The Apparitions of Our Lady at Heede
1937-1940, Heede, Ems, Germany
It is the evening of November 1, 1937, on the feast day of All Saints. Maria Ganseforth (born May 30, 1924) and her sister Grete (born January 12, 1926) from Heede have prayed the Toties-Quoties indulgence for the deceased on this evening. During a pause in prayer, they stand beside the tower entrance on the north side of the parish church. Grete looks at the graves in the adjacent cemetery and notices a bright glow of light some distance between two trees of life, about three feet above the ground, and shortly thereafter a luminous female figure. Startled, she whispers to her sister, "I think the Mother of God was standing there." Mary spontaneously replies, "You must be crazy, you cannot see the Mother of God!" Thereupon, both sisters go back into the church to continue the prayer for the poor souls. That evening, Anni Schulte (born November 19, 1925) and Susanne Bruns (born February 16, 1924) from Heede also see the strange apparition in the cemetery there. Adele Bruns (born February 22, 1922), anxiously holding back and advising to go home, meanwhile sees nothing out of the ordinary.
"You are crazy!" - These words will be heard many times by the seer children of Heede. The quite sensational event of Heede is now more than 50 years ago, but there are still doubts about the credibility of the statements. They were between 11 and 14 years old at the time. Even their mothers believe that their children have fallen victim to a sensory illusion. Johannes Staelberg, who was pastor of Heede from 1930 to 1937, is also skeptical. He will leave Heede in the year of the apparition. His successor from 1938 to 1966 is the pastor and spiritual council Rudolf Diekmann.
Still on the evening of the first apparition Mrs. Ganseforth goes to pastor Staelberg. The priest later puts on record: "On the evening of All Saints' Day 1937, at about 8:15 p.m., Mrs. Ganseforth came to me and reported that her children had seen the Mother of God in the cemetery. However, I did not respond." Mrs. Ganseforth gives the following account of this conversation: "Pastor Staelberg said nothing at all. He stood in front of me with his arms crossed and looked in front of him. Then I said: That can not be, the Mother of God can not come down from heaven and stand in the cemetery! The priest replied, "We do not know, it remains to be seen."
From the first to the thirteenth of November 1937, Anni Schulte, Grete Ganseforth, Maria Ganseforth and Susanne Bruns see the apparition every day. They see, as they themselves firmly and surely claim, the Mother of God. She would stand about one meter above the earth on a blue-white cloud. On Her head She wears a golden crown. A white veil falls from Her head on both sides to the cloud. On Her left hand sits upright the infant Jesus, dressed all in white. He carries in His right hand a golden ball, from which a golden cross protrudes.
Skepticism persists with the village priest and many villagers, even the closest relatives of the children. But they respond with conviction, "You may say what you will, we have seen the Mother of God." The children stick to their claim for years. With some interruptions, the visions continue until November 1940, when they see the Mother of God, mostly with the infant Jesus, on about 105 days.
Short Report of Pastor Diekmann about the Apparitions at Heede
All kinds of false rumors are circulating about the apparitions at Heede. Since one can successfully counter such rumors only with the truth, so I provide you with the following short report, which is truthful. An ecclesiastical judgment is not to be anticipated with it.
On 1.11.1937 four girls from Heede, aged 12 to 14, Anni Schulte, Grete Ganseforth, Maria Ganseforth and Susi Bruns, saw the apparition. The apparition site is about 35 meters north of the church tower between three trees of life (cypresses) in the churchyard surrounding the parish church built in 1485. The children unanimously describe the apparition as follows: About 1 m above the ground stands the Mother of God. Below Her is a blue-white cloud. Her feet are not visible. On Her head She wears a richly decorated golden crown without precious stones. The shape does not match any known so far.
Dressed is the Mother of God with a white robe, which is girded around the hips with a cord about 1 cm thick. On the top of Her head She wears an opaque veil, partially hidden by the crown, of white color. The hair is not visible. The robe and veil fall vertically in a few folds down to the cloud. The sleeves of the dress go to the wrist in about double arm width. The robe and veil have no decoration. The two ends of the cord reach down to about 30 cm above the cloud on the right side. On the left hand, which is covered by the veil, sits the infant Jesus. He is wearing a white, unadorned and ungirded dress. The feet are unclothed.
The sleeves of the dress reach to the elbow. The head is uncovered. The child's hair is blond, lightly curled at the top, richly curled at the bottom, and reaches down over the ears. In his right hand the infant Jesus carries a golden ball, from which a golden cross protrudes. The ball and cross are without decoration. The Mother of God places Her right hand lightly on the ball so that the cross protrudes visibly through and up between the middle and ring fingers. The children estimate the age of the mother at 19 years, that of the child at one to two years. Mother and child look at the children. The apparition stands in a bright, oval glow, which surrounds the figure of the Mother of God in a width of 30 to 40 cm as a brightness without clear rays. Thus, from then until November 3, 1940, Our Lady appeared at shorter and longer intervals on a total of over 100 days. The facial expression was generally friendly, sometimes smiling, sometimes serious, especially in early 1940.
During devotional prayers, singing, also when the children made the sign of the cross, and when on the feast of Mary's name they said, "We congratulate you on your name day!", the apparition became more brilliant and friendly. On the second day, on All Souls' Day 1937, and on Holy Thursday 1938, She appeared without the infant Jesus with a serious expression on Her face.
The first apparitions were daily from November 1 to 13, 1937. Once during this period Our Lady blessed the children, just as the priest blesses. On November 13, She appeared with a particularly serious expression on Her face. On the following day, Sunday, November 14, 1937, early in the morning, the children were brought to the State Sanatorium and Nursing Home in Göttingen (lunatic asylum) at the instigation of the secular authorities (Gestapo). During their stay, which lasted several weeks, the children proved to be healthy. Attempts to influence them suggestively in order to dissuade them from their supposedly "deviant behavior" were in vain. The children were then taken (the day before Christmas) to the Marienhospital in Osnabrück for a four-week stay (to recover).
At the end of January 1938 they were allowed to return to Heede. At the Marienhospital, four identical dresses had been made for the children, since their clothes, with which they had spent six weeks in Göttingen, looked accordingly. When they were taken away from Heede, the Gestapo had given them no time to provide themselves with a change of clothes, and the children's parents refused to bring any to Göttingen, rightly declaring to the Gestapo: "Whoever brought the children to Göttingen should also take care of them. The children belong to Heede." When later a photo of the four children in the same clothes was published, people made disparaging remarks about this "uniforming" of the four graced ones, since this "did not make a good impression." (Those who criticized in this way had no idea of the way in which the children had obtained the four identical dresses in the time of need at that time).
The four seer children Margarethe (Grete), Susanne (Susi), Annie and Maria
The children did not have any apparitions during their absence from Heede (except for the individual apparitions to Grete G., which became known to the priest only later). After their return, the children were allowed to visit the church (according to the instructions of the Gestapo) and to take the path through the cemetery. However, they were strictly forbidden to visit the apparition site in the cemetery. They also kept to this prohibition. (The children had been threatened by the Gestapo that if something like this happened again, they would be taken so far away from Heede that they would not see their home again. The children were under this heavy pressure during the events that followed).
However, two of the children - the other two were absent - soon after their return saw the apparition for the first time on February 2, 1938, from the meadows behind their houses, not far from the churchyard, first at the old apparition site in the churchyard. Since the cemetery of Heede is about two meters higher than its surroundings, the place is visible for several hundred meters, especially in winter when the trees have no foliage. In the meantime, the previous local pastor had given up his position for important reasons. (The Gestapo had demanded his transfer!) The successor had not yet arrived. (The author of this report.) The parish administrator present in Heede at that time did not learn of this apparition during his presence.
(It should be reported in addition that in the first fourteen days of the apparitions a constantly growing stream of people came to Heede, so that on November 13, 1937 probably far more than 10,000 strangers were in Heede, many of whom had come with vehicles of all kinds, some of them from far away. Thus an occasion was present in itself to regulate by police order service the traffic, however no occasion to bring the children for weeks into a lunatic asylum).
The children felt inwardly urged to pray every evening at a lesser or greater distance from the cemetery. The evening time was generally chosen for this purpose, because only in this way they could keep their encounters with the apparition secret and because they were also prevented by school and work during the day. The apparition appeared in smaller and larger intervals within three years.
The children did not always all see the apparition, even if they were all present. Sometimes only one child saw it, sometimes two, sometimes three, and sometimes all four. The children wondered if it was their fault if they did not see Our Lady. However, they could not figure it out. It can probably be assumed that a certain preference for individual children should be a consolation in suffering and an incentive for good.
At times the children saw first a semblance and then Our Lady, sometimes only the semblance. One day they saw Our Lady standing in the cemetery from quite a distance. Then they asked, "If you are from God, come closer!" Thereupon, the apparition floated about 70 meters closer to them. In the following time, Our Lady appeared more often, also closer to the houses of Ganseforth and Schulte. But always She appeared in the area between these houses and the cemetery.
If there was a possibility for the children to go closer to the cemetery without danger, the apparition also appeared only when the children went closer to the cemetery, so they were always led back to the cemetery, where Our Lady also said goodbye later.
The duration of the apparition was from 5 to 30 minutes. Although the apparition appeared in different places, it never happened that She appeared in several places at the same time, although sometimes the children were separated and could not communicate with each other. (About fifteen different apparition sites were noted other than the cemetery).
Main Place of Prayer in Heede
During the three-year period of the apparitions, it has been established with certainty that external or personal interference or influences emanating from third persons have not been able to have any effect on the apparition. The ecclesiastical superiors and the clergymen employed at Heede at the time in question have kept completely aloof from the matter, so that their conduct has been generally taken as rejection, even by those closest to them.
The children are simple country children, pious and unspoiled, but without any particularly prominent, extraordinary virtues, with minor faults, as are generally peculiar to infancy. (It is incidentally interesting to note that character-wise the children represent the four temperaments).
Now, how did the children behave during the apparitions? When they stood praying before, they fell on their knees rather suddenly. Their posture was strikingly straight, their eyes fixed straight ahead, as soon as the apparition was visible to them. The testimonies of the witnesses showed that the children were sometimes insensitive to external sensory impressions as long as the apparition lasted. Sometimes, however, they were aware of their surroundings, talked to people present and could understand their words. Questions they addressed to the apparition could be heard by those present. The children's behavior did not depend on the weather. They knelt on the ground outside even in very harsh weather during the very cold winters of those years, including minus 21 to 30 degrees Celsius, and in snow and rain.
The children talked to Our Lady and asked Her questions about how they felt about what was happening, such as whether they should build a chapel, what profession they should be allowed to take up. They asked the apparition to reveal herself. (That is, to indicate who She was.) The answer did not meet the expectations of the children, their relatives and acquaintances.
Father Staehlberg (the predecessor of the present Father Diekmann, removed by the Gestapo) had a question put to Our Lady by the children during the first days of the apparitions. A direct answer was never given. Otherwise, the clergy neither asked questions nor caused them to be asked. Our Lady spoke only a few words. The infant Jesus smiled at all the questions, but never answered. Let us now list the days when something special happened and when Our Lady spoke.
The Parish Church of St. Peter in Which the Children Prayed
On the Feast of the Assumption in 1938, Our Lady floated from the apparition site along the path leading around the cemetery toward the church and the rectory. She became invisible to the children when She disappeared behind the corner of the rectory. This event, as well as some others, clearly suggests that the children saw something that was present outside their person (that is, not an approximately eidetic entity of their own imagination!), otherwise a corner of the house could not have obstructed their vision.
On the occasion of the Assumption of Mary in 1938, the children asked, "Mother, show us Your Assumption!" Upon this, the apparition floated upward, Our Lady smiled and blessed, while the infant Jesus waved His left hand.
In 1938, Our Lady appeared to Anni at the first apparition site on two Fridays of the Sacred Heart, as she walked through the cemetery on her way to Mass. Otherwise, after returning from Göttingen, the children never saw the apparition again from this place where they had first seen Her, although they passed by here almost daily.
On April 7, 1938, Anni heard the words, "Children, pray a lot more!"
On May 12, 1938, Grete asked, "Should we get sick people?" Answer: "Not yet!"
Question: "Should we come back every night?" Answer: "Yes!"
On April 5, 1939, Mary asked the question that had never been asked before, "Mother, what do you want to be venerated as?" Answer: "As Queen of the Universe and Queen of poor souls."
