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Our Lady of the Roses

Our Lady of the Roses by Br. Arturo Olivas, OFS

Artwork Narrative:

Calling herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe she told Juan to return to the bishop. He asked for the sign he required. Mary told him to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he went and found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma, a long cloak or wrapper used by Mexican Indians, he came back. The Holy Mother rearranged the roses, and told him to keep them untouched and unseen until he reached the bishop.

When he met with Zumárraga, Juan offered the sign to the bishop. As he unfolded his cloak the roses, fresh and wet with dew, fell out. Juan was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him. The life size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as Juan had described her, was glowing on the tilma. The picture was venerated, guarded in the bishop's chapel, and soon after carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.

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Veronica Lueken (July 12, 1923 - August 3, 1995) was a Roman Catholic housewife from Bayside, New York, who, between 1970 until her death in 1995, reported experiencing apparitions of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and numerous Catholic saints. She gave messages from them at both Saint Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Bayside, and at the exedra monument at the Vatican Pavilion site in Flushing Meadows Park 1964 New York World's Fair. Lueken and her husband Arthur W. Lueken, Sr. (died August 28, 2002) had five children. They met in Flushing Meadows Park skating rink in 1945 and married the same year.

Bishop Francis J. Mugavero, then Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, stated in 1986 that "a thorough investigation revealed that the alleged visions of Bayside completely lacked authenticity" and that "the messages and other related propaganda contain statements which, among other things, are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church,".

Marian apparitions

In June 1968, Lueken reported experiencing her first heavenly manifestation when she smelled a perfume of roses in her car while praying for the dying U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was shot in an assassination attempt, and would die the next day from his injuries June 6, 1968. Lueken attested that Saint Therese of Lisieux appeared to her and dictated sacred poem-messages called Occulations from Heaven.

Lueken reported her first Marian vision in her home on April 7, 1970, when the Virgin Mary informed Lueken that She would appear on the grounds of St. Robert Bellarmine Roman Catholic original Church in Bayside on June 18, 1970, and subsequently, on all great eve of the feast days of the Catholic Church. From that day, Lueken reported a series of Marian apparitions on the property of St. Robert Bellarmine in Bayside Hills. According to her report, on the date of her first vision, Mrs.Lueken was instructed by the Blessed Virgin Mary to establish a Marian shrine on the site of the church, and to hold Rosary Vigils on the eve of the feast days and Sunday holy hours of reparation for the Pope and priests. Lueken began to type up and circulate her messages from Heaven, of prayer, penance and atonement for the many sins becoming a way of life especially abortion which was brought forward in Albany in 1970 and legalized in 1971 and many of which had apocalyptic content. Overwhelmed by the influx of an estimated five hundred to two thousand Marian devotees from many states and Canada, the parish priests fenced off the church property in December 1974. In 1975, Monsignor James P. King, Chancellor of the Brooklyn Diocese, announced that the diocese did not believe in Veronica's apparitions.

Lueken elaborated on her reported visions. Apart from the Virgin Mary and the aforementioned Saint Therese of Lisieux, she also said she received visitations from Jesus Christ, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter, Paul the Apostle, John the Evangelist, Theresa of Avila, Thomas Aquinas, Bernadette Soubirous, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, Saint Rita, Saint Benedict, Pope Pius IX, Pope Pius X, Pope Pius XII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II, Catherine Laboure, Joan of Arc, St. Anne, Joachim, St. Benedict, Francis of Assisi, St. Louis de Montfort and St Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, who was a leading figure in the counter reformation, to whom the church in question was named and dedicated. The archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael as well as guardian angels were said to have appeared to her. Most of the public apparitions occurred during the Rosary Vigils, during which Lueken would fall into a state of ecstasy and see the heavenly personages and repeat the message as a 'voice-box'. Lueken would describe the vision given her and the personages would speak through her. Almost all of the ecstasies were recorded live on audio cassette tape in the presence of hundreds of pilgrims and printed and sent to the world.

Following Monsignor King's comments, Lueken and her followers assembled on a traffic island in front of the site of the alleged visitation (1974/75). After objections raised by the Bayside Hills Civic Association, the Queens County Court Judge negotiated a permanent site of worship without harassment in agreement with the NYPD, NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation at the Vatican Pavilion site exedra monument in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The Rosary Vigils and Holy Hours have continued until the present day.