The Virgin Mary was set to appear to a visionary 25 years ago
Twenty-five years ago, Mother’s Day was an unusual one in Pendleton County. May 8th, 1994 was a warm, sunny day. The cars and buses began streaming down Highway 159 sometime around 9:00 a.m. Over 25,000 people gathered on a hilltop farm in this humble community for one reason: the Virgin Mary was going to be there that afternoon to deliver a message. Some of the crowd were religious pilgrims, there to witness a miracle; others were skeptics there to scoff; and many were just curious folks, drawn by the hype and the crowd.
Crowds gathered at what is now known as Our Lady’s Farm for the first few months of 1994—5,000 that January; 2,000 who braved an ice storm in February. The Virgin Mother was to appear there on the 8th of every month, according to the visionary who foretold of her coming. But those crowds were dwarfed by the group that crowded the ridge on that Mother’s day afternoon.
Sandy, the woman whose visions had brought these masses, had in 1993 been invited by a friend to spend a day at the farm. While there, she was praying and heard the voice of Mary tell her to build a shrine to her on the farm so that others could come there to worship and hear her message. She even appeared above a bush to mark the exact spot where the structure should be built. The land owners obliged, and the grotto was erected.
At the gathering in February 1994, Sandy told the crowd, “The Holy Mother told me a sign would be given in the spring that would reveal her presence to many.”
And so that May, the crowd that arrived at the farm was vastly larger than the others that had come before.
That afternoon, Sandy reported seeing pink clouds above the grotto that gathered to form Mary’s silhouette and then dissolved to reveal her, clothed in white, wearing a jeweled crown and holding a golden rosary with its beads replaced by roses.
Some of the crowd reported seeing a shimmering pink light around the grotto, or flashing lights in the sky. Others reported rosaries turning to gold.
The message Sandy received from Mary that day was one of love and encouragement, urging everyone to pray daily, live a righteous life, and love one another.
Later that year, the farm was purchased by the Our Lady of Light Foundation, which improved the grounds and transformed the barn into the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, as Mary had instructed Sandy to do.
In 1995, the foundation donated the property to Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, which manages it today. The grotto where Sandy received Mary’s messages is still there.
The farm is a quiet, solemn place, clearly intended for visitors to pray and meditate without distraction.
Mass is still held on the 8th of every month, as well as the first Saturdays in May and October. The chapel is open every Sunday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. from April through October, and the gates to the farm are open daily morning to evening. Visitors are welcome.