Christine Watkins interviews Steve Ryan, author of The Madonna Files, who returned to faith through the miraculous.

Christine Watkins interviews Steve Ryan, author of The Madonna Files, who returned to faith through the miraculous. Listen to his story and how Mary’s apparitions on earth have enhanced his faith dramatically. Now he shares with the world how she is “The Star of the New Evangelization,” shining so brightly as to help transform lives. Tune in this Wednesday, August 13, at noon, Pacific time, 3 p.m. eastern time, to Radio Maria,

Popular speaker and author, Christine Watkins, helps listeners answer those pesky, perennial faith questions: What is God saying? How can I hear his voice? Have I made a wrong turn somewhere? What does God want? Tune in, listen, learn, and be entertained.

About  The Madonna Files

A Powerful book of adventure and faith” - FRANK SCHAEFFER – New York Times best selling author of fiction and nonfiction.
With unexpected turns and a full dose of scholarly intrigue along the way, The Madonna Files is a contemporary religious thriller that explores the hidden secrets of Catholic Church.
Five years in the making, The Madonna Files is “The most prophetic book of our times”

The Madonna Files has been compared to Da Vinci Code, the historical fiction  by Malachi Martin, The Shack, even G.K. Chesterson’s Father Brown mysteries. 
Stephen Ryan’s explosive debut novel challenges the prevailing orthodoxies of American history and Christianity, and reveals the dynamic presence of the Virgin Mary throughout the ages.

On the quiet campus of M.I.T., a math professor is asked by the Vatican to determine the probability that six children are telling the truth. The children, from a small town in Bosnia, a town filled with sacred drama, say they see the Virgin Mary.



Inspirational Catholic speaker, Mrs. Christine Watkins, gives talks and workshops throughout the United States. She is on the recommended speaker list for the Diocese of Oakland, California. 

The Madonna Files Rights Sold To New York Publishing House

“On behalf of my partner Steven and our long-serving WCP Senior Staff, Jan Janssen, Marsha Briscoe, Melanie Billings, and Angela Archer, I am announcing that Start Publishing, LLC, a quickly growing NYC-based company,
has offered to acquire Whiskey Creek Press, and we have agreed to sell the company, with the exception of the Wee Creek Imprint. In speaking with the executives of Start Publishing, we have grown increasingly impressed with and
confident in their plans to grow WCP author book sales to an exciting new level, well beyond our current limited capacities.

Start Publishing is a particularly exciting company to be a part of for several reasons. They are highly skilled in e-book marketing, as evidenced by their swiftly accelerating e-book sales over the last year. They are also a fully integrated part of Start Media, a company which does feature film production and financing, and has other interests in the entertainment industry. Thus, in addition to being a thriving publishing company in its own right, Start Publishing serves as a development pool for content that might be translated into other media beyond books. We believe this is an unusual opportunity for our author body to join a reputable and growing company with exceptional resources to help grow your sales well beyond historical levels.”

Buy The Madonna Files on Amazon

Start Publishing, LLC is a New York based publishing company that specializes in the publishing and marketing of eBooks. Recently, we’ve acquired Night Shade Books eBook catalogue and have amassed roughly 2700 titles in the Start Publishing catalogue. Start Publishing has books that have won Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Award as well as Locus Awards.


  • Jarred G. Weisfeld

    President, Start Publishing
    Jarred Weisfeld started his career as a Production Assistant for Vh1, where he pitched and sold a show to rap sensation Ol’ Dirty Bastard and subsequently became ODB’s manager. From there he created and produced television shows for Vh1, MTV, Spike TV and Nickelodeon. Recently Weisfeld has served as Executive Producer on “Gone Too Soon” which was seen in over 50 Countries, “Charlie Sheen: Hollywood Blackbook,” and “Chasing Gaga.”Weisfeld currently serves as CEO of Objective Entertainment; full service literary agency that represents over 250 authors. Since joining Start Publishing, Weisfeld has acquired over 1300 eBooks in addition to the science fiction publisher Night Shade Books’ entire eBook catalog.Weisfeld is a graduate of Lynn University with a BA in Communications.
  • Michael J. Maher

