Read about Akita and the messages given to Sister Sasagawa at: http://www.davidtlig.org.uk/akita.html This video gives information about the Church approved apparitions of Our Lady to Sister Agnes Sasagawa in Akita, Japan, between 1973 and 1981. The second half of the video includes Sister Sasagawa recalling Our Lady’s words to her at the time.
A few pious women known as the Institute of the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist were leading a quiet, hidden life of prayer in Yuzawadai just outside of Akita when they welcomed into their novitiate Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa, who was then 42 years old and a convert from Buddhism. When she entered on May 12, 1973, Agnes was totally and incurably deaf, however she was blessed with various mystical favors; soon this convent would become so well known that their little chapel would attract pilgrims from around the world.
The first miraculous event at Akita occurred on June 12, 1973, only a month after the entrance of Sr. Agnes: A brilliant light shone forth from the Tabernacle. This happened several times and was often accompanied by something resembling smoke which hung around the altar. During one of these illuminations Sr. Agnes saw “. . . a multitude of beings similar to Angels who surrounded the altar in adoration before the Host.” Bishop Ito was staying at the convent to conduct a week of devotions. Sr. Agnes confided to him the circumstances of this vision, as well as all the events and apparitions that followed. Bishop Ito and the convent’s spiritual director, Rev. Teiji Yasuda, were witnesses to many of the events.
Sr. Agnes was also favored with visitations of her guardian Angel. Asked to describe the Angel, Sr. Agnes replied: “a round face, an expression of sweetness . . . a person covered with a shining whiteness like snow . . .” The guardian Angel confided various messages to the sister and often prayed with her, in addition to guiding and advising her.
On the evening of June 28, 1973, Sr. Agnes discovered on the palm of her left hand a cross-shaped wound that was exceedingly painful. On July 5, 1973, a small opening appeared in the center from which blood began to flow. Later, the pain would ease during most of the week except for Thursday nights and all day Friday, when the pain became almost unbearable.
Then on July 6 the guardian Angel appeared, telling Sr. Agnes: “. . . The wounds of Mary are much deeper and more sorrowful than yours. Let us go to pray together in the chapel.” After entering the chapel the Angel disappeared. Sr. Agnes then turned to the statue of Mary situated on the right side of the altar.
The statue, which is approximately three feet tall had been carved from the hard wood of the Judea tree: it is a figure of Our Lady standing before a cross, her arms at her side with the palms of her hands facing forward. Beneath her feet is a globe representing the world.
When Sr. Agnes approached the statue, she said, “I suddenly felt that the wooden statue came to life and was about to speak to me . . . She was bathed in a brilliant light . . . and at the same moment a voice of indescribable beauty struck my totally deaf ears.” Our Lady told her: “. . . Your deafness will be healed . . .” She then recited with Sr. Agnes the community prayer that had been composed by Bishop Ito. At the words “Jesus present in the Eucharist,” Mary instructed, “From now on, you will add TRULY.” Together with the Angel who again appeared, the three voices recited a consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, TRULY present in the Holy Eucharist. Before disappearing, Our Lady asked that Sr. Agnes “pray very much for the Pope, bishops and priests . . .”
The next morning, when the sisters assembled for the recitation of Lauds, they found blood on the right hand of the statue and two lines which crossed, in the middle of which was an opening from which the blood flowed. The wound matched that on the hand of Sr. Agnes except that, since the statue’s hand was smaller, its wound was smaller. It bled on the Fridays of July during the year 1973, as did the wound on the hand of Sr. Agnes.
One of the sisters wrote: “It seemed to be truly cut into flesh. The edge of the cross had the aspect of human flesh and one even saw the grain of the skin like a fingerprint. I said to myself at that moment that the wound was real . . .”
Of special noteworthiness, the drops of blood ran the length of the statue’s hand, which was open and pointing downward, yet the drops never fell from the hand.
The wound on the hand of Sr. Agnes appeared on Thursday, June 28. As predicted by the guardian Angel, the wound disappeared on Friday, July 27 without leaving a trace.
The second message of Our Lady came on August 3, 1973, a First Friday, when the heavenly voice from the statue warned:
“. . . Many men in this world afflict the Lord . . . In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind . . . I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father’s anger . . . know that you must be fastened to the Cross with three nails. These three nails are poverty, chastity and obedience. Of the three, obedience is the foundation . . . When Sr. Agnes was professed, she pronounced these three vows. Although the wound on the hand of Sr. Agnes disappeared on July 27, the wound on the hand of the statue remained until its disappearance on September 29. At that time the statue emitted a bright light. The wound had remained for three months.
While wounds in the hands of the statue bled, Bishop Ito advises that, contrary to some reports, “. ..the statue did not sweat blood or weep blood at any time.”
On the evening office of September 29, 1973, the whole community saw a brilliant light coming from the statue. Almost immediately the entire body of the statue became covered with a moisture resembling perspiration. Sr. Agnes’ guardian Angel told her, “Mary is even sadder than when she shed blood. Dry the perspiration.”
The sisters used cotton balls to collect the moisture. Following Our Lady’s message, the dazzling light that had surrounded the statue gradually disappeared.
Toward the end of May, 1974, another phenomenon occurred. While the statue’s garment and the hair retained the look of natural wood, the face, hands and feet became distinguished by a dark, reddish-brown tint. Eight years later, when the sculptor came to see the statue, he could not hide his surprise that only the visible parts of Our Lady’s body had changed color, and that the face itself had changed expression.