Greatest marian sanctuaries in the world

Marija Bistrica, Croatia

As early as 15th century there is a mention of the wooden statue of Mother of God in the Chapel of Saint Rosary in Vinski Vrh. The statue has been moved to the Church of Saint Peter and Paul in Marija Bistrica where it was bricked up under the choir because of the Turkish invasion, that happened in 1545, when the Turkish came up to Konjšćina. It was discovered as late as 1588, after the appearance of the mysterious light, but it was bricked up behind the main alter again. The parish priest Petar Brezarić has seen the Saint Mary’s appearance twice in 1676. The second time the Saint Mary’s statue was found on the 15th July, 1684, when also the first miracle has happened, when the little girl Katarina Pauled started walking again. In 1715, Croatian parliament gave the order to build a new votive alter in Saint Mary’s name which elevated this sanctuary to government level. During the 1880, when the new church was built, a great fire burned down everything in the church apart from the main alter and the miraculous statue of the Mother of the God with the little Jesus. Marija Bistrica gets visited by a half a million pilgrims every year.

Međugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Mother of God has appeared in Međugorje on the 24th June 1981, to the six seers who were not communicating with Saint Mary on that day. Saint Mary appears again next day on the 25th June 1981, to six seers: the 17 year old Vicka Ivanović, the 16 year old Ivan Dragičević, the 16 year old Marija Pavlović, the 16 year old Mirjana Dragičević, the 15 year old Ivanka Ivanković and the 10 year old Jakov Čolo. Saint Mary has introduced herself as a “Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace”, predicting a great war that happened 10 years later in Croatia and 11 years later in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Saint Mary was appearing to these six seers every day and had announced to give each of them ten secrets. Mirjana Dragičević had received from Saint Mary the 10th secret on the 25th December 1982, and since then she had a yearly appearance on the 18th March. Ivan Ivanković received the 10th secret on the 7th of May 1985, and had a yearly appearance on the 25th June. Jacob Čolo received the 10th secret on 12th September 1998, and since then Saint Mary appeares only on Christmas on the 25th December. The rest of three seers (Vicka, Ivan and Marija) have received only nine secrets and Saint Mary still appeares to them. Saint Mary’s messages are prayer, fast, confession and Communion respect towards God and human being. About million and a half of pilgrims visit Međugorje on a yearly basis.

Lurd, France

To the girl Bernadette Soubirous the Mother of God appeared in Lurd on the 11th February 1858, asking for a conversion of sinners through prayer, penance and fast and to build a church where people can come in processions on pilgrimages. Saint Mary had appeared to Bernadette 18 times. On the 3rd day of her appearance Saint Mary said to Bernadette: “I can’t promise to make you happy on this world but on the next one. On the 9th day of her appearance Saint Mary had shown to Bernadette the place under the cave where there was a spring of drinking water which is still used by today’s pilgrims, and where also in special cabins naked pilgrims immerse their bodies in water, on the model of Saint John the Baptist. Only on the 25th March Saint Mary has introduced herself as “Immaculate Conception”. The last Saint Mary’s appearance had happened on the 16th July 1858, on the Day of Saint Carmelita. Lurd is the biggest European Saint Mary’s sanctuary visited by over 6 million of pilgrims each year.

Fatima, Portugal

The Mother of God had appeared in Fatima on the 13th May 1917, to three shepard which were: 10 year old Lucia do Santos, 9 year old Francisco Marto and 7 year old Jacinti Marto. Saint Mary had appeared six times, on the 13th of each month, introducing herself as a “Queen of Rosary”. In the time of each appearance Saint Mary was proclaiming the end of the First World War, but also warning of the possibility of even bigger war if people don’t turn to God and also don’t stop the expansion of communism from Russia. Also asking to be prepared for sacrifice and warning to understand the basic truth of religious belief (prayer and fast). Predicting God’s sign in the heaven which had happened at night from the 26th to the 27th January 1938, when the sky became red hot over the whole of the Europe. In the time of her last appearance on the 13th October 1917 Saint Mary had given a sign through the Sun which started to turn and was getting closer to pilgrims, and returned when they scared fell to the ground and started to pray. Fatima is the 2nd Saint Mary’s sanctuary as every year around 4 million people pay their visit to it.

