It would have indeed been difficult in 1973 to imagine the mysterious events which were about to unfold in a convent of the Handmaids of the Eucharist, located on the Hill of Yuzawadai in the remote mountain village of Akita, Japan. These events would come to culmination eleven years later on Easter Sunday, 1984 when Most Rev. John Ito, the Bishop of Nigata, Japan would, in a pastoral letter, declare the events to be of supernatural origin. Much of the material here recounted has been taken from the personal journal of Sister Agnes Sasagawa.
June 12, 1973, Tuesday
The events of Akita began on June 12, 1973. Sister Agnes Sasagawa, a Haidmaid of the Eucharist, who had been declared completely and incurable deaf in both ears, had been left to take care of the convent while her fellow sisters were out at a meeting. Sister Agnes had been given permission to open the tabenacle door for adoration as she did so she recounts, " When I approached to open the tabenacle, as the superiors indicated, an overwhelming, unknown light suddenly shone forth. Seized with emotion I prostrated myself immediately with my face to the floor... I remained perhaps an hour in this position, subjugated by a power which overwhelmed me...."
June 13, 1973, Wednesday
Having reflected during the night on what had taken place Sister Agnes decided to arise early and to go to the chapel before the other sisters arose to say Lauds. She approached the tabernacle in prayer and again was struck by the blinding light. Again Sister Agnes prostrated herself. She was now sure that what she had experienced on both days was neither an illusion nor a dream and that the Lord Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist, had manifested Himself to her.
June 14, 1973, Thursday
While praying before the tabernacle in the presence of her fellow sisters, Sister Agnes again saw the brilliant light, however, this time the rays of the light apperaed to be enveloped in a golden flame. The tabernacle appeared engulfed in flames. Sister Agnes thought that since the other sisters had been present, perhaps they had seen the light and flames also. She alluded to it at breakfast but no one seemed to be aware of what happened. Sister Agnes describes the effect that the light had on her as causing, " ... an ardent desire for the Lord, which invaded all my being."
June 28, 1973, Thursday
This was the eve of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. During the Adoration after the morning Mass Sister Agnes describes the following, " Suddenly, the blinding light shone from the Blessed Sacrament. As previously, something like fog or smoke began to appear around the altar and the rays of light. Then there appreared a multitude of beings similar to angels who surrounded the altar in adoration before the Host. Absorbed by this surprising spectacle, I knelt down to adore. Then I was seized with the thought that there could be a fire outside. Turning around to look through the bay window in the back, I saw that there was no fire outside. It was indeed the altar which was enveloped in this mysterious light. The brightness from the Host was so brilliant that I could not look at it directly. Closing my eyes, instinctively I prostrated myself. When the hour of adoration was over I remained in the same position without noticing that the others had left."
It was fortuitous that during this week Bishop John Ito, who was thae founder of the Institute of the Handmaids of the Eucharist, had arrived on June 23, 1973 to spend a week at the convent advising and guiding the sisters. Sister Agnes meditating on the events which had taken place took advantage of the Bishop's presence to recount to him what had happened to her. Bishop Ito counseled her that she need not fear any derangement of mind, that such phenomena did occur, however, it was not clear as to what these phenomena would mean. He advised her to continue her everyday duties, meditate and pray before the Blessed Sacrament, and not to tell anyone else regarding these phenomena.
Another event began to take place starting the evening of this day. While praying in the chapel that evening Sister Agnes felt as if something had pierced her left palm. She had never had such a pain before.
June 29, 1973, Friday,
The Feast Of The Sacred Heart
Sister Agnes and the superioress were kneeling in the chapel and were about to begin the Rosary. Sister Agnes recounts the following, " At the instant that I took my Rosary to begin a person appeared very close to me on my right...Gathering my strength, I squeezed the beads of my Rosary while slowly saying the prayers as the heavenly person did also. Believing myself dreaming, although awake, I no longer paid attention to the sister beside me, even though I was fully aware of her. After the invocation, ' Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary pray for us,' the heavenly person disappeared...Following the time of silent prayer. Suddenly I saw the blinding light. I immediately prostrated myself in adoration and when I lifted my eyes, I saw a soft light which enveloped the altar like a mist or a dense smoke in which appeared a cohort of angels turned towards the Blessed Sacrament whose pure and clear voices proclaimed, ' Holy, Holy, Holy.' When they finished I heard a voice on my right praying: " Most Sacred Heart of Jesus present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your 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 You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.
Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your special child. Amen."
This was the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist which I knew well and which I recited aloud. During this prayer I heard the voice of the same heavenly person...With all my heart I prayed with her when suddenly, there appeared a sort of symbol on the back of the Bishop who seemed to be kneeling in front of me. Also I had a fleeting vision of seven or eight members of our Institute on both sides of the Bishop holding the red cord of his tunic.
These visions disappeared when the prayer was over. I do not remember how long I remained still kneeling in prayer when the superioress came to tap me on the shoulder. Coming back to myself, I finished the adoration singing the Ave of Lourdes with her.
