Apparitions of Mary

The following are official, Roman Catholic Church-recognized Marian apparitions (miraculous appearances of apparitions of Mary, the mother of Jesus).

Each of these spectral sightings have been scrutinized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and local Bishop or through direct approval from the Holy See (the Pope). 

(Of course, there have been many other sightings of apparitions that have been believed to be Mary that have not yet been verified by the Roman Catholic Church.)

Church Approved Mary Apparitions

Our Lady of Guadalupe - 1531

The Mother Mary was encountered as a luminous figure in Central Mexico by Saint Juan Diego in 1531 while walking to chapel. The apparition was encountered on a path through the hilly countryside of Tepayac. Mary is said to have instructed Diego in his native language to build a church there and to go tell the local bishop of his vision, but the bishop did not put much stock in Diego's story.

Returning to the sacred hill, Diego again found the apparition of Mary who told him the bishop would receive a sign; but Diego would need to return and visit the same location the next day. Being delayed by an ailing uncle a couple of days, Diego was finally able to pass back through Tepayac while seeking a priest for him. Again, he encountered the Mary apparition. He was told by Mary that his uncle would not die (thus, would not need a priest) and was presented with roses to give to the bishop as a sign. While receiving the flowers, the bishop and his staff saw the image of the Virgin Mary on Diego's cloak which immediately persuaded them that Diego's sighting of the Mary apparition was real.

Our Lady of Laus - 1664

The apparitions of Mary appeared to a poor shepherdess, Benoite Rencurel, between the years of 1664-1718 in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, France. The Mary apparition was noted to have appeared numerous times over those years.  She would eventually ask for a church to be built there that would provide priests a place for conversion. The vision of the apparition prophesied that the site would be built and used to gain converts through confession, known as the Sacrament of Penance.

Over a hundred thousand pilgrims visit the site every year to confess sins with many seeking a miracle of healing. Sicknesses and injuries are said to heal when a lamp's oil is applied - an instruction given by Mary to the lady Rencurel. We should note that this was the first Marian apparition officially approved by the Roman Catholic Church.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal - 1830

In 1830, an apparition of Mary appeared to Sister (now 'Saint') Catherine Laboure after she was awakened in her Paris convent (Rue du Bac) by an unknown child who led her to the chapel.

Mary Apparition: Miraculous MedalInside the church, the nun encountered the Marian apparition seated in a chair. A conversation ensued between them for hours after Catherine knelt by her side, resting her hands in the lady's lap. Mary promised to return to Catherine at a later date and, at that time, present her with a mission. The child then led the young nun back to her bedroom.

Several months later, Catherine would have another vision of Mary, this time noting how she was standing. As the vision ensued, an inscription appeared along with the audible directive for the young nun to have a medal struck with Mary in this position along with the unique cross/M design she had been shown.

"Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around their neck," Mary told her.

The medal was eventually made and became very popular as prophesied. It was called the 'miraculous medal.'

Approved Apparition Sightings of Mary


Our Lady of La Salette - 1846

A Mary apparition was sighted in La Salette, France by two children tending to cattle in 1846. They were 11 and 15 years old at the time.

Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat both saw a bright, warm light that appeared, making them feel at awe. Within the light was a woman who asked both of them to come near and not to fear her. She spoke to them in their local tongue about the need for people to obey God's commands.

Each of the children received a personal secret from the Mary apparition that they would later share with Pope Pius IX in 1851. The subject matter of the secrets had to do with faith of the nation, growth of the Catholic Church, and a coming 'monster' that would ruin peace of the people. Miraculous healings would also be a confirming sign of this Marian apparition visitation.

Our Lady of Lourdes - 1858

A fourteen year old girl, a shepherdess, living by Lourdes, France in 1858 began having visitations with an apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The first vision of the 'Lady' occurred while Bernadette Soubirous was gathering wood outdoors for a fire. In the multiple sightings that would eventually occur, the Mary apparition would call herself the "Immaculate Conception.' There were eighteen spirit visitations between Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes.