Loreto, Italy

According to the legend the little house of the Holy Family from Nazareth was moved by angels on the 10th May 1291 to Trsat near Rijeka. That same house was moved by angels overnight to Loreto near the Ancone, on the 10 December 1294. In Christianity it is believed that Maria lived in that house when angel Gabriel preach to her that she will conceive Jesus by the Holy Spirit. In the 1468 a magnificent basilica in Gothic and renaissance style was built. The Holy House is situated above the dome lined with marble slabs, reliefs and statues having around the house little chapels of different nations. The black statue of the Mother of God with baby Jesus stands on the altar. At the entrance to this sanctuary stands a portal with three invocations and they are: Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God and Holy Virgin! Our Lady of Loreto is the patroness of the city Loreto and the aviation. Loreto is the greatest Italian sanctuary where a lot of convertions and miraculous healings occurred.

Saragossa, Spain

An old legend says that the Mother of God appeared on a pillar in Saragossa to St. James the Apostle who preached Christianity in Spain. In memory of that St. James built a little chapel there, which was latter transformed into the great sanctuary. The current basilica began to build from 1671 – 1869 on the right bank of the river Ebro. It was consecrated on the 10th October 1872. It has 3 ships, 4 towers, 11 domes and chapels, it is 109 meters long and 48 meters wide. The statue of Mother of God

“from the post” is made out of wood. Our Lady is holding in her left arm baby Jesus who is holding a bird in one hand. Our Lady of Del Pilar from Saragossa is a patroness of the Spaniards and other people of Spanish language. Saragossa is the largest Marian sanctuary, where many convertions and miraculous healings occurred throughout the centuries.

Einsiedeln, Switzerland

Marian sanctuary Einsiedeln is connected to the name of hermit Meinrad who lived there in isolation and prayer since 828. In 861 this hermit was killed by two robbers. Two ravens who used to live with Meinrad have followed the murderers and announced their bad doing. Because of that the monastery in Einsiedeln has since 13th century two ravens in its armorial. All the places where St. Meinrad used to live started to be really respected. The first chapel was build here in 948 and according to the legend it was consecrated by Jesus himself. A monastery was build in Einsiedeln where monks of St. Benedict were brought, and they transfered the body of St. Meinrad and buried him respectfully. Next to the Benedict monastery from the 17th century there was a beautiful baroque church from the 18th century with a chapel where there is a stature of black Mother of God from the 15th century. Near the church there is a hall with the biggest Nativity scene in the world. Einsiedeln is the largest sanctuary in Switzerland where throughout the centuries a lot of convertions and miraculous healings happened.

Alttoting, Germany

Alttoting is referred to as a place where people come to pilgrimages from 1489 when in a local chapel Our Lady brought back to life a drowned child, and later on healed another one which was hurt when a horse threw it under the carriage. Alttoting needs to be grateful to all the monks who were throughout the centuries offering physical and spiritual refreshments to millions of pilgrims who were leaving votive presents. On a spacious central square there is a 26 meters long and 15 meters wide octagonal merciful chapel. That is a chapel of Saint Rosary as secondary altars are showing joyful, sad and glorious sacraments. On the main altar there is a statue of Saint Mary made out of basswood, 64 cm long. All the walls in the chapel and the rich treasury are full of votive gifts from pilgrims who are showing a great love towards the Mother of God. Marktl is a birth place of todays Pope Benedikt XVI, situated in parish of Alttoting. Alttoting is the biggest Marian sanctuary in Germany where throughout the centuries many convertions and miraculous healings happened.

Mariazell, Austria

Marian sanctuary Mariazell was founded by Benedictine in 1157 by bringing a little wooden statue with child Jesus in arms that was long 47 cm. For that statue the Benedictine have built a cell, cella in Latin and Zell in German. According to the legend a miracle happened when Count Henry and his wife from Moravia healed here and indepted by that they built a chapel. Hungarian King Louis had a great victory over much stronger Turkish army because he vowed to Mother of God and before the battle he put the figure of Our Lady on his chest. Out of gratefulness to Saint Mary he built a little chapel here.

Throughout the centuries many people were looking for salvation and comfort in Mariazell while running away to avoid war and other trouble. Mariazell is the largest Marian sanctuary in Austria where throughout the centuries many salvations and miraculous healings happened.

Banneux, Belgium

In the evening of the 15th January 1933 the Mother of God had appeared to the 12 year old girl Marietti Beco. First she was shown the spring of drinking water by the path near the forest which was there for all nations to cure the ill people.On Mariett’s question “who are you my lovely lady?”, Saint Mary had answered “I am the Virgin of poor people”. Saint Mary had been asking from Marietta that on that spot a chapel was to be build and for a lot of prayer. Saint Mary had appeared to Mariett eight times. On the fifth time Saint Mary said: “I am coming to ease the suffering.” That was the time when Hitler’s nationalism was a thret to the human kind. With her appearance as a “Virgin of poor people”, Saint Mary wanted to ease the big trouble of the Second World War, when the Europe and the great part of the World will become poor with a lot of sacrifice. Banneux is the biggest Saint Mary’s sanctuary in Belgium.

