Our Lady of Akita, Japan. (For more on Sister Agnes, click here). Previously, in June of 1973, Sister Agnes had witnessed a heavenly glow emanating from the tabernacle in the convent chapel, and had witnesses a “multitude of angels surrounding the alter in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.” A wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin had also begun to weep. Following her vision, Sister Agnes had developed a miraculous stigmata on her hand in the shape of a cross, which appeared each week.
Sister Agnes, deaf in both ears, reported three messages in total from the Blessed Virgin during 1973. The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary- carved from a single block of Katsura wood from a tree, and approximately three feet tall-- continued to weep thereafter for some years. On July 6, 1973, Sister Agnes reported that she first heard the statue calling her. She was visited by her guardian angel and Our Blessed Mother and the wooden statue also began to bleed. The message of Our Blessed Mother on July 6 was to pray for the reparation of the sins of man. She also provided Sister Agnes with the Akita Prayer:
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Thy Heart, being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father pleading for the coming of his Kingdom. Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as Thou wilt for the glory of the Glory of the Father and salvation of souls. Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Thine Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Thy special child. Amen
On August 3, Sister Agnes was again visited by Our Blessed Mother, who encouraged her to continue praying the Akita Prayer (the Prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist) for reparation for the sins of the world. She warned that the Lord was sending a great chastisement to the world, which had become greatly sinful. Finally, Mary encouraged Sister Agnes to dedicate herself completely to the Lord, joining him upon the cross with the three nails of poverty, obedience, and charity.
Fatima Miracle of the Sun, Sister Agnes would receive her final visitation from Our Blessed Mother. The final message, delivered as the previous messages via a beautiful voice emanating from the Akita statue (and recorded by Sister Agnes), was as follows:
"My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior."
Sister Agnes later recounted that there was a short silence, during which she prayed in earnest to be worthy to receive such a heavenly message. Our Blessed Mother continued:
"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 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 priests."
After a moment, Our Lady of the Rosary continued:
"The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres... 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."
Sister Agnes asked, "Who is my superior?"
"It is Bishop Ito, who directs your community."
Our Blessed Mother then smiled and gently said:
"You have still something to ask? Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior."
Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."
The message of Akita is quite similar to the other messages delivered by Our Blessed Mother, advocate of sinners, Gate of Heaven, and Co-Redemptrix of the World. The Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of the Rosary, urges us to pray the Rosary daily, to lift our lives to the Lord in reparation for not only our own sins, but the sins of mankind. She urges prayer, penance, and courageous sacrifice for the sins of others. Our Blessed Mother promises to intercede for us, if we only ask her to: Our Blessed Mother, our constant advocate, the Mediatrix of all Graces!
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."