I will be posting about it tomorrow!
Madrid (AFP) – Curators were forced to remove a precious cup from display in a church in Spain when crowds swarmed there after historians claimed it was the Holy Grail, staff said.
Visitors flocked to the San Isidro basilica in the northwestern city of Leon after two historians published a book saying the ancient goblet was the mythical chalice from which Christ sipped at the Last Supper.
The director of the basilica’s museum, Raquel Jaen, said the cup was taken off display on Friday while curators look for an exhibition space large enough to accommodate the crowds.
“It was in a very small room where it was not possible to admire it to the full,” she told AFP.
Made of agate, gold and onyx and encrusted with precious stones, the object in Leon is formed by two goblets joined together, with one turned up, the other down.
It has been known until now as the goblet of the Infanta Dona Urraca, daughter of Fernando I, King of Leon from 1037 to 1065.
The two historians — Leon University medieval history lecturer Margarita Torres and art historian Jose Manuel Ortega del Rio — identified it as the grail in their book “Kings of the Grail”, published last week.
They said two Egyptian parchments they found in 2011 at Cairo’s University of Al-Azhar set them on a three-year investigation.
Their studies led them to identify the upper part of the princess’s goblet, made of agate and missing a fragment as described in the parchments, as the grail — one of the most prized relics in Christianity.
It was offered to Fernando, a powerful Christian Spanish king, as a peace offering by the emir of a kingdom in the Muslim part of Spain at the time, Torres said.
In Europe alone there are 200 supposed Holy Grails, the Spanish researchers admitted. They attempted to debunk the authenticity of some of the better known candidates in their book.
The naturally-preserved remains of a Sudanese woman were excavated in 2005, but new investigations have revealed a tattoo located on her inner thigh which symbolizes the Archangel Michael, according to Live Science.
“This is the first example of a tattoo on a Sudanese mummy from the medieval period,” Daniel Antoine, the curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum, told The Telegraph. “And the tattoo itself is remarkable because it’s actually a monogram, which is the letters for the word ‘Michael’ in Greek compressed into a symbol.”
The tattoo itself.
“St. Michael was the patron saint of medieval Sudan,” Antoine explained. “We have found other examples of the monogram, but never in the form of a tattoo. We have engravings, and graffiti on some of the medieval churches, from that part of the Nile Valley. So this is truly a unique and remarkable find.”
The tattoo in contrast.
The woman is believed to have been between 20 and 35 years of age when she died, and was buried simply, wrapped in linen and woolen cloth. The hot, dry climate naturally preserved her body.
The letters on her inner thigh spell out M-I-X-A-H-A, which is “Michael” in ancient Greek. Researchers say that she probably died around AD 700 and lived in a Christian community on the banks of the Nile River.
The “original” photograph, from the November blog post
Back in November, a friend in Chicago shared a picture taken at the Adoration Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Glenview, Illinois. I posted the story here, which I then updated when the same friend shared another picture taken on a different day, using a different camera, by a different person.
Then, about a week ago, I received an e-mail from Lori, a “cradle Catholic” and parishioner at OLPH, who wanted to share her own experience, and a third photograph taken at the same parish. After a bit of e-mail correspondence and some phone tag, Lori and I managed to speak on the phone today, and I asked her a lot of questions about the picture that she took and the story behind it.
The “second” photograph
Lori said that she’s been through a lot of strife in her life, including a battle with a rare form of cancer, but that her faith and deep belief in Jesus Christ has always helped her through dark times. In particular, Lori seems to know something about the reality of spiritual warfare, because at times she has the ability to perceive the unseen or unnoticed — the spiritual. She considers this perception a gift, the purpose of which she is still hoping that God will reveal to her.
Lori believes that the picture shows her guardian angel. She believes this because, simply, she asked her guardian angel to show herself, “next to Jesus”:
We know what you’re thinking: Scientists find a way to read minds
By Maxim Lott
Scientists have used brain scanners to detect and reconstruct the faces that people are thinking of, a scientific achievement that could someday lead to a dream-recorder. (ALAN COWEN)
Scientists have used brain scanners to detect and reconstruct the faces that people are thinking of, a scientific achievement that could someday lead to a dream-recorder. (ALAN COWEN)
Scientists have used brain scanners to detect and reconstruct the faces that people are thinking of, a scientific achievement that could someday lead to a dream-recorder. (ALAN COWEN)
Think mind reading is science fiction?
Scientists have used brain scanners to detect and reconstruct the faces that people are thinking of, according to a a study accepted for publication this month in the journal NeuroImage.
In the study, scientists hooked participants up to an fMRI brain scanner – which determines activity in different parts of the brain by measuring blood flow – and showed them images of faces. Then, using only the brain scans, the scientists were able to create images of the faces the people were looking at.