    CEO, Start Media

    Michael Maher serves as CEO of Start Media and is responsible for all business activities of the organization with a focus on further growing the business though both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Since 2007 Maher has founded Wayfare Entertainment (now Start Motion Pictures), a producer and financier of studio quality independent motion pictures, Observer Capital (now Start Alternative), an investment vehicle for the Maher family with a focus on real estate investment, and most recently Start Media, which amalgamates all of Maher’s business activities to date in a multi-faceted media organization bridging exhibition, technology, content production, and publishing.In 2012 Maher and Start Media partnered with Digiplex Destinations and its CEO Bud Mayo to facilitate the rapid growth of the Digiplex theatrical footprint. The acquisition of Ultrastar Cinemas by the Start/Digiplex joint venture was the first and largest deal done through this partnership to date.Maher will serve as Executive Producer of Disney’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK to be directed by Ron Howard and based on the multi-award winning book by Neil Gaiman; and The Weinstein Company’s PASSENGERS, starring Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams. Previously, Maher and Academy Award winning filmmaker James Cameron served as Executive Producers on the 3D underwater adventure feature SANCTUM. Maher also Executive Produced the upcoming science fiction adventure EUROPA REPORT, which Access Hollywood reviewed as “an instant classic… the next essential sci-fi masterpiece”; Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, starring Zach Galifianakis for Focus Features; and Academy Award winner Neil Jordan’s multi-award winning ONDINE, starring Colin Farrell.Prior to Start Media, Michael was a Director of Operations and then a Vice President of Marketing at Maher Terminals LLC, a then family-owned Marine Terminal Operator in the Port of New York and New Jersey. Maher Terminals was sold to a private equity fund in 2007.Maher is a graduate of Duke University and has an MBA from New York University.


Russian Orthodox Priest Blesses New Secret Russian Nuclear Submarine

Russian Orthodox Priest Blesses New Secret Russian Nuclear Submarine


photo credit via RBTH/Vladimir Rodionov/RIA Novosti


On June 17, the new Project-885 Yasen-class nuclear submarine officially became part of the Russian Navy’s fleet

The launch of this nuclear submarine is considered a revolution for the Soviet submarine fleet.

According to Business Insider “The key feature of the Yasen-class submarine, which still remains one of the Russian defense industry’s most closely guarded projects, is its universality, previously unachievable either by its Russian predecessors or their foreign equivalents”
Read more:

Bad Week for Neo Cons and the USA War Industry

    1. Eric Cantor lost election badly to unknown college professor .. Mr. Cantor is a renowned Chicken Hawk and Neocon

    2. Mosul the second largest city in Iraq has been overrun by Al Queda insurgents. Iraq is now on fire. (Wasn’t the surge supposed to eliminate this potential.

     3. Taliban have shut down the Karachi Airport  in Pakistan

     4. Five of America’s finest special forces military hero were killed in a “friendly” fire incident.

      5. Five dangerous Taliban leaders were exchanged for a prisoner of war who may have deserted his post.

6. “The Western Powers that have irresponsibly and incomprehensibly aided the Islamist rebellion that has all but destroyed Christian life in Syria are directly responsible for the new development – the third largest and very ancient Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the invading international Syria-based Jihadists this Tuesday.” From Roate Caeli ….

Obedience of American Medjugorje Fans


Obedience of American Medjugorje Fans

On October 22,
2013 the Papal Nuncio to the United States wrote

a letter stating that Catholics 
“are not permitted”  to participate in meetings
which take for granted that the supposed Marian apparitions in Medjugorje are

The United States Catholic press quickly labeled
this announcement a
“Bombshell”  for Medjugorje’s many devoted followers.

The press was right in many ways. Indeed the consequences to Medjugorje cottage
“industries” including conferences and Catholic tour operators were swift and
decisive. The National Medjugorje Conference, annually held at Notre Dame, was immediately
cancelled. Numerous other Marian conferences across the country were either
canceled or reorganized to reduce the formal promotion of Medjugorje.   Well
known priest and longtime supporter of Medjugorje Father Donald Calloway immediately
cancelled his pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

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But the remarkable untold story is the
strict obedience displayed by even the most devout Medjugorje fans – dubbed by
some as “Med Heads” to the Catholic Church’s desires regarding Medjugorje.  There was little outcry or loud demands for
the Church to withdrawn the Papal Nuncio’s “clarification”.

What is striking about this display of
quiet obedience is that many Catholic pundits have ridiculed Medjugorje and its
followers as a movement rooted in disobedience. Their claim is that the Bishop,
who has authority over Medjugorje, has been skeptical of the alleged visionaries
who say they see the Virgin Mary. Some high profile pundits have even
written that Medjugorje, because of its history of “disobedience” and huge
popularity, was potentially schismatic to the Catholic Church.

But observers of Medjugorje can now see that obedience to the Catholic Church has been the overwhelming response by devout fans of Medjugorje.

As the Vatican continues to study Medjugorje its followers wait patiently for guidance from the Church.  Perhaps this is another example of the spiritual fruits of Medjugorje.

Holy Humor

Holy Humor
A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly, “I
know what the Bible means!”
His father smiled and replied, “What do you mean, you ‘know’ what the Bible means?
The son replied, “I do know!”
“Okay,” said his father. “What does the Bible mean?”
“That’s easy, Daddy…” the young boy replied excitedly,” It stands for
‘Basic Information Before Leaving Earth..’
(This one is my favorite)
There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old
family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.
“Is there anything breakable in here?” asked the postal clerk.
“Only the Ten Commandments.” answered the lady.
“Somebody has said there are only two kinds of
people in the world. There are those who wake up in the
morning and say, “Good morning, Lord,” and there
are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good
Lord, it’s morning.”
A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a
large city because he was short of time and couldn’t
find a space with a meter.
Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read:
“I have circled the block 10 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my
appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.”
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer
along with this note “I’ve circled this block for 10 years.
If I don’t give you a ticket I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.”
There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday
and announced to his congregation: “I have good news
and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay
for our new building program. The bad news is, it’s
still out there in your pockets.”
While driving in Pennsylvania , a family caught up to
an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a
sense of humor, because attached to the back of the
carriage was a hand printed sign… “Energy efficient
vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in
A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a
question, “Boys and girls, what do we know about God?”;
A hand shot up in the air. “He is an artist!” said
the kindergarten boy.
“Really? How do you know?” the teacher asked.
“You know – Our Father, who does art in Heaven…”
A minister waited in line to have his car filled with
gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked
quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the
attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.
“Reverend,” said the young man, “I’m so
sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until
the last minute to get ready for a long trip.”
The minister chuckled, “I know what you mean. It’s
the same in my business.”
People want the front of the bus, the back of the
church, and the center of attention.
Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young
daughter what the lesson was about.
The daughter answered, “Don’t be scared, you’ll get your quilt.”
Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day,
the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what
that morning’s Sunday school lesson was about.
He said “Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming.”
The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he
was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money
than they were expecting for repairs to the church building.
Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist
was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last
minute.. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
“Here’s a copy of the service,” he said impatiently. “But, you’ll
have to think of something to play after I make the announcement
about the finances.”
During the service, the minister paused and said,
“Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the
roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need
$4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please
stand up.”
At that moment, the substitute organist played “The
And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!
When you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache…..
When you open it, he collapses…..
When he sees you reading it, he faints…..
When he sees that you are living what you read, he flees……
And when you are about to forward this message….
He will try and discourage you…
I just defeated him!!!

Why I Still Believe in Medjugorje

by John Beutler

On Christmas Eve in 1986, I stumbled on to a book about Medjugorje when I went into a Christian bookstore looking for a book for my mother. I had no idea that any such book existed. A year earlier, I had read a few short news items about six children in Yugoslavia who said they were seeing and talking to the Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981. I was shocked that these reports could be coming out of a Communist country.

After reading a couple of books, I wanted to go to Medjugorje to see if what I had read was true, which I did in 1987. I witnessed miracles and experienced a personal conversion on that visit that no one could explain. I went to Medjugorje again in the 1990s and experienced supernatural events that confirmed to me the existence of heaven and hell. In 1995, I helped start the Marian Peace Center of Lansing. And, just this past May, 2012, I went to Medjugorje again with one of my sons and good friends from Grand Rapids. Much has changed in the 25 years since my first visit, but much is also the same.

MEDJUGORJE IS STILL A TASTE OF HEAVEN: There is great peacefulness in the holy places, shrines, and the village; many people attest that their pilgrimage has helped them tremendously; property owners still allow pilgrims to walk the paths through their vineyards and other fields to go to the holy sites; many Masses are celebrated in various languages throughout each entire day in St. James Church attended by large numbers of pilgrims; many priests con-celebrate the daily Masses and hear confessions in many different languages; Eucharistic Adoration is promoted and many thousands attend the beautiful Saturday night holy hours; great love of Jesus and Our Blessed Mother is expressed and encouraged, as well as obedience to the Pope and Magisterium of the Catholic Church. There is always a strong emphasis on prayer and the sacraments in order to live the Gospels and have the strength to love and serve others.

