To: All Msg #71, Dec-13-91 10:17AM Subject: Re: Sightings of Virgin Mary in Denver

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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 space). ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 of God. 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," Lopez says. 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 says. 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 has grown. 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 inside." 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 confidentiality. 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. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

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