“It is mind reading,” said Alan S. Cowen, a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley who co-authored the study with professor Marvin M. Chun from Yale and Brice A. Kuhl from New York University.
‘You can even imagine, way down the road, a witness to a crime might want to come in and reconstruct a suspect’s face.’
– Alan S. Cowen, a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley
The study says it is the first to try to reconstruct faces from thoughts. The photos above are the actual photos and reconstructions done in the lab.
While the reconstructions based on 30 brain readings are blurry, they approximate the true images. They got the skin color right in all of them, and 24 out of 30 reconstructions correctly detected the presence or absence of a smile.
The pro-life movement focuses on the issue of abortion but as pro-life people we celebrate life. The pro-life is also concerned about the plight of the disabled — because their lives are often threatened by doctors, governments or a society that thinks somehow their disability makes their life less valuable.
A new video is out that is making the rounds of the Internet today that is a beautiful celebration of life.
A young woman who has been deaf for her entire life is shown as she hears sounds for the first time. The beauty of her reaction is priceless.
From a report about the video:
A video captured the moment 39-year-old Joanne Milne’s cochlear implants were switched on, allowing sounds to flood unchecked into her brain for the very first time.
Tears start falling down the woman’s shocked face as she realizes how much her life is going to change.
“Hearing things for the first time is so, so emotional, from the ping of a light switch to running water. I can’t stop crying,” Milne told The Independent.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
Milne was born with Usher syndrome, a condition that left her deaf since birth and blind since her mid-20s. But she was recently fitted with cochlear implants at the University Hospital Birmingham. The electronic device bypasses damaged portions of the ear to directly stimulate the auditory nerve, according to the National Institutes of Health. The sounds that are communicated to the ear aren’t as clear as those that provided by natural hearing. But it helps give a deaf person the ability to understand speech and a sense of the sounds in the environment.
It’s enough for Milne.
“The switch-on was the most emotional and overwhelming experience of my life and I’m still in shock now. The first day everybody sounded robotic and I have to learn to recognise what these sounds are as I build a sound library in my brain,” she told The Journal.
In September 1852 the Sisters of Loreto came, by paddle steamer and by covered wagon, to the Southwest. Their trip, which had begun in Kentucky the previous May on a riverboat steamer which took them up the Mississippi to St. Louis, was at the specific request of Bishop Jean Lamy, who had been appointed Vicar-Apostolic of the New Mexico Territory in 1850. From St. Louis to Independence, Missouri, the Sisters took the steamer “Kansas,” but on the way a sorrowful adversity befell the little community. Their beloved Superior, Mother Matilda, came down with cholera and died shortly after arriving in Independence. Two other Sisters also had the disease, but they slowly recovered.
After more months of struggles and fears, broken axles and wheels, and scorching days, what was left of the missionary team finally arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sisters Magdalen, Catherine, Hilaria, and Roberta made up the community. At the direction of Bishop Lamy, Sister Magdalen was appointed Superior of the Sisters. She was a woman of strong faith and firm resolution, and the situation she and her Sisters faced was a difficult one.
It was only because these Sisters of Loreto were great-hearted women, thoroughly permeated with an all-consuming love of God, that they were able to brave the hardships of those first years. Bishop Lamy was in the midst of a valiant struggle to preserve the Catholic Faith in “New” Mexico. The formerly Spanish Catholic territory was still groaning under its hostile “takeover” from Mexico in 1848, and the Sisters were not particularly welcome, as far as territorial officials were concerned. Thus, they certainly had no comfortable Convent waiting for them upon their arrival. They lived at first in a little, one-room adobe house. At that time the population of the little city of Santa Fe was still made up mostly of Catholic Mexicans and Indians. Today Santa Fe is a large modern city, the State Capitol, though, with its quaintly narrow streets and Spanish architecture, it still keeps alive the ancient climate of the old “Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Assisi” (The Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi), which is its proper name, founded by Spanish Catholic conquistadors and missionaries in 1610.
But back in 1852 it soon became quite evident that, if the Sisters were to fulfill the intentions of Bishop Lamy, who had brought them to Santa Fe for the specific purpose of helping him to preserve the Catholic Faith of the people, they would need a Convent and a school to teach their children. Mexican carpenters zealously began to build for the Sisters. The school was swiftly completed and was called “Loreto Academy of Our Lady of Light.” Plans were made next for a beautiful Chapel. According to the Sisters’ annals for the year 1873, the Chapel was begun on July 25th of that year. It was designed by the same architect, Mr. Mouly, who had designed the Bishop’s Cathedral in Santa Fe. Because Bishop Lamy was from France, he wished the Sisters to have a Chapel that was similar to his beloved Sainte Chapelle in Paris. That meant that it was to be strictly European Gothic, in fact, the first Gothic structure west of the Mississippi. It was to be, in many ways, a visible symbol of the courageous Bishop’s opposition to “Americanism,” which would be condemned by Pope Leo XIII in 1899.
