The Catholic Defender: Our Lady of Cuapa 1980 Nicaragua
On 5/20/2018 on our Deepertruth: "Journey with Mary" series, Co-Host John Carpenter presented the story of Our Lady of Cuapa which took place in Nicaragua 1980.
Cuapa is a small village in the province of Chontales, Nicaragua.
There are about 4500 to 5000 people who work the land, mostly cattle ranchers as the chief commerce.
One of the local ranchers, Bernardo Martinez, a faithful Catholic since childhood, received a life changing event the night of April 15, 1980. As a young boy he would help clean the chapel, washing linens, he would serve as an altar server ringing the bells alerting the community to pray the Rosary. Can you imagine that in middle America?
Bernardo was well known for his wanting to serve our Lord. Like the Lord was preparing Samuel of the Old Testament to do His service, Our Lord was preparing Bernardo for what would be called the "Sign of Lights".
While Bernardo was in the Chapel, Our Lady appeared to him surrounded by a radiating light. What he witnessed was the most beautiful image he had ever saw. This miraculous scene caused Bernardo to take self inventory leading him to a heart of repentance for having a bad temper. He publically went through the community asking for their forgiveness. The rosary became his weapon of choice praying for a clean heart.
New surrounding the vision began circulating throughout the community which several disbelieved the account. Some even laughed at him thinking he was out of his mind. What became noticeable was Bernardo's change of heart, actions speaks louder than words.
First Vision: May 8, 1980
Bernardo was struggling with personal problems at the time. One restless night, seeing as he was unable to sleep he decided to go fishing. Around noon, he started praying the Rosary. He felt immersed in a profound peace and the hours flew by. At three o’clock, he was surprised to see flashes of lightning in the sky, although there were no signs of rain. He then saw Our Lady on a pure white cloud, above one of the nearby trees. Squinting, he realized that the image he was seeing was a real person that blinked. Our Lady opened her arms and rays of light came forth from them.
That was when Bernardo finally decided to ask her name. She told him in a sweet voice, “I come from Heaven; I am the Mother of Jesus.” Then, Bernardo asked her what she wanted and she responded, “I want the Rosary to be prayed every day.” The farmer interrupted her, saying that this was something they already did in the town. However, she insisted, “I do not want them to pray it during the month of May alone. I want them to pray it always in their families... from the moment the children reach the age of reason...They should pray it at a set time that does not enter in conflict with the daily tasks of the home.” She explained that the Lord is not pleased with prayers done without thinking or rattled off mechanically, and recommended that they pray the Rosary accompanied by a reading of the corresponding Biblical passages and with an effort to live according to the Word of God. She then added, “Love one another. Carry out your duties. Make peace. Do not ask the Lord for peace, for if you all do not make peace there will be no peace.”
Our Lady announced that Nicaragua would suffer greatly if the people did not change. At first, he was reluctant to say anything about this to the people, thinking that that way he would avoid problems. However, he finally told everything to the people in the town and the priest. As Our Mother had told him, some believed and others did not.
What do you wish, my Mother?
On June 8, Our Lady appeared to Bernardo in a dream. Bernardo asked her, “What do you wish, my mother?” She repeated her same message. Then, he made her many petitions on behalf of the people. Our Lady replied, “Some of these will come to pass; others will not.”
She pointed to a certain place. He looked in that direction and saw what seemed like a movie... First, a large group of people dressed in white, walking towards the eastern horizon (where the sun rises), in a clear light, joyful as they went singing on their way. It seemed like a heavenly banquet. They were the first Christians, many of them martyrs. Then, he saw another group dressed in white with rosaries shining in their hands. One of them was carrying an enormous open book. He read and afterwards, the people meditated in silence. Then, they prayed the Our Father and ten Hail Mary’s... Our Lady explained, “These are the first to whom I gave the Rosary. This is how I want you to pray the Rosary.”
