Special News Report: Blessed Virgin Mary in Saskatchewan
"By their fruits you will know them so far the fruits seem good. People are converting and changing their lives. This bodes well for the phenomena" Fr. Denis Phaneuf
Fr. Murray Chatlain, the Catholic priest for Fond-du-Lac, Stony Rapids and Black Lake, has visited the houses where the images are appearing on living room windows in the two communities. Fr. Chatlain would not authenticate the images as miraculous but he said, "I know something is happening though There is a lot of good fruit coming out of it, and that is the most important thing. People are praying and changing their lives around. Sunday Mass is packed."
Fr. Denis Phaneuf from Holy Spirit Church in Saskatoon, more than 500 miles south, has also commented on the images. "By their fruits you will know them so far the fruits seem good. People are converting and changing their lives. This bodes well for the phenomena," he said, "Miracles usually do not make people holy but certainly can get them going on their way."
Fr. Phaneuf has not seen the images but he explained that the Church must be careful about verifying the images as miraculous: "The Church is always very cautious because the Enemy is so cunning," he said. "I hope and pray that this will help continue any and all healing that has begun."
Joshua Caswell, Brabant Lake
In-depth: FACTS About the Images
December, 2002 - Although the "miraculous" images that have been appearing in Northern Saskatchewan are indeed spiritual phenomena, they do have a physical component. Many deem the images as "inexplicable." It is true that these phenomenal images cannot be explained in detail without some difficulty. Facts, obvious truths, will be explained in this article.
The images were first seen in Ile-a-la-Crosse on September 8, 2002, in Fond-du-Lac October 31 and in Black Lake on November 23. Some of the images that have been seen are:
the Blessed Virgin Mary: with a child, with a rosary, spreading her arms
the Holy Face of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin
the Sacred Heart that fades into a Chalice (cup)
angels that appear to be adoring a image of Jesus/Mary
a crucifix (cross)
Saint Francis Xavier
More images may have been seen. Some clearly see Jesus when other people also see clearly the Virgin Mary and it is not a matter of interpretation. The images of Mary appear at every manifestation and are often accompanied by one of the other images. The Holy Face of Jesus has been seen at all three of the northern communities as well.
In Ile-a-la-Crosse the images appeared during the evening and through the night, in Fond-du-Lac and Black Lake, the images appeared day and night. The images fade and new ones appear, it seems that sometimes you do not even notice the fading. "I couldnt see anything then all of a sudden it was just there," said Jessie Charles of Prince Albert who had visited Ile-a-la-Crosse.
The dimensions of the images can range from 6 inches to 4 or 5 feet in height. In Ile-a-la-Crosse, the images seem to be based on what appears to condensation and on what appears to be frost in Fond-du-Lac and Black Lake, Interestingly, when the temperature dropped to below freezing in Ile-a-la-Crosse the "condensation" did not freeze in the non-heated environment. In Fond-du-Lac and Black Lake when the temperature rose seven degrees above freezing point the "frost" did not melt.
The media reported that the images were only an outline, although many people see such detail as the Blessed Virgins hands, face and even her hair. The images are even seen clearly by those who have poor vision. In Ile-a-la-Crosse, Mrs. Alexa Bouvier was one of the first people to see the images although she suffers from poor eyesight because of her diabetes.
Definite colour is apparent. "She had a blue rope (sash) around her waist," said Mrs. Marie Donard of Black Lake. Jessie Charles described the image as with a "dark blue dress and a silver rosary the most beautiful thing"
In Fond-du-Lac and Black Lake, those who have seen the phenomena say that a "rainbow" of colour is "lit up" around the images and that the colours "shine" even at night without a contributing source of light. Mr. John Pacquette, the owner of the house in Fond-du-Lac where the manifestations occurred, said he could see "every colour you can imagine." Randy Desjarlais, a resident of Ile-a-la-Crosse, said the image was glowing with a cross in the center when first seen.
Some of the other phenomena: the strong smell of roses, a cross in the sky and an apparent sudden change in weather. "It was cold and windy and then when Mary came the wind stopped and it was warmer," explained Kayla LaLiberté a youth from Ile-a-la-Crosse.
