.- Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend said Thursday that the alleged visions and revelations known as “Our Lady of America” cannot be said to be of supernatural origin, and that public devotion to “Our Lady of America” is not permitted for Catholics.
Sister Mary Ephrem Neuzil of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus began having what seemed like mystical experiences, including inner locutions and visions of the spirit, around 1938. She revealed these to her confessor in 1948, and they became a devotion to Mary as “Our Lady of America” in 1954.
Sr. Neuzil said the Blessed Virgin began appearing to her in 1956 in Rome City, Ind., about 40 miles northwest of Fort Wayne.
The alleged visions and messages from Mary and from St. Joseph continued through 1959, in a number of locations. After 1959, she said Our Lady communicated with her primarily by locutions, until her death in 2000.
Bishop Rhoades agreed in 2017 to conduct an investigation into the alleged apparitions. The bishop issued to other U.S. bishops a statement May 7 on the investigation, which was obtained by CNA, along with a July 2019 decree on the matter.
In the statement, Rhoades said that Sr. Neuzil “was honest, morally upright, psychologically balanced, devoted to religious life and without guile.” He added that she had “signs of imperfection, but no evidence that she was the perpetrator of a hoax or the victim of delusion.”
“What she communicated about her alleged experiences, she believed to be true, and her communication of those experiences are filled with humility and forthrightness,” he added.
The bishop noted there are numerous reports of conversions, spiritual refreshments and consolations, and even some physical healings related to the alleged apparition. He added, though, that “we cannot conclude that any of these events are conclusive enough to warrant certification as miracles. It seems likely that in such personal contexts of faith and prayer, God’s graces were received