Three Visionaries, Our Lady Of Lourdes Shrine In Melleray Grotto, County Waterford, Ireland, 1985
Status: Currently Being Investigated
Episcopal Remarks: N/A
Corroboration by Other Seers: N/A
Biographical Information: Melleray Grotto is a little Grotto located one mile below the Cistercian Monestary of Mount Melleray in the Knockmealdown Mountains in Waterford County, Ireland. High on the cliff face is set a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is the site of the apparitions. By the side of the Grotto flows the small Monavugga River. The Cistercian Monks first came to this area in 1832 and eventually set up the statue of Our Lady. Ursual O’Rourke, a seventeen year old local teenager was the first to see Our Lady. This happened on August 16, 1985 while Ursual was at the Grotto with her mother, her sister Mary and her brothers John and Donal. To her amazement, she noticed that the ststaue of Our Lady was moving. When Ursula finally said “Why me?” Our Lady smiled and when Ursual said “Please bless all my family,” Our Lady smiled even more. When Ursual told her mother, they all went back right away to the Grotto to find Our Lady still there. This time, Mary, John and Donal also saw Our Lady, but She did not speak. Ursual was to receive no messages directly from Our Lady; however she was involved with messages given to the two boys. On August 17, 1985 the statue again moved as witnessed by several people. There were no messages, only visions of Jesus and Padre Pio were given to various people. The following day was Sunday, August 18, 1985. On this day Tom Cliffe, age twelve, came to the Grotto with his father and saw the face of Jesus on the statue. After he told his parents, the family returned to the Grotto and that is when Tom first saw the statue change and move back and forth and become a living person. Our Lady spoke to Tom but he was so frightened that he did not hear clearly what Our Lady said. Either she said “I want to” or “I want you” Tom said he did not want to come back because he was frightened. It was on this same date that Our Lady also appeared to farmer Michael O’Donnell and said to him “Preserve Sunday for prayer”. Commencing on August 19, 1985 Tom Cliffe and his eleven year old cousin Barry Buckley both saw Our Lady at the Grotto every evening for two and one-half hours, except on August 19th when Our Lady appeared to the two boys twice, about two hours each time. It seems that Barry called Tom to play for the day and they ended up at the Grotto. Shortly, after they started playing the rosary, they noticfed the statue change and Her robe was blowing in the wind. Children were running around and it was noisy. Our Lady said “Behave” When no one paid attention, tears flowed from the statue and splashed onto the ground. Our Lady asked for prayer, then the boys received two biblical visions: one of the First pentecost and one of the Last Supper. Because it was getting cold, the boys went home but returned to the Grotto again at about 8.00pm. This time Ursual joined them. Our Lady was now at the top of the Grotto standing on a manifested flight of stairs. She walked down the stairs and gave a message of peace and prayer. She also warned that people have 10 years to improve and pray, and if they don’t , then this is what will happen. Then the boys received another biblical vision, this time of the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark
On August 20th Tom and Barry again received messages. Ursual was present also. Again Our Lady gave a stern warning that the world had ten years to imrpove. Then Tom re ceived a biblical vision of the “Doubting Thomas” When the boys told Our Lady they had to leave She said “That is all right. I will see you tommorrow” Ursual and the two boys again went to the grotto on August 21st. The Grotto was crowded and many cars and people were outside the Grotto unable to get in. This was the night the boys heard Our Lady singing: “Peace is flowing like a river” This was also the first night that the public address (PA) system was rigged so the boys could speak into the microphone and let the crowds know what was happening and also speak out the messages as they were given to them. Our Lady announced that She was pleased with Ireland and wanted the people of Ireland to convey her messages. The boys then received another biblical vision; this time Our Lord was sleeping in the boat during a storm. This vision was described over the PA system. Then Our Lady said her message was “for peace, prayer and no more fighting in the world”. The boys then received a biblical vision of the Nativity. Then Our Lady told the boys “I will make a movement to the people” This was announced over the PA system. Then things really began to happen. It seems that not only the two boys but many people saw Our Lady move her head towards the crowd on the road. The statue turned several times, people gasped as this happened and the boys announced what they saw over the PA system as it was occuring. Our Lady said She hoped most of the people saw Her. Suddenly the boys announced She was coming down the steps and looking towards the road. People backed away, but Our Lady assured the crowd through the boys “Be not Afraid, I will never hurt you” She also said “I want the people out on the road to see Me because I will leave soon” And there were many who did see Our Blessed Lady that night.