He then saw a third group, dressed in a coffee color vestment, which seemed to him to be Franciscans. They also prayed the Rosary. Lastly, there was a fourth group that was so large that he could not count them all – men and women with rosaries in their hands. Bernardo suddenly felt that he could enter into this group, as they were dressed like him, but he looked at their hands and saw that they were black. However, like the previous groups, their hands radiated light. He wanted to join them, but Our Lady told him, “No. You still have to tell the people what you have seen and heard.” And she added, “I have shown you the glory of the Lord and this is what you will all obtain if you obey the Lord and the Lord’s Word...if you persevere in praying the Holy Rosary and in putting the Word of the Lord into practice.”
The Child Mary: September 8th
Bernardo went back to the site of the apparitions accompanied by a group of people, praying the Rosary. Once again, Our Lady appeared above the tree, this time as a 7-year-old girl. She repeated the same message. Bernardo told her of the church that the people wanted to build in her honor. There was already a man who had given the first donation to pay for it. She said, “No. The Lord does not want material churches. He wants living temples, which is what all of you are. Restore the Lord’s sacred temple. The Lord takes all His delight in you.” She continued, saying, “Love one another. Love each other. Forgive one another. Make peace. Do not only pray for peace, make peace.”
Our Lady told him not to accept a single cent in donations, for any use whatsoever.
Our Lady Weeps: October 13th
Our Lady appeared once more in the same place and Bernardo insisted that she let herself be seen by the other people, so they would believe. He told her that the people said that it was the devil who appeared to him and that Our Lady was dead, dead as the dust like any other mortal being.
With that, Our Lady was saddened and started to cry. Bernardo thought that it was his fault and told her, “My Lady, forgive me for what I said. You must be very angry with me. Forgive me. Forgive me.” But, Our Lady told him, “I am not angry, nor do I get angry. I am saddened by these people’s hardness of heart. You must pray for them, that they may change.” Bernardo started to cry. He was filled with sadness at seeing Our Lady in this state. While Bernardo cried, Our Lady gave him this message: “Pray the Rosary. Meditate the mysteries. Listen to the Word of God spoken in them. Love one another. Love each other. Forgive one another. Make peace. Do not pray for peace without making peace, otherwise it will be useless that you pray for it. Carry out your duties. Put the Word of the Lord in practice. Try to please God. Serve your neighbor, for that is pleasing to Him.”
Bernardo told her that he had a lot of things to ask of her on behalf of the people. She answered, “They ask me for things of no importance. Ask for faith, to have the strength for each one to carry his cross. They cannot be spared the sufferings of this world. Sufferings are the cross that you all must carry. This is how life is. There are difficulties with your husband, your wife, your children, your siblings... dialogue, speak with one another in order to resolve your problems in peace. Do not resort to violence. Never resort to violence. Ask for faith, so as to obtain patience.”
Then, she told him that she would return no more. In reply, Bernardo began to shout, “Do not leave us, my Mother! Do not leave us, my Mother! Do not leave us, my Mother!” Our Lady calmed him with her words: “Do not be troubled. I am with you, even though you can’t see me. I am the mother of all of you sinners. Love one another. Forgive one another. Make peace, because if you all do not make peace, there will be no peace. Do not resort to violence. Never resort to violence. Nicaragua has suffered much since the earthquake and it will continue suffering if you all do not change. If you all do not change, the third world war will arrive sooner than anticipated. Pray, pray to my Son for the entire world. The world is threatened by serious dangers. A mother never forgets her children and I have not forgotten what you suffer. I am the mother of all of you sinners. Call upon me with these words: “Blessed Virgin, you are my Mother, the Mother of all of us sinners.”
These were Our Lady of Cuapa’s last words. Her message was a very simple one, yet one we so urgently need to live: spread peace and forgiveness, carry out our duties, accept our cross each day, love one another, and pray from our hearts, living out the Word of God. We know that she is always with us.
The apparition site of Our Lady of Cuapa was declared a Diocesan Shrine on January 13, 2013 by His Excellency Socrates Rene Sandigo, Bishop of Juigalpa and President of the Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference. Bishop Sandigo celebrated Mass on the site, accompanied by Bishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Apostolic Nuncio of Nicaragua, and His Eminence Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua, on May 8th of the same year.
This peaceful corner of Nicaragua is where Our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, began to manifest herself to one of the local farmers, who received a message from the Queen of Heaven in 1980. Two years later, the Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Managua authorized the publication of the Report on the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cuapa.