Saint of the Day – 1 November – Unsere Liebe Frau von Heede / Our Lady of Heede, Queen of the Universe (1937-1945) Also known as Queen of the Poor Souls in Purgatory.
Our Lady appeared to four children Margaret Gansferth, Greta Gansferth, Anna Schulte, Susanna Bruns near their homes, in a meadow and at other place nearby. She was holding the Divine Child in her arms when she first appeared. Our Lady appeared to the children an undetermined number of times of which only three were recorded. After the children were forbidden by the Gestapo (and briefly arrested) to go to the place of the original apparition, Our Lady appeared to them in secret. Prayer, conversion and the Holy Rosary were the primary messages.
Heede is a town very close to the Dutch border where, since the evening of the Feast of All Saints (1 November) in 1937, four visionaries: Maria (12 years old) and Grete Ganseforth (11 years old), Anna Schulte (12 years old) and Susi Bruns (13 years old) began to receive numerous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. In fact, according to what is said, the Madonna would have deigned to appear more than a hundred times to the four girls.
As in many towns of Gennania, so also in Heede, the Parish Church is a little away from the town centre and has the cemetery next to it. It was in the cemetery where the Madonna appeared on 1 November 1937, the eve of All Souls. The girls wished to gain an Indulgence by praying in the cemetery. Suddenly, looking towards the cemetery, one of them said: “Do you see Our Lady over there?”
The other girl, who couldn’t see anything, said: “You’re crazy!” but then looking closer, she too saw the Celestial Vision in front of a group of three cypresses. Frightened, the two fleD towards the village but on the way they met two of their peers who were heading to Church. They tell them what they had seen and, taking courage, all four went together to make sure of that strange Vision. In fact, having arrived at the place the Lady of the Apparition smiled sweetly and invites them to come back again.
Thus began the wonderful facts of Heede.
Both in that first Apparition and in the following ones , the Madonna was dressed in white, her feet rested on a bluish cloud , so that she appeared to be hovering in the air, about three feet above the ground. A white veil fell over her shoulders and down to the cloud. The Virgin supported the Child in her left hand, Who was also dressed in white. Both their eyes were blue and the Child had blond hair. In his right hand He was holding a small golden globe, surmounted by a Cross. The right hand of the Madonna also rested on the golden globe, so that the Cross seemed to be between the Virgin’s fingers. The vision always appeared surrounded by a luminous halo. The Virgin appeared a young woman, while the Child looked one or two.
When the girls explained what had happened, the residents received their testimony with scepticism. But before long, miraculous occurred, revealing its authenticity. Many pilgrims travelled to Heede from nearby towns and villages to hear the messages. However, these were the times of the Nazi regime, so the Gestapo intervened and concluded that the Heede appearances were simply superstition.
As a result, the Nazis arrested the girls and put them in asylum for a month. They were then released and forbidden to return to the apparition site. However, Our Lady continued secretly appearing elsewhere in the area.
She revealed scenes of disasters and warned of terrible events that could occur and be considered a “lesser judgement.” She was referring to World War II.
In another Heede appearance, the Virgin said to Greta: “ The world is about to drink the dregs of the chalice of divine wrath for their innumerable sins which wound the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pray. Pray a great deal, especially for the conversion of sinners.”
The final apparition of the Madona of Heede occurred on 3 November 1940 at 8.30 pm. Our Lady again spoke to each of them, without the others being able to hear. Then they prayed to the Holy Virgin once again for her blessing, Our Lady replied:
“Now, my dear girls, I bless you in this farewell.
Remain good and faithful to God!
Pray the Rosary often and willingly, […] I return to Heaven.”
One of the girls, Grete Ganseforth, received the grace of the Stigmata in 1939.
Finally on 3 June 1959, the vicariate of Osnabruck confirmed, in a circular letter to the clergy of the Dioceses, the validity of the apparitions. However, there was no formal and official recognition by the Holy See. It has been falsely reported that the Vatican rejected or even condemned the apparitions of Heede. A new Parish Priest, appointed by the Bishop at the time the apparitions commenced, declared that there are “undeniable proofs of the seriousness and authenticity of these manifestations.”
Pilgrimages and devotions in honour of Our Lady of Heede have always been freely permitted. The history of the apparitions and messages has appeared in numerous publications bearing the Imprimatur of various Bishops.
Great caution is required on the part of the faithful, however because of the flood of allegations of apparitions and supernatural messages. These phony apparitions almost always contradict the true Catholic Faith in some way. But in the apparitions and messages of Heede, we find nothing contrary to the Faith; indeed, their similarity to the approved apparitions of Fatima, Lourdes and La Salette give good indications of their authenticity.