pictures of apparations by Elisabeth Ruzicka
The various apparitions and visions of the seven visionary girls of Heroldsbach began on the 9th of October 1949, heralded by a sign of the Triune God above the birch grove on the edge of the Park of Castle Thurn. It consisted of three, bright green and shining letters – JSH - the Hebrew J for "Yahweh" , the Greek H for "Hyos" and the Romanesque letter S for "Spiritus Santus", placed in the middle, and slightly above the other two.
Immediately afterwards the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared for the first time, dressed in white, with hands folded in prayer. She stood above the birch grove, on her feet shone red roses and attached to her belt on the right side was a black rosary. From the third day of apparition onwards, she also carried the child Jesus on her left arm.
In the three years of apparitions, up to the 31 October 1952, the Mother of God showed herself mostly in a blue cloak with a golden crown, but at times also in different coloured robes. The symbolism of the colours always corresponded to the message given. The Mother of God insistently demanded prayer, penance and atonement: The faithful should plead for the light of God’s grace in prayer, accept it in a humble penitential spirit and pass it on in a spirit of forgiveness and love of neighbour. Thus prayer becomes effective for the salvation of souls.
During the first three months, the Mother of God stayed at a distance above the birch grove, but from the 13th of January 1950 onwards she regularly came closer. The visionary girls were able to touch the apparition like a living person and when they did they felt a surge of power flowing into them as well. The same happened when they touched the Christ Child, which they were even allowed to carry on their arms.
The Son of God appeared as Jesus, the boy and as an adult, often as the Sacred Heart, as the Good Shepherd and as the Saviour on the Cross. During apparitions of the crucified Saviour, angels collected the blood flowing down in golden chalices. During the mystical communion, the Angel of the Chalice handed a chalice to the visionary girls from which they drank, then he divided a large white host and also gave them the Lord's body.
During the apparitions that came very close, the Mother of God often showed herself to the praying girls on the podium next to the wooden chapel. Mostly from the birch grove, located to the south, she floated to the altar near the lamppost, the location of the encounter. This location in marked today by a statue of the Immaculate in a copper shrine. From there, the girls accompanied her to the podium. The rose beds today mark the path they took at the time. Within the Chapel of the Rosary, the statue of Mary behind the altar indicates the place, where the apparition stood in front of the girls and blessed them and the many thousands of believers again and again. Here, the miraculous light of grace emerged from her blessing hands like streams of fire to touch those who prayed. This supernatural light healed many sick people.
During the three years, the celestial apparitions were seen almost daily and often several times a day. Innumerable angels and saints appeared as well, first of all St. Joseph. Special importance was attached to the seven saints who represented a mission of their own: Pope Pius X, as an envoy of the Eucharist; Brother Klaus of the Flüe and little Theresa of Lisieux, as envoys of humility; Maria Goretti and Aloysius of Gonzaga as envoys of chastity; Anthony of Padua and Kreszenzia of Kaufbeuren as envoys against demonic affliction. They are depicted in the triptych of the Altar of the Saints.
On the side altars in the Church of the Sanctuary are standing statues of saints, carved from wood. Saint Josef is standing right in front of the altar space. The large bronze statue of the Queen of Roses of Heroldsbach just behind the altar shows the apparition’s typical gesture of blessing: the thumb and the smallest finger are closed in a circle, while the three middle fingers point upward towards the Holy Trinity.
On the ‘holy mountain’ next to the chapel are kept the wooden crosses, which even today are still carried by the pilgrims.
On the 31st of October 1952, the Mother of God took her leave and while blessing everybody she ascended into heaven. The Sacred Heart altar marks this location.
A small nativity scene with the child Jesus reminds us of the Christmas of 1951, when the children had a vision of the nativity and saw choirs of angels singing the praises of God. At this same spot, the Angel of the Chalice repeatedly gave the mystical communion to the girls.
The location of the mystical communion later was moved to an altar, at a distance of approximately 100 meters, at the ‘apple tree’. Further to the west, near a ‘pear tree’, is a roadside shrine with a statue of the Infant Jesus, who appeared there together with the girls’ guardian angels. Teachings were imparted here on prayer and its effects within the souls of the worshipers. Instructive visions were also taking place on the so-called ‘heavenly meadow’.