" Now since the Bishop had asked me to report to him any extraordinary event, I went to tell him what I had just seen. When I asked him if he had a symbol on his habit, he answered that he did not. When I spoke of the Chalice and the Host over an M he was surprised and exclaimed, ' That is my episcopal insignia!'
" When I told him about the seven or eight members of the institute holding the red cord of his tunic he seemed thoughtful."
The person who had appeared to Sister Agnes at her side and receited the Rosary and the prayer of the Haidmaids of the Eucharist was not unknown to Sister Agnes. Four years earlier while deathly ill in a hospital in the city of Myoko the same individual had appeared to her as well. Sister Agnes at that time was ill, in a coma and had recived the Last Rites. She remembers seeing a beautiful person in what seemed like a field. The person invited her to approach but she was hindred from doing so by beings who appeared like living skeletons and grabbed at her. She saw a crowd of persons who were attempting to climb up to a level of pure water, but each in turn fell into a river of dirty water. Filled with compassion she began to pray the Rosary for these persons. She then saw on the right side of her hospital bed what she describes as a very gracious person whom she did not recognize and this person began to pray the Rosary with her. After the first decade the gracious person added the following prayer which Sister Agnes did not know: "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven and especially those who are in need of your mercy." Sister Agnes' mother and a friend were at the bedside and heard Sister Agnes recite this prayer in her coma, which they also did not know. This is of course the prayer taught by the Virgen to the children of Fatima in 1917 in Portugal. This prayer was hitherto unknown in Japan.
It was this same gracious person who stood at her bedside in the hospital and taught her the Fatima prayer who now appeared to Sister Agnes in the chapel on the feast of the Sacred Heart.
Meanwhile that morning the pain that Sister Agnes had experienced in the left palm grew and after she left the chapel she spread her fingers looking at her left palm and saw a wound in the form of a cross in the palm. The wound was approximately 2 cm x 3 cm. It was as if a cross had been etched in the skin of the palm. When Sister Agnes spoke with the Bishop on that day she did not show him the wound.
June 30, 1973, Saturday,
Freat Of The Immaculate Heart
The pain persisted in the hand. Sister Agnes kept the hand closed and bore the pain in silence. The manner in which she held her hand drew attention from the superioress who asked her to open her hand. When the superioress saw the wound she was amazed and also asked Sister Agnes why she had not shown it to the Bishop, who had departed that day. Sister Agnes stated that she was afraid. She was afraid in the sense of being hesitant to bother the bishop with something which concerned only herself.
July 5, 1973, Thursday
During the morning Adoration the angel appeared to her and recited the Rosary with her. During the 6 p. m. prayer Sister Agnes felt a sharp, excurtiating pain in the palm of her left hand. She did not want to look at it during the prayer but afterwards saw the two lines cut in her palm in the shape of the cross and this time at the center of the two was a hole from which the blood flowed. Sister Agnes reflected on her sins. She prayed,
" Lord have pity! Pardon my offenses!"
July 6, 1973, Friday
The First Message Of Mary
Sister Agnes wrestled with the pain in her hand all night. At 3 a. m. she had just changed the bandage of the wound when she heard a voice say,
" Do not fear. Pray with fervor not only because of your sins, but in reparation for those of all men. The world today wounds the most Sacred Heart of Our Lord by its ingratitude and injuries. The wounds of Mary are much deeper and more sorrowful than yours. Let us go pray together in the chapel."
Sister Agnes goes on to recount in her journal: " While I had become a little accustomed to the angel, I had never looked at her face, as she always stood near me at my right shoulder. But now seeing her, I noticed a striking resemblance to my elder sister that I instinctively called her by my sister's name. The latter had died some years earlier after having received the grace of Baptism.
" She ( the angel ) smiled at me sweetly and made a light, negative movement with her head. She said: ' I am the one who is with you and watches over you.'
The angel beckoned Sister Agnes to the chapel and the moment that they arrived there the angel disappeared. Sister Agnes bowed before the altar and then turned in the direction of the statue of the Blessed Virgin at the right side of the altar. Suddenly the statue came to life and was bathed in a brilliant light. Sister Agnes recounts:
" I prostrated myself on the ground and at the same moment a voice of indescribable beauty struck my totally deaf ears:
" ' My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed me well in abandoning all to follow me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed, be sure. Be patient. It is the last trial. Does the wound in your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in this community is my irreplaceable daughter. Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then let us pray it together.'
" As this beautiful voice began the prayer, the angel who had led me to the chapel reappeared at my side and joined in. Always prostrate and thinking of nothing else, I had just said the words, ' Jesus present in the Eucharist,' when the voice interrupted me, adding: ' Truly present.' And to impress this all the more upon my troubled spirit, the voice added: ' From now on, you will add TRULY. ' ...Our three voices together prayed:
" Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, TRULY PRESENT in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your 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 you will for the glory of the Father and the salvaion of souls.
" Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your special child. Amen."
" When the prayer was finished, the Heavenly Voice said:
" ' Pray very much for the Pope, Bishops, and Priests. Since your Baptism you have always prayed faithfully for them. Continue to pray very much ... very much. Tell your superior all that has passed today and obey him in everything that he will tell you. He has asked that you pray with fervor.' "
" After a moment of silence, the angel began a familiar prayer. I at once said it with her: ' Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,' ( This is the beginning of the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations to whom the Handmaids of the Eucharist were devoted!). When this prayer was over I timidly raised my head. The luminous splendor had completely disappeared. The angel was no longer
The statue had returned to its normal state. Sister Agnes was anxious to observe the hands of the statue but was afraid out of reverence and fear to do it herself. After some time she finally asked the Mistress of Novices to please look at the statue. The Mistress did so. When Sister Agnes returned to the chapel after a short period of time, she found the Mistress of Novices kneeling with her hands joined in prayer. Her eyes were filled with tears as she turned toward SisterAgnes. Sister Agnes approached and then immediately prostrated herself. There she saw in the right hand palm of the statue of the Blessed Virgin a wound consisting of two lines in the form of a cross in the center of which there was a hole from which blood flowed.
It was the opinion of the Mistress of Novices that all the other sisters should be informed of what had taken place, and as each one returned home from their various duties, they were conducted to the chapel. The wound in the hand of the statue, as well as the wound in the hand of Sister Agnes were observed by all of the sisters. The overwhelming feeling that they all expressed was one of sorrow for their sins, as well as the feeling of awe in the presence of the supernatural.
July 12, 1973, Thursday
One of the sisters arrived in the chapel for the evening office and noticed that the hand of the Virgin began to bleed again. During the evening prayer the wound in the hand of Sister Agnes began to pain her.
July 13, 1973, Friday
When the chapel door was opened in the morning to the amazement of all the sisters there was blood once again flowing from the right palm of the statue of the Virgin. It was streaming along the hand to the tip of the little finger. The wound in Sister Agnes' hand tormented her from Thursday evening through until Saturday morning. The wound remained on Saturday, but the pain ceased. The question that was in the minds of all the sisters was what could all of this mean?
July 24, 1973, Tuesday
After an absence of almost a month Bishop Ito returned to the convent. He was informed of all the events which had taken place. He asked Sister Agnes to give him a written account of all that had taken place. Sister Agnes recounts that she felt driven by an interior force to write down the events and was astonished at the minute detail that she could remember. She was counseled by the bishop to seek humility, to pray, and to not consider herself a special case because of these events, to go about her duties in as normal a fashion as possible.
July 26, 1973, Thursday
One of the sisters was to renew her vows on this day. Sister Agnes and another sister went to the chapel where they found two of their fellow sisters kneeling before the statue. One of the sisters was in tears. Once again the blood was flowing from the hand of the statue of the Virgin. There seemed to be much more blood than on previous occasions. The bishop was also present and obsevered the wound and the blood. It was at this point that the pain in Sister Agnes' hand began and became excrutiating.
July 27, 1973, Friday
The blood continued to flow from the statue. A curious aspect of this was the fact that although the hand of the statue was open and pointed downwards toward the floor, the blood never dripped from the hand and never soiled the carpet. It always seemed to collect in the palm even though the bleeding was continuous.
Sister Agnes' pain continued and in the afternoon it became unbearable. She went to the chapel to seek comfort. She prostrated herself in prayer and once again heard the voice of the angel:
" Your sufferings will end today. Carefully engrave in the depth of your heart the thought of the blood of Mary. The blood shed by Mary has a profound meaning. This precious blood was shed to ask your conversion, to ask for peace, in reparation for the ingratitude and the outrages toward the Lord. As with devotion toward the Sacred Heaart apply yourself to devotion to the Most Precious Blood. Pray in reparation for all men. " Say to your superior that the blood is shed today for the last time. Your pain also ends today. Tell then what has happened today. He will understand all immediately. And you, observe his directions. "
The angel vanished and the pain in her hand ceased.
All took place as the angel said. The wound in the hand of the statue remained for two months, but it never bled again. The wound in Sister Agnes' hand healed without a trace.
July 28, 1973, Saturday
Bishop Ito met with Sister Agnes and asked her to give an account of these most recent happenings. He then reviewed all that had taken place with Sister Agnes. It was at this point that the bishop gave Sister Agnes a special assignment. He said to her, " When this person returns ( the Blessed Virgin ) you will ask the following three questions:
1) Does the Lord wish the existence of our institute?
2) Is its present form suitable?
3) Is a group of contemplatives necessary in a secular institute? "
August 3, 1973, First Friday
The Second Message of Mary
In the afternoon while reciting the Rosary, the angel appeared and recited the Rosary with her. Sister Agnes had the questions which the bishop had given her ever on her mind. The angel said to her:
" You have something to ask? Go ahead, you have no need to be troubled."
Sister Agnes recounts that she was on the point of posing the first question when suddenly from the statue of the Virgin she heard that voice of indescribable beauty:
" My daughter, My novice, so you love the Lord? If you love the Lord listen to what I have to say to you. It is very important that you will convey it to your superior. "Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him, to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair, by their suffering and their poverty, for the sinners and ingrates.
