Japanese Wooden Statue Weeps, Sheds Blood, and Performs Miracles
Created in the 1960s by a Buddhist woodcarver, the wooden Virgin Mary resided quietly for years in the chapel of a Japanese convent in the northwestern town Akita. Yet today, the statue and her tiny chapel are world renowned for miraculous apparitions and healings. Beginning in 1973, the solid wooden statue was seen weeping, perspiring, and bleeding. She also reportedly cured a deaf nun and healed a visitor’s brain tumor. Scientists have not been able to explain these phenomena. Catholic leaders have approved of the Lady of Akita miracles, albeit hesitantly.
The Miracle of Sister Agnes
Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa, 42, entered the Our Lady of Akita convent in May 1973. A recent convert from Buddhism, Sister Agnes had spent the past several decades battling numerous health problems, believed to have stemmed from a botched appendix surgery. For years, she had been deaf in her left ear and slowly, her ability to hear out of her right hear was diminishing. A few months before entering the convent, her hearing was officially lost, as documented by her application for and approval of state disability subsidies. As per state policy, her total and incurable deafness was confirmed by two experts (Dr. Sawada of the Niigata Rosai Hospital in Joetsu, Niigata and Dr. Arai of the Eye and Ear Division of Akita Red Cross Hospital) in order for her to receive the disability payments.
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After only a few weeks of being at Akita, Sister Agnes witnessed the first miracle of the Virgin Mary statue. On June 12, 1973, a brilliant light shone around the chapel’s Tabernacle and an apparition like smoke or mist hovered in the air over the altar. Sister Agnes saw “a multitude of beings similar to Angels who surrounded the altar in adoration before the Host.” She was also visited by an apparition she believed to be her guardian Angel, whom she described as having “a round face, an expression of sweetness . . . a person covered with a shining whiteness like snow.” The Angel prayed with Sister Agnes and offered her advice and guidance. The nun confided the miraculous events to the Catholic leader in the area, Bishop John Shojiro Ito, as well as the convent’s director, Reverend Teiji Yasuda.
Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa . ( ajoyly.blogspot.com)
Beginning on June 28, 1973, Sister Agnes began having stigmatic experiences (wounds or sensations of pain on the wrists and/or feet in the places where Jesus was nailed to the cross). On the palm of her left hand, a small, cross-shaped wound appeared and began to bleed. The pain would start on Thursday nights and continue on throughout Friday, at times becoming almost too much for Sister Agnes to bear. Yet her guardian Angel came and comforted her, saying “The wounds of Mary are much deeper and more sorrowful than yours. Let us go to pray together in the chapel.”
Sister Sasagawa praying. ( YouTube Screenshot )
After praying, Sister Agnes looked to the statue of the Virgin Mary. The three-foot tall statue was carved out a single piece of hardwood from the Judea tree. It features the Virgin standing in front of a cross with her arms held slightly forward by her sights, palms face up, in a gesture of invitation and welcome. The Virgin is depicted standing on a globe. There were no joints or cracks in the statue yet, on July 6, 1973,
“I suddenly felt that the wooden statue came to life and was about to speak to me,” said Sister Agnes. “She was bathed in a brilliant light . . . and at the same moment, a voice of indescribable beauty struck my totally deaf ears… [The Virgin said] ‘Your deafness will be healed’”
Our Lady in Akita weeping. ( ajoyly.blogspot.com)
The next day, as the nuns gather for prayers, they were shocked to discovered blood flowing from the right wrist of the statue. Every Friday throughout that July, the wound would reappear and blood would issue forth from it to the astonishment of numerous visitors.
“It seemed to be truly cut into flesh,” said another nun of the covenant. “The edge of the cross had the aspect of human flesh and one even saw the grain of the skin like a fingerprint. I said to myself at that moment that the wound was real.” At the end of July, the wounds of Sister Agnes disappeared; the wounds of the Virgin Mary would remain until September 29, although no longer bleeding.