An Irish Mystic Comes to Chicago

Deal W. Hudson
July 13, 2008

Mark I. Miravalle teaches theology at Franciscan University and is known around the world for his lectures on Mariology, private revelation, and Marian apparitions. He also heads a Catholic movement promoting an understanding of the Blessed Mother as “CoredemptrixMediatrix of All Graces, and Advocate for the People of God.”

When I spoke to Miravalle on Saturday, we were in Chicago at a Eucharistic Day of Renewal organized around a visit of Anne, the locutionist from Ireland. I wrote about Anne a month ago, after my visit to Ireland, in a Window called, “Receiving Messages from God in Ireland.” Her ministry, Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ the Returning King, is growing quickly.

Miravalle’s public support of Anne’s apostolate has earned him some criticism, but in his speech at Rosary Hill he was unapologetic.

Miravalle explained that the Church judges private revelation by three criteria: conformity to the faith, conformity to the mystical tradition, and its spiritual fruits. According to Miravalle, Anne’s writing and her ministry easily meet all three standards. She gets “five stars in each category.”

“Anne has been obedient at every level – she could not be more obedient,” said Miravalle. She submits all her books to her bishop, Rev. Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore, before their publication. Bishop O’Reilly himself has submitted these writings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. When asked whether he or Anne needed to meet with the Congregation to discuss them, he was told by the Congregation, “You may proceed.”

The spiritual fruits of Anne’s ministry, according to Miravalle, have been “unprecedented” and “ubiquitous.” He says there have been so many graces, conversions, and healings the organization “can’t keep up with the documentation.”

Anne’s voice is already being heard in 15 different languages on five continents. It’s especially important, he says, that Anne’s books have found their way to the underground Church in China. A month ago, when I visited Anne in Ireland, she had just passed the 700,000 mark of distributing books; now she is getting ready to pass the 1,000,000 mark.

Miravalle told me that he believed Anne’s apostolate was being “protected like no other” he had ever known. He sees her spiritual significance as stemming from that of St. Faustina (d. 1938) to whom Christ gave the message of Divine Mercy. Her constant teaching is a “blanket of grace” to the damage done to ourselves and our families by contemporary culture (which Anne believes is more serious than any other generation).

It rained all morning before the Eucharistic Day of Renewal began, but the tent was nearly full when Anne made her first of two speeches. Nearly 1,500 people from 27 states had preregistered for the event. I was struck by how many young moms and dads were there with their children. This was not a gray-headed crowd, though it was predominately women.

I came to Chicago because I like Anne and find her common-sense spiritual teaching helpful. “We will not draw people into the Church with our hands on our hips, in a judgmental way,” she said, talking about the need for evangelism among the laity. There’s nothing imperious about Anne as she speaks – she wears sandals, a work shirt, and what were described to me as clam-diggers.

The theme of her first speech was humility: “We cannot act,” she says, “like we are any better than anyone else.… Jesus looks at us and he doesn’t see the sins, the mistakes; he sees the drama of our soul, the movement toward holiness and perfection. We should not concentrate on our sins, but on our potential for holiness. Our love is flawed, but it is there.”

During the break, I met a variety of people from all over the country: a wealthy lobbyist from Northern Virginia; women from Dallas who have written a study guide to one of Anne’s volumes; and the Dominican nuns who live at Rosary Hill where the American headquarters of Anne’s ministry is located. All of them were thrilled, and left somewhat stunned, by the way, her books are making their way around the world.

When Anne returned to the stage she also returned to the theme of humility:

Peter did not do as well as John on Good Friday. He struggled. He betrayed Christ three times, and the entire Church was founded in Peter who repented and was forgiven. God couldn’t take chances with Peter’s humility – he had to be humble.

She concluded with a description of a vision she says she was given of the “mountain of holiness.” Anne saw a stark contrast between that mountain a century ago and today. One hundred years ago, “people were helping and encouraging each other; everyone pulled each other up.”

Those on the mountain of holiness today are very different: “People are climbing toward holiness, but they are scared and isolated, without fellowship. There is no general spirit of obedience, but they are tough and hearty.” Those making it to the top do so by virtue of their obedience, even if they lack the advantages of fellowship that belonged to their counterparts a century ago. “They are saints; they aren’t at risk of falling, of back-sliding, because of their obedience.”

When Anne finished, another speaker made his way to the stage, but someone rose from the audience and asked everyone to join him in a Memorare. Sitting in a front row, I suddenly felt hundreds of voices speak in unison the words, sounding like a women’s chorus, with absolute and resolute clarity. “Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection… .”

There may be something afoot in Christendom.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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