Palm Sunday Apparition
Richard J. O'Hanlon Jr., NY, USA
This is a true account of an apparition that was seen in the small church in Guruyon, Bicol where our filipina "daughter" Marialuisa Lota was born and had grown up.
The "apparition" was seen by two elderly women in the church early on Palm Sunday Morning (April 16th) of this year as they both came into church in the early morning hours well before the first mass and knelt down to pray in front of the alter. The sun had not yet risen as it was just before dawn in the early morning (about 5:00 AM) when 80 year old Mrs. Nita Delacruz along with her 60 year daughter, Aida (Joy) Delacruz walked into the church and sat down in the first pew back from the alter.
Off to their right side was the large white marble statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was remembered from many years ago that everyone had seen a little girl with her basket of flowers kneel down before that same statue of the blessed virgin and lay her flowers at her foot during the "Los Flores De Mayo" Celebration back in May of the year 1983. It was here that they both recalled when a little 7 year old Bicolana girl named Marialuisa Lota knelt down to pray and then when she looked up at the "Blessed Virgin Mary, everyone there had seen something appear in the eyes of little Marialuisa Lota. It was what they all described as a "sparkle" of starlight. When they all saw it on that Sunday Morning in May 1983, it was as if they said Luisa had an enchanting "charm". It was told that she filled everyone there in that church with a deep sense of love!
The years passed, Luisa grew up, graduated from high school and had gone off to college in Manila where she had pursued a career as a model and then the word had spread throughout her native province of her mysterious & ghastly disappearance on that night in October of 1998. By now it was accepted here that the former Filipino beauty queen who was recently once known as "Missika Provincia ng Bicolana" (Miss Bicol Province) was now "long-missing" and presumed dead.
As the two ladies sat in the still dark & quiet church, the early morning stillness had a peaceful feeling as they both began to pray with their rosaries. It was then that Nita looked up and over at the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her "image" was still hidden in the morning's shadows but then she looked down at the feet of the statue. There she saw a little girl kneeling at the foot of Mary. She then remarked to her daughter "Joy" (As she was nicknamed) that she did not know that there was also a little girl in the church because when they both walked in, they saw that they were the only ones there! She described her as such a sweet & innocent looking little girl, very quiet and shy as she just knelt there at the foot of "Mary" and prayed.
Nita & Joy returned to their rosaries and continued to pray also. A moment later, Joy looked up again and over at the blessed Virgin Mary. Instead of seeing the little girl kneeling there praying, they both now beheld a young & beautiful Filipino lady in a long white Maria Clara gown with a bouquet of "bulaklak" flowers in her long, black hair! She looked strangely familiar to them as she looked back at the two women and smiled as they noticed that she wiped away a tear from her eyes, which were very bright! They both smiled back at her in return.
Another moment passed, they looked over at the blessed virgin Mary again. When they looked now, she was gone! She had vanished into the early morning shadows on that Palm Sunday Morning. Both Nita & Joy assumed that she was only a young lady from the village along with her little sister who had come to pray on that Palm Sunday Morning and then quietly left, as this was the beginning of Holy Week.
Later after mass, while talking with the pastor, they both mentioned the presence of the little girl and her older sister whom they had seen in the church earlier. When they described them both to the pastor, Msgr. Raul Tobias Jr. He immediately became so overwhelmed with emotion as well as tears when he had heard about the two girls from Nita & Joy. In Bicolese he explained that the little girl whom they had seen there earlier was the "mirror image" of little Marialuisa Lota back when she was only 7 years old in May 1983 but then, when he heard Nita's explanation that not more than a minute later they looked over at the "Blessed Virgin Mary" and there instead of seeing the little girl, they saw the young & beautiful lady kneeling at the foot of Mary (and dressed so beautiful!) that there was no doubt now as to whom it was that they had both seen and described!
Msgr.Tobias Jr. then explained that "Miss Bicol Province" had come to pray with them then returned "home." The word had now spread throughout Bicol Province that Marialuisa Lota had come back to her hometown to pray with them before returning to her home in Heaven. She was described as being so beautiful as one minute she was just a little filipina girl and then a minute later was a beautiful young filipina lady! There was no doubt now that both of them had seen Marialuisa Lota's spirit on that first day of Holy Week in the new millennium.