OTHER THINGS HAVE CHANGED: The six children are grown and are no longer together for the daily 6:40 pm apparitions, and yet many thousands still go to Medjugorje each week. (Only three of the visionaries still report daily apparitions; the other three report annual or periodic apparitions). Many pilgrims who go to Medjugorje might only see or hear a talk from one of the visionaries, and yet many thousands still go there each week. There are no apparitions in the church or surrounding buildings as in the past, and yet many thousands still go there each week. The well-known priests, who were in Medjugorje during the early years, are no longer around and available to give regular talks, and yet many thousands still go there each week. Dramatic healings and supernatural phenomena have decreased or are not publicized as much as in the past, and yet many thousands still go there each week. These points may help prove the genuineness of these reported apparitions; they can also add to the good fruits from the apparitions.

As Father Edward D. O’Connor, C.S.C. writes in his book, Marian Apparitions Today: Why So Many?, if no one paid attention to reported apparitions, there would be no need or occasion for the Church to make a judgment on them. There would be no approved apparitions anywhere if a lot of people had not followed them, converted their lives, and visited the site where the visions occurred. Prophecy is a permanent gift to the Church.

A few people, especially some good Catholic apologists in the U.S., are trying to discourage others from believing that these could be true apparitions of the Virgin Mary. It is somewhat understandable because most of these apologists are well-known for debating often with Protestants, and the whole subject of Marian devotion and apparitions is a very difficult hurdle for most Protestants. So expressing disbelief in Medjugorje could actually help them in their apologetics work, which may or may not be their motive. However, there is no evidence that the visionaries are a fraud. The criticisms of Medjugorje are miniscule compared to the gigantic achievements that have occurred through Medjugorje over the past 31 years.

It is too easy for some people in this day of extreme skepticism and disbelief to draw a box around what they think God can do or what He is doing. Even if Medjugorje receives some form of official approval, these apologists may never go there because no one has to believe in apparitions, but it would be far more prudent to withhold their criticisms until the Vatican issues a ruling on the matter because the tremendous good coming from Medjugorje, as supported by numerous bishops and priests, could well be a work of the Holy Spirit.

One of the most convincing arguments that the six reported visionaries are telling the truth is that it is absolutely unheard-of that six children could grow up and become mature adults, often not seeing each other for long periods of time, and all six of them still keep up a so-called fraud for more than 30 years without at least one of them breaking down and going against everything the others are saying. But this has not happened, even from the visionaries who no longer report daily apparitions. And it never happened when they were all teens or young adults, the most unlikely time for any group of six people to maintain a so-called fraud while sacrificing so much in comparison to most other individuals their age.

For 31 years, the visionaries tell the same story about how the visions began and all the same details about the visions. They live lives that are not easy with many demands placed upon them and have given countless talks and interviews. They have their apparitions in the same way as they always have. They pray the Rosary, then raise their heads when Mary comes and they talk in an animated way with her as the visions occur. On various occasions I have been close to more than one of the visionaries during their apparitions and I have seen this myself. I wish everyone who doubts could witness this up close, or that they would look closely at the many videos on-line showing this. It is still happening after 31 years, which some people think is too long for God to allow any apparitions.

But even Lucia of Fatima had apparitions long after the 1917 apparitions (such as in 1925, 1926, 1927, and later, as documented in Fatima for Today by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., 2010). And according to Lucia’s own nephew, Father Jose dos Santos Valinho, a Salesian priest who lives in Portugal, said the Virgin Mary told Lucia after 1981 that the Madonna’s work was continuing in Medjugorje, as documented by the French author Sister Emmanuel Maillard in her book Medjugorje, Triumph of the Heart! (2004). (Also see related article by Daniel Klimek, July 1, 2011.)

Why is Medjugorje important? If it were not for Medjugorje, the world and the entire Church would be in far worse condition than it is. There would be far less support for the Pope and Magisterium because Medjugorje is a staunch supporter of faithful Catholicism. The people involved in Medjugorje and millions of people affected by it usually grow into very strong Catholics who support official Church teachings. The conversions of countless sinners and rebellious people are wonderful fruits that build up the Church and help to destroy the influence and evil works of Satan.

