Miraculous Stories of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Her Intercession. part 1.



From St Alphonsus De Liguori, The Glories of Mary,
Arranged and edited by Br. Sean, a choir monk, 2009
from an etext at www.archive.org
(page numbers as in book)

[679] Some persons, boasting of being free from
prejudices, take great credit to themselves for
believing no miracles but those recorded in the
holy Scriptures, esteeming all others as tales
and fables for foolish women. But it will be
well to repeat here a just remark of the learned
and pious Father John Crasset, who says that
the bad are as ready to deride miracles as the
good are to believe them; adding, that as it is
a weakness to give credit to all things, so, on the
other hand, to reject miracles which come to us
attested by serious and pious men, either savours
of infidelity, which supposes them impossible to
God, or of presumption, which refuses belief to
such a class of authors. We give credit to a Tacitus
and a Suetonius, and can we deny it with
out presumption to Christian authors of learning
and upright life? There is less risk, says Father
Canisius, in believing and receiving what is related
with some probability by honest persons,
and not rejected by the learned, and which
serves for the edification of our neighbour, than in
rejecting it with a disdainful and presumptuous
1ST EXAMPLE. A certain man in Germany had
[680] committed a great sin, and was ashamed
to confess it, yet on the other hand he could not
endure the remorse which he felt, and went to
cast himself into the river; but just as he was on
the point of doing so, he stopped, and bursting
into tears, prayed God to pardon him without
confession. One night in his sleep he felt someone
waking him, and heard a voice saying: "Go
and make your confession." He went to the
church, but yet did not make his confession.
He heard the same voice a second night; again
he went to the church, but after he had entered
it, said that he would rather die than confess
that sin. He was about to return home, when
he thought he would go and recommend himself
to the most holy Mary, before her image which
was in the church. He had hardly kneeled before
it, when he felt himself entirely changed.
He immediately arose, called for a confessor,
and weeping bitterly, through grace received
from the Virgin, made a sincere confession; and
he afterwards said that he felt greater satisfaction
than if he had gained all the gold in the
2. A young nobleman was reading one day,
while at sea, an obscene book, in which he took
great pleasure. A religious said to him: "Now
come, would you give something to our Lady?"
"Yes," he answered; and the other said, "I wish
that, for love of the holy Virgin, you would tear
that book in pieces and cast it into the sea."
"Here it is, Father," said the young man. "No,"
[681] said the religious, "I wish that you yourself
would make this offering to Mary." He did so,
and when he returned to Genoa, his native place,
the mother of God so inflamed his heart with
the love of God that he became a religious.
3. A hermit of Mount Olivet had in his cell
a holy image of Mary, and frequently offered
up prayers before it. The devil could not endure
such devotion to the holy Virgin, and tormented
him continually with temptations against
purity; and the poor old hermit finding himself
still pursued by them, notwithstanding all
his prayers and mortifications, said one day to
the enemy: "What have I done to you, that you
will not leave me in peace?" And the demon
appeared to him and answered: "You torment
me more than I torment you;" and then he added:
"Now come, and swear secrecy to me, and I will
tell you what you must cease to do, if you wish
me not to molest you any more." The hermit
took the oath, and then the devil said to him:
"I wish you never again to approach that image
that you have in your cell." The hermit was
greatly perplexed, and went to take counsel of
the Abbot Theodore, who told him that he was
not bound by his oath, and that he must not
cease to recommend himself to Mary before
that image, as he had done before. The hermit
obeyed, and the devil was put to shame and
4. A woman who had been guilty of a criminal
connection with two young men, one of
[682] whom had killed the other, came one day
in great terror to Father Onefrio d'Anna, a pious
missionary in the kingdom of Naples, to make
her confession. She told the Father that in the
same hour in which that wretched youth had
died, he appeared to her, clothed in black, loaded
with chains, and cast fire on every side. He
had a sword in his hand, and raised it to cut her
throat. In terror she exclaimed: "What have I
done to you, that you wish to kill me?" And in
a rage he answered: "Wretch, do you ask what
you have done to me? You have caused me to
lose God." Then she invoked the blessed Virgin;
and that damned soul, on hearing the most holy
name of Mary pronounced, disappeared and
was seen no more.
5. When St. Dominic was preaching at
Carcassone, in France, an Albigensian heretic,
who was possessed by demons, was brought to
him, because he had publicly spoken against the
devotion of the most holy Rosary. The saint
then ordered the demons, in the name of God,
to declare whether those things which he had
said concerning the most holy Rosary were true;
and howling with rage they said: "Hear, oh
Christians, all that this our enemy has said of
Mary and of the most holy Rosary is entirely
true." They added, moreover, that they had
no power against the servants of Mary; and
that many who at death invoked Mary were
saved, contrary to what they deserved. And finally
they said: "We are constrained to declare,
that [683] no one is lost who perseveres in devotion
to Mary, and in the devotion of the most
holy Rosary, for Mary obtains for sinners a true
repentance before death. St. Dominic made
the people immediately repeat the Rosary; and,
oh miracle! at every "Hail Mary," many devils
went out from that wretched man, in the shape
of burning coals, so that when the Rosary was
finished, he was entirely freed from them, and
many heretics became converted.
