Crowds swamp church in Spain after ‘Holy Grail’ claim


Crowds swamp church in Spain after ‘Holy Grail’ claim


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Two Spanish historians claim that an ancient chalice on display at San Isidro basilica in the northwestern city of Leon is in fact the Holy Grail

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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.

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People walk past the San Isidoro basilica in the northwestern …

People walk past the San Isidoro basilica in the northwestern Spanish city of Leon, on March 31, 201 …

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.;_ylt=AwrTWf3jmDlTYToA_xrQtDMD

Mummy Found With Christian Tattoo Of Archangel Michael On Inner Thigh

Mummy Found With Christian Tattoo Of Archangel Michael On Inner Thigh

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A 1,300-year-old mummy found in Sudan was hiding an angelic secret, which has now been revealed by CT scans done by researchers at the British Museum, reportsThe Telegraph.

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.

Is this a THIRD Miraculous Photograph at Our Lady of Perpetual Help?

Is this a THIRD Miraculous Photograph at Our Lady of Perpetual Help?

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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

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”:


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.

We know what you’re thinking: Scientists find a way to read minds
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    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)

  • Mind reading 2.jpg

    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)

  • Mind reading 2c.jpg

    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)

  • Mind reading 1.jpg

    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?

Think again.

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.

You Won’t Believe How a Deaf Woman Reacts When She Hears for the First Time

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:

deaffrombirthAfter a lifetime of silence, a British woman can finally hear.

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.




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.

The “Miraculous” Stairs of St. Joseph

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.

Santa Fe Stairway as it Appeared without BannistersThe 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.

Hundreds flock to glowing Virgin Mary statue

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.

First and second part of Secret Of Fatima as written by Sister Lucia.

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) 

The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.


The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘PenancePenancePenance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.


At Weekly Exorcisms, Egypt’s Muslims and Christians Unite Against the Demons

At Weekly Exorcisms, Egypt’s Muslims and Christians Unite Against the Demons

Father Sama’an Ibrahim performs an exorcism on a group of devotees - Muslims and Christians - inside Cairo’s St. Sama’an Cathedral, Feb. 28, 2014.
Father Sama’an Ibrahim performs an exorcism on a group of devotees – Muslims and Christians – inside Cairo’s St. Sama’an Cathedral, Feb. 28, 2014.Mosa’ab Elshamy for TIME

Cairo’s best-known exorcist may be Christian, but his weekly exorcisms provide an unusual space for interfaith cooperation

The demon that had possessed the elderly Muslim woman was so strong that even an Imam couldn’t get rid of it. So her family opted for a priest. “My mother is possessed by a jinn,” the woman’s daughter said, by way of explaining why she and her Muslim family had decided to attend a recent Thursday night mass last month at Cairo’s St. Sama’an Cathedral. Her mother, who was slumped over a nearby bench, gave no indication of hearing anything. In a few hours she would be yipping and howling along

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