An important location on the ‘holy mountain’ is the ‘mystical source of grace’. At the behest of the Mother of God, the children had to excavate a hole in the ground here, initially with bare fingers and later with the aid of spoons. This activity they had to continue for several weeks. They depicted externally what should be formed internally through prayer and penance within the person praying: an immersion into the divine source of grace - Jesus Christ. At the bottom of the hole dug they had to embed a large stone (see ‘the parable of the treasure hidden in a field’ Mt 13,44 and ‘the stone rejected by the builders, has become the cornerstone’ Ps 118, 22). The Mother of God commented here: "From here many graces will flow."
The gifts of grace surpassing all others were the visions of the Blessed Trinity. The children were allowed to get a glimpse of heaven and to look at the glory of the eternal light. Then, praying, all took part in the great procession, accompanied by innumerable angels and saints.
On the 9th of June 1951, the Mother of God revealed her name for the apparitions of Heroldsbach: "I am the Queen of Roses". Then the visionary children saw the golden crown, which the Mother of God wore on her head, floating upwards towards heaven, while a wreath of roses came down from heaven and settled on Mary’s head. On the next day the Mother of God repeated. "I am the Queen of Roses, do not confuse it with the Queen of the Rosary. "
The Mother of God granted many prayer requests as a sign of authenticity for the apparitions, many miraculous healings even in hopeless cases. Just the fact that thousands of people enthusiastically prayed for hours, day and night, in all weather conditions, and while deeply moved experienced a new religious awakening, was a gift of grace. If the prayers were devout, the children saw the heavens open and the light of God pouring down in a tower of light, like a rain of fire. Sometimes it turned into innumerable shining roses, a symbol of grace and divine love. The Mother of God promised: "If people pray here, I will always be with you."
The great miracle of the sun (similar to Fatima) on the 8th December 1949, which was seen by approximately 10,000 pilgrims, including five priests, can also be considered a sign for the authenticity of the apparitions. This divine sun of grace came down to the birch grove, where it split open to show the Mother of God, dressed all in white with a golden crown.
On the 2nd of February 1950 the great miracle of light took place, which was seen by approximately 70,000 pilgrims. The apparition site was enveloped in a mystical light. Rays of light, roughly one meter wide, extended towards all sides. The pilgrims stood within a waist high, golden sea of light, in the glory of that light. Our Lady told the visionaries that on that day she had made visible the gift of grace to the people.
The Mother of God appeared a third time to a greater public on the night of the 1st November 1950, when in Rome Pope Pius XII proclaimed the new dogma of Mary’s bodily assumption into heaven. The Mother of God showed herself to about 300 pilgrims on the right hand side of the ‘Cross in the Forest’ within the birch grove. Shortly after midnight, a silvery white light appeared in the darkness, out of which the Mother of God emerged. All participants in the procession who were praying there could see the apparition. When the prayerful faithful thronged the Mother of God, she slantingly floated upwards and backwards to vanish from their sight.
On the 7th of October 1949, the Feast of the Rosary, the eastern part of Germany became an independent state, the German Democratic Republic. On the same day Red China celebrated the constitutionalising of its communist power. In the so-called "Russian Visions"? Our Lady said: "If people do not comply with my wishes (prayer and penance), much blood will flow."
In the predicted "end times"? the Mother of God appears clothed with the sun: in Fatima on the 13th of October 1917, in Heroldsbach on 8th of December 1949. Perhaps it is also interesting to note, that Heroldsbach lies mid-way between Fatima and Moscow as the crow flies.
On the 25th of June 1950 the girls saw tears in the eyes of the Apparition. When they asked: "Dear Mother of God, why are you crying" she explained, "because people do not listen to my requests." Just a few hours later the radio news reported that the North Korean’s had crossed the 38th degree of latitude and thus triggered the Korean War.
On the 31st October of 1952 the last apparition in Heroldsbach occurred. Just one day prior to the explosion of first American hydrogen bomb.
On the 40th Anniversary of the first apparition in Heroldsbach, on the 9th October of 1989 the huge demonstration in Leipzig took place, part of the first peaceful revolution, leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain.