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Vatican reveals details about 1974 ruling on alleged ‘Lady of All Nations’ apparition

The Lady of All Nations painting. / Credit: Judgefloro (shifted, cropped & recoloured by Rabanus Flavus), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rome Newsroom, Jul 11, 2024 / 11:40 am (CNA).

The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Thursday released new information about its 1974 ruling on alleged apparitions in Amsterdam connected to the “Lady of All Nations” devotion.

The DDF said July 11 that due to “persistent doubts” about the alleged Dutch apparitions, which took place in the 1940s and 1950s, it was revealing that in 1974, the doctrinal office voted unanimously that they were not supernatural and would not be further investigated.

While the Vatican’s judgment on the non-supernatural nature of the apparitions has been known for 50 years, the DDF divulged for the first time that the decision involved a unanimous negative vote by the cardinals participating in the doctrine office’s ordinary session on March 27, 1974.

Both negative judgments — on the supernatural quality of the alleged apparitions and on whether to investigate them further — were approved by Pope Paul VI on April 5, 1974.

The dicastery’s press release noted that while in the past, “as a rule” it had not made public the details of decisions of this nature, it was now choosing to communicate the information “so that the holy people of God and its pastors may draw the appropriate conclusions.”

“The Lady of All Nations” is the Marian title given to alleged visions that Ida Peerdeman, a secretary living in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, claimed to have received between 1945 and 1959.

In 1956, Bishop Johannes Huibers of Haarlem declared that after an investigation he had “found no evidence of the supernatural nature of the apparitions.” 

The Holy Office, a forerunner of the DDF, approved the bishop’s verdict a year later. The DDF, then known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, confirmed the judgment in 1972 and 1974.

Peerdeman was born on Aug. 13, 1905, in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands. She claimed that on March 25, 1945, she saw her first apparition of a woman bathed in light who referred to herself as “the Lady” and “Mother.” 

In 1951, the woman reputedly told Peerdeman that she wished to be known as “The Lady of All Nations.” That year, the artist Heinrich Repke created a painting of “the Lady,” depicting her standing on top of a globe in front of a cross.

The series of 56 alleged visions concluded on May 31, 1959.

Bishop Johannes Hendriks of Haarlem-Amsterdam also issued a clarification about the alleged visions of “The Lady of All Nations” in December 2021 after consulting with the Vatican.

The bishop said that the Vatican regarded the title “Lady of All Nations” for Mary as “theologically acceptable,” but “the recognition of this title cannot be understood — not even implicitly — as the recognition of the supernaturality of some pheno­mena from which it seems to have come.”

Alongside the clarification, the bishop issued a further explanation that “devotion to Mary as the Lady and Mother of All Nations is good and valuable; it must, however, remain separate from the messages and the apparitions.”

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