The Immaculate Purity
By Sr. Zdenka M. Turková, SHM
On August 5, 1990, a small Byzantine-Catholic town in northern Slovakia called Litmanova received the visit of the Blessed Virgin under the advocation of the Immaculate Purity.
While three children, 11-year-old Ivetka Korcáková, 12-year-old Katka Ceselkovâ, and 9-year old Mitko Ceselka were playing on Mount Zvir three kilometers from their village, they began to hear sounds coming from the surrounding forest. Frightened, they ran to take refuge in a wooden hayloft that belonged to Ivetka’s father, but they continued to hear the sounds, which began to grow louder and louder. It was as if someone was throwing wood from the top of the mountain. Full of fear, the children began to pray. Ivetka came up with a spontaneous prayer: “Mary, our Mother, hide us under your mantle.” They repeated it three times. Their souls were immersed in deep repentance for their sins and religious lukewarmness. At that precise moment, the room was flooded with light. At first, the children thought it was sunlight, but suddenly in the center of this light, the Virgin Mary appeared. She was sitting on a bench in front of the children, looking at them. They did not dare to speak a word about what they were seeing until Katka finally broke the silence: “Ivetka, do you see something on the bench?” Ivetka replied, “I see the Virgin Mary.” “Me too,” continued Katka. They described her to each other and everything coincided. The Virgin Mary seemed to be in deep prayer. She was wearing a white dress, a blue cloak, and a transparent blue veil. She had a crown on her head and a rosary between her hands. The children promised to go to the church every day that week. Surprised by the apparition, without knowing how to react, they left the hayloft and went back to the village. The Virgin accompanied them the whole way. When she reached the cross, at the entrance of the village, she knelt and made the sign of the cross. When they entered the town, she began to disappear little by little from their sight. That day, nobody believed the children, and the parish priest forbade them to talk about it. However, that same night, Katka’s mother dreamt of the Blessed Virgin who said to her, “Do not doubt anything; just believe.”
The apparitions continued for five years. Rumors began to spread and an immense crowd of people began to make pilgrimages to Litmanova. They watched the girls in ecstasy. While in ecstasy, the children paid no attention to their surroundings, even when people touched them or made gestures towards them. They followed their “vision” with a gentle smile.
At first, the Virgin Mary appeared several times a month, especially on Sundays and feast days. From March 3, 1991, she appeared only on Sundays and after the first Friday of the month. The Virgin Mary also blessed a well 100 meters from the hayloft and recommended drinking from it. Only one year after the first apparition, more than a million people had already made a pilgrimage to the mountain village, an extremely high number if we keep in mind the only six million inhabitants of the country.
The Catholic hierarchy of the Byzantine rite began an official investigation that summer and made sure that pastoral guidance was given to the people who went to Litmanova. Father Marian Potas, provincial of the Monastic Order of Basil the Great, had been a member of the investigating committee since 1991. In 1993 Fr. Potas explained, “The bishop’s committee investigated all kinds of events. There is the case of a woman who was handicapped for 14 years. Half of her body was paralyzed and she was unable to walk. Some women brought her to the mountain. The woman drank from the stream, prayed, and then walked down the mountain on foot. One boy had leukemia, and today he is a soldier; the army doctor confirmed that he was healthy. I do not think those girls made it up. Many have converted in Litmanova. That means that the Virgin chose this mountain; that is a fact.”
The Church has completed several investigations, but has found nothing that goes against Christian morals or doctrine. On September 7, 2008, the archbishop of Presov, Bishop Ján Babjak declared the chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception that was built on Mount Zvir as a place of pilgrimage.
Our Lady often repeated her concern of the spreading of materialism in Slovakia and in the whole world. She insisted that materialism leads people to commit many sins and forget what is truly important: their relationship with God.
“I cannot stand to see the sins of Slovakia! My children have too many things and therefore honor neither My Son, nor me. My Son will send a disaster to Slovakia. But if people convert and begin to pray sincerely, the disaster will cease. Spread this message throughout Slovakia. I ask all of Slovakia to come pray at this mountain, which I have sanctified” (November 11, 1990).
“Men have large quantities of everything and they are capable of killing themselves for material things” (November 18, 1990). The bitter fruit of materialism is emptiness: “Your hearts are empty and your lives are not full” (December 6, 1992).
On December 2, 1990, the Virgin Mary revealed her name. That day she was wearing a white dress with a gold border and a transparent veil. The girls asked her what her name was and she answered, “I am the Immaculate Purity.” “And where do you come from?” “I come from Heaven.”
Purity of heart is the central message of the apparitions. In the first place, purity signifies a cleansing of sin, together with a sincere and relentless struggle to avoid it. But at the same time purity means authenticity, simplicity, and transparency. “I hope your hearts will be especially pure this month, because this month is dedicated to me. Your prayers will be heard in a special way, but they must be sincere and come from a pure heart” (May 5, 1991).
The Virgin Mary came to warn us, but also to suggest remedies. Among them is the prayer of the Rosary: “For the healing of physical and spiritual illnesses, it is necessary to pray daily the Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries), to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, and to drink from the stream of the mountain” (December 2, 1990). She also urged us to offer prayers and to fast for the salvation of souls: “You do not know how much I need your prayers and fasts for the conversion of those who are being condemned. Please help me” (July 4, 1993). “Please, pray... You do not know how much it will help you. You have so little time! My dear ones, be like children, because only children know what true prayer is” (November 8, 1992).
The last apparition occurred on August 6, 1995. On Mount Zvir, the following words echoed in the midst of the sobs of those present when they heard that this apparition was to be the last:
“My dear children! This apparition will be the last. I love you! I thank you for what you have done here for me. My beloved children! I wanted it this way to wake you from the dream of emptiness, to help you understand that you need conversion. You need conversion in this age! Please, please! I remain present on this mountain. Now begin to meditate my messages! Remain in my heart this age! You must be simpler and more vigilant. A time will come, which is already here... Remain like children, totally free for God. Please, meditate on what I say! I love you and I am waiting for you in Heaven...”
The words of Mary Most Holy speak for themselves. She invites us to remain in her Heart. We must meditate on her words. What is this dream of emptiness? Materialism, impurity, indifference towards God and towards our brothers, comfort, mediocrity? She urges us to convert, to take Christ’s sacrifice for us seriously, to finally live for God, making Him the true center of our lives. We can learn so much from her words!
We do not know how much time we have. She who called herself the Immaculate Purity shows us the way: to cleanse our hearts of all sin and falsehood and to be like innocent children before God. We must adapt our lives to the Gospel and live for Love in order to reach the joy of heaven. We must do all this by the hand of Our Mother, who never abandons her children and invites us to live in her Heart.
HM Magazine; nº201 March-April 2018