" In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chasetisement on all mankind. With my Son I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls, who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance, and courageous sacrificies can soften the Father's anger. I desire this also from your community...that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and out rages of so many men. Recite the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist with the awareness of its meaning; put it into practice, offer in reparation, whatever God may send for sins. Let each one endeavor, according ro capacity and position, to offer herself entirely to the Lord.
" Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on their way to being gathered together. Without attaching too much attention to form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master.
" Is what you think in your heart true? Are you truly decided to become the rejected stone? My novice, you who wish to belong without rserve to the Lord, to become the spouse worthy of the Spouse make your vows knowing that you must be fastened to the Cross with three nails. These thre nails are poverty, chastity, and obedience. Of the three obedience is the foundation. In total abandon let yourself be led by your superior. He will know how to understand you and to direct you."
The Blessed Mother emphasizes above all the need for souls to pray and to devote themselves to reparation for the sake of their brothers, no matter what state in life these praying souls may be in.
August 4, 1973, First Saturday
As Sister Agnes was entering the chapel for the evening office, she felt herself being held at the shoulders and held back. It was a sudden violent motion. Sister Agnes turned toward the left and saw what seemed to be a dark shadow leaning over her. She tried to free herself from the grip of this malevolent being without success. She then prayed, " Hail Mary! Guardian Angel, save me!" Immediately the angel appeared and conducted her into the chapel. The malevolent being left immediately.
Later the same incident took place at the same spot and Sister Agnes prayed,
" Lord save me,have pity!", and the malevolent being immediately freed her.
September 29, 1973, Saturday
The entire community had gone into town to the parish church for a Mass in honor of the feast of St. Michael. After returning and having eaten the community went to the chapel to recite the Rosary. It was during the recitation of the Rosary that Sister Agnes noticed that the statue of the Virgin appeared to shine with a brilliant light. Sister Agnes was with a companion who also saw the light. They approached the statue and first noticed that the wound in the hand was gone.
During the evening office, on the same day, the statue once again became resplendent with light. Fluid began flowing from the statue and it seemed like perspiration. Sister Agnes felt as if someone were beside her and when she looked up saw he angel who said:
" Mary is even sadder than when she shed blood. Dry the perspiration."
The community of sisters brought some cotton and began to dry the perspiration from the statue. They all felt great sadness. One of the sisters noticed that the cotton with which they were drying the perspiration had a sweet, very difficult to describe fragrance.There was nothing like it that they had ever smelled before...
September 30, 1973, Sunday
When the sisters entered the chapel they were struck by the fragrance. They all felt happy and peaceful.
October 7, 1973, Sunday
Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
The heavenly fragrance continued and Sister Agnes was wondering if it would continue for the whole month of October, the month of the Rosary. The angel appeared to her and said, " Only until the 15th, after which you will no longer be able to experience this fragrance on the earth. You also amass merits, as so many delicate perfumes. In bending all of your efforts to this under the protection of Mary, you will succeed."
The perfume was especially strong on October 3, the feast of The Little Flower. The fragrance ceased on October 15.
October 2, 1973, Tuesday
Feast of the Guardian Angels
While at Mass that morning Sister Agnes saw the same dazziling light eminate from the Host at the moment of consecretion that she had seen from the tabernacle in June, 1973. She then saw eight luminous figures enveloped in a light and kneeling in a semicircle around the altar adoring the Blessed Sacrament. When it was time for Holy Communion, Sister Agnes' guardian angel invited her to advance to the altar. Sister Agnes noted that each guradian angel was at the side of each member of the community in the chapel as well as the bishop, leading them to the Eucharist.
October 13, 1973, Saturday
The Third Message of Mary
It is to be remembered that October 13, is the anniversary of the great miracle of the sun which Our Lady performed at Fatima in 1917. Our Lady had predicted the day of the great miracle beforehand. After Mass that morning, as usual, there was a period of Adoration, Sister Agnes was reciting the Rosary when once again the brilliant light eminated from the tabernacle. The heavenly fragrance was everywhere in the chapel. After this Sister Agnes left the chapel for breakfast.
Later the other sisters left the convent and left the house in Sister Agnes' care. When they had gone she returned to the chapel and began to recite another Rosary. As she did so the unbelievably beautiful voice of Mary came from the statue. Sister Agnes prostrated herself as Our Blessed Mother spoke:
" My dear daughter listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior.
" 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 have 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 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 the priests.
" The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other 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 no longer be 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 recounts in her diary that she found the courage to raise her head and saw the statue enveloped in a brilliant light light and that the Virgin had an expression of sadness on her face. Sister Agnes felt the need to ask, " Who is my superior.?" She felt the angel at her side who seemed to say, " On such an occasion you would certainly have been able to ask something more important." Sister Agnes explains in the diary that she had three superiors in addition to the bishop. The Virgin replied:
" It is Bishop Ito, who directs your community." She smiled and then said, " You still have 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 an able to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."
When after the Virgin had stopped speaking, Sister Agnes lifted her head, the statue resumed its normal appearance.
October 15, 1973, Monday
Feast of St. Theresa of Avila
It was on this day that as the angel had predicted the heavenly fragrance ceased.
