Who Was Our Lady of Cuapa?

This is the seventh article in a series on approved apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Since he was a child, Bernardo Martinez had worked as a sacristan, sweeping, dusting, and washing the linens for his parish in the little town of Cuapa, Nicaragua. One evening in April 1980, Bernardo went to ring the bell to alert the parish to pray the Rosary. Upon entering the church, he noticed a light glowing around the statue of Our Lady. He thought the boys playing outside might have knocked a shingle off the roof, letting in light. When he got closer, he realized that the light was emanating from the statue itself.

On May 8, 1980, Bernardo was on his way home from fishing when he saw flashes of lightening. Suddenly, a beautiful woman appeared to him floating on a cloud. The lady opened her arms, and rays of light flowed forth. She said to him, "I come from Heaven. I am the Mother of Jesus." She told Bernardo that she wanted people to pray the Rosary every day at a set hour with no distractions. She wanted people not to rush through it but to recite it while meditating on Scripture. She also encouraged the Five First Saturdays devotion, as she did in Fatima, warning, "If people do not change ... they will hasten the arrival of the Third World War."

In his vision on June 8, 1980, Bernardo witnessed the history of the Rosary unfold before him. He saw a procession of saints, whom he later believed to be Dominicans, dressed in white and praying the Rosary while meditating on Scripture.

Then in early September, Our Lady appeared again in the sky, but this time she had the appearance of a very young girl. Bernardo told her that the townspeople wanted to build a church in her honor. But she said, "The Lord does not necessarily want a material church. He wants living temples, which are yourselves."

On October 13, Bernardo received the final apparition of Our Lady. Bernardo told her that many of the people did not believe in her. This made Mary cry, so Bernardo asked for her forgiveness. Again, Our Lady encouraged him to pray the Rosary, and she told him that the people should not just ask for peace, but that they should strive to make it for themselves. Mary also implored Bernardo and all people to accept the suffering of the world and ask for strength to carry their crosses. Though she said that she would no longer be appearing to him, Mary told him, "Do not be troubled. I am with you, even though you can't see me. I am the Mother of all."

This apparition was approved by Bishop Bosco M. Vivas Robelo of Managua in 1982.

View the next article in this series.

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