Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary by Yasuda Teiji OSV
Originally written in Japanese and later translated to English by John M. Haffert, Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary covers the history of the supernatural phenomena and Marian messages at the Yuzawadai convent, Akita Prefecture, Japan, from about 1973 to 1982.
Even for those who follow and study modern Marian apparitions starting with the message to St Catherine Labouré at Rue du Bac, France, in 1830, the events at Akita sometimes slip under the radar. This is presumably due to, in part, the geographical and cultural divide between east and west.
The events usually talked about are the lachrymations of the wooden statue of Mary and the three messages communicated to the seer Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa. However, there were other events and, like other good books regarding Marian apparitions, the writer not only covers them but also includes background information, descriptions of the circumstances and testimonies of various witnesses, enough to convey the atmosphere of that place in those times.
It should be noted that Father Yasuda himself arrived at the convent in February 1974 after the first events that started in June 1973. As a chaplain of the convent, he was present for many of the events, but not present right from the beginning and therefore be seen as biased in favoring the apparitions. This adds authority to the work.
The text contains a preface, a prologue and 16 chapters, spanning approximately 200 pages. It is plainly and succinctly written, making an easy read.
The first supernatural occurrence was in June 1973 when Sister Agnes saw an apparition of an angel, which is not uncommon in Marian apparitions. Also in 1973, in addition to her history of health problems, Sister Agnes suffered total deafness (which was miraculously and instantly healed in 1982) and received a stigmatic wound in her left palm. A similar wound was found on the right hand of the wooden statue of Mary, which also bled. There are 101 recorded lachrymations, the first occurred in January 1975 and the last in September 1981, all with multiple witnesses. A list is provided at the end of the text. The blood, perspiration and tears from the statue were analyzed. There was some intrigue regarding that but, in short, they were all of human origin.
The three messages from Mary are reproduced below. All three are calls to prayer and penance, with the latter two containing explicit warnings for the world. The first message was given on 5 July 1973.
My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed me well in abandoning all to follow me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed, be sure. Be patient. It is the last trial. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in this community is my irreplaceable daughter. Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then, let us pray it together.
As they prayed, Sister Agnes was instructed to add “truly” to “…Jesus, present in the Eucharist…” so that it is “…Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist…”. After the prayer, Mary concluded with a simple reminder to pray.
Pray very much for the Pope, Bishops and Priests. Since your Baptism you have always prayed faithfully for them. Continue to pray very much… very much. Tell your superior all that passed today and obey him in everything that he will tell you. He has asked that you pray with fervor.
On 3 August 1973, the second message was given.
My daughter, my novice, do you love the Lord? If you love the Lord, listen to what I have to say to you. It is very important. You will convey it to your superior.
Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.
In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son I have intervened so many limes to appease the wrath of the Father. 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. I desire this also from your community… that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and outrages of so many men. Recite the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist with awareness of its meaning; put it into practice; offer in reparation for sins. Let each one endeavor, according to capacity and position, to offer herself entirely to the Lord.
Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered together. Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master.
[A short silence]
Is what you think in your heart true? Are you truly decided to become the rejected stone? My novice, you who wish to belong without reserve to the Lord, to become the spouse worthy of the Spouse make your vows knowing 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. In total abandon, let yourself be led by your superior. He will know how to understand you and to direct you.
The third message was given on 13 October 1973, the anniversary of the great miracle of Fatima.
My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior.
[A short silence]
As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests.
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and opposed by their conferes …churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.
The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of My sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them.
With courage, speak to your superior. He will know how to encourage each one of you to pray and to accomplish works of reparation.
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