At least 10,000 people have seen the images in the three communities together. Over 7,000 visitors have been to Ile-a-la-Crosse and many still come even though the images have ceased to appear there. As soon as the images were noticed in Fond-du-Lac almost the entire community of about 900 went to observe them. "They are all inside and outside of the house trucks and snowmobiles are lined up on the road," said Rose Pacquette of Fond-du-Lac. In Black Lake the community of about 1,200 immediately flocked to see the images as well as people from the community of Stony Rapids, about 20 miles away.
Joshua Caswell, Brabant Lake Times
Black Lake: Third Occurrence of Phenomenal Images in Yet Another Northern Community
by Joshua Caswell - Brabant Lake Times
The same phenomena that drew thousands to a tiny greenhouse in Ile-a-la-Crosse and a living room window in Fond-du-Lac is now occuring in Black Lake. An image of the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing on a living room window in the house of Anne and Augustine Sandypoint was first seen Saturday, November 23 by six children and several adults. Now out of a community of 1200, almost everybody has seen the "inexplicable" images.
Black Lake, like Fond-du-Lac [see next article], is a Dené community, inaccessible by road during certain times of the year. Black Lake is about 50 km from Stoney Rapids.
Mrs. and Mrs. Sandypoint cannot speak English well so I spoke to Marie Donard, their daughter and one of the first people to see the image in her parents living room window. Here is what she told me about her experience: "...At about 3 PM my mother came to my house - it is next door to hers. She told me there was something on the window I should see. I went over to the house and she pointed out the image to me... I told her not to tell anybody till we know what is going on, since I didn't want to spread a story. I tried to wash it off inside the house and outside as well. It wouldnt come off It was about 4 or 5 and the sun was setting. As soon as it had gone down the window lit up with colours and the image was very bright. The kids who were playing in the front yard saw Mary on the window, I told them not to tell anyone till we knew for sure... We were looking at the window and I thought the kids were with me, but I turned around and they were gone. They went to tell the neighbours that the Virgin Mary was on the window... People started coming and were asking me if it was true. I said no. I didn't believe. I just ran home. The phone was ringing and I would just pick it up and say I never saw anything. I didn't want to spread a story... Other people came too see the window. They all saw Mary and went to tell others. The community has seen it now. I believe it now, to me it is a miracle."
Describing the images Mrs. Donard told me, "You can see Mary all in white with a blue rope (sash) around her waist, it looks like the Fatima Mary. All around her there is colour like a rainbow, all kinds of colours... Some people see Jesus' Face... People are taping it with the video camera, the miracle shows on the video too... The image is bigger since the first time I saw it."
While talking to Mrs. Donard on the phone I could hear
many people singing hymns in Dené in the background. When I had
called earlier, I was asked to call back since they were saying the
rosary at the time. She also told me that visitors from other communities
such as Wollaston and Stoney Rapids were already coming to see the images.
Fond-du-Lac: Church Over-Crowded After Appearance of Images Locals "Shocked"
Almost two months after an image of Mary first appeared in Ile-a-la-Crosse phenomena began in Fond-du-Lac. This was the second northern community with the phenomenal images. They first appeared on October 31. I spoke to John Pacquette by phone on November 10. He is the owner of the house and the first person to see the image in his living room window. The images were also reported by the Canadian Press on Nov 6. Fond-du-Lac is an isolated community and must be reached by plane during the freeze-up season. This is typical of many northern communities. He gave me a summary of the events.
"I saw the image for three days before I told anyone," he said, "I didn't want to cause a commotion." He told me it was on Sunday that the others found out. He and his teenage daughter and others had came back from Sunday Mass. They had all noticed the frosty image of the Virgin Mary on the living room window. "We didn't know what to do, I went and told the elders... I was gone for about an hour and when I got back my house was full of people," he said, "Hundreds were standing outside and inside the house inside looking at the image, the whole community." He told me that it was a cloudy day and that the sun had come out for about 5 seconds and lit up the window in a rainbow of colours. "It was incredible, just light and colour all around her. Mary was all in blue," he said.
