An all-outdoor sanctuary, without buildings, perhaps more unique than rare in the world, is the one dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes near Turzovka, in northern Slovakia. The Virgin revealed the future of the Church and the world to a forest ranger.
Turzovka is located at the crossroads of three countries: Poland, Slovakia and Moravia. The Sanctuary is located 800 meters away, in a clearing, on the road that leads to the Schiwtschak mountain, and presents itself with a large cross, a semicircle Via Crucis and numerous votive offerings hanging from the branches of the trees.
Its origin dates back to June 1, 1958, exactly 100 years after Lourdes, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Mattia Laschut, a forest ranger on duty, (born in 1916) between June 1 and August 14, receives from Mary, Most Holy, an apparition while he was kneeling in front of a painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help hanging from a pine from time immemorial.
At the end of an Ave Maria, he noticed white roses on the ground that served as a carpet to welcome a smiling, white-dressed Lady, girded on her waist with a blue sash, in the act of crushing the head of the serpent with her heel, and with the right index finger towards the picture, disappeared and replaced by a large map of the world without the borders of the various nations. The appearance was that of the Immaculate Conception of Lourdes.
The geographical map is covered with three colors: the blue color indicating the sea; yellow the plains, and green the mountains and forests. Under the world map appears a black tablet on which are explained the changes that will happen on the map of the world. He notices seven changes in all. The first four and the last – the seventh – are regarding everything; the fifth and sixth he can only say them to the Holy Father. The first phase shows the colors in their symbolic meaning. The green color marks the boundary of Good and Hope of Salvation; the yellow color, the Evil and the Punishments. On the tablet it is written: “The plains are worse, and therefore they will be destroyed sooner… The green areas near the mountains will have the first hope of salvation. At the end it is written: “Do Penance! Pray for the priests! Say the Holy Rosary! “
The second image will see Evil advancing in the world, so the yellow color widens and cancels the green. In the third figure the yellow color submerges and covers the whole earth and a rain of fire falls from the clouds. The writing says:
“If men do not correct themselves, punishments and frightening catastrophes – sporadic or frequent – will come and men will be wiped out in various ways.
[…] Laschut sees gigantic craters and explosions that throw frightening content from the abyss that shakes everything around it from a distance. Wherever this substance or matter falls, all life ceases. Such are the consequences of sin: destruction, desert, spiritual death of all living beings. Fearful are the punishments, which were shown to Laschut, which men build with their own hands. The writing that appears on the tablet is a harsh warning:
“If men do not convert, they will be taken away with punishment.”
The seventh image is comforting. It shows what the world would be like if men lived according to the commandments of God. The globe is illuminated by the sun, a flowering, accord and peace can be seen on it. On the top stands Our Lady of Lourdes with the Rosary in her hand, she shows it to all peoples as a sign that with it and through it they can reach well-being, peace, tranquility. This salvation is conditionally signified. It depends entirely on men, if they do penance and change their lives. Only in this way can they be saved. For this reason, the Queen of Heaven comes down to us, to admonish us, to warn us, encourage and help us, because the power of the Evil One is tremendous.
The changes that occurred earlier highlighted his tremendous dominance, but the power of the Immaculate Conception is incomparably greater, says Laschut. She tramples and crushes Satan’s head with her heel! It only depends on us to give ourselves all to her and to do all we can to live in everything according to her heart and her example.
The emotion took Laschut so much that it made him lose consciousness and, when he recovered after three hours, he found a rosary next to him on the ground. He felt cured of all his infirmities (rheumatism, sciatica, chronic cough, etc.). Then he realized that Our Lady had wanted to show him three shortcomings to be corrected:
1. to take care of and learn the recitation of the Holy Rosary;
2. to receive the sacraments as often as possible;
3. to foster friendship with all men.
On the same day, the visionary paid a visit to all the neighbors with whom he had had disagreements in the past. When the latter received the unexpected visit from the man they thought that he was no longer normal. The following day Matthias took the sacraments and started a new life according to Christ.
Before retiring from that place, Our Lady appeared to him five more times. For three months the seer was silent on the apparitions. On 7 September he felt authorized to narrate his mystical experience for the first time; consequently, many faithful went to that place on a pilgrimage. Mattia recounted and explained with great discernment the meaning of those apparitions and the feelings received, then predicted that he would be arrested three days later. In fact, on the third day after this prophecy, he was interned as mentally ill. After several investigations and unnecessary pressure to induce him to retract everything he had said in public, Mattia was released. In December 1958 a spring was discovered on the site of the apparitions.