French and Italian masons immediately went to work on the new structure. It would be large — larger in fact — than most of the mission Chapels in that area. It was to be 25 feet by 75 feet with a height of 85 feet.
Mother Magdalen recorded in the annals that the erection of the Chapel was placed under the patronage of St. Joseph “in whose honor we communicated every Wednesday, that he might assist us.” Then she adds, “Of his powerful help we have been witnesses on several occasions.”
The Chapel work progressed with some financial worries and a maximum of faith on the part of the Sisters. It was not until it was nearly finished that they realized that a dreadful mistake had been made. The Chapel itself was beautifully done, and the choir loft was wonderful too, but there was no connecting link between the two. There was no stairway and, because the loft was exceptionally high, there was no room for a stairway as ordinary stairways go. Mother Magdalen called in many carpenters to try to build a stairway; but each, in his turn, measured and thought and then shook his head sadly saying, “It can’t be done, Mother.” It looked as if there were only two alternatives: to use a ladder to get to the choir which seemed impractical in any case, or to tear the whole thing down and rebuild it differently. The latter would have been a heartbreaking task. However, anyone who knows true Catholic Sisters and their trust in Divine Providence, knows they will not plunge into such a drastic solution to a problem without first saying something like, “Let’s wait awhile and make a novena.” So the Sisters of Loreto made a novena to St. Joseph for a suitable solution to the problem.
On the very last day of the novena, a gray-haired man came up to the Convent with a burro and a tool chest. Approaching Mother Magdalen, he asked if he might try to help the Sisters by building a stairway! Mother gave her consent gladly, and he set to work. According to the story that was later told by some of the Sisters present at the time and passed on to others, the only tools he had were a hammer, a saw and a T-square, and some of the Sisters remembered seeing a few tubs of water for soaking the wood to make it pliable. It is not clear how long he took to complete the work, for when Mother Magdalen went to pay him, he had vanished. She went to the local lumber yard to pay for the wood, at least. They knew nothing of it there. To this day there is no record stating that the job was ever paid for.
The winding stairway that the kindly man had left for the Sisters is a masterpiece of beauty and wonder. It makes two complete 360 degree turns. There is no supporting pole up the center as most circular stairways have. This means that it hangs there with no support! The entire weight is on the base. Some architects have said that by all laws of gravity, it should have crashed to the floor the minute anyone stepped on it, and yet it was used daily for over 80 years.
The stairway was put together only with wooden pegs — there is not a single nail in it. At the time it was built, the stairway had no banisters. These were added later. Among the girls who attended the Academy at the time the stairway was constructed was a girl of about thirteen years. She later became a Loreto Sister, and she never tired of telling how she and her friend were among the first to climb up the stairway. She said that they were so frightened when they got up to the choir that they came down on their hands and knees!
Visitors have come from all over the world to see the wonderful stairway. Among them have been architects who, without exception, declare that they cannot understand how the stairway was constructed nor how it remains as sturdy as it is after a century of use. Mr. Urban Weidner, a Santa Fe architect and wood expert, says that he has never seen a circular wooden stairway with 360 degree turns that did not have a supporting pole down the center. One of the most baffling things about the stairway, however, is the perfection of the curves of the stringers. According to Mr. Weidner, the wood is spliced along the sides of the stringers with nine splices on the outside and seven on the inside, each fitted with the greatest precision. Each piece is perfectly curved. How this was done in the 1870’s by a single man in an out-of-the-way place with only the most primitive tools is inexplicable to modern architects.
Many experts have tried to identify the wood and surmise where it came from. No one has ever been able to give a satisfactory answer to this mystery. The treads were constantly walked on for over 80 years since the stairway was built, but they showed signs of wear only on the edges. Mr. Weidner identifies this wood as “edge-grained fir of some sort.” (Others say it is long-leaf yellow pine.) He knows definitely that this hard-wearing wood did not come from New Mexico. Where the mysterious carpenter got this wood is a secret known to him alone.
Holy Mother Church is always cautious about making statements concerning things of a supernatural nature. Therefore, the good Loreto Sisters whose prayers were so wonderfully answered, as well as Bishop Lamy, in this spirit, refrained from saying anything definitive about the stairway. But Mother Magdalen and her community of Sisters and students knew that the stairway was St. Joseph’s answer to their fervent prayers. Many were convinced that the humble carpenter was St. Joseph himself, as his silent, prayerful labors were precisely the virtues one would expect of the foster-Father of Our Divine Lord.
