I spent a lovely weekend with my family, and have mostly avoided the news. This morning I awoke to a story about Pope Francis making a surprise public appearance in Quito, Ecuador, where he is beginning a tour of three Latin American countries. He is scheduled to celebrate Mass for an enormous crowd — estimates say well over a million people — some time today.
But the focus on Ecuador in the context of the events of the past few months brings to mind another story, one we’ve referenced several times in our articles here at 1P5. It is the story of Our Lady of Good Success, and her (approved) apparitions to Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres in Quito, Ecuador in the 17th century. As a testament to her sanctity, the body of Ven. Mariana is, to this day, considered incorrupt, and upon the opening of her casket in 1906, was found to exude the fragrance of lilies.
These apparitions were especially prescient in their warnings and predictions, and they offered us a timeline of events that was quite specific — mentioning the 20th century in particular — that indeed matches with our own experience. Here is a portion of the message of Our Lady to Mother Mariana on January 21st, 1610:
“Thus, I make it known to you that from the end of the 19th century and from shortly after the middle of the 20th century, in what is today the Colony and will then be the Republic of Ecuador, the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs, for Satan will reign almost completely by means of the Masonic Sects. They will focus principally on the children in order to sustain this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times!
It will be difficult to receive the Sacrament of Baptism and also the Sacrament of Confirmation. They will receive the Sacrament of Confession only if they remain in Catholic schools, for the Devil will make a great effort to destroy it through persons in position of authority. The same thing will happen with the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Alas! How deeply I grieve to manifest to you the many enormous sacrileges – both public as well as secret – that will occur from profanation of the Holy Eucharist. Often, during this epoch the enemies of Jesus Christ, instigated by the Devil, will steal consecrated Hosts from the churches so that they might profane the Eucharistic Species. My Most Holy Son will see Himself cast upon the ground and trampled upon by filthy feet. (…).
But in those times you will already be known, as well as the favors that I am bestowing on you. How I love the fortunate inhabitants of this sacred place! And that knowledge will stimulate love and devotion to my Sacred Statue. For this reason, today, I authoritatively order you to have this Statue made: let it be sculptured just as you see Me and placed upon the Abbess’s chair, so that from there I may govern and direct my daughters and defend my Convent; for Satan, making use of both the good and the evil, will engage in a fierce battle to destroy it.
Since this poor Country will lack the Catholic spirit, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction will be little valued. Many people will die without receiving it – either because of the negligence of their families or misconceived affection for their sick ones. Others, incited by the cursed Devil, will rebel against the spirit of the Catholic Church and will deprive countless souls of innumerable graces, consolations, and the strength they need to make the great leap from time to eternity. But some persons will die without receiving it due to just and secret chastisements of God.
As for the Sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolises the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and deeply profaned. Freemasonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the aim of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin and encouraging the procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church. The Catholic spirit will rapidly decay; the precious light of Faith will gradually be extinguished until there will be an almost total and general corruption of customs. Added to this will be the effects of secular education, which will be one reason for the death of priestly and religious vocations.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised, for in this Sacrament, the Church of God and even God Himself is scorned and despised since He is represented in His priests. The Devil will try to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every possible way; he will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation and will corrupt many of them. These depraved priests, who will scandalise the Christian people, will make the hatred of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church fall upon all priests.
This apparent triumph of Satan will bring enormous suffering to the good Pastors of the Church, the many good priests, and the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on earth, who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of his God and Lord, beseeching light, sanctity and perfection for all the clergy of the world, of whom he is King and Father. Further, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury which will ensnare the rest into sin and conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women.
In this supreme moment of need of the Church, the one who should speak will fall silent!”
You will see this from Heaven, my beloved daughter, where you can no long suffer, but your daughters and successors will suffer, those beloved souls already known to you who will placate the Divine Ire. They will have recourse to Me under the invocation of Our Lady of Good Success, whose Statue I ask and command that you have made for the consolation and preservation of my Convent and of the faithful souls of that time, an epoch when there will be a great devotion to Me, for I am Queen of Heaven under many invocations.
This devotion will be the shield between Divine Justice and the prevaricating world to prevent the release of God’s formidable punishment that this guilty earth deserves.
In the next apparition, in February of the same year, Our Lady responds to Ven. Mother Mariana’s request to have her identity hidden in connection to the creation of the statue Our Lady requested in her honor. She re-iterates several points from the first message:
As for your request that your name be hidden, this pleases me, and I will do as you have asked. Tell the Bishop that it is my will and the will of my Most Holy Son that your name be hidden at all costs, both within as well as outside the cloister, for it is not fitting for anyone at the present time to know the details or origin of how this Statue came to be made. For this knowledge will only become known to the general public in the 20th century.
During that epoch the Church will find herself attacked by terrible hordes of the Masonic sect, and this poor Ecuadorian land will be agonizing because of the corruption of customs, unbridled luxury, the impious press, and secular education. The vices of impurity, blasphemy, and sacrilege will dominate in this time of depraved desolation, and that one who should speak out will be silent.
A simple, humble faith in the truth of my apparitions to you, my favoured child, will be reserved for humble and fervent who are docile to the inspirations of grace, for our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not or infatuated with empty science.
There’s a great deal to unpack here, but even the most cursory reading offers obvious parallels to what we are experiencing now. Whether and when each piece of this prophecy applies (or will apply) is something I’m not qualified to answer. Mary went on to explain, in the 6th apparition, in February, 1634:
In order to free men from bondage to these heresies, those whom the merciful love of My Most Holy Son will destine for that restoration will need great strength of will, constancy, valor and confidence in God. To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions in which everything will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This will be, then, the happy beginning of the complete restoration.
During this unfortunate epoch, injustice will even enter here, my closed garden. Disguised under the name of false charity, it will wreak havoc in souls. The spiteful demon will try to sow discord, making use of putrid members, who, masked by the appearance of virtue, will be like decaying sepulchers emanating the pestilence of putrefaction, causing moral deaths in some and lukewarmness in others.
[T]he spirit of impurity that will saturate the atmosphere in those times. Like a filthy ocean, it will inundate the streets, squares and public places with an astonishing liberty. There will be almost no virgin souls in the world.
How the Church will suffer on that occasion the dark night of the lack of a Prelate and Father to watch over them with paternal love, gentleness, strength, and prudence. Many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger. Pray insistently without tiring and weep with bitter tears in the secrecy of your heart, imploring our Celestial Father that, for love of the Eucharistic Heart of my Most Holy Son and His Precious Blood shed with such generosity and by the profound bitterness and sufferings of His cruel Passion and Death, He might take pity on His Ministers and quickly bring to an end those ominous times, sending to this Church the Prelate that will restore the spirit of its Priests.
There simply isn’t room here to cite all the relevant passages, so I suggest that those of you who are interested take the time to read more. I have found it somewhat challenging to find more than brief excerpts from the messages to Ven. Mother Mariana, which is why all of the above citations are taken from this issue of Chiesa Viva. I am not familiar with the publication (its native language is Italian) but I have some concerns, based on what I see on the website, about its general editorial bias. If anyone has a better source — preferably a book — on Our Lady of Good Success, please let me know in the comments.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.