Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Mary Ann Van Hoof, Necedah, Wisconsin
On November 12, 1949, Mary Ann Van Hoof began to receive visions and messages in Necedah, Wisconsin. She came to America from Transylvania, Hungary, with her mother, Elizabeth Bieber, a woman who had practiced spiritualism and witchcraft with the Hungarian gypsies. After moving to Kenosha, Wisconsin, Elizabeth became involved in séances and began to attend Spiritist camps in Wonewac with her daughter. Mary Ann was uneducated and could not write the messages herself without having the grammar heavily corrected by editors. She claimed that she had the stigmata and could bilocate, although testimonies from doctors vary considerably concerning the alleged wounds of Jesus’ passion. She died in 1984.
On August 15, 1950, over 100,000 people came to Necedah to witness the “miracle of the sun” that the seer had promised them. After arriving from forty states and in the presence of the news media, the multitude of bystanders began to stare at the sun when Mary Ann told them. Some claimed to see the sun spin, or change colors, while others saw a cross on it. Rosaries changed to a gold color. Countless cures of body and soul were reported. The occurrence gave birth to a multi-million dollar industry that continues to the present day, in spite of false prophecy and strange messages that received an immediate and forceful condemnation from the Catholic Church.
Mary Ann also claimed to see the Blessed Trinity and the angels and saints, all as six-inch figures that would appear on trees, fences, furniture, and every other conceivable place. The Virgin insisted that one’s religion was of little importance. Vatican II was said to be a false council and the new Mass was likewise condemned. It was said that all schools, churches, and governments had been infiltrated and that even food was being used as a form of mind control. Concerning the Church, the messages charged that three hundred thousand priests in the United States were “planted” communist spies and should not be obeyed.
The messages contain emotionally-charged language condemning the Catholic Church, modern American society, communism, religious men and women, “colored races,” Vatican II, the feminist movement, LSD and marijuana, abortion, immodest dress, synthetic materials, communion in the hand, and other issues that have plagued many Americans for more than fifty years. Van Hoof also reported messages from entities who identified themselves as Mother Cabrini and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The entity named Mother Cabrini referred to the Mother of God as “Mama Maria” and advised everyone to learn how to sew and preserve food in preparation for the coming chastisements.
Bishop John Treacy of Necedah investigated the alleged apparitions and ordered all activities stopped in 1950 by saying, “All claims regarding supernatural revelations and visions made by the aforementioned Mrs. Van Hoof are false. Furthermore, all public and private religious worship connected with these false claims is prohibited…” In 1969 Bishop Treacy was succeeded by Bishop Frederick Freking, who ordered another investigation. The new bishop ordered the shrine closed, but Mary Ann told her followers that they must obey “Our Lady of Necedah” rather than the bishop. In 1972 the bishop informed Mary Ann that he would take sanctions if his directives were not followed.
In 1975 Bishop Freking excommunicated and refused the sacraments to anyone who attended, participated, approved, associated with, or contributed to anything associated with Necedah, including pageants, prayer meetings, devotions, venerations, visits, meetings, classes, secret meetings, séances, movies, books, or anything else, whether at the Shrine itself or away from it. Mary Ann responded by bringing in an excommunicated bishop, Edward Stehlik. Van Hoof’s followers are now affiliated with the American National Catholic Church, an Old Catholic schismatic organization. They are currently integrated into an associated network of schismatic Marian apparitions.
For more information please visit Mary Ann Van Hoof - Necedah, Wisconsin.