The Convent annals tell us that the Chapel of Our Lady of Light was dedicated by the Bishop on April 25, 1878, and remained as a beautiful testimony of the wondrous power and intercession of good St. Joseph for over 80 years. Tragically, in the devastating aftermath of Vatican Council II, religious vocations dwindled, and the Loreto “sisters” of the new post-conciliar religion, having first betrayed their Order by discarding their traditional religious garb and way of life, ended by betraying the faith and devotion of Mother Magdalen and her Sisters by selling the entire Academy grounds, including the Chapel, to a commercial property developer. Most of the historical monuments of the love for souls, zeal for the Catholic Faith, and pious devotion of Bishop Lamy, Mother Magdalen, and the Sisters who established the Loreto Academy of Our Lady of Light were demolished to make way for monuments of secular “progress” (greed and materialism) upon their ruins. What the secular government had been unable to accomplish for almost a century, the post-Vatican II church did in a matter of a few short years. Even the beautiful shrine of La Conquistadora, by which Bishop Lamy paid homage not only to Our Lady, but also to the glory of the Spanish Catholic “conquest” of New Spain, was removed from its place of prominence in his ancient Cathedral dedicated to Christ the King.
Fortunately, however, there was such an outcry from the devoted people of Santa Fe, including many of the alumni of the Academy, that the Chapel with the “miraculous” stairs was preserved as a national monument, albeit amidst the commercialism which surrounds it. To this very day, those who love and revere good St. Joseph, can still go and gaze upon that which is, without doubt, a visible testimony that St. Joseph indisputably finds ways to provide for those who humbly and confidently place their needs in his capable hands.
The remarkable true story of the miraculous intercession of the Virgin Mary in 1944 to prisoner Claude Newman of Mississippi
-The Virgin Mary appears in a series of visions through the intercession of the Miraculous Medal and converts two men on death row.
By: Glenn Dallaire
Claude Newman was an African American man who was born on December 1, 1923 to Willie and Floretta (Young) Newman in Stuttgart, Arkansas. In 1928, Claude’s father Willie takes Claude and his older brother away from their mother for unknown reasons, and they are brought to their grandmother, Ellen Newman, of Bovina, Warren County, Mississippi.
In 1939, Claude’s beloved grandmother, Ellen Newman, marries a man named Sid Cook. Soon Sid becomes sexually abusive toward Ellen, which deeply angers Claude. In 1940, Claude works as a farmhand on Ceres Plantation in Bovina, Mississippi. The plantation is owned by a wealthy landowner named U.G. Flowers, and Sid Cook was born and raised on this plantation. One biographer also has Claude getting married also in 1940 at age 17 to a young woman of the same age.
On Dec.19, 1942, Claude is apparently still very angered by Sid’s abusive treatment towards his grandmother Ellen, and egged on by dominant friend named Elbert Harris, Claude lies in waiting at Sid Cook’s house (Sid Cook and Ellen Newman have since seperated). Claude shoots Sid as he enters, killing him, and takes his money, then flees to his mothers house in Arkansas, arriving on Dec 20th.
Claude is arrested and sent to prison on death row
In January 1943, Claude is apprehended in Arkansas and is returned to Vicksburg, Mississippi and makes a coerced confession on Jan. 13. Despite protests of Claude’s lawyer Harry K. Murray, his confession is admitted as evidence, and he is found guilty by jury, and is initially sentenced to die in the electric chair on May 14, 1943. Later an appeal to retry the case is rejected by State Attorney General and he is rescheduled to be executed on January 20, 1944.
Claude receives the Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The majority of the information that will now be presented comes from a tape recording of a radio show interview of Father O’Leary- a priest who came to know Claude very well during Claude’s imprisionment.
While Claude was in jail awaiting execution, he shared a cell-block with four other prisoners. One night, the five men were sitting around talking and eventually the conversation ran out. During this time, Claude noticed a medal on a string around one of the other prisoner’s neck. Curious, he asked the other prisoner what the medal was. The young prisoner was a Catholic, but he apparently did not know (or did not want to talk) about the medal, and seemingly embarrassed, he appeared angry and suddenly took the medal off from around his own neck and threw it on the floor at Claude’s feet with a curse and a cuss, telling him to “take the thing”. Claude picked up the medal, and after looking it over, he placed it around his own neck, although he had no idea whose image it was on the medal; to him it was simply a trinket, but for some reason he felt attracted to it, and wanted to wear it.
The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to Claude in a vision
(The Icon to the left is of “Mary the Teacher” © Copyright 2004 by Brother Claude Lane, OSB, Mount Angel Abbey. This beautiful icon is a representation of the amazing facts below. Click here for more info about Brother Claude’s iconography.)
