From El Escorial in Spain comes a special "victim soul": visionary and
mystic Amparo Cuevas promotion the vital petition for Prayer, Penance and
Sacrifice from nuestra Senora de los Delores - Our Lady of Sorrows.
Shortly after Our Lady began appearing to Betania visionary and mystic
Maria Esperanza di Bianchini on a remote farm south of Caracas in Venezuela, and a month
before she appeared to six children in another remote mountain village
known as Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother Mary chose a middle age mother of seven
to impart her messages of Prayer, Penance and Sacrifice for the world.
Like the others before and after, the Blessed Virgin chose a smaller
municipality a short distance from a major city to be a magnet to attract
pilgrims from al over. And like Betania and Medjugorje, these lesser-known
apparitions are still taking place.
Approximately 60 kilometers (a little over 37 miles) northwest of Madrid
lies the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. It has served as the
focus of religious pilgrimages by people from different nationalities and
cultures from throughout the world for the past fourteen years. The reason
for these pilgrimages is that Jesus and His Blessed Mother had been
appearing to one of the members of the community at Prado Nuevo (New
Meadow), at an area of El Escorial.
The visionary, Luz Amparo Cuevas, a victim soul, had been receiving apparitions there
until recently when the civil authorities decided to fence off Prado Nuevo
for the expressed purpose of defying the visionary and the people who
attended this event. They also constructed a major thoroughfare a very
short distance from the Prado. Civil authorities even tried to burn down
the beautiful Ash Tree where Our Lady appeared every first Saturday, but
their efforts were futile. God would not allow it. (Similar obstruction
has been recorded at Lourdes, Fatima, Garabandal, Medjugorje and many other
apparition sites including Conyers, Georgia where local ordinances have
been drafted to hinder pilgrims from conveniently getting to the holy hill
and apparition room.)
These efforts on the part of the local government to discourage the
faithful from going to Prado Nuevo have proved fruitless. Many people
still meet on one side of the thoroughfare and facing the Prado recite the
Rosary every Saturday afternoon as cars whiz by. As many as 1,000 gather
there on a regular Saturday and then congregate in a nearby rented building
secured by a group of believers which provides a forum for priests to speak
as well as Amparo to convey the most recent message. She continues to
receive apparitions from Our Blessed Mother on the first Saturday of each
month and record the messages imparted by Our Lady at another location
other than the Ash Tree which has been corded off for now by civil
authorities in an effort to thwart the apparitions and influx of pilgrims.
Regardless of the weather or season of the year, the
multitudes, which gather there on the first Saturday each month, have been
estimated near the 20,000 range. The more they are restrained, the more
they come in faith.
Though Our Lady has requested a chapel be built on the site of the
Apparition, the Blessed Mother understands that Amparo must first of all be
obedient to the Magisterium and neither the Bishop nor the Cardinal have
approved the Apparitions nor begun an investigation. Therefore, no masses
are allowed on the site, but the Rosary is prayed fervently, taking an hour
to say full five decades in Spanish.
On every Saturday, there are phalanxes of policemen sent to protect and
guard the faithful who have gathered to pray. On the first Saturdays of
each month, the force mushrooms to well over 25 police cars. The reason
for all the protection is threats to pilgrims by fanatics who have
threatened Amparo and her followers.
The majestic Ash Tree, which had become the centerpiece of the Apparition
site was constantly adorned with flowers and candles which the faithful
would bring similar to all other apparition sites. Nearby, was a water
trough with an underground fountain which Our Lady assured was healing
water. These are now all blockaded, but through prayer and a concentrated
effort by believers to negotiate reopening it. There is a movement
underway to return to the Ash Tree and, prayerfully, someday a chapel will
be built just as one was built at Lourdes, LaSalette, Fatima, San Nicolas,
and now being built at Betania.
Next installment: Planting the seeds of suffering: background on visionary Amparo Cuevas.