Medjugorje continues because the Church needs much more help in counteracting the dictatorship of relativism and rampant atheism. Medjugorje has helped millions of people to know that God exists, that Jesus is the Son of God and He loves and wants every person to go to heaven, that daily Mass, regular Confession, daily Scripture reading, and the Rosary are very important, and that we should practice regular fasting each week. Prior to Medjugorje, many of these practices were not emphasized and were even discouraged in many quarters of the Church. There have been more priestly and religious vocations and conversions through Medjugorje than any other single place over the past three decades, more than anywhere else in the world. People can read new conversion stories every month. If this is happening anywhere else in the world, even the Catholic press is not reporting it.

I love the approved apparition sites, but, in our increasingly skeptical and secularized world, millions of people find it reassuring to feel and know that God continues to reach out in miraculous ways to help everyone know the truths in the Scriptures, even more than He has done in recent centuries. There is an explosion of miracles in the lives of many people because the evil in our times allows God to intervene to combat the extreme evil in the world. Mary is begging us to love Jesus with our whole heart and to live the Gospels with passion and conviction. Let us pray for one another and for a great increase in love and humility, especially towards anyone who disagrees with us about Medjugorje.

NOTE: The Church has not yet issued a final decision on the reported apparitions in Medjugorje. The Vatican is in charge of Medjugorje and took control of it under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), removing authority for passing judgement on Medjugorje from the local bishops and placing the matter in the hands of a Vatican Commission. Whatever the final decision of the Church is, we will accept it and trust in God.

Bio of John Beutler - I was in a seminary for seven years, served in the Vietnam War, have a Masters Degree in public administration, and worked for a non-partisan staff for the Michigan state senate for 30 years. I reside in Lansing, Michigan and have been director of the Marian Peace Center of Lansing for the past 17 years.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Little Known Connection to Slavery and the Battle of the Alamo

By Stephen Ryan

Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Little Known Connection to Slavery and the battle at the Alamo 


“This New World has been won and conquered by the hand of the Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Guadalupe is often considered a mixture of the cultures which blend to form Mexico, both racially and religiously Guadalupe is sometimes called the “first mestiza“or “the first Mexican”. In the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Mary O’Connor writes that Guadalupe “brings together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness.”

When considering the cultural and historical significance of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe,  it is very common to view the mystical events  from the rather narrow context of how the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary that appeared on Juan Diego’s “Tilma” led to the rise of Christianity in Mexico.   The conversion of millions of Aztecs to Christianity also ended the  long and gruesome era of pagan rituals and human sacrifice.

But the mystery of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe runs deeper when we look closely at some important events with respect to race and religion that occurred in the early days of Mexico’s development as a nation and how these early events, in part, shaped the history of the United States.

On December 6, 1810 a Catholic priest named Father Miguel Hidalgo – considered the “Father of Mexico” – after battling anti-clerical leaders, issued a decree  to abolish slavery in Mexico.  Earlier that year, Hidalgo had led a group of peasants in a revolt under the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Father Hidalgo was assassinated in July of 1811 but his legacy to abolish slavery in Mexico would endure.   On September 15, 1829 the second President of Mexico, Vicente Ramon Guerrero, a black man - his father was of African descent – an amazingly important but little known historical fact – freed all slaves within the Republic of Mexico including the Mexican territory of Texas.  A few years prior to the new law, in 1821, Mexico accepted Americans to settle the Mexican territory of Texas, under the conditions that the settlers observe Mexican laws, including the abolition of slavery.

Texas had it’s own “Father” – Stephen Austin – who came to Texas carrying with him slaves from Arkansas.  Stephen Austin, a protestant Christian,   held very different Biblical views pertaining to the rights to own  slaves then did the Catholic leaders of Mexico and these difference would ultimately lead to war between Mexico and the United States.

Early in his presidency, Vicente Guerrero sent a letter to Stephen Austin, informing him of the new law abolishing slavery in the Mexican territory of Texas.    The Mexican President immediately received a warning back from Texas not to enforce the   new law. Then in 1836 the new Mexican President, Santa Anna, who succeeded Vicente Guerrero, sent troops to the Alamo, an old Catholic outpost and church to enforce the decree.