Czestochova, Poland

The sanctuary of Black Saint Mary or Lady of Clear Mountain in Czestochova is the biggest Saint Mary’s sanctuary in Poland. According to the legend , Black Saint Mary with the Jesus was painted by Saint Luke on the table board that was made by Jesus himself. In the 4th century this painting was rescued by Saint Helen and brought to Constantinople. Later on as the legend says, the painting was hidden in Polish forests and was brought to Czestochova where there was built a great Gothic cathedral. The destiny of the whole Poland was connected to this sanctuary as Polish people were coming on pilgrimages and gathering their spiritual strength against the Nazis during the Second World War, and the arrival of Pope, John Paul II to the sanctuary was the beginning of communism deposing in Poland.

Kibeho, Rwanda (Africa)

On Saturday, on the 28th November 1981, the Mother of God appeared to the 17 year old girl Alfonzini Mumureke in a passage of female secondary boarding school in the time of lunch. Saint Mary had introduced herself as “Mother of Word” and send word for her and her friends to pray for peace and love, as everywhere there was disunion, fight and hate. After that Saint Mary was appearing every night after nine o’clock. When she spoke to her friends about the appearance, they started to make fun of her saying she wasn’t all quite herself. This is why Alfonzina had asked Saint Mary to make appearance to other girls as well, which she did during the 1982 and 1983, on few occasions to six seers: the 20 year old Nathalie Mukamazimpaka, the 21 year old unbeliever Marie Claire Mukangango, the 14 year old Stafania Mukamurenza, girl of Agnes Kamagaja, the Muslim girl Vestine Salima and the boy Emanuel Sagatashy. Jesus had made his appearance to the pagan boy Sagatashy on the 2nd July 1982, and also taught him how to pray. The same boy was later baptized and took a name of Emanuel. Saint Mary made her appearances to Alfonzina up to the end of 1989 and had predicted a terrible genocide which happened in 1994 when died about a million people, and among them the seers Marie Claire Mukangango and Emanuel Sagatashy. This Saint Mary’s sanctuary was recognized by the Church in 2001, and a church was built on that site.

La Vang, Vijetnam

Towards the end of 18th century, king Chan-Thinha was prosecuting Vietnams Christians which were hiding in the forest of Lavang. Exiled Christians were gathering in the forest under a huge tree praying the rosary. In 1798, during the time of prayer, more then once the Mother of God made her appearance with the little Jesus. Amid their biggest trouble and illness she was encouraging and showing them healing leafs as a cure for their illnesses. There was a Basilica built on the site of the appearance, which was destroyed but rebuilt in 2008. In 1988 the Pope John Paul II proclaimed the 117 Vietnams martyrs blessed.

Guadalupe, Mexico

Spanish people came to Mexico with their leader Cortez in 1519, and conquered it after a few years of fighting. They were turning the Indians in slaves, killing them and were trying to destroy their culture and religion, and they were also trying to baptize them forcefully. Because of the great hate towards the Spanish all negotiations led for years were not successful. A Spanish Franciscan had marked down in 1525 that the attempts to baptize are invalid, unless a miracle would happen in the Heaven. After a few years the Heaven did make a miracle, as on the 9th December 1531 the Mother of God had appeared to 57 year old Indian Juan Diego. She was asking from Diego to go to the Spanish bishop asking from him to build a church (God’s temple), where she could grant human tears and pains. Diego had visited the Bishop twice, but he didn’t believe him unless he could see a God’s sign. Saint Mary had made her appearance again to Diego asking him to pick some roses and takes them to the Bishop wrapped in his agaves cape. He did just that and when he shook the roses out in front of the bishop they both had a surprise to see Saint Mary’s stature on the cape. The Bishop bowed down before to the Saint Mary’s stature and in a short time a little temple was built. In about ten years 10 million of Indians accepted the Christian religion, so the belligerents made peace. The Pope Pio X proclaimed the Lady of Guadalupe the patroness of Central and South America. Guadalupe is the biggest Saint Mary’s sanctuary in the World as it is visited by over a 20 million of pilgrims.

Knock, Irska

The Mother of God appeared to many people in Knock on the 21st August 1879. Our Lady appeared in a white dress with the crown on her head. On her left stood St. John Evangelist with a book in hand, right hand stood contrite Joseph. To the right of St. Joseph there was an altar with Jesus whose heart was bleeding. At Our Lady’s desire a chapel has been built, as well as great basilica later on, visited by pilgrimages throughout the world, where a lot of them found conversion or a miraculous healing.