October 16, 1973, Tuesday
Feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque
When the sisters entered the chapel in the morning to say Lauds they were encountered by a stench that was so strong and vile that they desribed it as not being of this world. Like the heavenly fragrance, which had preceded it, the stench was of an order not of this world. The sisters stayed and said the office despite the smell. After the Rosary had been said one of the sisters arose to extinguish the candles that were burning in front of the Virgin's statue, when she noticed a small white, moving body in front of the sister next to her. That sister picked and pointed to it. The sister in the front of whom the object was, bent down and picked it up and noticed it was a worm. Subsequently each one of the sisters noticed a worm in front of the sister next to her. Despite searching thoroughly the sisters could not find the source of the stench nor of the worms.
They never saw the worms again after that day but the stench remained for three full days.
November 5, 1973
Bishop Ito arrived at the convent on November 4 and Sister Agnes apprised him of the events that had taken place since his last visit. On the morning of November 5 the angel appeared and stated:
" Your superior is getting ready to request from Rome the official recognition of your institute which he had desired for a long time. Announce that there will be many obstacles, but it will please the Holy Father to grant it because Mary has encouraged him to love poverty and to accomplish acts of reparation."
Bishop Ito was informed immediately of the angel's message.
January 30, 1974
There were heavy snows in the month of January in Akita and early in the morning of January 30 Sister Agnes had a dream, three times the same dream, which ended in her awakening. She dreamed that the convent was collapsing under the weight of heavy snow. In the dream Sister Agnes was attempting to hold up the heavy roof with her arms and just as her strength was about to give out, in the dream the guardian angel appeared to assist her. In the morning she advised the person responsible for the physical plant that she might do well to check the rafters in the attic to be sure that the beams were bearing up under the weight of the heavy snow. This individual did not take Sister Agnes seriously. Sister Agnes asked another of the sisters to intervene and finally the sister in charge of the physical plant did check the beams. It was found that the roof was indeed sagging and that 42 beams had cracked, but not any of the beams over Sister Agnes' room were damaged.
March 10, 1974
It was on this date that Father Teiji Yasuda took up residence at the community in Akita and became the spiritual director of the sisters. In the third message of the Virgin she said to Sister Agnes, " From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior." The one sent to her refers to Fr. Yasuda.
Upon arrival at the community the sisters gradually recounted all of the events that had taken place there up until that time. Fr. Yasuda also consulted with Bishop Ito who was thoroughly aware of the events. After Fr. Yasuda's arrival a project which he began was the creation of a devotional garden on the property of the convent. A garden devoted to Mary.
Now, as the spiritual director of the community, it was to Fr. Yasuda that the sisters confided. From this point on Sister Agnes would confide all to Fr. Yasuda. He had been specially chosen for these purposes by Our Lady.
May 18, 1974
The angel appeared to Sister Agnes and gave the following message:
" Your ears will be opened in August or in October. You will hear. You will be healed. But that will last only for a moment because the Lord still wishes this offering and you will become deaf again. In seeing that you ears are restored again, the hearts of those who still doubt will melt and they will believe. Have confidence and pray with good intentions. Report what I have told you to him who directs you. But speak of it to no one else until it takes place."
June 10, 1974
It was on the morning of this day that Sister Agnes had an unusual and important dream. Sister Agnes recounts:
" This morining I had a dream in which I was the victim of a terrible persecution to such an extent that my heart was palpitating even after I awoke.
" Before me was a group of persons who seemed to be religious. One of them who must have been their head, a foreign Catholic theologian it seemed to me, had a grey colored habit and advancing toward me said in a peremptory tone: ' Why would the God of the Trinity be one God? We cannot believe that Christ is God. According to you where then is the center of the Catholic faith? If you believe in God and say that you serve Him, why do you not do as we who adore a multitude of gods? Then all of us, too, will become Catholics. If you would join us, you would lead an easy and agreeable life as we do. It is indeed because you wish it that you lead that life there. You are truly painful to see. Go, tell us that the God of the Trinity is not one, that there are a multitude of gods. If not, take that for your pain.'
" Saying that he brandished a sort of cane and I clearly saw that it was a large serpent which began to entwine itself around me. I was so afraid that I could not open my mouth, but finally I was able to say with supreme effort: ' The God of the Trinity is the only God. I can believe in no other God than He. If you cannot believe that Christ is God, then you can never become Catholics. I believe that the essential of the Catholic doctrine is that Christ is God and man....'
" Then he returned the charge: ' You say that Christ is God. We cannot believe that. You became a Catholic because you believe that Christ rose from the dead?'
" ' Yes, that is true. It is because we believe that Christ is God and man that we have become Catholics.'
' At this response the serpent tightened around me strongly and completely immobilized me. For moments he darted out his red and pointed tongue, bringing his nose before my face. I was too exhausted with fear and physical oppression to be able to answer to the same question which was tossed at me without ceasing like a defiance. I gripped my rosary with all my strength reciting the prayers. When the serpents's red tongue came so close to my face, I chased it with my Rosary, but my strength was little by little fading away. Seeking some aid around me, I saw my companions from a row on my right. I saw clearly that they were frightened and concerned, that they remained powerless to help me. Looking at each one of them, I could read in their look, ' We are with you. Courage!' No one, even the superiors, who are usually of such great help, was able to extend a helping hand.
