In 1990, when the new film, "The Hill of Redemption" about the extraordinary events in Akita, Japan, was first seen on RTE television, it contained a surprising brief sequence about a little known series of messages from Our Lady, given to a young housewife in Co Mayo, Ireland, Mrs Christina Gallagher, from the beginning of 1988. In the following years the messages in question and the events surrounding them have become more widely known in Ireland and throughout the world.
Many of those who have heard at first hand, details of the messages received, have been very favourably impressed. Several books have been written about the messages and the experiences of Christina Gallagher including one 'Our Lady Touches Ireland & The World' documenting just some of over 700 recorded healings and experiences associated with this work. A number of medically documented major healings were presented to the Church in 2000 for their consideration and today in 2011 we can see that many of the prophesies contained in Our Lady's messages have been fulfilled, to further support the authenticity of the work.
There are links in content between the messages reportedly given in various other contemporary apparitions, including Akita, and the events and messages involving Christina Gallagher. The basic content is similar, but Our Lady’s messages to Christina Gallagher also relate in a special way to Ireland and the Irish people.
Christ in Agony
Mrs Gallagher traces events back to 1985, when she was profoundly shaken on seeing a vision of a living, suffering Christ, in agony on the Cross, while visiting a grotto site in Co. Sligo, at Cairns. “When I first heard of the apparitions at Cairn’s Grotto, I was looking for peace. I didn’t go expecting to see anything. I thought if Our Lady was appearing there, she might give me the peace I longed for.”
She did experience a great peace on her first visit there, and knew it was from God, and she often returned there afterwards to pray. She had many remarkable experiences, but found excuses at the time not to accept them.
In 1985, when only a small number of people were continuing to go to the grotto, Mrs Gallagher experienced a vision of Christ crucified while saying the Rosary. “I think it was during the second decade. I felt a force turning my head completely away from the statue, and found myself looking at the head of Jesus, crowned with thorns. I could not move a muscle. I was like that for half an hour or more. I’m getting over it, but for a long time I couldn’t talk about it without being in tears. I wanted to scream with the horror I felt, looking at Jesus, with the crown of thorns on His Head. The sorrow I felt is the thing which will live with me until the day I die. Jesus was suffering and I felt that I was to blame and that it was my sins that was making Him suffer.” She learned later how all mankind cause Him to suffer through their sins.
Cristina Gallagher's First Apparition - a ‘Beautiful Lady’ - 21st January 1988
It was nearly three years later, on January 21st 1988, while visiting a relative in Dublin, that Christina experienced the first Marian apparition. As they were talking, she was encouraging prayer and trust in God and trying to explain that He was not far away in Heaven but near to us. “Suddenly I found myself looking at a beautiful lady, in mid air, just a bit above the floor. All else was gone. She was radiantly beautiful and I actually mean she seemed to radiate light. It seemed to be coming through her clothes. She had her hands joined.
When She put out Her hands, there was a glass globe in them and it seemed as if there was smoke in it, swirling around. I was told later that it was the globe of the world. Then just like it came, in the same way, it was gone. Then she lifted one hand and put it on her heart and with the other she swayed her mantle towards us three times. I heard the words ‘I am leaving you now.’ and before She left, She made the sign of the Cross, slowly and reverently. Then the light began to get less and She began to fade, and as soon as She was gone – the tears and the peace! I couldn’t stop crying.”
When she told relatives about it, they warned her not to say anything, that it was hallucinations., “But I felt such love given to me, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t real.”
Christina Gallagher's Second Apparition - A Host over Her Heart - January 1988
The following Wednesday, she experienced the second apparition, in her own home. ‘this time, as the “beautiful lady” approached, she seemed to have a great light upon her breast.
“As She came close, I saw it was a large host, glowing all round the edge. By this time, as She looked down, radiantly happy, I was away in another world. From that moment on, there was no fear, and I was completely and utterly in love with this woman. It is a love beyond the peace of this world, something you cannot explain in words.”