Most Americans, of course, are familiar with the battle of the Alamo – movies, books and Davy Crockett – have made the Alamo an iconic symbol of American culture,  but very few get past the Alamo’s heroic image.   The great irony of the Alamo is that the battle was fought by American protestants against Catholic Mexicans over the right to hold other people in bondage.

Despite this fact, today,  the battle for the Alamo is one of the most recognized symbols of American bravery and heroism.

Instead of a great symbol of America’s “God Given” right to fulfill its manifest destiny, one  could argue, that the Alamo nothing more than a jingoistic emblem of America’s long history of  racism and support of slavery.


Our Lady of Guadalupe and her role in American history is explored in depth in The Madonna Files


Tears of the Virgin Mary meet the Smoke of Satan


By Stephen Ryan Author of The Madonna Files

“On June 29, 1972   Paul VI spoke of God’s enemy supreme, that enemy of man called Satan, enemy of the Church. “The smoke of Satan”, warned Paul VI, “has found its way into the Church through the fissures”. It was an anguished warning that caused great shock and scandal, even within the Catholic world.”…From an interview with the Vatican’s chief excorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth by Stefano Maria Paci

The Mystery

For years, many close to the Church had speculated on how an Evil – the Smoke of Satan – would manifest itself inside the Catholic Church – inside “certain chanceries” and then on a hot summer day in August – a clue.

On August 11, 1992, the long time Chancellor to the diocese of Arlington in Virginia, 53-year-old Monsignor William Reinecke, walked into a nondescript cornfield in Berryville, Virginia, near the Holy Cross Trappist Monastery with a loaded shotgun and killed himself.  His death would leave behind a long shadow of untold secrets – secrets of both good and evil- secrets whose scope, nearly twenty years later, are only now beginning to be fully understood.


During an implausible six months in 1992, Chancellor Reinecke would quite literally come face to face with both the divine and the damned.

Before the Chancellor’s death, five months earlier, on March 6, 1992, a local television affiliate of CBS news aired a story, initially without much fanfare, about mysterious occurrences of weeping statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary taking place in Lake Ridge, Virginia, a quite suburb twenty miles south of the Nation’s Capitol. The extraordinary events were mostly occurring at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (SEAS) and its rectory.

The reported weeping Madonnas were associated with a local priest named Father Jim Bruse – they seemed to tear in his presence. Father Bruse was also experiencing the “wounds of Christ” known as the Stigmata.

Many eye-witnesses to the events and those who have investigated the incident argue that never in the entire history of the Catholic Church, has there been a greater manifestation of the supernatural or momentous occurrence of weeping statues and other physical signs of God’s presence through the Blessed Virgin Mary than what took place on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.  in 1991 – 1993.

There were hundreds, if not thousands, of credible witnesses who saw the statues of the Virgin Mary weep before their eyes, including lawyers, military officers and government employees. Most significantly the Bishop of the Arlington Diocese, John R. Keating along with  Monsignor William Reinecke both witnessed  the weeping Madonnas . On March 2, 1992  Father Hamilton and Father Bruse met with Bishop Keating at the Chancery along with Monsignor William Reinecke  and  both prelates had  their own Madonna statues at the meeting . Bishop Keating had two in his office and Monsignor Reinecke brought one of his own. In addition, Fr Bruse, had brought his little Fatima statue with him. During the  meeting all the statues wept. Reportedly, this convinced Bishop Keating that the weeping is a genuine phenomenon and should be so treated. These events have been reported in the book –  The Seton Miracles

Within days of the CBS news report, the story of the weeping statues and the priest experiencing the stigmata would become a worldwide media sensation.  The Washington Post and a throng of other national and international news organizations descended onto the community to report and investigate the miraculous occurrences. To this day, the spontaneous media frenzy that engulfed the unexplained events stands as a singular moment in television history in the coverage of mystical religious phenomena.

Then suddenly, the Chancery Office to the diocese of Arlington, headed by Monsignor Reinecke, concerned about the “circus atmosphere” at the Lake Ridge parish, and with the blessing of the Bishop,  coldly shut everything down. The statues of the Madonna, mind you, continued to weep, at times profusely, but as far as the diocese of Arlington and the Catholic Church were concerned the matter was officially over.