The day I talked to him by phone, Mr. Pacquette told me that the Mass that Sunday, (Nov. 10) was incredible: "400 or 500 people were crowded into the little Catholic Church... many were outside hearing the Mass." The young people are being affected too. Half of the people who are at Pacquettes house, 24 hours a day, praying and singing hymns in Dené are teenagers and children. He also told me that visitors have come from Lac Brochet, Southend, Stoney Rapids, Wollaston, La Ronge, Yellowknife (NWT) as well as many other places he couldn't remember. "People can only fly in" he said, "but we have already had as much as 500 vsitors."
Mrs. Margaret Josie from Wollaston, SK. phoned me as well and told me about her three day trip to Fond-du-Lac. It was the same as what Mr. Pacquette had been telling me. "I saw Mary with a child, the face of Jesus, and Mary holding a Rosary", Mrs. Josie said, "I could even see her hair... The images change." The face of Jesus she and others had seen was the "Holy Face of Jesus" from the Sroud of Turin that had also been seen on the greenhouse in Ile-a-la-Crosse.
Mr. Pacquette said that the images fade and new ones appear. He seemed to having trouble finding the words to describe the images that appear on his living room window. I asked him if hands, face and other features were distinguishable. He told me that you could see Mary's face, hands, dress and even her hair. He said many people are taking pictures of the image. "The pictures turn out just beautiful People cant believe what they see," he said, "There is a lot of shock."
The last known time the images were seen was on Saturday, Nov. 23 - the same day similar phenomena was first seen at Black Lake. Lillian Pacquette, Johns wife, told me that many people still come to the house every day to say the rosary and sing hymns.
Joshua Caswell, Brabant Lake
'Inexplicable' Images of Mary and Jesus Continue to Baffle Many in Remote Part of Canada
By Michael H. Brown - SpiritDaily.com
Years ago, while researching a book on the Blessed Mother's apparitions, I traveled to the former Soviet Union and there, near a place called Buchach, tried to locate a miraculous image that had reportedly appeared on the front window of a home. It was some job trying to track it down. It had happened years before, and under Communism the people had to hide it -- switching it between households like contraband.
They were afraid even in 1992 to let me see it. We had to drive through back pastures and thick mud in this peasant part of Ukraine and try three places before finally locating the rumored image (and convincing the caretakers to take it from its hiding place under a bed).
I'll never forget it. The image was painstakingly wrapped in cloth and carefully tied and I fell to my knees when they unwrapped it and placed it before me on sort of an easel. Here was this simple pane of glass, but with the most extraordinary image. It was extraordinary not because of its size, obviously, nor for its color; it was a simple glass etching. But what was extraordinary was that although it looked like an etching, it really wasn't an etching. It certainly wasn't a painting. It was like nothing I'd ever seen. It was just there.
I still can't find the words. As soon as you saw it, you knew it was supernatural. It seemed somehow divorced from the glass, yet at the same time "on" the surface. It was a bearded man who resembled a disciple. No one is sure who it is -- a bearded man with a halo that appeared on Sunday, May 21, in 1987.
I think of all this because lately I hear similar descriptions coming out of Canada: more specifically, the province of Saskatchewan (north of Montana) -- where unearthly images of holy figures are reported in two separate places and equally difficult to describe.
It started in a place called Ile-a-la-Crosse, in the northwest part of the province. There -- on September 8, the Virgin's official birthday, shortly after a visit of the Pilgrim Fatima Statue to the province -- folks began to notice the image of Mary formed between two sealed glass panes, as if by "fog" or condensation. At times the image was large and clear enough to be seen by crowds of thousands -- appearing both on warm days and later when the temperature plummeted to below freezing. According to our correspondent, Joshua Caswell, a student at Our Lady of the North School in Brabant Lake, some see Mary in the large patch of "condensation," some see the Sacred Heart (at the same time), and others describe an image like the Turin Shroud. It is not a matter of interpretation -- but rather like one image fades or changes into another. There have been images of Mary with a rosary that is missing beads (as if to indicate a lack of prayer), and the Sacred Heart turning into a chalice. The images can be more than a meter in size. Joshua tells us there was a very peculiar sunset just before the phenomena first began.
"The Sacred Heart fades into another image -- one fades into another -- but it's hard to explain because it's like you don't even notice the fading," he tells us, reminding me of my problem explaining Buchach. "Even though it seems to be part of condensation, they'll be colors -- and meanwhile temperatures have no affect on the fog. Mary usually appears in the evening, after 8:30."
