Holy Love Ministries
Maureen Sweeney-Kyle, Ohio
Holy Love Ministries is an unapproved apostolate founded by Maureen Sweeney-Kyle, a middle-aged mother of four who has claimed visions and messages since 1985. The site, Maranatha Spring, is about twenty miles from downtown Cleveland, where many claim to have witnessed phenomena such as signs in the sky, miraculous photographs, and rosaries turning to gold, which are said to validate the prayer site and the messages.
The seer was instructed where to dig for a spring, which now draws many pilgrims who fill empty bottles with its water, believing it is a source of grace they can take home and share with others. Holy Love distributes a fragile rosary that consists of Hail Mary beads in the shape of teardrops, each with an unborn baby inside. According to the messages, it is not enough to pray against abortion, but one must always use this special, unapproved rosary, about which the Archdiocese of Cleveland has expressed grave concern.
The site has been visited and endorsed by Mariologist René Laurentin and the Russian visionary Josyp Terelya in Heaven’s Last Call to Humanity, which contains a compilation of the messages concerning the Coming Chastisement, the Second Coming of Jesus, the New Jerusalem, and the Coming Era of Peace, as well as “miraculous” photographs containing the spots that inevitably appear whenever a camera is directed toward the sun. Such photographs are described as the Blessed Mother’s silhouette settling on top of the treetops during the rosary or the Blessed Mother’s “signature.”
As reported by Laura Putre, the Holy Love Ministry first flourished at the seer’s home. Maureen was instructed to dig a well in the backyard, called Maranatha for “Come, Lord Jesus.” The Lady declared that Maranatha Spring, represented by a red-handled pump on a far corner of the property, would be “the threshold of Holy Love and the gateway to the new Jerusalem.” Another attraction was the “Blessing Point,” the carpeted corner of the living room where the visions often took place. The Virgin Mary instructed visitors to kiss it and they would place their rings and other objects on it for her to bless. Mary was said to announce her arrival by the fragrance of roses and she would walk around the room during the rosary.
The Blessed Mother soon started making requests for money and land, seeking major financial backers. Jesus was reported to have requested three to five acres with options on surrounding land, according to a fundraising letter mailed in December 1994. A young land speculator, who had recently purchased an 83-acre plot of uncultivated farmland for $107,500, sold it to Holy Love eight months later for $350,000. The Blessed Mother ordered a new well dug in the middle of winter 1995 and requested that the seer cut a circle from the carpeting for the new location. It is now mounted on a wooden stand in the new chapel for pilgrims to kiss. Although the Lorain County Health Department determined in May 1996 that water from the new spring was unsafe for drinking, that did not stop visitors from coming.
Messages refer to the Coming Era of Peace as a Eucharistic Reign of Christ on earth that will last exactly 1,000 years. Those who make a special consecration to the Lady are promised special protection from the coming chastisements. All others will die of fear or take their own lives. Followers are warned that the Antichrist will use a computer chip to control people’s minds. One message claims that there is no salvation outside of Holy Love, and that this is the truth that Christ came to earth to reveal. Holy Love, not Jesus, is said to be the PATH and the WAY to salvation.
The Holy Love website advertising the Warning, which is called the great event to come, and “the Illumination of Consciences,” a time when every person will know his stance before God. According to the entity appearing, no one need wait for the moment to arrive because anyone who makes a pilgrimage to Maranatha Spring and Shrine will receive the Illumination. Those who live the messages are told that they come under the “seal” of Holy Love as a special sign of predestination and salvation. The “Warning” is being propagated in New Age and occult circles as Lucifer’s “Day of Declaration” and special marks offering protection are being given at most unapproved apparition sites.
Sound Catholic teaching does not include millenarianism, non-sacramental seals, the efficacy of prayer dependent upon the use of unapproved sacramentals, protection from tribulation by “surrendering” to unknown entities, refuge centers, the necessity of believing in private messages to be saved, the concept of the three days of darkness, and seeking signs and wonders as a means of building faith.
Father Ralph Wiatrowski issued a statement in August 1999 making it clear that Holy Love Ministries, also known as the Missionary Servants of Holy Love, has no approval or support from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. In a meeting held with diocesan officials, leaders of the group made it clear that the ministry is ecumenical and therefore not subject to the authority of the Catholic Church.
On November 11, 2009, the Most Reverend Richard Lennon, Bishop of Cleveland, issued the following decree concerning Holy Love Ministries:
For more information please visit Holy Love Ministries at Maranatha Spring.