The Chancery stated its position regarding the miraculous events in a formal declaration to the Pastor of St. Elisabeth Seton Catholic Church.  In a nutshell, the declaration said that since there was no overt divine message being delivered, there was nothing to investigate and the parish and the clergy from that point forward were forbidden to talk about the events.  This decision, to many parishioners was not only profoundly sad but seemed to be an odd determination since only physical phenomena can be investigated. Reports of apparitions and locutions cannot be investigated. They can merely be assessed as to whether they are consistent with Catholic faith and morals.

The Smoke of Satan

Within months of dismissing the tears of Our Lady and silencing the talk of the highly publicized miraculous events, Monsignor William Reinecke,  would again make newspaper headlines –  this time by committing suicide in the cornfield by the monastery.

After the suicide, at first, shocked priests, parishioners,and friends searched for answers.  Many blamed themselves for failing to see Monsignor’s Reinecke quiet despair.

But soon after the suicide a startling report surfaced in the Washington Post. Joe McDonald, a former altar boy from another parish, claimed that Father Reinecke sexually molested him twenty-five years ago and said he had confronted the priest about the incident two days before Reinecke killed himself.

Then another bombshell. After reporting the allegations of sexual molestation, The Washington Post revealed that William Reinecke was also, scandalously, the person in charge of investigating claims of pedophilia for the Arlington Diocese.

On August 30, 1992, after being rebuffed by the diocese of Arlington to discuss Reinecke’s death,  Joe McDonald contacted the Washington Post and  told his story of  his sexual abuse by Father Reinecke. Then, according the Post, Bishop John R. Keating, after reading the story in the newspaper, sought out Mr. McDonald to discuss the matter. In the meeting with the Bishop’s representatives he asked the diocese to establish support groups for victims and priests, but Mr. McDonald said no “concrete proposals” came out of his meeting and was upset that they asked him to “stop speaking out”.

Five months earlier Bishop Keating and Monsignor Reinecke had also asked the parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to stop speaking and the diocese has rebuffed all inquires to investigate the mysterious events of the weeping Madonnas  for nearly twenty years.

In 2006 Becky Ianni came forward saying that in the late 1960s, when she was ten years old, she  had been sexually abused by  Fr. Reinecke.  She told the Washington Postthat Father Reinecke gave  her family their first color TV set and  within days, while watching the brand new TV in the basement,  the molestation started.  ”I didn’t tell anyone what happened,” she said. “I was basically told that I’d go to hell if I did.” Ianni said she no longer considers herself a practicing Catholic.”I became so disillusioned,” she said. “I realized I couldn’t be a part of a church that wouldn’t deal appropriately with these victims.”

Of course nobody on that tragic day would hear the gun go off that killed Monsignor Reinecke.   But now, looking back on the events of 1992, as Our Lady was weeping like never before in history,  perhaps the gunshot was the “shot heard ‘round the world” because within months of the accused pedophile’s suicide – a man in charge of pedophilia investigations for the diocese, the Catholic Church’s  sexual abuse crises would begin to unfold.

In the 2004  John Jay Report on sexual abuse, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,  it stated that “prior to 1993, only one-third of sex-abuse cases were known to church officials,”    The Sex abuse catastophe, as we now know, has become, arguably, the single greatest challenge to the hearts, minds, and souls of the Catholic faithful – many have left the faith because of it – and to this day the Vatican continues to endure the ramifications of what Pope Benedict XVI has described as a “wretchedness” inside the Church.  The Smoke of Satan had indeed entered the Church and the Blessed Virgin Mother  wept for the loss of so many souls.

The Aftermath 

Bishop Keating and Monsignor Reinecke’s  decision to ignore the miraculous events of the weeping statues continues to be an unsolved  mystery and to many  a very unfortunate one. The decision to ignore the events did not leave a neutral opinion in its wake. It left a negative implication, some even believe the events have been condemned by the diocese of Arlington.

The bishop’s apparent disinterest suggested that he must know something negative about the cause of the phenomena.

The tragedy of this situation is that the local bishop, then Most Rev. John R. Keating and now Most Rev. Paul Loverde, have refused to even acknowledge the events much less investigate them to determine whether they constitute a true sign from God that the faithful could consider as miraculous.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect to all of this is that the point man in charge of silencing talk of the Seton Miracles, a man who was also overseeing investigations into claims of sexual abuse by clergy, may well have been a pedophile.

Recently the bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin, just recognized the first official apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the United States to a nun in 1859.  The church is the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion, just east of Green Bay near Lake Michigan.  For purposes of the Seton Miracles, it demonstrates that it is not too late to conduct this investigation and make a determination of validity.