Question: "In what kind of prayer, then, shall we worship You?" Response: "In the Lauretan Litany."
On October 24, 1939, all four children heard the words: "Reveal all that I have told you to the clergy!"
On January 26, 1940, Mary saw the Mother of God looking very sad and shedding tears. When asked, "Mother, what is wrong?" She replied: "Children, pray!"
On September 29, 1940, Grete said, "Mother, please bless the diocese!" Upon this, the Mother of God blessed. On that day, the solemn consecration of the Diocese of Osnabrück to Our Lady took place.
On October 19, 1940, all four children saw Our Lady. When the first decade of the Rosary was prayed, the children suddenly fell on their knees, as they usually did when the apparition became visible to them. Mary Ganseforth prayed aloud, "Hail, Queen!" Then, as usual, she asked a series of questions, including: "Should we build a chapel or a grotto? We would like to. - Mother, how beautiful You are!" In the midst of asking questions, the children suddenly became silent. This state lasted for about ten minutes. Then one of the children asked, "Mother, which sick person do You want to heal?" Answer: "I will heal only those who come in the right spirit." (By August 1943, the pastor of Heede had reported five healings of the sick to his superior authority, which he did not believe could be explained naturally). Hereupon the children asked, "Mother, bless our pastor and our chaplain!" The Blessed Mother then blessed them. When the apparition had disappeared, the children told that during its disappearance they had received a message with the enclosed words: "Tell this only to the Holy Father!"
When questioned later, it happened that each child, one by one, had received the message. It is noteworthy that no one had expected anything special that day. The children were in their work clothes, so they shied away from going to the priest to report. Only at the insistence of their relatives did the children go to him. The apparition was on the parish lawn that day, about 130 meters from the cemetery. The children saw it very close in front of them. (The message was forwarded to the nuncio in Berlin after some time, but still during the war).
The Parish Church of St. Peter in Which the Children Prayed
On November 1, 1940, all four children saw the apparition in the aforementioned meadow, but about 50 meters closer to the cemetery. Prayer was said, "Bless You, Mary, bless me, Your child!" The children again asked the usual questions and repeatedly asked urgently for blessings, saying, "Bless us, Mother, for we are Your children! We want to do everything You say! Tell us Your wish! - Mother, give us Your blessing once again, Mother, do it! - Mother, enlighten our chief shepherd, Mother, bless our parish! Bless our sick, Mother, bless our brothers in the field! - Mother, bless all who are present!" Grete called out at the end, "Mother, will You come again?" Response: "Yes!"
On November 3, 1940, the children saw Our Lady for the last time, all four of them at the first apparition site in the cemetery. The children again asked many questions. Suddenly they became silent. After a while Susi called out loudly: "Mother, why are You moving Your lips? Please speak louder. I cannot understand you." She became quite excited at this. Twice more she called out like this at intervals. The third time she sobbed loudly. Those present, some relatives, also began to cry when they saw the child's behavior.
Just as on October 19, 1940, Our Lady had spoken to each child individually. The other children saw the movement of the lips, also how Our Lady gave the blessing to each one according to their secret, but they could not hear anything. At the end, Our Lady said: "You are to keep this secret to yourselves and tell no one!"
The order in the revelation of the secrets seems to have been: Grete, Anni, Maria, Susi. After all had received their secret and the blessing, Our Lady spoke to all four together: "Now, dear children, as a farewell, still the blessing! Remain devoted and good to God! Pray the rosary often and with pleasure! Now, adieu, dear children! Goodbye in heaven!" Grete exclaimed, "Then You will not come back at all? Dearest Mother, will you not come to us once in the month of the Rosary?" Answer: "No." (In Heede, November is celebrated as the month of the Rosary.) "Mother, give us the blessing!" So the children cried and also received the blessing. "Bless also all the clergy!" She also gave the final blessing on this request. "Mother, we thank You!" the children called after the departing mother, crying profusely. The rest of those present also wept.
The children immediately went to the rectory and reported to the priest. They made a strikingly serious impression. Grete could not quite hold back the tears even now. She said that she still had so many things to ask. Before they left, they asked the priest for a blessing, which is quite unusual there and the children had never done before. At home, they were also depressed for the next few days. "I wish She had taken me with Her!" one of them said. - So much for the actual course of events.
