouraging words, a smile and friendly glance.
Our Lady, undated: Our Lady told Matous that mankind must come back to God and pray for the conversion because the numerous sins of the world are urgently calling from the justice of God
Miracles, undated: The water taken home from the Springs displayed miraculous images after the water had been frozen. Several instances are reported where sacred images appeared in the ice. Then when the ice was metled and refrozen other and different images appeared.
Our Lady undated: There is an instance where Matous was detained by the police who attempted to take his photograph (mug shot). Eac time they took the picture of Matous, yet each time upon developing it, they found an Image of Our Lady of Fatima and none of Matous
1. Messages taken from Peter Heintz A Guide to Apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary (Gabriel Press, Sacramento, California 1995) p. 248 –254)