The next night August 22nd Our Lady appeared and asked for more prayers and again asked for the hymn “Peace is flowing like a river” Her message was stern “The entire world must improve…If the world does not improve, the devil will take over God’s Church in ten years” It was then that Satan appeared at Our lady’s left side jeering at Her. This frighetned the boys. However on the next night Ausgut 23rd Our Lady again reassured us with Her message. With your faith and prayers, you can overcome the devil. Again She asked for more prayer sna promised “I will show Myself to more peoplein more places” On August 24th Our Lady affirmed that She was the Mother of Jesus Christ. This was the final apparition to these two boys.
The Grotto today is as much as it was then. Pilgrims constantly visit the Grotto. Many later visions of Our Lord, Our Lady, Padre Pio and otyhers have been reported. Also the phenomenon of the”Dance of the Sun” has been reported on several occasions. Rosary and prayer groups are set up Saturdays and Sundays. Numerous physical and spiritual healings are reported. The children were at first ridiculed. Many people refused to believe but in spite of these obstacles, the children continued to do their part to spread the messages as Our Lady requested. The children each affirmed in writing their unwavering and solemn belief in the visions and the messages. Barry Buckley gave his written affirmation before a priest less than one month before his sudden death. It is reported that the Bishop is conducting an investigation. No decision is reported.
Usually the boys saw the statue move back and forth, then the gown on the statue would blow in the wind just before they saw the apparition. Invariably they were praying the rosary when Our Lady appeared…
In addition to these three central visionaries, there were several other people present at the Grotto during the period frok August 16th to August 24th 1985 who reported having visions and apparitions, some of whom received messages. Of note is Michael O’Donnell who reported having visions of Our Lord’s face and also of Our Lady at the Grotto on August 18, 1985. Our Lady spoke to him: “Preserve Sunday for prayer”. Also reported are several testimonies from various people who experienced visions and other phenomena subsequent to the week of August 16th to August 25th, 1985. Interestingly enough, on Septmber 4, 1985 Msgr. Patrick Lannen visited the Grotto and to his surprise he saw visions of the Sacred Heart, St Joseph, the child Jesus and finally Our Blessed Mother showed Herself. Although there were no words spoken, this Monsignor now believes; he admits having been a nonbeliever of these apparitions before this experience. (p 514-515)
Dates and Locality of Each Apparition: Ursula August 16, Tom August 18, Tom and Barry August 19 (2), 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 1
1. Peter Heintz A Guide to Apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary (Gabriel Press, Sacramento, California 1995) p. 516-518
Virgin Mary, August 18, 1985: “Preserve Sunday for prayer.”
Virgin Mary, August 19, 1985: “I want prayer”
Virgin Mary, August 19, 1985: “I have a message: My message is Peace and Prayer…God is angry with the world. The people will have to imrpove and pray. My message is for all the people of God’s Church. The people have ten years to improve and pray and if not then this is what will happen (the boys received a vision of the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark) ” During this aparition the two boys were dressed in tee shirts and they were visibly cold. Our Lady sent down jets of warm breeze which kept the boys warm for half an hour.
Virgin Mary, August 20, 1985: “The world must improve. The people must go to Mass more and receive My Son more often. I want the people to believe…The world has ten years to improve. It must improve ten times…If the people would improve and pray, God would save Ireland…I want the irish people to spread My messages to the world” (The boys then received a vision of doubting Thomas)
Virgin Mary, August 21, 1985: “The world must behave. I want the world to believe Me…My message is peace and prayer and no more fighting in the world…I want the people of Ireland to convey My messages to thw world…I want Ursula to help you make the people believe. I want all of you to tell the world. You have ways yourselves of telling the world….I will make a movement to the people” She did turn to the crowd on the road just as She said and many people on the road saw Her then. The Virgin Mary showed the boys the vision of Jesus subduing the storm as if to remind us that God could still turn the catastrophe back overshadowing the world, if we would only turn to Him.
Virgin Mary, August 22, 1985: “I want prayer…I love the Irish people… The world has ten years to improve, It must improve ten times. I f the world does not improve the devil will take over the church. I want you to pray harder….If the world does not improve the devil will take over God’s Church in ten years” (The boys were then given a vision of Satan jeering Our Blessed Mother to Her left side)
Virgin Mary, August 23, 1985: “I want you to pray harder. I want you to pray harder. With your faith and prayers you can overpower the devil…I will show Myself to more people in more places” (Each time Our Lady asked for prayer by saying “I want prayer” the people would pray the rosary, after which Our Lady said “Thankyou”)
1. Peter Heintz A Guide to Apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary (Gabriel Press, Sacramento, California 1995) p. 517-521