Apparitions of Mary
Dong Lu, China
Mary Approaches Us As A Loving Mother
Dong Lu is located about 87 miles or 140 kilometers south-west of Beijing, China. In the mid-1800s, the village and its surrounding countryside numbered about 2,000 persons, none of whom had any contact with a Catholic missionary. It was a poor place, considered so poor by some who referred to it as, "the place of beggars."
It was here that the Vincentian priests established an early mission and by 1900 could number almost 700 converts to the Catholic Faith. At the same time there was a country-wide uprising called in English the boxer Rebellion, the aim of which was to remove entirely the increasing presence and influence of foreign countries as well as all beliefs of Christianity. It happened on day, that a large force of Boxers approached Dong Lu with the intention of killing the fleeing Christians who had found shelter and safety in the church. Although the village came under bombardment and hundreds of men, women and children were mercilessly killed, it was discovered that the larger part of the rebel's guns and artillery was ineffective because they were directed into an area in the sky above the church. Suddenly their shelling stopped and the soldiers fled into the countryside; never to return.
It was learned later that they were firing at the image of a woman dressed in white walking above the church who was surrounded by a group of soldiers with wings. The rebels had turned and run away when they were attacked by a stranger on horseback. Fr. Wu, a Chinese priest later explained he had encouraged others to pray to Mary for deliverance.
A new church was constructed on the sight and the priest asked a painter friend to represent Mary as dressed in the imperial robes of the Empress with the Christ Child at her side. He placed a copy of the picture in the new church and honored her with the title of Our Lady of China. Dong Lu became a place of pilgrimage in 1924 and the Synod of Chinese bishops placed all of China, Mongolia, Manchuria and Tibet under her protection. The image was blessed and approved by Pope Pius XI in 1928, and again in 1932, when he consecrated the church in Dong-Lu as the shrine to Our Lady of China. This led to the building of other churches honoring Mary with this title throughout China.
During World War II, the church was completely destroyed by Japanese attacks and later again by Chinese Communists. However, only a copy of the original painting was on display during these times; the original having been hidden away.
More recently, after the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the government renamed China the Peoples Republic of China and created its anti-Catholic Church called the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which does not recognize the Pope and discourages visitors and pilgrimages to Dong Lu. However, many continued to be drawn to attend services especially on her feast day. In 1995, more than 30,000 had gathered in an open field to celebrate Mass honoring Mary under the title of Help of Christians. During the opening prayers the sun began to spin from left to right and give off rays of different colors at which the people cried out together: "red, blue, yellow." Some even reported seeing visions in the sky of Our Lady of China with the Christ Child, the Holy Family, and figures of the heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.
Today, the Chinese Communists discourage any public pilgrimages by closing the roads to the shrine, confiscating driving licenses, stationing soldiers along the way and using helicopters and armored cars to isolate the village and discourage people from gathering.
While Saturday is regularly reserved by the Church as the day to honor Mary, she receives special recognition as Our Lady of China and Help of Christians on the Saturday prior to the second Sunday of May.
Let us pray:
Almighty and eternal God, Comforter of the afflicted, and Strength of the
Suffering, grant that our brothers of China who share our faith, may obtain,
through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our Holy Martyrs, peace
in Thy service, strength in time of trial, and grace to glorify Thee, through
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Promoted by Cardinal Thomas Tien Keng-Hain, S.V.D., the first Chinese Cardinal
Mary Approaches Us As A Loving Mother