I took a little longer with my latest book to review for The Catholic Company, not because it was tough to get through & not because it didn't hold my interest. On the contrary...I really enjoyed reading Those Who Saw Her: Apparitions of Mary by Catherine O'Dell. The original copyright is 1986. This second edition is newly updated & revised for 2010.
In chronological order w/ the first starting in Guadalupe, Mexico (1531) through Betania, Venezuela (1984), Those Who Saw Her is a collection of 15 Marian apparitions. As you would expect, Ms. O'Dell has included the more famous apparition sites, such as Lourdes, France & Fatima, Portugal. She has also included newer &/or lesser know apparitions, like Akita, Japan & Kibeho, Rwanda. In the 17th century, Mary appeared to Benoite Rencurel at Laus, France. This is the first apparition to be approved in the 21st century. The alleged apparition at Medjugorje is also covered.
As I said above, I really enjoyed reading this book. There are so many books out there on Marian apparitions & visitations...41 alone were listed in the bibliography. It was nice to have these 15 in one book. The first three chapters talk about who Mary is, why she visits, & give information on the Church's relation to the apparitions. The following chapters give a little history of those people she appeared to (mostly children), then detail their experiences with her. Peace & reconciliation seem to be the messages consistent in her visits. She wants us to draw closer to her Son, Jesus Christ.
For all the apparitions that have been approved, I wonder how many other people have seen & been comforted by our Heavenly Mother. How many more will see her in years to come? Many of those who saw her endured much ridicule & scorn from those around them, including close family members & friends, even clergy. They were not believed, but Mary gave them the strength to pray & carry out the task she set before them...having cathedrals & shrines built, encouraging those around them to pray & believe, carrying the stigmata of Christ, etc. To some she gave messages of things to come...World War II, the attempted assasination of Pope John Paul II, the holocaust in Rwanda.
To some she appeared only once, while to others, she appeared for many years. Who will she appear to in this 21st century? Could it be me or my children? Would we have the strength & courage to do as she asks? With her help & support, I believe so!
Visit The Catholic Company for more information & to order your own copy of Those Who Saw Her: Apparitions of Mary by Catherine O'Dell.