" I was at the end of my strength, no longer able to chase the head of the serpent nor to say the prayers, when suddenly Father Yasuda appeared before me. He made a large Sign of the Cross saying, ' In the name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit.'
Then added in a strong voice, ' She has a right to say that we believe that the God of the Trinity is the only God. Those who do not wish to believe that cannot become Catholics.'
" At that moment the chief of the group who was standing at my left with his repugnant and menacing air began to recoil and then the serpent who held me prisoner also left.
" My companions were finally able to come and save me. I was in a state of extreme exhaustion. I did not even find enough energy to thank the chaplain for arriving in time. Perspiration flowed abundantly, but I did not even have the courage to dry it. It is then that the guardian angel came and dried it for me.
" At that instant I awoke. All my body was really bathed in perspiration. ' Oh, it was not a dream ,' I said to myself while trying to get up and at first not succeeding, so great was the oppression which still rested upon my breast. My hands and feet were cold and my voice did not succeed in giving off the slightest sound to call a neighbor for help. When I looked at the clock it was past 4:30 in the morning.
At first Sister Agnes did not want to speak of the the dream. she did notice that all of the bedding had been thoroughly soaked with perspiration. As she went to Lauds she still felt very weak. She finally did tell a fellow sister and this sister came to Sister Agnes' room to speak about it. The sister noticed how soaked the bedding was. It was the fellow sister who informed Fr. Yasuda.
Fr. Yasuda spoke to the community as a whole concerning this dream. Most of the sisters simply took it in stride. After all it was only a dream. Fr. Yasuda, however, felt that there was more involved in it.
That evening, after the Rosary, Sister Agnes went to Fr. Yasuda while the community was still gathered in the chapel and said, " Father there is a serpent in the next room." Fr. Yasuda immediately went to the adjoining room and when he opened the door saw an enormous snake. He later removed and disposed of it. Sister Agnes then recounted that during the Rosary the angel had appeared to her and said:
" Tell the chaplain that there is a serpent in the next room at this moment. This is to give awareness to those who took your dream lightly. The chaplain will know how to guide you."
Sister Agnes then went to the adjoining room and saw there the same serpent that she had seen in her dream. She then told Fr.Yasuda after the prayers.
September 21, 1974
The angel appeared to Sister Agnes and said:
" You spoke this morning concerning the dream, didn't you? Do not be disturbed. Today or tomorrow begin a novena, one of your choice and then two more. During the time of these three novenas made before the Lord Truly Present in the Eucharist, your ears will be opened during the Adoration and you will hear. The first thing that you will hear will be the chant of the Ave Maria which you are accustomed to singing. Then you will hear the sound of the bell ringing for the Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
" After the Benediction you will calmly ask the one who directs you to have the Canticle of Thanksgiving sung. Then it will be known that your ears hear again. At that moment your body also will be healed and the Lord will be glorified.
" When he learns this your superior will be filled with courage, his heart will be consoled and he will bear witness. However, the more you offer with good intentions, the more there will be difficulties and obstacles. To overcome these exterior obstacles pray with more confidence in interior unity. You will be protected, be sure.
" Your ears will hear only for a certain time. They will not yet be totally cured. You will become deaf again. The Lord still wishes this offering...Report what I have told you to him who directs you."
The angel gave, in intimate detail, exactly what would take place. She told this beforehand.
October 13, 1974
Feast of the Miracle of the Sun of Fatima
Exactly as the angel had predicted it was on this day that Sister Agnes regained her hearing. After the litany to the Blessed Sacrament Sister Agnes said, " My Father may we sing Te Deum, hymn # 12! " Fr. Yasuda then turned around and asked, " Do you hear again?", and Sister Agnes replied, " Yes I have just received this grace."
Sister Agnes had also suffered from intestinal and other pains and these were also healed just as the angel had predicted.
January 4, 1975, First Friday
One of the sisters ran to call Fr. Yasuda. As she approached she said, " The statue of the Virgin is weeping." And indeed tears were forming in the eyes of the statue and flowing down. The statue would weep three times that day and the lacrymations were witnessed by twenty witnesses. This was the beginning of a phenomenon which would intermittently last until September 15, 1981 and be witnessed by hundreds of people from all walks of life. The tears would form in the eyes and flow down the face of the Virgin just as human tears do. In fact scientific analysis of the liquid eminating from the eyes of the statue revealed it to be human tears.
It was Sister Agnes who discovered the statue weeping the second time that day around 1:00 p.m. While reciting the Rosary that afternoon the angel appeared to Sister Agnes and said:
" Do not be so surprised to see the Blessed Virgin weeping.. She weeps because she wishes the conversion of the greatest number. She desires that souls be consecrated to Jesus and to the Father by her intercession.