Some, like Jessie Charles, 17, from Prince Albert and her brother Abraham, 14, were able to see the image better farther away, reports the Brabant Lake Times. "We were in the back of the crowd," explained Jessie, "we had to stand on top of a chair to see. I was so disappointed because I couldn't see anything. After a few seconds I suddenly saw her. It was so beautiful. She had a white veil, a dark blue dress, and a silver rosary. All I could do was just stare at her. I couldn't believe how beautiful she was. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. It was like my vision improved for that moment just so I could see her."
There have been different images of Mary, sometimes varying in size. There have been angels adoring Jesus. This is in an old greenhouse owned by a devout couple. According to the newspaper, the greenhouse owner tried to scrub it away but it reappeared and people reported a strong smell of roses (quite different from the tomatoes grown there). "They said when they first saw it, there was a bright light and there was this woman who is nearly blind from diabetes that said she saw it," one local man, Lloyd McCallum, said.
Resident Randy Desjarlais saw the image on Monday and said it was glowing with a cross in the center. A cross was also seen in the sky.
A month later -- on October 31 -- phenomena began 200 miles away in Fond-du-Lac, which is also largely Native American. There the family of a man named John Pacquette, who speaks Chippewan, noted the formation in frost on a living room window (this is way up north, a place inaccessible except by plane during "freeze-up" season). "Mary was all in blue," he told our correspondent Joshua. "It was incredible, just light and color all around her." Soon, people were flying in from all over. The images change here also. There is the Shroud as at Il-a-la-Crosse and Mary holding a rosary. Paquette said he had seen such detail as strands of Mary's hair. Locals were "shocked."
Bethlehem of the North
Ile-à-la-Crosse was called le Bethleehem du Nord because it was one of the first Christian settlements and the core of missionary activity in Saskatchewan. The Grey Nuns went by canoe and foot from Montreal to establish the first hospital in Saskatchewan at Ile-à-la Crosse.
At 2 am on Sept. 18, Mrs. Caswell brought out a box of devotional materials for the people who may visit the site of the apparitions. Included were medals and prayers of Ste. Marquerite d'Youville given to pilgrims by the Grey Nuns in Winnipeg. The medals glowed like gold and jewels when they came out of the grey envelope. The spirit of the foundress had made the trip again.
Included in the box was a picture of Jesus of the Holy Face, the face on the Shroud of Turin. People said that is what we saw on the window. Many had never seen the picture before they saw the Apparition.
Ile-à-la Crosse is a classic French- native community, but strangely the schools are not in partly French or it seems don't even highlight it. When the government was taking education away from the Church they may have deliberately made sure instruction was in English to take away influence from the French religious. Many people still speak French and Cree as well as English.
Father Turcotte at 93 yrs. still says Mass every day at the Hospital. It is said that there will be a new hospital. It is not known if Catholic ethics will prevail.
On the local radio station the rosary and gospel songs are heard every morning.
Perhaps Ile-à-la-Crosse will be chosen for a revival of Christianity in the North if not all of Saskatchewan.
Saint Mary Visits Sask.
by Joshua Caswell - Brabant Lake Times
Our Lady has been appearing in Ile-à-la-Crosse since September 8. She has not only visited the small greenhouse, where she appears on a window, but also the hearts of the people of Saskatchewan.
The Blessed Virgin is appearing daily on a window of a greenhouse owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bouvier. The Bouviers live on a small farm outside Ile-à-la-Crosse. This comes at a time when the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal was visiting Saskatchewan.
The Marian apparitions started on Our Lady's Birthday, September 8. The image appears on an old window used as a part of a greenhouse. There is nothing unordinary about the greenhouse. It was used for growing tomatoes.
An Ile-à-la-Crosse woman describes when she first saw the image: "I was almost asleep and my aunty comes in and says 'Come, see the Virgin Mary!' So I got up and went here. Many people were in there pajamas... We saw the image on the window and then there was a flash above us, so we looked up and saw a cross in the sky... We all got down on our knees and started to pray."
