History of the Apparitions

Prologue

This site was created by two people who travel regularly to Ostina. There are essentially three objectives:

1) Transmitting the Madonna's messages in obedience to Her own words (messages #19 from August 25, 1996, and #23 from April 27, 1997) and encouraging us to make Ostina known as a place of grace and prayer (message #33 from December 27, 1998).

2) Offering an opportunity to those who live far from Ostina to send in their prayer intentions. These will be printed on paper, and deposited in the sacristy on the day of the Madonna's apparition.

3) To give information to get to Ostina.

Ostina

Ostina is a village of few dwellings, and is a short distance from Reggello, which is a community in the Province of Florence in Tuscany. The name Ostina could have either an Etruscan or Roman origin, and in ancient Latin, could mean: "the place of the oil works." We know with certitude that San Tommaso (St. Thomas) church already existed in 1295. This is the same church that we can admire today, and which holds a very important place in the history of the apparitions.

It all began on July 10, 1993, on a hot summer afternoon. Silvana Orlandi, a housewife, mother of four children, was taking a walk with her son Giacomo near San Tommaso church. All of a sudden, she saw a small cloud of smoke at the height of the sacristy. She immediately thought there was a fire, but the smoke quickly took the shape of a human body. The image asked if she wanted to speak with her, and if she did, that she should be at the sacristy five days later.

Those were five terrible days. She didn't dare speak of what had happened to anyone, not even to her husband Luciano, for fear of being taken for a visionary or a fool. In fact, up to that time, she hadn't been a very religious person. She'd had her babies baptized more for the sake of convention than of conviction. She went to the church alone on the day of the rendez-vous. All of the fear had vanished, and on the contrary, she felt greatly energized. In the sacristy, near 6 PM, she fell into ecstasy for the first time. She saw the Divine Vision, and received the first message which was to be divulged to the faithful. The tiny church, known only to a few, would shortly become a Marian site, and would be frequented by large crowds of pilgrims.

After the second apparition, Silvana had the courage to reveal the entire story to her husband, as well as to the Curate of Viaggio, Don Emanuele. The news of the apparitions began to circulate by word of mouth, and it was during this time that the first miraculous healing took place. There are documented proofs, and detailed testimonies of this miracle. A second rendez-vous was set for August 15, and it was on this occasion that the apparition declared Herself to be the Madonna, and invited everyone to much prayer. According to Silvana's testimony, the Madonna appeared as a young lady, dressed very somberly in robes of blue, white or maroon. On December 8, 1993, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Madonna, who was dressed in sky blue, asked that the church be reconsecrated for ... "the reconciliation of all poor souls with the Lord" ...

In the beginning, each time, Mary announced the date of the next meeting. The time varied, but the place always remained the same: the sacristy of the church in Ostina. In time, the reports of the apparitions spread, and hundreds of people flocked to the site. The first prayer intentions began to arrive, prayer requests addressed to the Madonna. Hand written papers, first in the dozens, and then in the hundreds, were deposited in a glass vase on the altar.

At the time of the May 29, 1994 meeting, the Madonna, dressed in white, and with a crown in Her hand, declared Herself to be the Madonna of Reconciliation.

The meetings continued, and the Madonna always asked for prayer, much prayer ... "because only prayer keeps evil at a distance" ... A special commission was appointed by the Bishop of Fiesole, Monsignor Luciano Giovannetti, in order to keep track of what was happening in the church at Ostina.

For Silvana, the moment of testing had begun. There was the spitefulness and jealousy of incredulous scandalmongers, but there was also a long series of tests and examinations which she accepted in order to be obedient to the church authorities. During this time, there were also events that were, to all appearances, attacks by the evil one.

The December 8, 1994 apparition is important. It was the ninth message that the Madonna had dictated to Silvana. She was dressed in sky blue, and said: ... "tell your curate that I will continue coming on the last Sunday of every second month for a long time." ... On the occasion, She said: ... "Honor the Father and the Son, because the Father and the Son and the people on earth are one thing only" ...

From the very beginning, and continuing through today, incredible events have been taking place. They are real mysteries which don't have a rational explanation, but which are common in so many other Marian sites. One of the phenomena is the sun pulsating like a beating heart, and dancing in the sky. It's possible to stare at it with the naked eye. There are rays of sunlight which suddenly illuminate the church, although the sky is heavily overcast. Strangely, birds fly in groups toward the church at the same time as the Blessed Mother is appearing to Silvana. There are images that appear in photographs, like the silhouette of the Madonna, or a luminous door, caught in the sky. It's evident that there hasn't been any tampering, because the photos were taken with Polaroids, and the those present are able to watch the image as it appears. All who who frequent Ostina can confirm that they have experienced more than one of this sort of event. The phenomena occurring at Ostina is so plentiful that it's practically impossible to relate it all.

We're also speaking of many healings as demonstrated by the offerings suspended behind the glass case of the Madonna of Reconciliation, which can be found to the right of the main altar of the church of San Tommaso. Often, those are from youths or adolescents who were healed of incurable diseases - diseases for which medicine no longer offered any hope of recovery. We know the names and addresses of various people, we even know that they wanted to offer proof in the form of medical documentation to the religious authorities; however, often people prefer to show their gratitude through a symbolic gesture, like the case of the precious ring which has been placed on the finger of the Madonna's statue in the sacristy. Being that the church is always open, and that there's a continuous influx of pilgrims, an evil intentioned person arrived and broke the finger of the statue in order to steal the ring. The reaction was such that the robber thought it best to quickly replace the jewel.

Another usual scene which the faithful of the little church in Ostina witness: the arrival of the "demoniacs." During the procession which normally follows the apparition, that is, when the pilgrims file out of the sacristy in which Silvana sees the Madonna, it often happens that a person will approach the door of the sacristy and begin howling insults and blasphemies, terrifying everyone there. When this happens, the volunteers, with great difficulty, bring the unhappy person into the sacristy. It's astonishing to see these people come back out, peaceful and calm, and mix with the crowd as if nothing had happened.

It's impossible to talk about all of the events related to the apparitions, but it's right to relate certain facts. For a brief time, all religious functions were suspended. Actually, not only were they begun again, but since February 2001, on each apparition day, in the church and in the sacristy, groups of pilgrims are admitted, with priority going to the sick and infirm.
In June 2000, the Medical-Theological-Scientific Commission, presided over by a priest who is an exorcist, and made up of lawyers and scientists, proclaimed: "it is not necessary to resort to the assumption of a supernatural explanation concerning the events of Ostina." On behalf of the Curia of Fiesole, we add: "The cult, which is now somewhat limited, and which continues in this parish church, has as its only aim, the accompanying of the faithful in their prayers."

In spite of the observations of the curia, it has been revealed that the Bishop did not personally intervene, and he is the only one who has jurisdiction over the diocese.

The Church's actions were taken out of natural prudence, as has been shown in similar manifestations, including Medjugorje. Meanwhile, faithful to the Madonna's Messages, the pilgrims continue, and will continue, to come to Ostina to invoke Her and pray to Her.