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Catholic Dictionary




Ireland's re-vered Marian shrine in County Mayo, dating from 1879. On August 21 of that year, during a pouring rain, the figures of Mary, Joseph, and John the Apostle appeared over the gable of the village church, enveloped in a bright light. Beside them was an altar, with a Cross surmounting it and a Lamb at its feet. No words came from any of the figures. The parish priest was not informed until the next day, as the onlookers were too stunned to leave the scene. Twice in 1880 the apparition was repeated, but the light was too intense to clearly recognize anyone but Mary. Authenticated miracles brought hundreds to the town. The Archbishop of Tuam started an inquiry. Some fifteen testified that what they saw was no painting or illusion. The Church authorities confirmed the testimony, declaring that the apparitions were "trustworthy and satisfactory." The site is now an object of national pilgrimage. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine of September 30, 1979, to mark the centenary of Mary's apparitions and rededicate the Irish people to the Mother of God.