Apparitions of MaryThe following is an excerpt from Bernadette's first encounter with the apparition of Mary:

"The Lady made a sign for me to approach; but I was seized with fear, and I did not dare, thinking that I was faced with an illusion. I rubbed my eyes, but in vain. I looked again, and I could still see the same Lady. Then I put my hand into my pocket and took my rosary. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but in vain; I could not raise my hand to my forehead, it kept on dropping."

Bernadette would later be granted sainthood. The apparition of Mary, according to her, like other Mary visages, requested a church be built by church leaders where she appeared to the girl. They priests were also to lead religious processions, ceremonies, at the same location. This directive would later lead to many churches and chapels to be built in Lourdes as it grew to become a major travel destination for spiritual pilgrams.

Of note, Saint Bernadette also claimed that Mary showed her a previously undiscovered, underground spring and carried a rosary in the visions.

Our Lady of Pontmain - 1871

Two young boys, Eugene and Joseph, gazed up at the sky from their father's barn door in 1871 and saw an apparition of Mary in a strange spot without stars. The sighting of the Marian apparition occurred in Pontmain, France.

She was described as donning a long, blue cloak with gold stars, gold crown with black veil. Both the mother and father of Eugene and Joseph could not see her when called to check it out, but the sky in that area did look different to them: 3 stars forming a triangular pattern. After dinner that same evening, the boys stated they could still see the apparition of Mary. Sisters of the boys' school were summoned by the family and news spread. Two other children, both girls, would also claim they could see the Lady of Pontmain while adults could not catch sight of the vision despite a vigil held to do so.

Our Lady of Knock - 1879

Two women, Mary Beirne and Mary McLoughlin, sighted the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Knock, Ireland while returning home by foot in the rain. The Lady of Knock, as she would later become known, was standing against a church wall as they came upon it on foot. With her were said to be Saint Joseph, Saint John, an altar, a cross, a lamb and angels.

The ladies then summoned others to come see the vision. 15 people of all ages were able to see the heavenly woman clad in white garb with a bright crown on her head and gold rose above her brow. The apparition of Mary appeared to be praying with her arms in the air.

In the rain, the people observed the Marian apparition for a couple of hours. Everyone and everything within the supranatural visage remained dry, though witnesses were soaked with water.

Our Lady of Fatima - 1917

(See 1917 Miracle of the Sun) Three Portugese shepherd children (Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto) had visions of the Virgin Mary in 1917. Important, supernatural messages received by the children from the Fatima Mary apparition visitations have been considered valid, worthy of belief, by multiple popes.

Our Lady of Beauraing - 1933

Beauraing, Belgium was home to an incredible Marian apparition sighted by five kids, aged 9, 11, 13 and two that were 15 years old. The Lady of Beauraing, as she became known, appeared 33 times to the children, in the evening, making it possible for many adults to witness the miraculous sightings. At first, not even the nuns at the children's boarding school believed their stories of seeing the Virgin Mary.

Pilgrams were made to the small town for almost a decade, beginning in 1933. When the apparition of Mary would appear, the children were said to be forced to their knees, without harm, and their voices would change to a higher pitch and align in tone. Adults would cry and pray with them in worship during the spirit manifestations.

Our Lady of Banneux - 1933

Apparitions of Mary were sighted repeatedly in Banneux, Belgium in 1933 by Mariette Beco, 11 years of age. Mariette would see the first apparition outside her kitchen window while looking out into the darkness of her family's small garden. The young girl wanted to go outside to see the Virgin Mary but is denied by her mother who could not see the vision.

Mariette would see the 'Virgin of the Poor' eight different times. She would see her for a second time in the garden, just a few days later, and would follow the apparition out of the garden and away to a small spring. This water fount that was shown to her by the Marian apparition would eventually become a site for pilgrams to visit for healing. By 1949, Our Lady of Banneux would be confirmed by the Catholic Church.