It is fascinating how many times epidemics have played into apparitions of the Blessed Mother.
In fact, throughout the early days of the Church, then in medieval times, plague (bubonic fever) would periodically erupt, and apparitions, weeping images, or other miracles would be manifest in or near a hamlet or town, with Mary often promising — and delivering — protection if they built an altar or chapel to honor the appearance.
In this way was much of the Church itself built in Europe (especially Spain, Italy, Germany, and France). For more, see The Last Secret (a history of her appearances and events of the time since the first century).
Pope Gregory the Great led a procession with a miraculous image of the Black Madonna through the streets of Rome while it was being ravaged by plague, invasions, and natural disasters. The sickness had even killed his predecessor, Pope Pelagius II. That was around 6th century A.D., causing that chastisement, part of Rome’s Fall, to halt. An apparition of an angel, taken to be Michael, was seen, at the conclusion of the procession, atop Castel San’Angelo, sheathing his sword.
Was it really a chastisement? Does God chastise with plague?
That great Pope — a doctor of the Church — wrote a letter to King Ethelbert of Kent about its prophetic significance. He wondered if it was the Final Judgment.
In the letter the Supreme Pontiff mentioned “unusual” signs, including “climatic changes, terrors from heaven, unseasonable tempests, wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes,” if there is anyone who doubts Church teaching on such matters.
During the apparition at Guadalupe near Mexico City, seer Juan Diego’s uncle Bernardino became deathly ill with cocolixtle, a dreaded fever that was sweeping the region. He was cured when the Blessed Mother appeared to him.
At LaSalette in France, the Blessed Mother warned that sickness and a famine were coming as chastisements, and the very year of the apparition — 1846 — was marked not only by crop shortages in northern France (and Ireland) but the Great Potato Famine, which stole millions of lives that decade. The population, weakened by malnutrition, was left susceptible to disease if they survived starvation.
Mary had warned that children under seven years of age would be seized with trembling and die in their parents’ arms, and sure enough, the famine was accompanied by recurring epidemics of typhus, dysentery, and smallpox which caused children to die as predicted. Such disease repeated with what one historian called “almost apocalyptic violence.”
Lourdes — and its healing waters — were established in an era of: cholera epidemics.
In Lichen, Poland, the Blessed Madonna begged people to pray the Rosary, warning that “millions” would die in epidemics and bloodshed. Shortly after, in 1854 and 1855, 152,000 starved in France and cholera killed thousands.
The list is extensive.
There is also Fátima, where two of the three seers died during the 1918-1920 pandemic of influenza (dubbed “Spanish flu,” though it may have originated in the U.S. as a swine virus). Fifty to a hundred million died! Our Lady told the two youngsters, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, that they would succumb to sickness (which they fearlessly accepted).
Though the epidemic wasn’t up to the proportions of bubonic fever, because the world population was much greater (the Black Death killed a quarter to a third of those in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East), and wasn’t in the formal three secrets, it was unquestionably part of a chastisement, a hint of what could come in future decades or centuries.
[resources: The Last Secret]
PROPHECY: THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS WILL CEASE!
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGOURI “It is true that the Mass will cease on earth at the time of the Antichrist: the Sacrifice of the Mass is to be suspended…according to the prophecy of Daniel 12:11.”
ST. HIPPOLYTUS (3rd century) “And the churches too will wail with a mighty lamentation, because neither oblation nor incense is attended to, nor a service acceptable to God; but the sanctuaries of the churches will become like a garden-watcher’s hut, and the Holy Body and Blood of Christ will not be shown in those days. The public service of God shall be extinguished.”
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES “The revolt and separation must come…the Sacrifice shall cease and…the Son of Man shall hardly find faith on earth…All these passages are understood of the affliction which Antichrist shall cause in the Church…But the Church… shall not fail, and shall be fed and preserved amidst the deserts and solitudes to which She shall retire, as the Scripture says, (Apoc. Ch. 12).”
MELANIE CALVAT was one of the two seers of La Salette. The following extract is taken from the book “The Secret of Melanie and the Actual Crisis” by Abbot Combe, 1906: “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will cease to be offered in churches and houses; it will be such that, for a time, there will not be public services any more. But I see that the Holy Sacrifice has not really ceased: it will be offered in barns, in alcoves, in caves, and underground.”
BLESSED ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH(19th century) “The Church is completely isolated and as if completely deserted. It seems that everyone is running away.”
BOOK: HOLY EUCHARIST “St. Alphonsus “The Son of God, Eternal Priest, will always continue to offer Himself to God, the Father, in Heaven as an Eternal Sacrifice.”
“In Daniel 11:31, we read that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will cease. This prophecy does not just pertain to the Jewish sacrifice, for Christ reiterated the prophecy in Matthew 24:15. That the Sacrifice would be suspended, as Christ Himself was suspended for three hours from the Cross was the unanimous opinion of the Fathers of the Church.
OUR LADY OF MEDJUGORJE, MIRJANA & THE CORONAVIRUS
“Only when the things contained in the secrets start to happen will the world understand why Our Lady chose March 18.The significance of the date will be clear.”
“When everything starts happening, then you will be able to understand why the 18th of March, why every second of the month, why Wednesdays and Fridays are days of fasting, everything will be clear.”