Indeed it is never to late to investigate the miraculous and to be sure prominent people still seek answers and guidance from the diocese of Arlington. Citing the weeping statues and miracles that took place in the outskirts of Washington D.C.,Justice Scalia recently arguedthat “It isn’t irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses to miracles. What is irrational,” is to reject a priori, with no investigation… which is, of course, precisely what the worldly wise do. Why wasn’t that church absolutely packed with nonbelievers, seeking to determine if there might be something to this?”  The answer was obvious, he said with disdain: “The wise do not investigate such silliness.”

The words of Supreme Court Justice leaves us asking why indeed was the church not packed with officials of the diocese of Arlington to investigate the mysteries that obviously to this day haunt Justice Scalia. Clearly, Justice Scalia has not heard evidence to his satisfaction to make a ruling in the extraordinary case of the weeping statues of the Blessed Mother.

If an honest investigation determines that there were natural causes for all of the strange things that happened around Fr. Bruse, in Lake Ridge, Va. great!   – the matter could then be put to rest  But we don’t believe that will be the outcome of a true investigation.  We don’t see how such a conclusion would be possible.  But, that’s the purpose of investigating.

Former Rolling Stone Contributing Editor and Oprah TV Show Host Offers Praise for “The Madonna Files”

Randall Sullivan

Randall  Sullivan,  who was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine for more than 20 years and a host for a television show on the Oprah Winfrey Network,  offered some praise for the new thriller published by Whiskey Creek Press “The Madonna Files”.

Mr. Sullivan writes :“The Madonna Files is  fast-paced, tightly-plotted religious mystery with genuine spirituality at its core.”

About The Madonna Files:

Stephen Ryan’s  book is a  contemporary religious thriller described in an Amazon review as ”a cross between Indiana Jones and a Dan Brown mystery.”

The Madonna Files is, for the most part, set in the near future, but the story begins with a mysterious event that takes place in Rwanda just as the genocide begins to rip that country apart.   From there, the story quickly moves to the outskirts of Washington D.C., where Father Daniel Baronowski finds himself in a deadly race against time to locate a letter stolen from the Pope’s apartment. The letter contains an apocalyptic message.  The hunt for the letter takes Father Dan on an epic journey across the globe.  From Rome to Washington D.C., from Annapolis to grand cathedrals and secret hideouts, Father Dan must find the letter with the secret message before enemies of the Church find it first.

The Madonna Files was recently selected as a featured debut novel for the International Thrillers Writers conference to be held in New York on July 12.


More Reviews:

“I found it to be a great book; a fascinating, fast-paced thriller, written in a strong voice, filled with rich dialogue, complex and colorful characters, a story-line that tackles the most meaningful, religious and political subjects in the world. It is an impressive work…Move over Dan Brown, I was blown away!”  -  DANIEL KLIMEK -Scholar, seminarian and Marian expert featured in the full length motion picture –  ”Queen of Peace

“A Powerful book of adventure and faith” - FRANK SCHAEFFER is a New York Times best selling author of fiction and nonfiction. Frank’s highly acclaimed novels include Portofino, Zermatt and Saving Grandma and have been translated into nine languages. His nonfiction includes Crazy For God and Keeping Faith. Frank is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and a blogger on the Huffington Post

5.0 out of 5 stars An intellectually rich and satisfying read. April 22, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Initially, the array of characters and multiple global settings present an intimidating read, but under Stephen Ryan’s deft hand, every character is fully developed and their critical role in this complex story, divulged. The strong story line juxtaposed with modern religious and political intrigue more than holds a reader’s interest. However, the true brilliance of this book is the depth and wealth of knowledge imparted by the author in the course of storytelling. Fascinating facts of Catholic faith, especially mysticism, melded with an insider’s knowledge of financial markets and sailing, make “The Madonna Files” an intellectually rich and satisfying read.
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!, September 27, 2013
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This review is from: The Madonna Files (Kindle Edition)
If you are a Da Vinci Code fan, YOU MUST READ THIS — Vatican intrique set in the Washington, DC area. I could see the map, streets, rivers, etc. — WHAT FUN! The complexity of the history, story development, character relationships, twists and turns are astounding. The history was so believable that I kept thinking — “wow, I didn’t know that!” The worst news is it ended. I WANT MORE IMMEDIATELY!!!