" He who directs you told you during the last sermon to day: Your faith diminishes when you do not see. It is because your faith is weak. The Blessed Virgin rejoices in the consecration of Japan to Her Immaculate Heart because she loves Japan. But she is sad to see that this devotion is not taken seriously. Even though she has chosen this land of Akita to give her messages, the local pastor doesn't dare to come for fear of what one would say. Do not be afraid. The Blessed Virgin awaits you all, her hands extended to pour forth graces. Spread devotion to the Virgin. She rejoices in the profession of the lay members consecrated today by her intercession in conformity to the spirit of your institute. You must not consider the lay members thus consecrated as of little importance. The prayer of which you have the custom of saying, ' Grant to Japan the grace of conversion through the intercession of the Virgin Mary,' is pleasing to the Lord.
" You who have believed while seeing the tears of Mary, when you have permission of your superior to speak to the greatest number in order to console the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. spread this devotion with courage for Their greater glory.
" You will transmit my words to you superior and to him who directs you.
The angel would later point out that there is special significance to the number 101, which is the number of times that the statue cried. The angel would say on September 28, 1981:
" There is meaning to the figure one hundred one. This signifies that sin came into the world by a woman and it is also by a woman that salvation came into the world. the zero between the two signifies the eternal God who is from all eternity until eternity. The first one represents Eve and the last the Virgin Mary."
Father Yasuda not only had the the tears analysed and the blood that had flowed from the woud in the Virgin's hand as well as the perspiration that had been dried. The samples were sent to the Faculty of Forensic Medicine at the University of Akita. The professor analysing the tests on these samples was not informed of their origin. The conclusions were the following:
The blood was human blood and belonged to Group B. The sweat and the tears were human sweat and tears and belonged to Group AB.
Furthermore a repeat analysis of the tears flowing from the eyes of the statue was done at the Faculty of forensic Medicine at the University of Gifu which was completed on November 30, 1981. The samples had been sent on August 22, 1981. The conclusion of this examination was:
The fluid was human tears of the Group O.
The fact that these fluids had three different Groupings although eminating from the same source would become important, extremely so, in attesting to the supernatural origin of the events that had taken place at Akita.
March 6, 1975
As the angel predicted it was from this day forward that Sister Agnes began to have a loss of hearing in both ears which would once again become completely deaf. This, however, was not the end of the story as we shall see. Sister Agnes was to be completely healed once again and permanently the second time.
May 1, 1976, Saturday
The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
There were many guests at the convent and they all witnessed the statue crying. The angel had appeared to Sister Agnes during Mass, after Communion, and said:
" Many men in this world afflict the Lord. Our Lady awaits souls to console Him. Remain in poverty, sanctify yourself, and pray in reparation for the ingratitudes and the outrages of so many men. The Rosary is your weapon. Say it with care and more often for the intentions of the Pope, bishops, and priests.
" You Must not forget these words ( of Mary ) The Blessed Virgin prays continually for the conversion of the greatest possible number and weeps, hoping to lead to Jesus and to the Father souls offered to Them by her intercession. For this intention and to overcome exterior obstacles, achieve interior unity, form a single heart. Let believers lead a life more worthy of believers! Pray with a new heart.
" Attach great importance to this day for the glory of God andof His Holy Mother. With courage spread this devotion among the greatest number. Inform your superior and him who directs you of what I have told you."
The events which are to be recounted are as sad as they are ludicrous. They do point out, however, to what extent some people will go to hinder the Blessed Virgin in her mission, even to the point of the absurd.
In his book onthe events of Akita Fr.Yasuda, the chaplain at Akita and the spiritual director of Sister Agnes, out of charity, refers to the principal player in the events to be recounted simply as the Inquisitor. We shall maintain the same alias here. By the year 1976 the events at Akita were receiving recognition even in the secular press in Japan. Bishop Ito, who had been an eyewitness to many of the events himself, was not indifferent to the situation , and as the bishop ordinary of the diocese in which Akita is located, was ultimately responsible for any decision made with regard to Akita. Bishop Ito had asked certain individuals to evaluate the events at Akita. This would be the custom of any bishop in dealing with such events, as did the bishops at Lourdes, Fatima, and other great Marian apparition sites. Among these individuals was the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor had a reputation as a theologian. His name was known in theological circles. The Inquisitor had received in 1975 Sister Agnes' intimate journal in which were written all of the events. He kept the journal for a year before returning it. Both Sister Agnes and Fr. Yasuda little idea as to " how " he would use the journal.
May 20, 1976
A peculiar set of circumstances allowed the Inquisitor a free hand to influence the events at Akita. He arrived at Akita to give the community a retreat for a full week. This was allowed by Bishop Ito because the bishop had asked the Inquisitor to evaluate the situation. Even the bishop could not have suspected what was to come. Fr. Yasuda, the community's spiritual guide, had accepted an invitation to speak at Suzuka and was away. Sister Agnes herself was called to her native village because her mother was dying. The Inquisitor could thus, under these circumstances, have his way with the community with no one to oppose him. When Fr. Yasuda returned to the convent he noticed immediately a somber attitude and after several days the sisters finally approached Fr. Yasuda and explained to him that the Inquisitor had caused them to doubt everything. He told them, in the absence of both Sister Agnes and Fr. Yasuda, that Sister Agnes was a psychopath and had caused the statue to bleed and to weep, and to perspire by virtue of " ectoplasmic powers ", which she possessed. Fr. Yasuda decided to go to Tokyo to visit the Inquistor and find out what this was all about. This was the Inquisitor's explanation:
Sister Agnes was a psychopath and probably had been so from birth. She possessed "ectoplasmic powers " whereby she was able to transfer her blood, her tears, and her perspiration to the statue. He based this on events that had taken place and on the reading of Sister Agnes' journal..