6. The daughter of a certain prince had entered
a monastery, where the discipline was so
relaxed, that, although she was a young person
of good dispositions, she advanced but little in
virtue. By the advice of a good confessor, she
began to say the Rosary with the mysteries, and
became so changed that she was an example to
all. The other religious, taking offence at her
for withdrawing from them, attacked her on all
sides, to induce her to abandon her newly-begun
way of life. One day while she was repeating
the Rosary, and praying Mary to assist her in that
persecution, she saw a letter fall from above.
On the outside were written these words: "Mary,
mother of God, to her daughter Jane, greeting;"
and within : "My dear child, continue to say my
Rosary ; withdraw from conversation with those
who do not help you to live well ; beware of idleness
and vanity ; take from your cell two superfluous
things, and I will be your protectress with
God." The abbot of that monastery soon after
visited it, and attempted to reform it, but he did
[684] not succeed ; and one day he saw a great
number of demons entering the cells of all the nuns
except that of Jane, for the heavenly mother, before
whose image he saw her praying, banished them
from that. When he heard from her of the devotion
of the Rosary which she practiced, and the letter
she had received, he ordered all the others to
repeat it, and it is related that this monastery
became a paradise.
7. There lived in Rome a woman, called
Catherine the beautiful, who led a very sinful
life. Hearing St. Dominic once preach on the
devotion of the most holy Rosary, she had her
name inscribed in the book of the confraternity,
and began to recite it, but did not abandon her sinful
life. One evening a youth, apparently a noble,
came to her house, whom she received courteously.
When they were at supper, she saw
drops of blood falling from his hands while he
was breaking a peace of bread, and then she observed
that all the food he took was tinged with
blood. She asked him what that blood meant?
And the youth answered, that a Christian should
take no food that was not tinged with the blood
of Jesus Christ, seasoned with the memory of his
passion. Amazed at this, she asked him who he
was. "Soon," he answered, " I will show you";
and when they had withdrawn into another
apartment, the appearance of the youth changed,
and he showed himself crowned with thorns, his
flesh torn, and said to her: Do you wish to know
who I am? Do you not know me? I am your Re-
[685] deemer. Catherine, when will you cease to
offend me? See how much I have suffered for
you. You have grieved me enough, change your
life." Catherine began to weep bitterly, and
Jesus, encouraging her, said: "Now begin to
love me as much as you have offended me; and
know that you have received this grace from me,
on account of the Rosary you have been accustomed
to recite in honour of my mother." And
then he disappeared. Catherine went in the morning
to make her confession to St. Dominic;
and giving to the poor all she possessed, led so
holy a life that she attained to great perfection.
The Virgin often appeared to her; and Jesus
himself revealed to St. Dominic, that this penitent
had become very dear to him.
8. The blessed Alan de la Roche relates of a lady,
named Dominica, who was accustomed to recite
the Rosary, that she gave up this devotion, and
afterwards became so poor, that in desperation
she stabbed herself in three different places.
But just as she was breathing her last, and the
devils came to take her to hell, the most holy
Mary appeared to her, and said to her: "My
daughter, you have forgotten me, but I have
not been willing to forget you, on account of
that Rosary which you have for a time recited
in my honour. And now," she added, "if you
will continue to recite it, I will restore life to
you, and also the possessions you have lost."
Dominica was restored to health, and continuing
the practice of reciting the Rosary, recovered
[686] her possessions, and at her death was again
visited by Mary, who commended her fidelity,
and she died a holy death.
9. There lived in Saragossa a certain noble,
a very bad man; his name was Peter, and he was
a relation of St. Dominic. One day when the
saint was preaching, he saw Peter enter the
church, and he prayed the Lord that he would
make known to the audience the condition of
that miserable sinner. And, behold, Peter then
appeared like a monster from hell, surrounded
and dragged along by many devils. The congregation
fled, even his wife who was in the
church, and the servants who accompanied him.
Then St. Dominic directed him, through one of
his companions, to recommend himself to Mary,
and to begin to recite the Rosary which he sent
him. Peter received the message, humbled himself,
sent to thank the saint, and received himself
the grace to see the demons that surround
ed him. He afterwards went to make his confession
to the saint himself, from whom he received
the assurance that he was already pardoned,
and continuing to recite the Rosary, he
attained to so happy a state that one day the
Lord made him appear in church, in the presence
of the whole congregation crowned with three
crowns of roses.
10. In the mountains of Trent lived a notorious
[687] robber, who, when he was one day admonished
by a religious to change his course of life,
answered, that for him there was no remedy.