During the night while sleeping on top of his cot, he was awakened with a touch upon his wrist. Awakening with a start, there stood, as Claude told Father O’Leary afterwards, ‘the most beautiful Woman that God ever Created’.
At first he was quite frightened, not knowing what to make of this extraordinary beautiful glowing Woman. The Lady soon calmed Claude down, and then said to
him, “If you would like Me to be your Mother, and you would like to be My child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church.”
And after saying these words She suddenly disappeared.
Excited, Claude immediately started to yell “a ghost, a ghost”, and started screaming that he wanted a Catholic priest.
Father Robert O’Leary SVD (1911-1984), the priest who tells the story, was called first thing the next morning. Upon arrival he went to see Claude who told him of what had happened the night before. Deeply impressed by the events, Claude, along with the other four men in his cell-block, asked for religious instruction in the Catholic faith.
Claude and some of the other prisoners receive instruction in the Catholic faith
Father O’Leary returned to the prison the next day to begin instruction for the prisoners. It was then that the priest learned that Claude Newman could neither read nor write at all. The only way he could tell if a book was right-side-up was if the book contained a picture. Claude told him that he had never been to school, and Father O’Leary soon discovered that his ignorance of religion was even more profound. He knew practically nothing about religion or the Christian faith. He knew that there was a God, but he did not know that Jesus was God. And so Claude began receiving instructions, and the other prisoners helped him with his studies.
After a few days, two of the religious Sisters from Father O’Leary’s parish-school obtained permission from the warden to come to the prison. They wanted to meet Claude and hear his remarkable story, and they also wanted to visit the women in the prison. Soon, on another floor of the prison, the Sisters began to teach some of the women-prisoners the catechism as well.
A heavenly lesson about Confession
Several weeks passed, and it came time when Father O’Leary was going to give instructions about the Sacrament of Confession. The Sisters too sat in on the class. The priest said to the prisoners, “Ok boys, today I’m going to teach you about the Sacrament of Confession.”
Claude said, “Oh, I know about that! The Lady told me that when we go to confession we are kneeling down not before a priest, but we’re kneeling down by the Cross of Her Son. And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the Blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins.”
Hearing Claude say this, Father O’Leary and the Sisters sat stunned with their mouths wide open. Claude thought they were angry and said, “Oh don’t be angry, don’t be angry, I didn’t mean to blurt it out.”
The priest said, “We’re not angry Claude. We are just surprised. You have seen Her again?”
Claude replied, “Come around the cell-block away from the others.”
Proof that the Blessed Virgin Mary was appearing to Claude
When they were alone, Claude said to the priest, “She told me that if you doubted me or
showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland in 1940, you made a vow to Her which She’s still waiting for you to keep.”
And, Father O’Leary recalls, “Claude then told me precisely what the vow was.”
Claude’s revelation absolutely convinced Father O’Leary that Claude was telling the truth about his visions of Our Lady. The promise Fr. O’Leary made to Our Lady in 1940 from a ditch in Holland (the proof Claude gave the priest that Our Lady really was appearing to him) was this: that when he could, he would build a church in honor of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. He did just that in 1947. He had been transferred to Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1945 when a group African American Catholic laymen asked to have a church built there. The Bishop of Natchez, Mississippi had been sent $5000 by Archbishop Cushing of Boston for the “Negro missions.” The Bishop and Father O’Leary commissioned the church of the Immaculate Conception to be built, and it is still there today (photo left)
Father O’Leary and Clark then returned to the catechism class on Confession. And Claude kept telling the other prisoners, “You should not be afraid to go to confession. You’re really telling God your sins, not the priest”
Then Claude said,
“You know, the Lady said that Confession is something like a telephone. We talk through the priest to God, and God talks back to us through the priest.”
A heavenly lesson about Holy Communion
About a week later, Father O’Leary was preparing to teach the class about the Blessed Sacrament. The Sisters were again present for this lesson too. Claude indicated that the Lady had also taught him about the Eucharist, and he asked if he could tell the priest what She said.
Fr. O’Leary agreed immediately. Claude related, “The Lady told me that in Communion, I will only see what looks like a piece of bread. But She told me that It is really and truly Her Son, and that He will be with me just as He was with Her before He was born in Bethlehem. She told me that I should spend my time like She did during Her lifetime with Him– in loving Him, adoring Him, thanking Him, praising Him and asking Him for blessings. I shouldn’t be distracted or bothered by anybody else or anything else, but I should spend those few minutes in my thoughts alone with Him.”
Claude is received into the Catholic church and scheduled to be executed
As the weeks progressed, eventually they finished the catechism instructions and Claude and the other prisoners were received into the Catholic Church. The St. Mary’s parish (Vicksburg, MI) baptismal log has recorded his baptism on January 16, 1944. Fr. O’Leary officiated and a young nun, Sr. Bena Henken, served as his godmother.
