Our Lady of All Nations 

On 31 May 2002 Bishop Jozef Marianus Punt of Haarlem, having concluded a period of investigation, declared the apparitions accorded Ida Peerdeman of Amsterdam, Holland, in which the Blessed Virgin Mary asked to be known as Our Lady of All Nations, to be "of a supernatural origin". 

Decree of 31 May 2002 (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

This decree ends a 45 year period of investigation and decision, as reflected in the following history:

7 May 1956 - Bishop of Haarlem finds no evidence of the supernatural nature of the apparitions, and prohibits public veneration.

2 March 1957 - Bishop of Haarlem confirms this decision with consent of the Holy Office (13 March 1957).

24 May 1972 - Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responding to a letter of 29 March from the Bishop, re-affirms its decision.

27 June 1974 - CDF affirms its earlier decision, after a deeper investigation, inviting the faithful to discontinue all forms propaganda with regard to these alleged apparitions and revelations.

31 May 1996 - The then Bishop of Haarlem, Henry Bomers, published a Notification clarifying the distinction between the title, image and prayer, on one hand, and the messages on the other. The title, image and prayer had been approved for private veneration since the 1950s (according to this decree), and he was now granting the privilege of public veneration, as well. The belief in the messages had been prohibited, but now was permitted according to one's own conscience, the Church being unable to rule definitively "at the moment". As the decree notes, he consulted with "official authorities", without specifying who those authorities were. 

3 December 1997 - The Bishop writes Letter (HB-97-403)  commending the "Action of The Lady of All Nations" and the work of Fr. Paul Maria Sigl.

3 May 2002 - In a Letter of 3 May 2002, Raphael Soffner of the public affairs office of the diocese of Haarlem affirmed to EWTN that the public veneration of Our Lady of All Nations by title, image and prayer, is permitted to Catholics by decision of the Bishop of Haarlem, "with the consent of the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome". Catholics may make "a personal judgment according to their conscience" regarding the messages and apparition.

31 May 2002 - Bishop Punt declares the apparitions to be of supernatural origin.

July 2005 - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith requests "that the words who once was Mary be left out of the prayer of the Lady of All Nations out of consideration for those who do not understand this phrase." The ending of the prayer is now to say: “May the Lady of All Nations, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our Advocate.” (Letter of December 2006).

The Expression "Who Once Was Mary"

In the original approved prayer, the Blessed Virgin was referred to as Our Lady of All Nations "who once was Mary". It is explained by the promoters of the devotion in the following manner:

This refers to the fact that Mary is no longer just Mary but rather The Lady, The Woman at the foot of the Cross. These words refer to her Eternal Motherhood over all of us, for she is Mother Whom Jesus gave to us from the Cross with the words: Woman behold thy Son!

Nonetheless, as noted above the apostolate changed the prayer in 2005 to comply with a request of the CDF, as noted in a 2006 letter.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL


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