The impact of the event, as far as one can tell, is good. The children, their closest relatives, their community and also their near and far surroundings are religiously encouraged. Especially the devotion to Mary has received a powerful boost. Every Catholic will submit to the judgment of the Church, which is not yet spoken. The invocations "Queen of the Universe" and. "Queen of Poor Souls" may be used at least privately. Saints and learned people have already said and written many beautiful things about the content of these invocations.
signed Rudolf Diekmann, pastor, Heede on the Ems, June 29, 1941
Heede Prayer Site (old photo)
The following is an excerpt from Chaplain Wunram's report...
All creation forms a unity in the eyes of God. Each creature lives its own life, but stands in a dependence and relationship to the whole. Beyond this, there is a pinnacle, a supremacy and a subordination. At the top of creation is Christ, of whom Paul says, "All things were created on Him and for Him. He is at the head of the universe. He is the firstborn before all creation. For in Him and on Him were all things created, that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or powers or authorities. Everything is created through Him and upon Him. He is before all and the universe has its existence in Him. He is also the head of His body, namely the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that He might have the preeminence in all things." "For it was the counsel of God to make all the fullness dwell in Him." Here and in the prologue of John's Gospel, the overall view of creation is offered with Christ the head, toward whom all things were created (Colossians)!
Christ unites in Himself the divine and creaturely natures. By virtue of the divine nature He is the Son of the eternal Father and is in intimate love union with the third divine Person, the Holy Spirit. By virtue of His human nature He summarizes as man all the levels of being of creation. For already Gregory the Great points out that man possesses the being of matter, the life with the plants, the senses with the animals and the soul, the spiritual life with the angels. Thus He unites in Himself and unites in Himself the creation. This all the more, because to the creaturely being belongs by nature for Him also the divine being. He has this from eternity. But when we pray in the Creed: "He took on flesh through the Holy Spirit from Mary the Virgin", then the connection of the Creator with the creation comes to us here. Mary is the enlivened and animated creation which, addressed by God, speaks its free yes to the Incarnation of the Son of God. Thus, from this faithful vision, She can later confess: "Great praise all generations." In Mary, Creator and creature meet. In Christ, Creator and creature thereby become one.
In the historical vision Mary is and remains before Jesus Christ. For from Her He took on flesh. Certainly "everything comes from Christ", also Mary, but everything begins through Mary, also Christ! In the vision of ideas, John and Paul have before them the grandiose image that God had in mind at His creation, which He realized in time. To this vision, to this image also belongs the failure of His creatures and on the other hand the heroic life and endurance of the service of the God-Man that came into being through it. In other words, the necessary suffering and atonement of the God-Man. With it, however, also the perfected love for the Father and for the brethren, which takes effect in the God-Man. Thus Paul said, "For it pleased God to make fullness dwell in Him.... And through Him to reconcile all things in reference to Him, making peace by His blood on the cross, all things in heaven and all things on earth!" Col 1.4.13.ff. Thus Mary is the connection of Advent with His fulfillment. Christ has come, but He has yet to come. He comes in the sacraments. He comes at the end for the consummation of the world. "Until the consummation of times, He will be the One who is expected and who comes. He is expected by mankind and the nations, by each of us in our spiritual distress and misery."
All these advent will be fulfilled through Mary. She prepares and brings about the progressive fulfillment, for this is the fundamental law: Jesus per Mariam, Jesus through Mary. The faith in Mary is as old as the Church. But one must distinguish faith from the understanding of faith. The latter must always be acquired anew and is stimulated and deepened anew by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. (According to Bishop Kerkhoff.)
Thus, deepened devotion to Mary promotes love of Christ with a deepened love of Christ promotes gratitude to the Father. The Queen Mother with the coming World Savior as Child and the Queen with folded hands, are they not speaking gifts to our times that can lead to a deepened understanding and to more faithful discipleship in the service of the God-King?! "All and in all Christ!"
Shape, word and content that is the natural course in the life. So also here at the beginning the two images have stood, admittedly as living person, as Queen of the Universe and Queen of the Poor Souls. The truths indicated in the picture were then supplemented and deepened by the life and the words. For the sake of clarity, the few words may now be listed in historical order.