Soon afterwards the time came for Claude to be executed. He was to be executed at five minutes after twelve, midnight, on January 20, 1944.
The sheriff, named Williamson, asked him, “Claude, you have the privilege of a last request. What do you want?”
“Well,” said Claude, “all of my friends are all shook up. The jailer is all shook up. But you don’t
understand. I’m not going to die; only this body. I’m going to be with Her. So, then I would like to have a party”
“What do you mean?” asked the sheriff.
“A party!” said Claude. “Will you give Father O’Leary permission to bring in some cakes and ice cream and will you allow the prisoners on the second floor to be freed in the main room so that we can all be together and have a party?”
“Somebody might attack Father,” cautioned the warden.
Claude turned to the men who were standing by and said, “Oh no they won’t, right fellas?”
The warden consented and posted additional guards for the party. So, Father O’Leary visited a wealthy patron of the parish, and she generously supplied the ice cream and cake, and everyone enjoyed the party.
Afterwards, because Claude had requested it, they made a Holy Hour, praying especially for Claude and for all of their souls. Fr. O’Leary brought prayer books from the Church, and they all said together the Stations of the Cross, and made a Holy Hour, without the Blessed Sacrament.
As the time neared for Claude’s execution, the men were put back in their cells. The priest then went to the chapel to get the Blessed Sacrament so that he could give Claude Holy Communion in the moment before his execution.
Father O’Leary returned to Claude’s cell. Claude knelt on one side of the bars, the priest
knelt on the other, and they prayed together as the clock ticked toward Claude’s execution.
A two week stay of execution is granted
Fifteen minutes before the execution, sheriff Williamson came running up the stairs shouting,
“Reprieve, Reprieve, the Governor has given a two-week reprieve!”
Claude had not been aware that the sheriff and the District Attorney were trying to get a stay of execution for Claude to save his life. But when Claude found out, he started to cry.
The priest and the sheriff assumed Claude’s reaction was that of joy because he was not going to be executed. However Claude said, “But you don’t understand! If you ever saw Her face, and looked into Her eyes, you wouldn’t want to live another day!”
Claude then continued, “What have I done wrong these past weeks that God would refuse me my going home?”
Father O’Leary then testified that Claude sobbed as one who was completely brokenhearted.
Bewildered, the sheriff then left the room. The priest remained and Claude eventually quieted down, then Father O’Leary gave Claude Holy Communion. Afterwards Claude said,
“Why Father? Why must I still remain here for two weeks?”
Claude generously sacrifices himself in an offering for a fellow prisoner
Father O’Leary then had a sudden inspiration. He reminded Claude about James Hughs, a white prisoner in the same jail who hated Claude intensely. This prisoner had led a horribly immoral life, and like Claude he too was sentenced to be executed for murder. James was raised a Catholic, but now he was a reprobate, and rejected God and all things Christian.
Father O’Leary then said “Maybe Our Blessed Mother wants you to offer this denial of being with Her for his conversion.” And the priest continued, “Why don’t you offer to God every
moment that you are seperated from your heavenly Mother for this prisoner, so that he will not be seperated from God for all eternity.”
Claude thought for a moment, then agreed, and he asked Father O’Leary to teach him the words to make the offering. Father O’Leary complied, and he later testified that from that moment on the only two people on earth who knew about this personal offering were Claude and himself, because it was a private matter between God, the Blessed Mother, Claude and himself.
A few hours later (still on the morning after his reprieve of execution) Fr. O’Leary came once again to visit Claude, and Claude said to the priest, “James hated me before, but oh Father, how he hates me now!” (This was because James had heard about Claude’s reprieve and was jealous) To encourage him the good priest said, “Well, perhaps that’s a good sign.”
During his two weeks reprieve, Claude generously offered his sacrifice and prayers for his fellow prisoner, the reprobate James Hughs . Two weeks later, Claude was finally put to death by the electric chair on Feb.4, 1944.
Concerning Claude’s holy death Father O’Leary testified: “I’ve never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and happily. Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed. They said they couldn’t understand how anyone could go and sit in the electric chair while at the same time actually beaming with happiness.”
Claude’s death notice was printed in the Vicksburg Evening News on the day of his execution Feb. 4, 1944 (see photo left). His last words to Father O’Leary were, “Father, I will remember you. And whenever you have a request, ask me, and I will ask Her.”
The miraculous conversion & execution of prisoner James Hughs
Three months later, on May 19, 1944, the white man named James Hughs–the who Claude had offered his sacrifice for, was to be executed. Father O’Leary said, “This man was the filthiest, most immoral person I had ever come across. His hatred for God and for everything spiritual defied description.”
