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All About Mary

Our Lady of America

Read the May 11, 2020 letter from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr to the priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati explaining the decree banning public devotion (but not private devotion).


Q:
Is there an "Our Lady of America" in Ohio?

A: Beginning in 1938, Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil reported receiving over a period of many years special messages from Our Lady of America. Her spiritual directors thought that these mystical experiences were interior locutions, and she was directed to record them in writing. They concerned primarily the personal spiritual life of Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil, but there were messages intended for the bishop and others. Sister Mildred Mary was cloistered in a convent of her community in Fostoria, Ohio until her death in 2000.

The emphasis of the messages she received deal mostly with the Indwelling of the Blessed Trinity and devotion to Mary as Our Lady of America. According to Sr. Mildred, Our Lady requested that a medal be struck honoring her Immaculate Conception and invoking her as Our Lady of America. This was done.

Sr. Mildred claimed that Mary also recommended the daily family rosary and the following Prayer to the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States.

O Immaculate Mother, Queen of our country, open our hearts, our homes, and our land to the coming of Jesus, your Divine Son. With Him, reign over us, O heavenly Lady, so pure and so bright with the radiance of God's light shining in and about you. Be our Leader against the powers of evil set upon wresting the world of souls, redeemed at such a great cost by the sufferings of your Son and of yourself, in union with Him, from that same Savior, Who loves us with infinite charity.

We gather about you, O chaste and holy Mother, Virgin Immaculate, Patroness of our beloved Land, determined to fight under your banner of holy purity against the wickedness that would make all the world an abyss of evil, without God and without your loving maternal care. We consecrate our hearts, our homes, our Land to your Most Pure Heart, O great Queen, that the kingdom of your Son, our Redeemer and our God, may be firmly established in us.

We ask no special sign of you, sweet Mother, for we believe in your great love for us, and we place in you our entire confidence. We promise to honor you by faith, love, and the purity of our lives according to your desire. Reign over us, then, O Virgin Immaculate, with your Son Jesus Christ. May His Divine Heart and your most chaste heart be ever enthroned and glorified among us. Use us, your children of America, as your instruments in bringing peace among men and nations. Work your miracles of grace in us, so that we may be a glory to the Blessed Trinity, Who created, redeemed, and sanctifies us.

May your valiant Spouse, St. Joseph, with the holy Angels and Saints, assist you and us in "renewing the face of the earth." Then when our work is over, come, Holy Immaculate Mother, and as our Victorious Queen, lead us to the eternal kingdom, where your Son reigns forever as King. Amen.

(Written at the behest of Our Lady, October 5, 1956.)



Some Catholic Church leaders have shown written support of devotion(s) related to the Fostoria, Ohio events known under the name of Our Lady of America. The most authoritative one of these endorsements stems from the letter from Archbishop Raymond Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri.

 


 

letter from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr to the priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati explaining decree banning public devotion (but not private devotion):

May 11, 2020

Dear Brothers in Holy Orders,

Last week a Singular Decree was released together with a Statement regarding the findings and conclusions reached after a year-long investigation concerning alleged visions, locutions, and private revelations which were said to have occurred in relation to "Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin." Following the direction given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the investigation was led by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend. This investigation is of concern to us in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati since Sister Mildred (formerly Sister Mary Ephrem) Neuzil, CPPS, lived in the Archdiocese; and Monsignor Paul F. Leibold, then Vicar General of the Archdiocese, served as her spiritual director and granted an imprimatur to a prayer attached to the devotion. Monsignor Leibold later became the Archbishop of Cincinnati.

Attached to this letter please find a copy of the Singular Decree signed by Bishop Rhoades as well as a copy of the Statement Regarding the Devotion to Our Lady of America, signed by the six bishops of the dioceses where the alleged visions, locutions, and private revelations were said to have occurred.

In reading these documents you will note that "Bishop Rhoades came to the conclusion that 'the visions and revelations themselves cannot be said to be of supernatural origin in the sense of objective occurrences (non constat de supernaturalitate); thus further, I [Bishop Rhoades] cannot approve or support public devotion or cult.' The bishops of the other five dioceses have read and also accept these findings and conclusions" (page 3 of the Statement Regarding the "Devotion to Our Lady of America").

While there is evidence that Sister Neuzil was "honest, morally upright, psychologically balanced, devoted to religious life and without guile," her purported revelations and visions were, in fact, "her own subjective inner religious experiences." Therefore, the Church cannot "approve or support public devotion or cult."

Given this definitive and thorough investigation, I direct that parishes, schools, and institutions of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are not to practice or promote the devotion entitled "Our Lady of America," which is not approved as a public devotion of the Church.

At the same time, given the history of the prayers and religious articles being given approval by competent ecclesiastical authority, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith accepted that the use of such prayers and religious articles may continue as a matter of private devotion. Such a private devotion would be consistent with the history of the United States of America being dedicated to Our Lady. This private devotion in no way implies approval or acceptance of purported revelations, visions, or locutions attributed to Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred) Neuzil, other than as her own subjective inner religious experiences.

Grateful for your attention to this matter of spiritual and pastoral significance, I thank you for your diligence and sensitivity in communicating this information to the faithful, especially those who may have themselves practiced or promoted a public devotion to "Our Lady of America."

With prayerful best wishes, I am Fraternally yours in Christ,

– Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati

All About Mary includes a variety of content, much of which reflects the expertise, interpretations and opinions of the individual authors and not necessarily of the Marian Library or the University of Dayton. Please share feedback or suggestions with marianlibrary@udayton.edu.

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