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Immaculate Solicitation

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Mary needs your cash

By Millie

I've been on the our lady of the roses mailing list ever since my roommate saw a billboard on I-5 that proclaimed "Mary is Back!" Knowing I wouldn't want to miss out on the excitement, he called the toll-free number (1-800-of the Roses) and left my name and address.

The solicitations arrive sporadically--maybe four times a year. A humble drawing of the Virgin Mary graces the envelope. Inside, a direct mail piece includes all the traditional bells and whistles of a religious solicitation--an urgent plea for support, a special premium for high-level gifts, the requisite return envelope and quotes from "the Lord Jesus himself." One such solicitation read, "There will be a format to include My Mother's Message to the world biweekly, in directives to our clergy and laity." --Jesus, 12:45PM, Aug. 20, 1975.

My own call to the holy hotline yielded the following details: On June 18, 1970, Veronica Lueken, then 58 years old, looked out her window and saw the Virgin Mary hovering high above her working-class neighborhood of Bayside, N.Y. The sighting changed her life and the life of the devoted flock who came to believe her vision.

For the next 24 years at weekly rosary vigils, Veronica would channel the Virgin Mary, Saint Teresa and even Jesus Christ himself. The whole thing was captured on audiotape and is available exclusively through the "Our Lady of the Roses Mary Help of Mother Shrine."

Although Veronica (now known as "Veronica of the Cross") passed on to the eternal plane in 1994, rosary vigils continue daily at 7pm and each Sunday at 10:30am in Flushing Meadows Park in New York. Send for your free Vigil Calendar, so you can arrange a satellite service in your own home. For only $8, you can receive an "Our Lady of the Roses" introductory packet, which includes an explanatory cover letter, recent miraculous pictures of the sacred grounds where the shrine was built and an audiotape of Veronica speaking "the Bayside Message."

The main goal of the mail piece appears to be to raise money to construct a shrine where Veronica had her vision. The woman on the hotline assured me that once Rome has accepted Veronica as a true martyr, they will step in to build a massive basilica and water would spring from the earth to mark the spot. (Like the new Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas?) Rome hasn't warmed up to Veronica. In fact, local Catholic clergy have even investigated the whole phenomena. The folks at Our Lady of the Roses are scraping together the cash to release audiotapes of Veronica's answer to the clergy's investigation. Since we all know Veronica was just the Virgin Mary's mouthpiece, the tapes could contain some pretty heavy input from the higher-ups.

The solicitation includes testimonials from folks who are the beneficiaries of miracles thanks to Our Lady. Margaret of Brooklyn was "bleeding inside" when her prayers to Our Lady cured her. G.S. in Baton Rouge, L.A. saw his desire to smoke cease on May 25, after praying over rose petals from Our Lady's shrine. The testimonials go on--protection from tornadoes, reunited families, even job offers.

I call another toll-free number listed in the materials, 1-888/349-MARY. I mistakenly dial 800 instead of 888. Tellingly, I connect to a psychic line. Come to think of it, didn't Dionne Warwick record a single titled "Our Lady of the Roses" on one of her comeback albums? That's the problem with mumbo jumbo like Our Lady and Dionne Warwick. It's always making a comeback.

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From the November 16-29, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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