The messages recommended penance, prayer for priests and religious and the recitation of the holy Rosary; they foreshadowed also disconcerting punishments looming over sinful humanity: “If men do not correct themselves, fearful, sporadic or frequent punishments and catastrophes will come, and men will be wiped out in various ways”.
The communist authorities imposed silence and put the seer in prison, declaring him mad, while the ecclesiastical authority seemed favorable, but to date he has not issued any official judgment. Pilgrims flock to the place in increasing rhythm and proclaim miracles of healing, particularly from incurable evils.
Here is what Don Silvio Dellandrea wrote in the report on the apparitions of Turzovka on December 20, 1978:
“… Pilgrims go to the spring of water, which gushes about a hundred meters east of the place of the apparition and which was discovered by the second seer Jurai Kovalek. The three springs are always crowded with people. The water is collected in iron pipes.
“Mary knew well that the people here are poor and cannot even obtain permission to build a large church, a large shrine. But it is already there! The large tall trees form the columns of the nave of the church, and the crowns of them the roof, while the semicircle, raised at the bottom, forms an ideal loggia. That here we can truly pray is shown by the fact that many people are deeply recollected. It is noted above all how individual men enter the scene from time to time and lead the prayer, or the individual groups.”
“It had already been observed on other occasions that Mary had always appeared only to children. Here She appeared to three men; and men are now, as can be seen, the driving force behind the pilgrimages. …”
Don Silvio dell’Andrea also manages to do an interview with Turzovka’s first visionary, Laschut, discovering that as a child he often suffered from hunger, making him weak in the stomach, his religious education was catastrophically poor and incomplete. For four years Laschut had had three military honors, which he didn’t care about at all, because he was not enthusiastic at all, nor did he have a passion for being a soldier.
“… For two years he has not gone to the place of the apparition. Reason? He says, “If I go there, everyone looks at me instead of praying and thinking about God!” Laschut has fulfilled the task he had from Our Lady. The apparitions have been over for years; nevertheless, he receives visits from many people. There are those who go to him if they had been healed; there are those who go to him to ask some advice …”
“… Turzovka belongs to the diocese of Nitra in Slovakia. The Bishop, Msgr. Netzej initially prohibited going to the place of the apparitions in Turzovka; he later lifted this prohibition. Appointed Archbishop, he was on the point of going to Rome to visit the Holy Father. While traveling, he suddenly fell ill in Prague, and died in 1968. Since then, the diocese has been governed by an Apostolic Administrator. The Episcopal Ordinariate has organized a commission to draw up a protocol, collecting the declarations concerning the apparitions from Mattia Laschut personaly under oath. …”
“… I find absolutely no reason not to believe the testimony of such a man. Unfortunately, we were unable to speak to the other two visionaries, because both died. Kovalek died precisely in 1964; however, we had the opportunity to speak with his daughter, who confirmed to us that her father is the authentic discoverer of these springs, and that before there were no springs at all there. “
“The third visionary, Luigi Lasak, died on January 27, 1970. […] Mary appeared to him three times in a dream and ordered him to carve a statue of her. It was such a demand for a simple miner who did not have the slightest idea of sculpture! The whole family was unsettled and advised against it fearing they might make a bad public image. […] Since there is still no shrine in Turzovka, this statue remained in Lasak’s home in Hultschin. Everyone can see in person this masterpiece. … “
“… The Communists are, yes, the masters of this territory; but the heart of this people does not belong to them. It belongs to God and Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. “
MESSAGES and PROMISES of OUR LADY
“I am the Daughter of the Eternal Father. I am the Bride of the Holy Spirit. I am the Mother of the Son. Look at me carefully! You see a cut in My neck. This is the sign of the hatred of those who want to fight and attack me. My cloak is unfastened on the right shoulder, so that it can be dropped every moment to lay it on you.
Whoever prays in front of My image, upon these I spread My mantle as Daughter of the Father.
Where My Miraculous image is brought – churches or houses – there I leave My mantle.
Whoever invokes me nine times with the words: “QUEEN OF TURZOVKA, LAY YOUR COAT ON ME!”, I protect him as Mother of the Son.
When My mantle protected the Miraculous Image, an impenetrable space formed on it. Thus I will form an impenetrable space on you with My mantle. In this space you will be able to pray, offer and receive the Holy Sacraments. But don’t forget that it was your Queen who built this church.
Within this sacred enclosure you must offer your gifts to God by My hand. I ennoble your gifts and pass them on to God for you. God accepts them from me! – I defend you from the hatred of your enemies and from all evil! – God does not abandon you in the burning flames, but immerses you in the flames of Love. I lead you as QUEEN and MOTHER to the KING of the world, my SON – I provide for your eternal life and I will help you.
Sources from www.chiesacattolica.it