On April 7, 1938, Anni was surprised by seeing the apparition three times. When asked, "Do You want to say anything else?" the answer comes in a very sweet voice: "Children pray a lot more!"
On May 12, 1938, Grete asks, "Should we get sick people?" Answer: "Not yet!" "Should we come back every evening?" "Yes."
On March 27, 1939, to all questions, only a nod.
On April 5, 1939, Mary Ganseforth asks, "Mother, what else do You want to be revered as?" "As Queen of the Universe and Queen of the Poor Souls!" "In what kind of prayer shall we worship You?" "In the Lauretan Litany!"
October 24, 1939 "Reveal all that I have told you to the clergy!"
On January 25, 1940, the apparition, looking very serious and then crying, said "Children pray!"
On October 19, 1940, each child received a secret for the Holy Father. Then She told them all together, "Tell this only to the Holy Father!" When asked, what sick people will You heal, the answer was, "I will heal only those who come in the right spirit."
November 1, 1940 Grete: "Mother, are You still coming back?" "Yes."
On November 3, 1940, each child is given a secret with the note to all: "This you are to keep to yourselves and tell no one." Then follows: "Now dear children, as a parting blessing! Remain devoted and good to God! Pray the rosary often and gladly! Now, adieu, dear children! Goodbye in heaven!" "Won't you come back at all?" "No."
Note: these are the few words heard from the children in three years, plus the secrets. During a period of six months there is no word at all, only smiles and nods. What was the children's patience put to a hard test, but also their love of truth. What imagination could not have accomplished in that time! But how attractive the apparition must have been that the children persevered in spite of it and under such difficult circumstances! But when, after half a year, the apparition breaks its silence for the first time, the few words are. "Children still pray much!" And they went to pray, every evening in the dark....
"Cried the people in anxious nights, to whom God gave the promise!" Who does not think of this old Advent cry in the distress of faith of those days! Many things could be said about the words. The first word after the lapse of half a year "Children still pray much!" "Still" ... The professor is trying to "dissuade the children from excessive religious training." The apparition says, "Still pray much!" This word is given to Anni, but she passes it on. "Children" so this applies to all, to the four and to us too! It is not said in an energetic commanding tone, but in a "sweet voice"!
"Sick..." "Not yet!" It was precisely the healings of the sick that set people in motion during the Savior's lifetime. The same is true and still happens today at places of pilgrimage. So it is said in Altötting: "Those who ask become those who give thanks, those who give thanks become those who praise, those who praise become those who love!"
"The sick were brought to Him, and He healed them all." "If you do not believe My words, at least believe My works!" said the Lord. But it also says, "He could not work miracles there because of their unbelief!" "Without faith it is impossible to please God!" So when the children ask about the sick, they are following a healthy believing attitude.
"Not yet!" need not be a rejection. Right now there is something more important, prayer. This is shown by the answer to the next question, "Shall we pray every night?" The answer is clear and decisive: "Yes."! But this means for the children: always being in danger of being caught, renouncing rest and sleep, reckoning with the inclemencies of the weather, after a long day, especially in summer, straining devout prayer! "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and only those who need violence seize it!"
On March 27, 1937, She confirms by nodding that She wants to say something soon. This happens on April 5, 1937, that is on Wednesday before Easter 1937. "Queen of the Universe" Why not "Queen of the World"? Much could be said about this, historically, as well as biblically, as well as theologically! One can equate both terms if one understands by world the whole creation. But the term has been narrowed strongly and often does not give the view sufficiently for the universe!
"The world is in trouble," "The world with its lust passeth away!" "Wilt not be conformed to the world!" "Children of the world, children of light!" This scale could be extended at will. Due to the geocentric world view our vision is more and more narrowed. Not without reason, in the age of space exploration, but also with regard to materialism, Pius XII used the expression "Regina dell unniverso" in the Marian Prayer, as well as in his Circular Letter. Unfortunately, in doing so, he has found little support among some theologians, whether out of narrow-mindedness or ignorance. Even the Liturgical Institute in Trier deliberately chose "world" as the translation in the above prayer because that was "linguistically easier!"
