Beginning in 1973, in Akita in Japan, the Virgin Mary appeared in a convent to Sister Agnes Sasagawa. In conjunction with the visions of the Virgin Mary Sister Sasagawa was given messages that were to be shared with the world. To this day, the messages from the Virgin Mary”s apparitions, approved by the Catholic Church as authentic, are viewed by many as containing some of the most ominous prophecies of a future chastisement.
Sasagawa reported that in the first message the Virgin Mary asked her to recite with her a prayer of reparation, and in 1973 told her that her deafness will be cured. The other reported messages ask for the praying of the rosary and to pray Acts of Reparation.
The second message includes the following:
“Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.”
The third message communicated on October 13, 1973 was described by Cardinal Ratzinger as essentially the same as the third Our Lady of Fatima message or Third Secret.[a] The third Our Lady of Akita message is:
“As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests); churches and altars will be sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”
A less well known fact associated with the visions of Akita, however, is the mention of a mysterious numerical sign – a sign of hope. The mysterious sign is found in the number 101. The numerical sign is considered a sign of victory of good over evil. The symbolic number 101 was given to Sister Sasagawa at the end of her visions. The Apparitions of Akita are the last apparitions that contain messages from Our Lady that have been officially approved by the Catholic Church”
In 1973 Sister Agnes Sasagawa reported visions of the Virgin Mary, as well as stigmata and a weeping statue of the Virgin Mary which continued to weep over the next 6 years and on exactly 101 occasions. The nuns at Yuzawadai also reported stigmata on the statue, as well as on the hands of Sister Agnes. The stigmata on the statue is said to have appeared before the tears started, and disappeared after the tears. Our Lady gave Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in Akita, Japan three messages through a statute of Mary. Bathed in a brilliant light, the statute became alive and spoke with a voice of indescribable beauty. Her guardian angel also appeared and taught her to pray. The wooden statute from which the voice came also perspired abundantly and the perspiration sent out a sweet perfume. Its right palm bled from a wound having the form of a cross. Hundreds of people witnessed many of these events. Scientific analysis of blood and tears from the statute provided by Professor Sagisaka of the faculty of Legal Medicine of the University of Akita confirmed that the blood, tears, and perspiration were real human tears, sweat, and blood.
One day, according to authenticated reports, her “guardian angel” appeared to Sister Agnes Sasagawa inside the convent with a Bible. The Guardian angel opened the Bible and pointed to a specific verse which Sister Agnes Sasagawa recognized immediately as the passage of chapter 3, verse 15 of the book of the Genesis
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
The angel explained to her: “There is a meaning to the number 101. It means that the sin has entered in the world by a woman and it is by a woman that will come the salvation. The zero between the two 1, represents the God eternal, being of all eternity until the eternity. The first 1 represents Eve and the second, the Virgin Mary.”
The Father Yasuda, the spiritual director of Sister Agnes, commented that this passage of the Genesis is considered as the first gleam of the salvation, the first promise of a Saviour, made by God. It is also the first verse of the Bible referring to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, who never was under the domination of Satan.
In June 1988 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave definitive judgement on Our Lady of Akita events and messages as reliable and worthy of belief.
During a Sunday Mass in 1982, the story goes that Sister Agnes was totally cured from her deafness. Bishop John Shojiro Ito of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Niigata who had been an eyewitness to some of the events at Akita initially approved the apparition in 1984. In 1988 he went to Rome to consult with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI). As the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Ratzinger formally approved Our Lady of Akita as supernatural and worthy of belief.
Our Lady of Akita told Sister Sasagawa to receive Holy Communion only on the tongue, never in the hand.
After eight years of investigating the Akita apparitions and after consulting with the Holy See, Bishop John Ito in 1984 approved the apparitions as genuinely supernatural in origin. He also authorized throughout the entire diocese the veneration of the Holy Mother of Akita, saying: “The message of Akita is the message of Fatima.”
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