The stuff of Ghostbusters indeed. The absurdity of such an outrageous theory would cause the average person to burst out laughing and dismiss the whole thing as nonsense. After all if one wanted to deny the supernatural origin of the events that were taking place surely one could come up with something much more plausible than this rather obnoxious and ludicrous theory. If the Inquisitor had dared to present such a theory to say a panel of psychiatrists, or any scientific assembly for that matter, he would have been laughed out of the assembly. However, considering the position of the Inquisitor as a theologian of the Church, it was not dismissed so easily. He could take advantage of his status, and he did, even if his theory was absurd. Furthermore, one must bear in mind that he was not speaking as a medical doctor, or as a psychiatrist, yet he did not hesitate to throw around medical diagnoses, e. g. , psychopath, dual personality, etc. No such diagnoses could ever be sustained and supported by a competent physician and have not been.
The Inquisitor subjected Sister Agnes to a day long interrogation in which he " explained to her that her " problems " were not her fault. These " ectoplasmic powers " eminated from her subconscious and she had no control over them. Furthermore, the angel was merely a hallucination, a symptom of her " double personality ". He did not fail to take a swipe at Fr. Yasuda, stating that he took advantage of Sister Agnes' "illness " for writing articles for the media from which he profited.
In fact he had a ludicrous and malicious explanaion for everything except the facts, which he of course ignored. There was the fact that the blood from the statue was Group B. Sister Agnes' blood Group was also B. However, the Grouping of the tears and the perspiration was AB. It is impossible for a person to have a different Grouping for blood and another for tears and perspiration. It is a medical fact that they must all be the same Group. But the fluids from the statue had a different Grouping than the blood. If indeed Sister Agnes were exercising " ectoplasmic powers " as the Inquisitor claimed, and transmitting her own blood, tears, and perspiration to the statue, then how could she transmit a Grouping that she did not possess. All three fluids blood, tears, and perspiration would have to be Group B. Furthermore, the second analysis of the tears done in 1981 showed Group O, also a Group that Sister Agnes did not possess. In fact the Inquisitor was once asked that if Sister Agnes was the source of these so called " ectoplasmic powers ", how is it that the statue weeped even when Sister Agnes was 400 miles away. His reply was that one of the other sisters must also possess " ectoplasmic powers " !!! Absurdity upon absurdity against the Blessed Mother.
Bishop Ito felt that something needed to be done about the situation. It was suggested to him by the Papal Nuncio that he form a canonical commission. The commission was formed by the Archbishop of Tokyo. Who was named as the president of the commission by the Archbishop? None other than the Inquisitor. Needless to say the commission's report was not favorable to Akita. Bishop Ito, however, taking all things into account, including his own experience of the supenatural happenings at Akita., did not accept the commission's view and started anew with his own commission. This second commission concluded the events to be of supernatural origin, but even on this commission there were members who thought that it was not enough of a miracle that the statue had cried, at that time, 100 times.
On September 15, 1981, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the statue ceased to cry. It had weeped 101 times. There was, however, yet another miracle to be performed.
March 25, 1982
Feast of the Annunciation
The angel appeared to Sister Agnes and said:
" Your deafness causes you to suffer doesn't it. The moment of the promised cure approaches. By the intercession of the Holy and Immaculate Virgin exactly as the last time, before Him, Who is Truly Present in the Eucharist, your ears will definitely be cured in order that the work of the Most High may be accomplished. There will still be many sufferings and obstacles coming from the outside. You have nothing to fear. In bearing them and offering them, you will be protected. Offer up and pray well. Transmit what I have told you to him who directs you and ask for counsel and prayer. "
May 1, 1982
Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
The angel appeared to Sister Agnes once again and said:
" Your ears will definitely be cured during this month consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They will be cured, as the last time, by Him Who is Really Present in the Eucharist. Those who will believe in this sign will receive many graces. There will be those who oppose, but you have nothing to fear."
May 30, 1982
The Feast of Pentecost
As had happened previously, at the very moment of Benediction, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance, Sister Agnes' ears were completely, and this time permanently healed. When Fr. Yasuda had finished the Divine Praises, he heard Sister Agnes say, " I have just received the grace of healing. I ask that one recite the Magnificat in thanksgiving."
The following morning Sister Agnes went to the hospital and had a detailed examination after which she was declared completely cured.
April 22, 1984
It was on Easter Sunday of 1984, after waiting an additional two years after the cure of Sister Agnes, that Bishop Ito, in his official capacity, declared the events of Akita as being of supernatural origin and worthy of belief.
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