He would not allow a priest or any clergyman in his cell. Just before his execution, the county doctor pleaded with him to at least kneel down and say the “Our Father” before the sheriff would come for him. The prisoner spat in the doctor’s face.
When he was strapped into the electric chair, the sheriff said to him, “If you have something to say, say it now.”
The condemned man started to blaspheme.
All of a sudden he stopped speaking, and his eyes became fixed on the corner of
the room, and his face turned to one of absolute horror. Suddenly he screamed in terror–a horrible scream that shocked everyone present.
Now, Father O’Leary had been in the room because Mississippi law at that time required a clergyman to be present at executions. The priest, however, had hidden himself behind some reporters because the condemned man had threatened to curse God if he saw a clergyman.
Upon calling for a priest, Father O’Leary immediately went to the condemned man. The room was cleared of everyone else, and the priest heard the man’s confession. The man said he had been a Catholic, but turned away from his religion when he was 18 because of his immoral life. He confessed all of his sins with deep repentance and intense fervor.
While everyone was returning to the room, the sheriff asked the priest, “Father, what made him change his mind?”
“I don’t know “ said Father O’Leary, “I didn’t ask him.”
The sheriff said, “Well, I will never sleep tonight if I don’t ask him.”
The Sheriff went to the condemned man and asked, “Son, what changed your mind?”
The prisoner responded, “Remember that black man Claude – the one whom I hated so much? Well he’s standing there [and he pointed], over in that corner. And behind him with one hand on each shoulder is the Blessed Virgin Mary. And Claude said to me, ‘I offered my death in union with Christ on the Cross for your salvation. She has obtained for you this gift of seeing your place in Hell if you do not repent.’
I have been shown my place in Hell, and that’s why I screamed.”
James Hughs was executed as scheduled, but the heavenly appearence of our Blessed Mother with Claude Newman and the subsequent vision of hell had instantly converted his soul in the last moments of his life. With the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Father O’Leary had taught Claude to unite himself with the suffering of Jesus by offering his own sufferings to Him, just as we all can do for others, and Claude’s suffering helped to pay the price for James’ remarkable last minute conversion and repentance. Therefore we must never under-estimate the the value of our suffering joined with that of Jesus Christ’s, and also the power and loving intercession of Our Blessed Mother in heaven.
O’ Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!
I am very grateful to Brother Claude Lane OSB, of the Mount Angel Abbey, in St. Benedict, Oregon for the following information and chronology of the life of Claude Newman (Note: Br. Claude is the artist who created the beautiful icon of the Virgin Mary and Claude Newman in this article. Click here for more information about Brother Claude’s iconography.)
Chronology of the Life of Claude Newman
1923- Dec.1, Claude Newman is born to Willie and Floretta Young Newman in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
1928- Claude and his older brother are removed from their mother by Willie, who takes them to be raised by their grandmother, Ellen Newman, in Bovina, Mississippi, east of Vicksburg.
1930- Six year old Claude appears in the Federal census, living with his Grandmother in Warren County. They reside on the Ike Henry place.
Late 1930s- Claude spends time in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp)
c.1939- Claude’s grandmother, Ellen Newman, marries Sid Cook. Soon he becomes sexually abusive toward Ellen, which angers Claude.
c.1940-41- Claude works on Ceres Plantation in Bovina, owned by U. G. Flowers. Sid Cook was born and raised on this place. If Claude Newman has married, it was not registered in Warren Co. Perhaps he was married in another county, or parish of Louisiana. In any case, he is no longer with her by Dec. 19, 1942.
1942- Dec.19, Egged on by dominant friend Elbert Harris, Claude lies in waiting in Sid Cook’s house (Cook and Ellen Newman have since seperated). Claude shoots Sid as he enters, and takes his money, then flees to his mothers house in Little Rock, AR., arriving on the 20th. First time she has seen him since he was five. She is now re-married to a man named Rogers, who finds Claude a job. Claude now goes by the name ‘Ralph’.
Jan 1943- Claude is apprehended in Arizona and is returned to Vicksburg, Mississippi and makes a coerced confession on Jan. 13. Despite protests of Claude’s lawyer Harry K. Murray, confession is admitted as evidence. He is found guilty by an all white jury. He is sentenced to die in the electric chair on May 14, 1943. Appeal to re-try the case is rejected by State Attorney General. Sid Cook’s patron, U. G. Flowers, has too much influence.
Jan.20, 1944 is given as new date for execution.
1943-44 Sometime late in 1943, Claude puts on a miraculous medal, begins having visions of the Virgin Mary. She encourages him to find a priest and become a Catholic. Fr. Robert O’Leary, SVD of St. Mary’s for Colored, and Catholic County Doctor Augustine Podesta, minister to him.
