APPARITIONS OF THE VIRGIN MARY IN ENFIELD CONNECTICUT
Neil Harrington Jr. began receiving messages from St. Francis of Assisi in 1991.
He began having apparitions of the Virgin Mary during the rosary at the weekly prayer cenacle at his parents' house (above). The apparitions continued weekly from 1992 – 1995. He continued receiving verbal messages through 1997. A team is now working to transcribe and compile all the messages received by Harrington. (below is room where he saw apparitions and where statues have wept.
The statue on the lower right as wept many times.)
A Catholic church commission was formed to investigate the authenticity of the apparitions. It is apparently bogged down as several members have left on academic assignments.
We saw a black velvet painting of the Virgin, with strange long white hair – we later saw a woman who appeared to be the model for the painting.
We visited in August of 1999. There were about 100 people in attendance on the evening of August 10, including a Catholic priest and several nuns.
We spoke to Mr. Harrington prior to the beginning of the cenacle. (See transcript below.) We asked if it were all right if we filmed and took pictures – he said there was no problem. Inside his parents’ house, I took a picture of a makeshift altar, and a woman came over and began animatedly questioning us about who we were – were we journalists?? This woman over here does not like to be photographed, she said earnestly. I hadn’t photographed any people – just the statue of the virgin. The makeshift altar had a statue of Jesus and of Mary, illuminated by a desk lamp pointed up. It stood next to one of the home’s fireplaces.
For sale in the breezeway room between the garage and kitchen were literature, candles, and several statues of the Virgin, including one that is an exact replica of the Mystical Rose statue upstairs that had wept. This was the statue representing the vision of Mary that occurred in Fontenella Italy in 1947.
Just before the centacle, we asked to see the actual statue that had wept. Father John the priest took us up to the bedroom, the Apparition Room. He explained where the visions occurred (near a window) and the statue that wept was in the corner, the centerpiece of an altar with kneeling pads.
Father John said he has no doubt in the authenticity of the visions. He said Neal will be the first to tell you he lived a hard life. (Harrington has the eyes and countenance that reflect extremely hard living.) On one occasion, he was praying with Harrington, and asked a question of the Virgin, silently. After they finished, Harrington came over and told him the answer to the question, a "message from the Virgin." Another time, Father John felt the Virgin spoke to him, and later Harrington told him at that time of the prayer the Virgin was looking at John.
John said they sent away the media after a flurry of interest, including television coverage. At the height of the visions, they had crowds of up to 800.
A Jewish looking guy and his wife were on their knees the whole time. (Neil mentioned proudly that two Jews had been converted. Most of the attendees were 50 plus year old ladies. About 3 to 1 ratio of women to men. One 12 year old. A sprinkling of small children.
Opening statement asked for special intervention against the sin of abortion.
Gave special thanks to ??, guardian angel of the United States.
Noted today’s saint was St. Lawrence. When Neal described his martyrdom, there were audible sighs and sympathetic moans.
Today’s message was a re-run of the message from August 15, 1995, number 498.
The Way of Light. Many images of light, several references to "intimate penetration" by the light of Jesus, in these hours of the second advent.
The rest of the service is conventional Catholic prayers – rosary – eucharist, etc.
The Harrington family has formed a non-profit corporation to manage the site and donations.
TRANSCRIPT - INTERVIEW WITH NEAL HARRINGTON JR.
Well it’s a long story. Back in September of 1990, we decided to set one day aside a week and pray the rosary. People, mostly family at first, started joining us. We said whoever Our Lady wanted to join us would be there. So at first twenty to forty, and we’ve had as many as 800 here.
On the third of May in 1994, there was four priests here who brought their own statues of the Mystical Rose and we had our own statue of the lady of the Mystical Rose. (Mystical Rose was an apparition in Italy of 1947.) The tone of that apparition was directed at priests. It was a bit of an admonishment and an appeal to them. But then they opened up to pilgrimages about five years ago. Anyways, that night all the statues began to weep and plus the statue of Our Lady of Grace. The whole place smelled of roses outside and inside and that’s what brought people here. Of course then it was on TV and then we had lots of people.
Sometime people will bring a statue to get fixed up or for a priest to bless. It’s a long story how it went but it just kept growing and growing. It’ll be nine years next month.
Priests here from every place in the world just about. Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Africa – I don’t know how they get word of what’s here but they come.
The local bishop of that diocese in Italy condemned it because there was a lot of things in the message that was an admonishment, which whenever that happens its suppressed. Then they lifted the ban, they removed the signs and let people come there.
[Consideration of what’s happened in Enfield] never got to the Vatican – lots of apparitions are approved by the local bishop, like in Japan. One in Venezuela. There’s been lots approved by bishops. Only a few have been approved by the Vatican. Lourdes, Fatima. They never approve while they’re ongoing. For a long time the message from "La Soulette"? was not completely released. It was never released in English – finally by 1972 it was and it’s a hair raiser. How apostasy entered the church – and this was in 1846 talking about what’s happening.
So other things have happened, and of course the important thing is people, beautiful people, coming here to pray. Lot of miracles, lots of physical cures, conversions - we’ve had many conversions - even two Jews recently became Catholic. They were dragged along by spouse or girlfriend
The bishop – after statues were weeping – happens here quite frequently - not on regular basis but after six weeks or so. The local bishop appointed a commission that I went before – I didn’t mind (make gesture biting his knuckle nervously). It has a monsignor, a canon lawyer, and two priests. You know they always try to get the good guy, bad guy thing - some that aren’t responsive to it and some that might be. That investigation began two years ago. They did not see weeping - didn’t happen when they were here. So they just let it go - they didn’t say anything in favor or opposed . They just let it go and I’m happy with that. Supposedly said if it were published there‘d be people in wheelchairs pouring in the streets from Bombay – I couldn’t handle it.
(Interrupted by one of the helpers.) Looks like I’m in trouble – I’ve got to get going.