Is it real or not, and if actually supernatural, from God or elsewhere?
One speaks here of serial apparitions in Aokpe in Nigeria which began, it is alleged, by the young female, Christiana Agbo, at the time 12, in October of 1992.
Christiana was collecting herbs in the fields, says a website, Miracle Hunter, when the girl saw flashes of light. “After the first signs of light, she saw a beautiful woman floating in the sky,” we are told. “The Virgin looked and smiled without saying a word, was standing on the clouds, had a dress with a veil of shining a blue color that covered her head and fell down her back and shoulders, hands clasped on her chest and clutching a rosary.”
In a videotaped interview [below], Christiana, speaking of the Blessed Mother, said, “She’s all beautiful, quite tall and so young, eyes so shiny. She had a brownish complexion. She had a white garment and an inner garment under that, and a cape that went to her feet and the back was shining so bright, and two colors running down her back, one white and one red.” What impressed the young girl the most? “Her beauty and smarts,” she says in a bit of halting but understandable English.
At one point, the girl tried to run away but was called back by the asomatous, splendiferous woman, who said. “Behold, I am the Holy Mother.”
In the first message received from Our Lady, Christiana says the Blessed Mother explained that “I am the refuge of sinners. I come from Heaven to gain souls to Christ and to shelter my children in my Immaculate Heart. What I want from you is to pray for the souls of purgatory, for the world. and to console Jesus.”
The local bishop, Fidelis Orgah, obviously believed Christiana, granting an imprimatur for the publication of her accounts and permitting pilgrimages to the site where she purportedly encountered Mary (though as far as we know, not issuing a formal pastoral letter). In the initial days, says Christiana, she fainted when she first saw the “very beautiful lady.” Her father didn’t believe her and feared it might be the devil, and the community reacted in an identical way.
That led Christiana to wish the lady would no longer appear — but next time she saw her, Christiana found herself “happy and consoled.”
There was a Eucharistic miracle — documented by a representative from the bishop’s office — attached to the apparition on August 4, 1994, a date that became a local feast day, drawing tens of thousands. A strange request: at one point, perhaps in reference to penance, the Virgin supposedly told the girl to crawl on her knees. Mary spoke a dialect called Doma and when there were tears in her eyes, explained Christiana, it was because of so many going to hell.
In a message on March 1, 1995, the Blessed Virgin reportedly called for the recitation of the Rosary, saying: “Those of my children who pray the Rosary frequently with commitment will receive many graces. Satan will not be able to approach them. My children, when you are assailed by great temptations and problems, take your Rosary to me and your problems will be solved. Every time you say ‘Hail Mary full of Grace,’ you will receive many graces from me. Those who recite the Rosary will never be damned.”
“The most important message is prayer,” Christiana says, “especially the Rosary, conversion to God, to do penance, and also to fast. The most important prophecy is the punishment from God for the whole world if they do not change. The prophecy is the great darkness, which Our Lady says will last for seventy-two hours. In the end she described it all as a catastrophe.”
Had Christiana heard the notion of three coming days of darkness from elsewhere? Would such a period be exactly seventy-hours? For your discernment. The apparition also spoke of Mary as a mediatrix of all graces.
Controversial is Christiana’s assertion that when, at the behest of another person, she asked Mary about the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart, as requested at Fatima, the Blessed Mother “became sad when I asked the question, because it wasn’t properly fulfilled.” Some may find this questionable because, asked the same question — on several occasions — the Fatima seer Lucia dos Santos said that the consecration of the world by Pope Saint John Paul II had met Our Lady’s request at Cova de Iria.
Christiana, who at least for a while entered a convent, received private “visits” from Mary, it seems, until 2004. The woman’s ability to speak English was instant and miraculous, it is explained. Sun phenomena? In January and February 1996, says a website dedicated to the happenings, “there were over one hundred thousand people present. One thing that attracted the crowds were the solar miracles. The biggest [one] occurred on 21 November 1999. In the past year Aokpe hosted a pilgrimage for about a hundred seminarians who were treated to a miracle of the sun by Our Lady.”
Reported the Catholic news site La Stampa: “On the morning of October 13th , at the re-consecration ceremony, led by the Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, president of the Nigerian Episcopal Conference, 53 bishops took part together with more than a thousand priests, two thousand religious, and about 55 thousand faithful. In the afternoon, after the celebration, the witnesses tell us, there was a heavy downpour followed by the appearance of the sun changing color and ‘dancing.’ According to Father Chris N. Anyanwu, director of the episcopate’s social communications, this unusual phenomenon caused the hearts of the pilgrims present at the celebration to rejoice and many of them have attested to what they saw, recalling the experience of Fatima in 1917. Certainly, Nigeria will no longer be the same.”
They made news, it seems, across that nation.
Her last public appearance at Aopke was December 26, 1998. Christiana summarizes the main message: “Do penance, much penance. She helped me to love Jesus with all my heart.”
And that’s the message for all:
“Pray, go to Mass, to love Jesus with all your heart, with the heart of Mary.”
[resources: Medjugrje’s Ten Secrets]