1944- Jan.16, Fr. O’Leary baptizes Claude in jail with the name ‘Claude Jude’, with Sr. Benna Henken, SSpS standing as his sponsor. Just before Claude is to be executed on Jan. 20, a stay of execution of two weeks arrives. He is finally put to death on Feb.4, 1944. Claude has his favorite dessert, coconut pie, on the night before he dies. His body is buried in the historic African American “Beulah cemetary” in Vicksburg, MS. His death notice was printed in the Vicksburg Evening News on the day of his execution, Feb. 4, 1944.
A few months later on May 19, 1944, Claude appears in a vision along with the Blessed Mother, to his fellow inmate James Hughs – a white man who he had prayed and sacrificed for in the two weeks prior to his death, and who on this day is himself seated on the electric chair. Seeing the vision, the James immediately repents of his sins and is saved from eternal damnation, just moments before his execution.
1947- Fulfilling his previous promise to the Virgin Mary made in a ditch in Holland, Fr, O’Leary founds Immaculate Conception Parish (for African Americans) in Clarksville, Mississippi.
1960’s- Fr. O’Leary records a testimony of Claude Newman’s Story for a radio broadcast.
1984 –Death of Fr. Robert O’Leary, SVD (1911-1984)
2001- The March 2001 issue of The Catholic Family News publishes “The True Account of Prisoner Claude Newman (1944)” by John Vennari. This article is taken from the 1960’s radio broadcast testimony by Father Robert O’Leary.
2002- While looking for information on Cardinal Newman, Br. Claude Lane of Mount Angel Abbey, happens on the miraculous story of Claude Newman.
2003- In the early summer, Br. Claude is inspired to write the icon “Mary, the Teacher” and he begins the task of researching Claude Newman’s life with initial help from Catholic Family News, along with the research of John Sharpe Sr. of Phoenix, Arizona.
12/22/2011 -Additionally Brother Claude adds: “A historian by the name of Ralph Frasca has been working on a biography for Claude Newman. He did find the identity of the white reprobate for whom Claude offered his life. His name was James Hughs, and he was electrocuted in Vicksburg on May 19, 1944. That can be added to the chronology. Interestingly, a black woman was also executed (for murder) in Vicksburg on that same day, named Mildred Johnson. She, too, had become a Catholic through the ministrations of the nuns from the African American parish of St. Mary’s. These last two findings were the work of Mr. Frasca, and can, as I said, be added to the chronology.” –Brother Claude Lane, OSB
Addendum: Feb 4, 2013:
I received an email from a gentleman and his wife who are said to have investigated the facts concerning Claude Newman. One of the details they pointed out is the following:
“His (Claude Newmans’) official Mississippi department of health death certificate lists Newman’s place of burial as “Beluah Cemetery.” As we subsequently learned from Ms. Yolande Robbins, a African-American funeral director in Vicksburg, that this was a misspelling of “Beulah Cemetery,” Vicksburg’s only public burial ground for blacks in Newman’s day, which, according to Robbins, was undergoing restoration at the time to help identify the many unknown bodies.”
Additionally the email also points out: “…Newspaper accounts reported that Newman was executed at 7:00A.M on Feb. 4, 1944, not midnight as Fr. O’Leary claimed.”
“….Other [newspaper] accounts dealt with the execution on May 19 that year of one James Samuel Hughes, most certainly the man Fr. O’Leary described as the white prisoner who had committed incest with his daughters and had shot a policeman. But he was not, as Fr. O’Leary asserted, a lapsed Catholic. The newspaper described him as “a member of the ‘Holy Roller’ faith.”
O’ Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!
|Hundreds flock to glowing Virgin Mary statue|
|Thursday, 13 March 2014|
|Hundreds of people have been flocking to a house in southern Belgium to catch a glimpse of a small statue of the Virgin Mary which reportedly glows in the dark.
Local media reported that on Wednesday, 500 people visited the house in the normally quiet town of Jalhay to witness what is being referred to as “the mysterious glowing Virgin”.
Police have been required to bolster their presence around a pavilion erected by the retired Belgian owners of the statue, which witnesses suggest lets out a dull glow after dark.
The phenomenon was first noticed in mid-January and has gradually attracted larger crowds, with local media reporting that some of those visiting the statue claim to have been cured of a skin condition.
The statue, about 30 centimetres (one foot) in height, represents the “Virgin of Banneux”, from the name of a nearby village where in 1933 a young girl was said to have witnessed an appearance by the Virgin.
The town has since become a pilgrim destination in largely Catholic Belgium, although Catholic authorities from the Banneux sanctuary are expressing caution about the “glowing” Virgin.
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”.(7)