In 1969, Akita, Japan, was the site of one of the more prominent
modern series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary. While
praying, Sister Agnes Sasagawa, a young postulate of the Order
of the Handmaids of the Eucharist, a Roman Catholic order
community, received a locution, a clairaudient message, concerning
how she should pray. She ascribed this voice to an
angel. The content of the prayer, she later discovered, was the
same as that given to the three children who had seen the Virgin
Mary at Fatima. Sister Mary was deaf.
Four years later she received another locution, which happened
to coincide with the development of the stigmata, a mysterious
cross-shaped wound on her hand that refused to stop
bleeding. The inner voice directed her to the chapel, where she
saw the Virgin for the first time. She also heard a series of accompanying
messages from the Virgin calling for prayer and
sacrifice. The words seemed to come from a wooden statue of
the Virgin located in the chapel. She would see the Virgin two
more times. The last of the three messages complained of problems
of discord and compromise within the church reaching to
the highest levels.
These apparitions would probably have gone unnoticed had
it not been for the accompanying phenomena. During the period
when the apparitions were being received, the statue oozed
a reddish substance from its right hand. Analyzed, it proved to
be type AB blood. Then the statue was noticed to perspire.
Again the substance was analyzed and proved to be similar to
human sweat. Then, several years later, the statue in the chapel
began to emit tears from the eyes. All of the sisters saw the tears
as did visitors to the convent. At one point, a Japanese film crew
from the local television station filmed the phenomena. They
also took samples of the tear drops, which upon analysis proved
to be the same as human tears. Over the next six years the statue
was recorded to weep more than a hundred times.
In 1981, the first miracle was recorded: a woman experienced
a healing of what had been diagnosed as terminal brain
cancer. Later, Sister Agnes was cured of her deafness.
The local diocese conducted an investigation, and in 1984
the bishop of Niigata announced a favorable conclusion and
authorized the veneration of Our Lady of Akita. The messages
are in accord with church doctrine and appear to be of mysterious
or supernatural origin. This verdict was confirmed by the
Vatican in 1984.
The events at Akita challenge the more common explanations
of skeptics concerning weeping statues as the substance
coming from the eyes was not water (as would have been the
case if it was due to mere condensation). In like measure, explanations
generally attributed to bleeding statues do not appear
Catholic Apparitions of Jesus and Mary. http://
www.frontier.net/Apparitions/akita.num. April 5, 2000.