Are there Marian Miracles in Vancouver?
By Roxanne Davies
The recent December 2015 issue of the National Geographic magazine featured an article entitled “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman”. The lengthy cover story by noted writer Maureen Orth was accompanied with beautiful images by photographer Diana Markosian.
At first I thought it an unusual subject for a secular magazine normally devoted to stories of geographical interest until I thought about it: there have been numerous apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Apparently Mary appears to anyone she wants, any time she wants, anywhere she wants. No doubt Orth pitched the idea of visiting some of these international holy hot spots thereby reassuring her editors to sign off on her project.
Orth visited some of the most famous international Marian sites: Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fatima in Portugal, and Our Lady of Guadaloupe in Mexico all sites where the Virgin Mary has been said to appear.
It is amazing to learn that since 40 AD there have been 2000 apparitions yet only 28 are approved by the local bishops and of those apparitions; only 16 have been recognized by the Vatican. All of Mary’s sightings over the past millennia have been codified by Michael O’Neill a professional engineer by day and a fervent Mary observer in his heart and soul. (Visit his website for more information – www.miraclehunter.com).
Orth interviewed believers who visited these shrines to Mary and reported on their experience. She started her research as a dispassionate journalist. By the end of the trip she was, well … by the end of her journey Maureen Orth discovered much more than she had anticipated.
Praying for the Virgin Mary’s intercession and being devoted to her are a global phenomenon. Mary is a universal symbol of maternal love and sacrifice. Mary’s often the touchstone for our longing for meaning and a more accessible link to the supernatural than formal church teachings. Her mantle offers both security and protection. Mary is the spiritual confidante of billions of people no matter how isolated or forgotten. She is our mother.
Although Mary did not appear to me as she did to the poor shepherds in Medjugorje or the Indian Juan Diego in Mexico,
I believe that Mary hears my fervent prayers and intercedes on my behalf and brings my prayers to her son, Jesus. I want to relate one such experience of divine intercession. My prayers were answered in a timely fashion with great love, and, believe it or not, with a bit of humor thrown in!
Let me tell you my story.
About ten years ago our son was an unhappy and listless young man. His father and I were at a loss on how to help him safely navigate a particularly grueling stretch of road on his way to adulthood. I was working for an entrepreneur who offered to hire him to do some construction work in an isolated resource town in the Pacific Northwest. So, we fixed his old but sturdy pick-up truck to the tune of $3000 and bid him farewell.
Oh by the way, he told me,” I’m going to a friend’s party at Christina Lake next week.” “That’s at least 1000 kms from where you’ll be”, I said with alarm. “You’re there to work in the town and not traipse off to some party! “I hollered. But I knew that there was little I could do to prevent him from doing what he had in mind once he was out of our orbit.
And so I resorted to what I hoped would help me achieve what I wanted and at the very least to bring me some peace of mind. I prayed. Before Sunday morning mass began, I lit a candle and knelt down to pray
I looked deeply into the eyes of the Virgin Mary represented by the beautiful mosaic that graces the altar. I whispered: “You’re a mother, I’m a mother. Please take care of my boy.”
As our son made his way up north he called several times along the way. He got to Prince George without any mishaps. A day later he called from Terrace. Ditto. He said he was enjoying the trip. I hoped the solo journey would give him some time and space to think about life. On the third day he called from the town where he would be working for the next five months. I was delighted that he got to the town safely. He was furious.
Apparently as he drove into the town with the convoy of trucks, his transmission blew up and his pick-up came to a dead stop on the other side of the gate.
I had to chuckle when I thought about his predicament. Yes he was in the town where he would be working until October. Yes he would be safe. No Christina Lake. I believe that Christ Himself was offering to help.
I got off the phone and shared the news with my husband. Our son was safe and sound where he would be working for the next five months. I said a silent prayer of thanks and continued chuckling.
Then my husband said, “well he got there okay but he’ll eventually have to drive the truck back home.” Oh right. Reality check. We called the mechanic who had fixed his truck. He told us he had had a young guy work on our son’s truck. Maybe something was overlooked. If we could get the truck to his shop he would fix it for free. We called around and got an estimate. To get the pick-up out of the wilderness, place it on a flatbed truck and deliver it to Vancouver would cost $2000. I was stunned. He had hardly worked a week and already the trip would cost us $5,000!
I went back to St Mary’s.
I said a prayer of thanks for all our blessings and asked Mary to help me solve this new problem.
When I told a fellow parishioner my predicament she said you’re not supposed to pray for anything specific. In the time worn words, you should pray not “My will” but “Thy will be done.” Yet I was feeling desperate.
As often happens in these isolated resource towns you’ll find a collection of capable men who have a bit of knowledge about fixing just about anything. One day a crusty old guy took pity on our son and told him he would look at his truck. They opened the hood and took a look inside. Eventually someone discovered that the transmission plug had somehow popped off and was sitting at the bottom of the wheel well.
It must have come off during the 100 km drive on the gravel road from Terrace. Forty-five dollars’ worth of transmission liquid and the truck started up. He was ready to go when the time came to leave town before the winter snows filled the mountain passes and he would have been stuck there until the spring thaw.
Was it a miracle? Some would call it serendipity, a mere coincidence, a lucky break, an interesting example of non-rational phenomena. I believe my prayers played a role if only to make me feel a sense of peace as I cut the apron strings and my son found solid footing in the adult world.
He learned a lot during those months away from us. How to be on his own out in the wilderness where you stayed inside after a hard day at work when the sun went down for fear of running into some wild animals in the night. He had to work hard and take orders from a cranky boss he did not particularly like. He was the only white kid on the work team of Nisga’a boys and he learned how reverse discrimination feels. He also made some friends
On one of his last trips to Terrace to get supplies he had an experience many people who live in the Pacific Northwest only dream of. He saw the elusive Spirit Bear, the majestic creature that calls the Great Bear Rainforest home. The big white bear was ambling across the road.
Our son had his camera ready and he took a photo. The stately creature stopped and looked at our son. It was as if there was a thought bubble above his head. Do you get it? The bear seemed to ask him. Do you get it?
If you have had an experience praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary that you would like to share I would love to hear from you. Please E mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org