Roses in December:

Mary's Garden of Miracles

By Dom Forker


Book Reviewed by Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.--JULY, 2008


The mustard seeds give rise to trees but need time to grow.  Ultimately, however, they will become trees, where the birds of the skies will come and build their nests.  In the plan of salvation history, it appears that the little "birds" have not only sown the seeds but also have pre-empted the Eternal Father's spiritual stewards.


This has happened in places like Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, and Akita, and in  climes like Fostoria, Garabandal, Medjugorje and Emmitsburg, where eagles fail to soar.  In fact, they are in every strategic place on the face of the earth, and they are chronicled in this book.  So we have its title, Roses in December: Mary's Garden of MiraclesThis fascinating book begins, then, with the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and continues on with Our Lady of the Rosary, of the Miraculous Medal, and of Victories.  Also, the story of many other apparitions and interventions of Our Lady in history are included:  Donglu (China), the Ukraine, Kazan, Fatima, Garabandal, Islam, Akita, Betania, Cuapa, Medjugorje, Rwanda, the Philippines, up to the present, Emmitsburg.  This is an excellent book for those who value Our Lady's apparitions and want an account of what really happened in these different parts of the world.


For example, one day, 10 February 1910, Berthe Petit (1870-1943), a Belgian mystic, saw the hearts of Jesus and Mary interpenetrating and heard Jesus say:  "You must think of My Mother's Heart as you think of Mine; live in this heart as you seek to live in Mine; give yourself to this heart as you give yourself to Mine.  You must spread the love of this heart so wholly united to Mine."  Several days later, He told her (Berthe Petit) of her special mission:  to obtain the consecration of the whole world to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.


This book is a story as well of saints who were especially devoted to Mary:  Teresa of Avila, Catherine Laboure and Therese of Lisieux; Louis de Montfort, Bartolo Longo, John Bosco, Padre Pio and Maximilian Kolbe, among others.  But not all the saints met with the admiration of the authorities, nor were their experiences of Our Lady recognized.  St. Padre Pio, for example, during his lifetime drew a great deal of attention, much of it negative.  Fr. Agostino Gemelli, a noted psychologist, examined Pio’s wounds on 18 April 1920, and charged that Padre Pio was a fraud.  His report impressed Pope Pius XI, who ordered some decrees of prohibition against Padre Pio between 1923 and 1933.  But Our Lord and Our Lady appeared to Padre Pio often.  "The Blessed Mother accompanies me to the altar and remains at my side while I offer up the Holy Mass,” he explained.  One day Padre Pio was asked by a priest at the monastery: "Does the Blessed Mother ever visit your room?"  He answered, "Why don't you ask me instead, 'Does she ever leave your room?'"


Dom Forker's book concludes with a powerful defense of the apparitions of Our Lady of Emmitsburg to Gianna Sullivan.  Among the many messages Gianna receives from God the Father is one on 8 December 2005"Seek refuge in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is united to the Most sorrowful and Loving Heart of My Son.  You cannot have one without the other….She is imploring My help in all of this for those who desire to be consecrated to Me; and I will now intervene and want all to seek refuge in her.  Peace for those who desire it!  Peace for those who need it!   Peace, peace (fading whisper).”


This book reminds us again how apparitions, visions, and locutions of heavenly figures have played an important role in the life of the Church throughout its history.  Fr. Rene Laurentin says that the topic of apparitions is "the most poorly known and the least scientifically studied in all of theology."


The main rationale given for this attitude is that we no longer have need of "private revelations," since all that we need to know for our salvation was given to us in the doctrine imparted by Jesus Christ through His apostles, recorded in Sacred Scripture, and perpetuated in the history of the Church.  But the purpose of apparitions is not to add to the doctrine of the faith; it is to remind us of things we have neglected or may not have noticed, to help us direct our lives in accord with the faith, and to encourage us when we are tempted to lose heart.  For this reason, we can thank Dom Forker for the great amount of research that must have gone into this important little work.


ROSES IN DECEMBER:  Mary's Garden of Miracles, by Dom Forker, Fanstar Publishing,

53 Dawn Road, Milford, NJ  08848, (908) 995-2952, domfork@ptd.net