Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa was forty-two years old when she joined a small group of devout women known as the Institute of the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist who lived quiet, hidden lives of prayer in Yuzawadai on the outskirts of Akita. At the time, Sister Agnes, a convert from Buddhism, was totally deaf.
Exactly one month after her acceptance, an extraordinary event took place when something like fog gathered around the altar in the little convent church. Then a multitude of angels surrounded the altar in adoration before the Sacred Host. When this first apparition took place, Bishop Ito was staying at the convent to conduct a week of devotions. Sister Agnes confided the occurrence to the bishop as well as the convent’s spiritual director, Rev. Teiji Yasuda, both of whom witnessed events that would take place later. Sister’s Guardian Angel frequently visited her, but the most extraordinary event took place on the evening of June 28, 1973, when Sr. Agnes discovered a cross-shaped wound on the palm of her left hand that caused excruciating pain. A small opening appeared in the center from which blood began to flow.
The next morning, July 6, 1973, Sister’s Guardian Angel suggested that they pray together in the chapel before the image of the Blessed Mother. This statue had been carved from the hard wood of the Judea tree in 1965, by M. Saburo Wakasa, a Buddhist sculptor renowned in the area. The statue of Our Lady is about three feet tall. She stands before a large cross with her arms at her side and the palms of her hands facing forward. Beneath her feet is a globe representing the world.
When sister approached the statue, “I suddenly felt that the wooden statue came to life and was about to speak to me… She was bathed in a brilliant light… and at the same moment a voice of indescribable beauty struck my totally deaf ears.” The Lady promised, “Your deafness will be healed.” The vision recited a community prayer with Sr. Agnes, but at the words, “Jesus present in the Eucharist,” the vision instructed, “From now on you will add TRULY.” The Lady then suggested, “Pray very much for the pope, bishops and priests…”
The following morning, when the sisters assembled for the recitation of the Office, they discovered blood on the right hand of the statue and a wound which perfectly resembled that on the hand of Sr. Agnes. It was noticed that while the blood ran the length of the statue’s hand, which was open and pointing downward, the drops never fell from it.
The wound on the hand of Sr. Agnes appeared on Thursday, June 28, and disappeared, as predicted by the Guardian Angel, on Friday, July 27, without leaving a trace.
A message from Our Lady came on August 3, 1973,
“Many men in this world afflict the Lord… In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind… I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of His Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father’s anger… know that you must be fastened to the Cross with three nails. These three nails are poverty, chastity and obedience. Of the three, obedience is the foundation.”
The third and final message of Our Lady came on October 13, 1973, the anniversary of the great miracle of Fatima. While reciting the Rosary, Sr. Agnes again heard the heavenly voice warning the world.
“As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priest nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the sign left by my Son. Each day recite the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the pope, the bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres… Churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardons for them… Pray very much the prayer of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved.”