By Michael H. Brown
Phenomena Of Rose Petals With Images, Exuding Statues Reported In Venezuela
From the mailbag:
We have the following report from Alexandra Beech, a writer in Manhattan who has been following some allegedly exceptional events (as always, use the adjective “alleged”) in South Florida and Venezuela. Some of the miracles took place at a home belonging to a family called Gutierrez in Campo Las Palmas, a guarded community in Anaco, which is a four-hour drive from Caracas. As always, we submit it for your prayerful consideration. We are especially perplexed by the phenomenon of rose petals with images on them. Might there be fraud? Would good people connive? Could something so detailed really be of supernatural origin? And if it is supernatural, is it of God? We have tried to duplicate the petals (pressing one against a medal) but were unable. Likewise, in most cases, we have not found those involved to be the kind who would commit fraud. Still, even if inexplicable, we must discern its origin, and be careful of obscure facts not presently known. Are they another sign of the times? Especially in Venezuela? And maybe even Florida? Reports Alexandra:
“On June 4, 2001, my life changed completely. I was miserable as an executive at Lehman Brothers bank in New York, and I was visiting Venezuela for my beloved stepfather’s funeral. At the time, several statues of the Virgin Mary were weeping around the country, so I was not too surprised when my mother suggested that we visit a home where yet more miracles were taking place.
“When I walked in the room with the Weeping Virgins, I was honestly a little unfazed by the tears. The ambience was peaceful, but I had almost been lifted off the air by the peace I had felt at Betania a few years earlier. Moreover, I felt disconnected from the events since I didn’t understand them.
“The first thing that caught my eye was the large Christ of oil that formed on the wall with a crown of glitter. It appeared behind a large print that the town’s Monsignor had given my mother. Next were the ten to fifteen statues with wet faces. Finally, one of the daughters in the home, Mirna, handed me a rose petal and went off to look for the other rose petal that had an apparition which appeared on June 1, only three days before my visit.
“My visceral reaction to the first petal was to reject any notion of its veracity. While I could see the formation of legs and what appeared like wings, I could still not wrap my mind around it. I was told that a doctor in town had taken x-rays of it and felt it contained words in Hebrew.
“Then Mirna walked in with the other petal, and my life changed. There was no denying that Christ Crucified and Mary with a Pierced Heart were in there. The other sister, Elvira, is a biology professor at the local university. She keeps the petals in perfect form, pressed in plastic laminas and encased in petri dishes that they lovingly wrap in lace. When you hold it in your hand, you can see every detail, His fingers, His legs, His ribs. No one knows what is below Mary or on the right hand side of the petal. Everyone humbly assumes that the “Church” will one day study the miracles.
“I was so excited by this apparition that I assumed it would only be a matter of time before priests and theologians would descend on the place. That was in June of 2001, and to date not one high level Church official has visited their home.
“Since then, I quit my job at Lehman Brothers and have slowly collected samples of similar miracles in Venezuela and the United States. I have been asked to speak at a youth group and prayer meeting, where everyone was very excited by my research. However, when I have shown the materials to priests, nuns, and bishops, I normally get a blank or skeptical look as if I’m speaking about UFO’s. In Caracas, a family very close to the Cardinal went so far as to ask me to prepare a fruit basket for him, promising to show him the pictures. Then at the last minute they said that it was a bad idea given “the political situation.” What does it say about our times when politics draws a Cardinal away from such a breathtaking and evident message? I also want to add that when I have come across priests or nuns who give me a feeling of peace or joy, I am not surprised when they are also ecstatic and exulted when they see the pictures. This group, however, is very small. I have gotten a more interested and astonished reaction from my neighbor Dan Florek (sergeant on television hit series Law & Order:SVU), my landlord and former cop Sy Bonarti, and Wall Street analyst Jose Maria Barrionuevo than I have gotten from any church official. I also met with the vice secretary of the Episcopalian Conference in Venezuela at my home, who loved the pictures and wanted to promote this case in Rome, but then said that he couldn’t ‘jump over the local bishop’s head in such matters.’ Is the Church being run like a very efficient corporation, because the last time I heard ‘jumping over heads’ was in a conference room. (The local bishop has promised to make the one hour drive on several occasions and then hasn’t called to cancel or shown up.)