"Do not say so," said the religious ; "do what I
tell you ; fast on Saturday in honour of Mary, and
on that day do no harm to any one, and she will
obtain for you the grace of not dying under the
displeasure of God." The obedient robber followed
this advice, and made a vow to continue
to do so. That he might not break it, he from
that time went unarmed on Saturdays. It happened
that on a Saturday he was found by the
officers of justice, and that he might not break
his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without
resistance. The judge, when he saw that
he was a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon
him ; but, through the grace of compunction
which he had received from Mary, he said that
he wished to die in punishment of his sins.
He also made a public confession of all the sins
of his life in that same judgment-hall, weeping
so bitterly that all present wept with him. He
was beheaded, and buried with but little ceremony,
in a grave dug nearby. But afterwards
the mother of God appeared, with four holy virgins,
who took the dead body from that place,
wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with
gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the
city; there the blessed Virgin said to the guards:
"Tell the bishop from me, to give an honourable
burial, in such a church, to this dead person,
for he was my faithful servant." And this was
[688] done. All the people of the place thronged
to the spot, where they found the corpse with the
rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed.
And from that time, says Cesarius, all persons in
that region began to fast on Saturdays.
11. A devout servant of Mary, who lived in
Portugal, fasted on bread and water every
Saturday of his life, in honour of Mary, and chose
for his advocates with the blessed Virgin, St.
Michael and St. John the Evangelist. At the
hour of his death the queen of heaven appeared
to him, with those saints, who were praying for
him, and the holy Virgin, looking upon her servant
with a joyful countenance, said to those
saints: "I will not depart from here without taking
this soul with me."
12. In one of our missions, after the sermon
on Mary which it is our custom to preach, a
very old man came to one of the Fathers of our
congregation, to make his confession. He was
full of consolation, and said : "Our Lady has
done me a favour." "And what favour has she
done you?" asked the confessor. "For thirty-five
years, Father, I have made sacrilegious confessions,
because I was ashamed of one sin, and yet
I have passed through many dangers, and have
been several times at the point of death, and if
I had died then I certainly would have been
lost; and now our Lady has done me the favour
to touch my heart;" and when he said this he
wept so bitterly, that he seemed to be all tenderness.
After the Father had heard his confession,
[689] he asked him what devotion he had practiced,
and he answered that he had never failed on
Saturday to keep a strict fast in honour of Mary,
and therefore the Virgin had taken pity on him,
and he gave the Father permission to publish
the fact in his sermons.
13. In the country of Normandy a certain
robber was beheaded, and his head was thrown
into a trench; but afterwards it was heard crying:
"Mary, give me confession." A priest went
to him and heard his confession; and questioning
him as to his practices of devotion, the robber
answered that he had no other except that
of fasting one day of the week in honour of the
holy Virgin, and that for this our Lady had obtained
for him the grace to be delivered from
hell by that confession.
14. There were two young noblemen living
in the city of Madrid who encouraged each
other in their sinful life. One of them saw one
night, in a dream, his companion seized by some
Moors and carried to the shore of a stormy sea.
They were about to do the same with him, but
he had recourse to Mary, and made a vow that
he would become a religious at once, and thus
he was rescued from these Moors; then he saw
Jesus seated on a throne, and as if in anger, and
the holy Virgin supplicating and obtaining
mercy for him. When his friend came to visit
him he related to him the vision, but he laughed
at it; and shortly after was stabbed with a dagger
and died. When the other youth saw the
[690] vision verified he made his confession, and
was strengthened in his resolution of becoming
a religious. In view of that, he sold all that he
had, but instead of giving the money to the
poor, as he had intended, he spent it all in
debauchery. He afterwards fell ill, and had
another vision; he yought he saw hell opened
and the divine Judge in the act of condemning
him. Again he had recourse to Mary, and
Mary again delivered him. He was restored to
health and led a worse life than before. He
went to Lima, in South America, where he fell
ill, and in the hospital of that place was again
touched by the grace of God. He confessed to
Father Francis Perlino, a Jesuit, to whom he
promised to change his life, but went back to
his evil courses. At length the same Father,
visiting one day another hospital in a distant
place, saw that wretched man extended on the
earth, and heard him exclaim: "Ah, I am lost;
and for my greater torment this Father has
come here to witness my punishment. I came
here from Lima, and am brought to this end by
my vices, and now I am going to hell." With
these words on his lips he died, before the
Father had time to give him any assistance.
15. There was once in Germany a certain
criminal condemned to death; but he was obstinate
and refused to make his confession,
though a Jesuit father did his utmost to convert
him. He entreated him, he wept, he cast
himself at his feet; but seeing that all was in
[691] vain, he finally said: "Let us recite a Hail
Mary." No sooner had the criminal recited it
than he began to cry bitterly, made his confession
with much compunction, and wished
to die clasping the image of Mary.1
16. In a city of Spain there lived a sinful man
who had given himself to the devil, and had never
been to confession. He did nothing good
but say a "Hail Mary" every day. Father Eusebius
Nierembergh relates that when this man
was at the point of death the most holy Virgin
appeared to him in a dream and looked on him;
her kind eyes so changed him that he immediately
sent for a confessor, made his confession
with a voice broken by sobs, made a vow to become
a religious if he should live, and then died.