Christina Gallagher's Third Apparition – Our Lady Speaks to Christina – February 1988
It was the third apparition, on 4th February 1988 when Christina first heard Our Lady speak. This time She was dressed in a cream cloak with a gold seam around the edge. She said, “Be not afraid, I am the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, and I come in peace.” It was on the same occasion that Our Lady told her, “I say to all the people who find it difficult to accept My Messages and those of My Son, pray the Rosary from your hearts, all three mysteries for nine days. Offer up these prayers to my Son’s Heart and to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. If you do that you will understand.” Christina found it very difficult in the early stages to cope with some of the experiences, but after a time she was put in touch with a sympathetic priest in another part of the country who greatly assisted her in interpreting the mystical experiences and the messages. Fr McGinnity felt obliged, first of all, to seek personal and direct evidence of her genuineness. For a long time he observed and examined everything and he has been her spiritual director since then. She has entrusted all the messages received to him and he has indicated that he accepts the authenticity of the apparitions and messages.
Our Lady's Clearcut Advice through Christina Gallagher
As Christina Gallagher explains: “What Our Lady is asking us to do is to turn back to God while there is still time, sincerely repent of our sins and go to Confession; to pray constantly, and to pray from the heart, especially the Rosary; to love God in the Mass and in the Eucharist; and to be united and to love one another and to stop finding fault and bickering and fighting with each other. Jesus Our Savior, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, died on the Cross out of love for all of us, and we cannot pick and choose. We must love everyone, and even if others cannot recognise Christ in those who are the weakest of His little ones, we must do so. Until we can recognise that Jesus is in each and everyone we meet, how can we recognise Christ present in the Blessed Eucharist, and present in the world, living among us?”
Just the Beginning of Christina Gallagher's Experiences
Now it seems that the things that happened to Mrs. Gallagher in the early weeks and months after she experienced the first 1988 apparition were hardly more than an introduction to what was to follow. Had anyone told Christina Gallagher, even in early 1988 that she would soon find herself publicly relating apparitions and mystical phenomena completely beyond her personal experience, and that, within a few years, she would be traveling to places as far away as California and the Philippine Islands and addressing large gatherings of people, she would simply have refused to believe it. Nor would she have found it possible then to accept that within half a dozen years, she would find it necessary to spend a considerable amount of time each week in an area of her native Mayo, more than forty miles from her home.
Skepticism & Disbelief
The story of Christina Gallagher's apparitions and messages, and of the role in which she finds herself - through acceptance of what has been intrusted to her - is now widely known. In a cynical modern world, displaying widespread skepticism about religious beliefs, however, it is hardly surprising that visionaries and mystics, present and past, are sometimes treated as curiosities.
Christina Gallagher's experiences have borne that out.
“When Our Blessed Mother first appeared to me, and I started to receive the messages, and was asked to make them known, I was simple minded enough to think that once people heard what I had been given, they would believe, because the messages came from God. It didn't turn out like that.”
Mrs. Gallagher found herself being shocked at the level of skepticism and disbelief and the manner in which people, looking for any excuse not to accept the content of Our Lady's messages, sought to discredit her.
In some respects, it was even more difficult when she found that she could tell what was in people's hearts, especially when this happened with people whom she had presumed would be open to what God was asking.
Nine years later, Christina Gallagher has much deeper insights into such matters, but she still finds it painful to deal with the negative attitudes, the mockery, antagonism and total lack of belief.
“Sometimes, when praying with a group of people, it is clear to me that one or two people in the crowd are negative and somehow, they cause a block by their disbelief. It is as if that person will not allow the Spirit of God to work, and can hinder the others present. If I spontaneously pray, I find that I cannot get the words or put across the prayers because of that blockage.”
Mrs. Gallagher often finds that the people one might expect to be skeptical are the ones who are totally open and accepting and it is a great consolation that there are numbers of people with a strong faith, who are open to accept what Our Lady has asked.
Christina Gallagher - The Remarkable Story continues...