The image of the Blessed Mother usually develops at about 8:00 pm after they finish the rosary. When asked at about what time Mary will appear, one woman says "Mary comes after bingo." The image may develop quickly or slowly. There is a change in the weather when the apparition develops. It may be windy and cold, and then when Mary appears it will be warm and calm. A strong scent of roses fills the air. The image fades and new ones develop during the night.
Images of the Pieta (Mary with Jesus), the Sacred Heart and a chalice, the Holy Face, an angel on a window that seems to be adoring Jesus on the next, and on the same day the Statue of Fatima was at Ile-à-la-Crosse an image of Our Lady of Fatima. To many the images are neither 3-dimensional or a flat picture. While some people clearly see Mary, others clearly see Jesus. "The little children give you a totally different perspective," the Bouviers say.
One night over one-thousand people were present. People have come from Alberta, Alaska, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, and from towns and cities all over Saskatchewan. Catholics and non-Catholics come to see the Blessed Virgin. "I am not even catholic, I came to bring my Mother who is." said a North Battleford woman, who that night was awestruck at the image of Our Lady. Many spiritual healings have occurred over the past week," said Alex Bouvier, the Bouvier's son, "I didn't believe... but I do now."
Some like Jessie Charles, 17, from Prince Albert and her brother Abraham, 14, were able to see the image better farther away. "We were in the back of the crowd," explains Jessie, "we had to stand on top of a truck to see. I was so disappointed because I couldn't see anything. After a few seconds I suddenly saw her. It was so beautiful. She had a white veil, a dark blue dress, and a silver rosary. All I could do was just stare at her. I couldn't believe how beautiful she was. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. It was like my vision improved for that moment just so I could see her."
The night when the Brabant pilgrims were there, Mary appeared later than usual, the image gradually developed and got clearer and clearer. At about 1:30 am we said the rosary with a few people around the window that was surrounded by candles. An older woman whispered during the prayers, "Look, she is moving her beads!" We looked and observed that Mary seemed to be leading us in the rosary. It seems that wherever Mary appears she always seems to bring us back to the basics of Christianity.
Pilgrimage to Ile-à-la-Crosse
by John Caswell - Brabant Lake Times
I recently took part in a pilgrimage to Ile-à-la-Crosse in north-west Saskatchewan to see what had been reported as an appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It had been reported on by various media all over the province but I missed hearing these reports. I spoke to a Mr. Morin of Turnor Lake who was singing and helping out with the great influx of pilgrims. Hundreds of people had come to see the apparition and to pray and sing have fellowship with one another. The apparition was seen at a greenhouse in the back yard of the farm of Andre and Alexa Bouvier. The figure of the Virgin Mary was first seen on Sept 8 the day the Church celebrated birthday of Mary the Mother of Jesus. A scheduled visit by the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the town was to occur Sept. 15. This coincided with the continuing appearance of the images.
These images or apparition were first seen by Mr. Bouvier as he was moving his truck in the driveway one evening . It startled him; he thought it was a ghost in the greenhouse. Upon examining more closely he saw it was an image of The Virgin Mary within the sealed panes of glass. He also noticed an overpowering scent of roses inside the greenhouse which only had tomatoes growing in it. As word got around that night much of the community came and saw images. People said the rosary prayer. Both the people and the images were back on succeeding evenings. For now I leave what others have reported and return to our pilgrimage.
The Brabant Lake pilgrims, myself, Mrs. Caswell, Elias Charles, Joshua Caswell, David Caswell and Ryan McKenzie after travelling south of La Ronge took the gravel road west to Beauval then north to Ile-à-la-Crosse. We had heard the weather was going to be cool and wet but as we got closer to our destination the skies cleared and it got much warmer. As we reached Ile-à-la-Crosse we found an attractive town after touring around we stopped at a confectionery and asked directions of a cashier. She told us it was on the first farm back up the highway. We drove and turned west into a short road with several houses a sign advertising a driving range and some vehicles in various states of repair. As I wasn't sure this was the right place I turned the van around but decided to ask. A man in a truck drove into the driveway of a house. I asked him if this was where the apparition was.
He said "Yes, in that greenhouse." The atmosphere was very peaceful.
I had pictured the Greenhouse as aluminum framed plastic covered. but it was quite small about 8'x12' and constructed of old windows perhaps from renovated housing units. There were 8 foot blooming sunflowers to one side with other flowering plants looking large and exotic growing around the house. I heard Mr. Bouvier had worked here when this was a government farm. Several benches of old lumber had been set up facing the greenhouse. A son Alex Bouvier and another man came out from the house to greet and make us feel welcome. They told us that there would be people coming from town after the bingo and that the images didn't appear until about 8 pm. In the meantime they offered to show us videos they had managed to take of some of the images on previous nights. They also invited us to look at the greenhouse inside and out.
In the green house I did get a definite scent of roses at the open door. I noticed some drying bouquets of roses brought by pilgrims on previous nights. I sniffed them but they had very little scent. Some different kinds of rosaries and statues had been contributed. Also a familiar poster of Je bs showing red and white beams of light shining from his heart and the phrase "Jesus I Trust in Thee"
The windowpanes where the images had been seen on previous nights between about 8 pm and 3 am were 3 joined sealed units closer to the door than the window with the poster and statues. The 3 panes could be seen from the inside or the outside with no restriction placed on point of view except out of courtesy to allow others a view.
While we watched the videos run from a small video camera on a small TV set up on the back verandah we were served coffee and sandwiches. I felt guilty as if my needs were imposing but was soon put at ease by the genuine hospitality. The video images showed several silver images. the earlier nights images were more shaky but clearly showed the outline of a hooded young woman. Another segment showed a completely different image; a head with either long hair or a hood or veil crowned with a sort of crown or wreath or perhaps a crown of thorns. Some who tried to capture the images on video had little success but Alex and his friend were able to do it. They also refused to sell the video as they felt that would be wrong and the images were for the use of the pilgrims.
Pilgrims began arriving and soon there were 50 to 60 people of all ages. There had been a high of around 1000 on Sunday. People sat on the benches, went into the greenhouse prayed the Rosary, 3 times went up to the windows to look closely and mingled drinking the coffee tea and eating sandwiches which were freely provided. Candles were lit. As we didn't have any other arrangements we were invited to tent in an adjoining field. Mrs. Caswell was travel weary having been up early. As she went to rest in the little dome tent I set up, she had a strong scent of roses which made her feel better about having to miss some of the gathering. This was nowhere near the greenhouse.
Some people began saying they saw an image in the middle pane of the section down in the lower left hand corner. It was the Virgin standing hooded, facing east towards the door of the greenhouse. At first when I looked I saw this only vaguely but as I looked between upright fork of a dry weed twig I saw with clarity a rosary string with beads hanging down where it would hang if the figure in the glass were holding it while saying prayers. I saw this as objectively as one can see. The figure and the rosary were 2 dimensional to me. The phrase "seen as through a glass darkly" comes to mind. One of the men using the video camcorder got the same image on the LCD screen. The image was actually clearer on the screen than with my vision.
I had heard that different people (some believers, some skeptical) saw images quite intensely while others (believers, or non) saw them less. Some did not admit to seeing anything. Perhaps an element of faith or desire made the difference. Perhaps (like the Bouvier's grandson a skeptic who became a strong believer through the experience ) people saw what they needed to see. Some people saw more than one image such as the Holy Face as imprinted on the Shroud of Turin. ... Although it had not suggested to me, I thought I saw that image but very faintly. Other people saw it too. Some images people tried to point out to me I could not see. Judging by what many said and by the videos the images were more intense on earlier evenings.
I don't believe in coincidences. These images could not have accidently appeared. I don't concider them to be UFO or crop circle type phenomenon. I believe they connect with heaven. I noticed the Rosary image I saw seemed to have fewer beads as if some were missing. I believe the missing beads are missing prayers or missing pray-ers. People who should be devoting themselves to prayer and to God are distracted by worldly cares.
We are being called to prayer and holiness. This also happened at Fatima on the verge of the Russian Revolution and at Hrushiv in the Ukraine before the disintegration of the USSR and at Lourdes in the 1800's calling people back from the spiritual destruction caused by the French Revolution.
In the Bible, in Ezekiel 33:66, the believers are described as watchmen. It's our job to warn the people, they may not listen... but if we we don't warn them of the realities of Christ, Heaven, and Hell, their blood will be on our hands at the judgement.