“I’ve been taught to never critique the Church, and that God has his own timeline. I’ve been told that the Church takes its time on such matters. I’ve met with a highly respected judge from the Catholic Tribunals in New York who was amazed by the pictures, and even ventured to say that it looked like a miraculous case of ‘unexplained radiation.’ However, he said that ‘the Church waits on such matters,’ that ‘the miracles aren’t as interesting as what comes of them.’ While I highly respect his opinion, I have to wonder why the Church wouldn’t investigate and promote these amazing miracles, particularly at a time when so many Catholics are wounded? One highly respected Mother Superior in Venezuela confided in me that a convent has the exact same apparition on a petal in their convent, except that Mary holds a rosary in her hands. However, the Convent doesn’t show it to the public. Another Mother Superior commissioned two university studies on the glitter that began to appear all over convents, religious schools, and catholic conventions. For a wonderful summary of the results, please read http://espanol.geocities.com/almas_consagradas/escarcha.htm.
“The beautiful things that have happened as a result of this miracle is that Mirna and Elvira organize a rosary workshop in their home every Tuesday night. On Thursday nights they hold a prayer group. During the past year, three more images have appeared on rose petals in their home. While I don’t have pictures yet, I am told that one petal has an image of Jesus of Divine Mercy, another one shows half the face of Christ in all it’s beauty, and the other one shows the half the face of Christ completely beaten up. Perhaps the latter is an indication God’s feelings when we ignore Him.
The miracles took place as follows:
September 26, 2000
Rada, a young woman from Guyana who has lived with the Gutierrez family since she was a child cuts out a picture of the Rosa Mystica from a Sunday supplement in a local paper, because “they only had pictures of Jesus in the house.” She places the picture in a frame which she paints red. When Elvira, one of the daughters of the house, notices the painted frame, she is upset because Rada hasn’t asked for permission to use it. While she is explaining that the frame has been in her family for many generations, she notices that the surface of the glass starts to sparkle. Astonished, they take the framed picture to a neighbor’s house. While the neighbors are marveling at the glitter, tears of an oily substance begin to emanate from Mary’s eyes (Figure 1). They take the picture back to the house. The following morning, Rada has an apparition who asks her to draw Him and propagate the picture. Beneath the picture, she was to draw “Trust in Me.” Rada is flustered and embarrassed because she can’t draw, but she draws the image the best she can. When their story starts to spread around the local religious community, seminarians come to visit the house and ask if they can xerox the drawing. When they open the xerox machine, the drawing is soaked in oil, as well as the copies. (The drawing is very childlike. It looks like the way a child might view God – an old man with a white beard wearing a robe. One interesting feature is that He points his finger at his heart, which emanates colorful rays.)
Over the course of the following days, Elvira and her sister Mirna call friends, including my mother. They are overwhelmed with the prospect of having their home invaded by strangers. My mother, a devout Charismatic Catholic, brings a large print of Mary that Monsignor Suarez has given her, and a statue of Child Mary that my sister in law kept at the school she owns in town. All the statues and pictures of Mary brought to the house weep and get covered in the glitter. (I am sending you a picture of the room. The large print on the right wall is my mother’s.) (Figure 2)
November 4, 2002
The large print that my mother brings to the house begins to weep. The glass that covers her cracks. (Figure 3)
January 20, 2001
Elvira and Mirna’s eight-year-old niece notices a small stain beneath my mother’s large print. She tells her aunts that “the stain smells like the oil that the Virgins cry.” When they remove the large print from the wall, they kneel in disbelief. Christ crucified has formed on the wall, with glitter on his head. (Figure 4 a)
May 21, 2001
Rada is sitting in her room (where all the images cry — and that includes prints and statues of Jesus and Mary) reading a Bible in English my mother has given her. The Bible is all text, with no pictures or illustrations. The doorbell rings, and she places a rose petal in the Bible to mark her place.
When she returns to continue reading, she notices a strange image on the petal. She shows it to Mirna and Elvira. Elvira, who is a respected Biology University professor, takes it to a doctor in town who x-rays it. He concludes that the petal could contain letters in Hebrew. This petal is the most mysterious apparition yet, and will require intense scrutiny. (Figure 4 b)
June 1, 2001
After the May 21st petal, Rada continues to mark her Bible with petals. On that day, she opens her Bible and finds the beautiful image of Christ Crucified with Mary with a Pierced Heart. (Figure 5)
Since then, three more apparitions have taken place on petals. The images in Rada’s room continue to weep. Local priests hold Mass there on special days. Elvira and Mirna organize a Rosary workshop at their home on Tuesdays and a prayer group on Thursdays. They are strict in not allowing press or television cameras of any kind in their home. Everyone who visits must come either filled with faith or seeking it. Those who seek it certainly find plenty of evidence that Jesus and Mary accompany us on our daily trials.
For your discernment