We should not consider apparitions of the Virgin Mary as an exceptional occurence: Our Lady - our dear Mother Mary - who was given to us by Christ Himself, is very close to her children. She actively takes care of each one of us, even though it may not always seem apparent to the human eye.
Many of us may ask this question: why does God almost always send the Blessed Virgin to us rather than the other saints in heaven? The answer is that God Himself is obviously not affected by some kind of "Marian devotion", so often denounced by our contemporaries. (Although it is not clear what damages Marian devotion could actually cause!) The explanation is to be found in the unique and splendid role that the Lord chose to entrust to His Mother in the economy of Salvation.
Mary is the One who gave us the Christ and she is still the One who leads us to Him! And she is a very active guide, in particular by the means of her apparitions: experts from the 42nd Marian Week in Saragossa in 1986 counted at least 21,000 Marian apparitions since the year 1000, although the Church has only officially authenticated a few.
During the 20th century alone, 400 Marian apparitions were recorded (or at least claimed), and 200 of these apparitions came from the period between 1944 - 1993
The majority of the apparitions were accompanied by signs and astonishing wonders which are the signature that God often gives His works to authenticate them. Seven of these apparitions have been officially recognized as having a supernatural character by the local bishop:
To these we should add:
which are apparitions recognized by the Coptic pope.
In seventeen cases, the bishops in charge - independently of a judgment concerning the supernatural character of the facts - have authorized the faithful to worship where the apparitions originally took place. In the majority of the cases, the Church chooses to refrain from hastily pronouncing an official decision. Only seventy-nine apparitions have received a negative or reserved judgment. What is of the utmost importance is that the worship and prayers which develop around the events remain in a healthy practice of the faith.
We must always remember the importance of ensuring pastoral accompaniment: spiritual direction allows the seed sown by the Holy Virgin to fully grow in maturity without unnecessary hindrances so as to produce all the fruits of grace that God expected from sending the Virgin Mary to visit her children...