Bayside, a section of the borough of Queens, New York, had
been the scene of apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Veronica
Lueken (19231995), a housewife, from 1970 until her death.
Over the years she received numerous messages from the Virgin
through a process now generally termed channeling.
Luekens experience with the Virgin began in June of 1968,
on the day that presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was
assassinated. Watching television in her home, she responded
to the call for prayers that had gone out and then smelled the
scent of roses. Soon afterwards, St. Theresa (the French saint
generally called the Little Flower) appeared. Her 10-year-old
son also reported seeing the saint. No words were exchanged.
Over the next two years she had a series of random visions;
then in 1970, the Virgin appeared for the first time. Mary asked
that on the eves of the great feast days of the Roman Catholic
Church, vigil services for the recitation of the rosary be held
outside of the St. Robert Bellermine Catholic Church in Bayside
Hills, Queens. She would appear to Lueken at each of
these vigils, the first of which was held on June 18, 1970. At
these times, the Virgin spoke through Lueken and delivered
numerous messages. She was invoked under the name Our
Lady of the Roses, Mary Help of Mothers.
Large crowds began to gather for the vigils. The messages
took an increasingly negative tone focusing upon the evil of the
world and within the church, and warning of widespread chastisements.
Included was a prophecy that a comet would strike
the earth and that World War III was imminent. Relations with
the church deteriorated after an investigation by the office of
the Archbishop of Brooklyn concluded that there were not any
miraculous or sacred qualities to the apparitions. Additionally,
the neighbors complained about the noise and congestion
caused by the gatherings. Forced from the church property, in
1975 Lueken and the group that had gathered around her
moved to the Vatican Pavilion at Flushing Park that had been
erected for the 1965 Worlds Fair. Lueken predicted that they
would be allowed to return to the church, but that never occurred.
Shortly after the move, Lueken endorsed the idea that an
imposter had been substituted for the real Pope Paul VI. She
also supported the circulation of a number of unusual photographs
said to be miraculous photographs. One such picture
taken in 1971 of a statue of Mary turned out, when developed,
to have the words Jacinta 1972 written across it. Jacinta was
one of the three children who saw the Virgin at Fatima, Portugal,
in 1917. As she lay dying just a short time after the apparitions,
she is noted to have told the nun caring for her that her
order should prepare for 1972.
Lueken died in 1995. The messages channeled by her supported
a conservative Roman Catholicism, prophesied many
Bauer, Georg Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
disasters, and decried the moral degeneration of modern life.
Since her death the vigils have been carried on by the group
that gathered around her and believed in her visions and the
revelation spoken by the Virgin Mary through her. The continued
vigils are carried on by Our Lady of the Roses Shrine, Box
52, Bayside, NY 11361. An Internet presence can be found at
httpwww.roses.org. Believers in the apparitions in Massachusetts
organized These Last Days Ministries (P.O. Box 40, Lowell,
MA 49331-0240) and launched a weekly radio show, These
Last Days, to promote the messages from Bayside. Other
groups in the conservative wing of the Roman Catholic Church
have offered their support to the shrine.
Grant, Robert. War of the Roses. Rolling Stone 113 (February
21, 1980) 4246.
Our Lady of the Roses, Mary Help of Mothers. Lowell, Mass.
These Last Days, n.d. .