When Maria Ganseforth was asked that it should be called Queen of the World, she answered: "But the Mother of God said Queen of the Universe!" That is the title which was already common with the Greeks since ancient times with "Pantanassa - all-ruler". By the way, it is, after all, a counterpart of "King of the Universe", so it is quite a liturgical title!
Every year on the Feast of the Sacrifice of Mary we read the words of John Damascenus de fide orthdoxa: "She became in truth the Mistress of all created things, because She became the Mother of the Creator!" This is also how Pius XII put it already in 1956, seven years later: "Mary is Queen of the Universe by destiny, by acquisition and investiture into this office. And he added: Her kingship is a maternal-social one!"
"Queen of the Poor Souls" Who are Poor Souls?
1. The people on earth, because they are still in the struggle and do not know how this struggle will end.
2. The souls in the place of purification (purgatory), who are waiting for the liberation. That is, all those who are yet to attain the happiness of heaven, but do not yet possess it.
"Regina animarum" - is not this also the title church of the German in Rome! Where both groups, the living and the deceased, as members of the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, find a home in the eternal city! "Lauretan Litany"-prayer of the Church with titles of Mary.
Let us now consider the three invocations:
1. "Reveal all that I have said to you to the clergy." October 24, 1939
2. "Tell this only to the Holy Father." October 19, 1940
3. "This you are to keep to yourselves and tell no one." November 3, 1940
To 1: Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 12. 2 ff of the various gifts of grace, (epistle on the 10th Sunday after Pentecost) and adds: "All this is effected by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each as He wills!" But the Holy Spirit has ordained the Church as the administrator of graces, and in her the priesthood. The faithful are first directed to the priests, who in turn must stand and remain in contact with the bishops. The parish priest of Heede has constantly informed the bishop!
To 2: By the political conditions and still more by the war events the connection with Rome was made more difficult. One wanted to found a German church free from Rome. So one can meditate more on this call. But let us content ourselves with a few thoughts. Each child receives his secret individually. Each one is individually a member of the body of Christ and responsible for the whole, co-responsible for the Kingdom of God. It is like a reward and commendation of our most blessed Archbishop for his fidelity to Rome that already the children have been directed to the Holy Father. How the communication was to be made is not said. On the instructions of the parish priest, the children individually wrote down their secret and had it handed over to the bishop for transmission. So not only connection in prayer with each other, but also with the head of the Church, the Pope!
To 3: Each of the four girls gets for itself a very personal word, a secret, which is intended only for the same completely alone. There is privacy, which is to be respected absolutely, because everyone is individual personality, a unique thought of the Creator. Also the gifted man and he even more has his personal districts. He is not a fair game for others who have made and still make their life possibly to the martyrdom, to the agony! The real leader and bridegroom of the souls is the Savior. People are only substitutes. This thought is very finely expressed in the encyclical "Mystici corporis". So there are gradations of responsibility! There is the parish family or the diocese, then the universal Church with the Pope. Nevertheless, the individual soul remains fully responsible for its actions and must give account also once quite personally.
Thus the Queen, or rather the Queen helps to build the Kingdom of Her Divine Son in the souls, in the communities and in the world. She leads and guides through three years and gives very personal instructions at the end. The children have met the mother and the divine son. In the case of the departing Mother, the blessing is added and the invitation to pray the Rosary. In this prayer they always have the encounter of the Mother before their eyes from the moment of their first encounter until the Assumption into Heaven. Thus, for them, as a conclusion to these eventful years and encouragement, the words of the departing Mother are "Goodbye in Heaven!"
What fine, spiritual guidance is behind this, and what art to say so much in so little time with so few words! The Queen of the Universe, the Queen of Poor Souls She is also the Queen of this glorious prayer of Christians, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.
Prayer to Our Lady of Heede
Dear Our Lady of Heede, Queen of the poor souls in Purgatory, hear our fervent pleas for the relief of those suffering souls.
As You are truly the loving Mother of Mercy, let the graces of Your Immaculate Heart penetrate that dark prison of purification and fall like a refreshing dew on those who languish there.
And You, dearest Advocate, implore Your Divine Son to allow by the infinite merits of His Precious Blood to penetrate the darkness as a ray of hope and light on the Poor Souls, especially those enrolled in the Purgatory League, and the souls of ... (insert names), through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord.