To: All Msg #71, Dec-13-91 10:17AM Subject: Re: Sightings of Virgin Mary in Denver
From: Bear Giles
To: All Msg #71, Dec-13-91 10:17AM
Subject: Re: Sightings of Virgin Mary in Denver area III
From the Friday, 13 December 1991, _Rocky Mountain News_:
(Sorry for the extremely long quote, but I feel it is important to
convey the psychological state of the woman claiming to see the
Virgin Mary. Some extraneous material has been deleted to conserve
Special Report: Visions of faith
[Photograph of blond woman in from of "fragmented" window (for lack of
a better term) with Christian icongraphy in it and small statue of
Mary and infant Jesus. Caption: "Theresa Lopez's home has eight
crucifixes. The cross from her infant's casket now hangs over a small
altar in the basement."]
Woman sees God's hand in all
Theresa Lopez says she's seen Virgin Mary appear repeatedly
By Gary Massaro, Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
Highlands Ranch [a middle class suburb south of Denver] --
Theresa Lopez sees God's hand in everything she does and everything that
happens to her, including her visions of the Virgin Mary.
Lopez, 30, recalls the time she got hurt while working as manager of a
Wendy's restaurant. She fell while lifting a box and was pinned by the
domino effect of toppling racks.
It was, she says, God's way of telling her to slow down.
Where some have seen a prairie sand hill or rippling waves of a mountain
lake, Lopez has seen the Virgin Mary.
That's her claim. And she sticks to it.
"For a long time, I kept it to myself," she said in a three-hour inter-
view this week.
But she says the persistence of the visions and importance of the messages
caused her to share them.
A year ago, Lopez's life was devoted to her work and her family -- in that
order, she says. Now, people are wondering if she's crazy or a messenger
Lopez sits in the living room of her middle-income Highlands Ranch home
and tells her story with passion. She's an instrument of God, she says,
and this is his message: God is upset with the Western Hemisphere for
putting material things above him.
"God himself falls below the house, the car, the kids [!], the job,"
She lived that way before her cancer and the crib death of her daughter
triggered a change in thinking. Her cancer is now in remission, she
She met her husband, Jeff, at work. He's still a Wendy's manager. Now,
she's a homemaker who cares for three sons -- one from her first marriage
and two from her husband's first marriage. They both had the marriages
annulled through the Roman Catholic Church.
Lopez says she spends a lot of time praying these days. She attends
Mass every morning and teaches catechism to second-graders, with whom she
has shared her visions.
"They want to know what she looks like, and if I'll tell her to tell
Santa what they want for Christmas," Lopez says, laughing.
She talks about her life before the visions:
She was born into the Catholic Church but drifted away when she was 13.
She had a huge argument with her father -- "one of the two big arguments
in our life" -- about going to parochial school.
She finished the eighth grade at a Catholic school and persuaded her
father to allow her to attend public high school so she could get a taste
of the real world.
She graduated from the University of Oklahoma and was going to study
medicine when she began having a falling-out with her first husband, whom
she had married while in college.
The couple moved to Denver from Oklahoma City and divorced.
Two years later, Lopez met and married Jeff. Jeff and Theresa say they
haven't talked with or seen their ex-spouses since the divorces. She
won't give her ex-husband's name.
"Our lives are settled," she says.
She says she's content with her life. Eight crucifixes hang on the walls
of her home. The cross that lay atop their dead infant's casket now is
hung over a small altar in the basement, where the family often gathers
to recite the rosary.
The baby's death drew the family closer, she says. And her faith in God
Of her baby, Lopez says, "She's looking down on us from heaven."
Although Jeff Lopez says he hasn't seen a vision, he believes his wife has.
Theresa Lopez says her visions have become clearer over time.
She says the first was a silhouette surrounded by a body halo on a hillside
in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, where Lopez says she was drawn in March to explore
her faith. Medjugorje has become a popular pilgrimage since six children
reported seeing an apparition 10 1/2 years ago.
Here is Lopez's version of the Virgin: "She has deep, deep blue eyes and
thin, light pink lips. Her cheeks are pink, like you get when you've
been outside in the cold for a while. Her nose is slender." Her hair,
Lopez says, is dark brown.
But wouldn't Mary, being a Mediterranean Jew, have olive skin with dark
hair and eyes?
Lopez isn't swayed.
"She's very fair," she says.
Lopez says she has touched and been touched by her vision.
"She kissed my forehead. It felt like when a butterfly sits on you and
flutters its wings," she says. "Touching her is almost like a vibration.
It's not like electricity. There is a tingling.
"She calls herself the Holy Mother of Virtues."
Lopez says her faith has been strengthed since the visions first appeared
to her. In July at Grand Lake [a popular vacation spot perhaps 50 miles
northwest of Denver, just southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park], she
says, the sun glinting off the water formed into a shimmering spot in the
center and the Virgin Mary's apparition rose from it and told her, "Bring
the hearts to me."
"I have audible locutions," she says. "Her voice sounds just like you and
I are talking. It sounds like the voice is coming from outside instead of
Lopez says she's not expecting to gain anything from the visions -- "no
books, no movie, no videos by friends."
She says she didn't make up the visions so her husband, Jeff, would pay
more attention to her.
"I'm not like that. I don't need that constant nurturing. He's the one
who needs it."
She wishes people would focus on the message rather than the messenger.
"Our Lady is going to use technology and the media in the United States
to get our Lord's message out," Lopez said. "Technology these days is a
gift from God. For him not to use it for the glory of his name..."
Lopez says she hasn't seen a painting or photograph of the Virgin Mary
that looks like her vision. Her visions are not just in her mind, she
says, she actually sees them.
The Archdiocese of Denver isn't sure. Archbishop J. Francis Stafford
has launched an investigation by appointing two priests, two nuns and a
psychiatrist to investigate Lopez and her claims. They're bound by
After the announcement naming the investigating team, the Lopez family
said they would give no more interviews.
The _Denver Catholic Register_ chose not to publish a story in this
week's editions. A brief story probably will run next week, says
archdiocese spokeman Bob Feeney.
The weekly paper and the archdiocese are going to be extremely cautious
concerning any claims," Feeney says. "And we have many serious questions
that have to be asked and that we have to get answers to."
Lopez already has talked with the priests and psychiatrist. She says
she's not under, and never has been under, psychiatric care.
She says she'll hear from the Virgin Mary again but doesn't know where
the messages are leading or why they're taking so long to unfold.
"I don't question that," she says. "I'm not worried about next month or
next year or even tomorrow. She'll reveal it to me when she's ready.
She's not finished. I know I'll see her next month."
Sidebar to previously posted article in the _Rocky Moutain News_:
Theresa Lopez's Apparitions
Theresa Lopez claims to have seen and spoken with 11 apparitions of the
Virgin Mary since March. Here are some highlights:
March 17 in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. Lopez says she saw a silhouette,
arms outstretched and surrounded by a body halo hovering on a hillside.
The vision said, "Come to me. Come to me."
June 25 at Grand Lake. Lopez says she and her family were fishing but
not catching anything. Children were arguing. She went off by herself
to pray the Rosary. "This is the first time I knew she was coming,"
Lopez says, because all sound was blocked out. The sun was reflecting
off the lake. "All the sparkles gathered on one spot," Lopez says.
The light rose and took form and gave off a gray tone. A voice said,
"Bring the hearts to me."
Sept. 29 in a field behind her Highlands Ranch house while looking out
the kitchen window. Lopez says the vision began to show features she
could recognize, and there also was color.
Oct. 24 at St. Thomas More Center, the state's largest Catholic church.
The vision appeared during prayers after Mass. "I've come to pay homage
to my son," Lopez says the vision told her.
Dec. 7 at Mother Cabrini Shrine. The message: "Mass must be the center
of life. The holy sacraments of eucharist and reconcilliation are vital
to spiritual growth. I desire my children to gather together and (God's)
heart shall be softened. Save the West from the wrath." "That was the
beginning of her talk about the Americas," Lopez says.
Dec. 8 at Mother Cabrini Shrine. The vision made "an urgent plea" for
people to return to God, Lopez says.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank