Are There Physical Refuges?

The Great Storm like a hurricane that is spreading across all of humanity will not cease until it has accomplished its end: the purification of the world. As such, just as in the times of Noah, God is providing an ark for His people to safeguard them and preserve a “remnant.” As society is rapidly moving by the hour toward a medical and liturgical apartheid — with the vaccinated divided from the unvaccinated — the question of “physical” refuges is becoming more prevalent. Is the refuge of the “Immaculate Heart” merely a spiritual grace, or are there actual safe-havens where God will preserve His people in coming tribulations? 

The following is drawn from several posts on Countdown to the Kingdom into this single article for your easy reference. 


The Immaculate Refuge

While there is a vast body of private revelation from several approved and credible sources, the one most frequently quoted comes from Fatima, Portugal. 

My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. —Our Lady of Fatima, June 13, 1917, The Revelation of the Two Hearts in Modern Times,

In messages to the late Fr. Stefano Gobbi that bear the Imprimatur, Our Lady echoes this divine provision that God has given for these times:

My Immaculate Heart: it is your safest refuge and the means of salvation which, at this time, God gives to the Church and to humanity… Whoever does not enter into this refuge will be carried away by the Great Tempest which has already begun to rage.  —Our Lady to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, December 8th, 1975, n. 88, 154 of the Blue Book

It is the refuge which your heavenly Mother has prepared for you. Here, you will be safe from every danger and, at the moment of the Storm, you will find your peace. —Ibid. n. 177

In my article The Refuge for Our TimesI explain in more detail the theology behind how and why Our Lady’s heart is such a refuge — indeed, a spiritual refuge. One cannot minimize the importance of this grace in these times, no more than Noah could shun the ark.

My Mother is Noah’s Ark… Jesus to Elizabeth Kindelmann, The Flame of Love, p. 109; Imprimatur from Archbishop Charles Chaput

The purpose of this Great Storm is not only to purify the earth in order to fulfill the ancient Scriptures of a coming Era of Peace, but above all to save souls who would otherwise go to perdition without the chastising winds of this Tempest (see Mercy in Chaos). 


A Physical Refuge Too?

But some have dismissed any notion of physical refuges as a kind of Catholicized version of “the rapture”; a baptized version of self-preservationism. However, Peter Bannister MTh., MPhil., whom I consider to be one of the foremost experts in the world today on private revelation, explains:

…there are ample Biblical precedents for pointing to a physical dimension to the concept of a refuge. It should naturally be stressed that physical preparation is of course of little or no value should it not be accompanied by an act of radical and ongoing trust in Divine Providence, but this by no means implies that heaven’s prophetic warnings cannot also insist on practical action in the material realm. It could be argued that to see this as somehow inherently “unspiritual” is to set up a false dichotomy between the spiritual and the material that in some respects is closer to Gnosticism than to the incarnate faith of Christian Tradition. Or else, to put it more mildly, to forget that we are human beings of flesh and blood rather than angels! “Part 2 of a Response to Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi’s Article on Fr. Michel Rodrigue–On Refuges”

Lest we forget, Jesus was particularly invested with caring for the physical needs of His followers, and in the most miraculous ways.[1]eg. Jesus feeds five thousand (Matt 14:13-21); Jesus fills the Apostle’s nets (Luke 5:6-7) Yet, He was careful to warn that preoccupation with physical needs was a sign of a lack of faith:

For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. (Matt 6:32-33)

So, too, a preoccupation with safe-havens and physical refuges can potentially signal a misguided faith. If saving souls is not our priority, then it needs to be — even at the cost of our lives. 

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. (Luke 17:33)

But none of this diminishes the reality of God’s providence manifested in physical protection at times for His people. “Noah’s ark,” says Bannister, “constitutes a paradigmatic example of how God’s Word sometimes entails very practical forms of obedience (Gen. 6:22).” 

It is, perhaps, no coincidence that the metaphor of the “Ark” occurs so often in contemporary prophecies talking about refuges, precisely because it combines a powerful symbolism (not least as pointing to the Immaculate Heart of Our Mother as the Ark for our times) with a material exemplification. And if the idea of storing foodstuffs in preparation for times of crisis is frowned upon by some, later in the book of Genesis we see how Joseph famously saves the nation of Egypt – and is reconciled with his own family — by doing precisely this. It is his prophetic gift, enabling him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream of seven good cows and seven lean cows as predicting a famine in Egypt, that leads him to store up “huge quantities” of grain (Gen. 41:49) throughout the country. This concern for material provision is furthermore not restricted to the Old Testament; in the Acts of the Apostles a similar prediction of famine in the Roman empire is given by the prophet Agabus, to which the disciples respond by providing help for the believers in Judea (Acts 11:27-30). —Peter Bannister, Ibid

In 1 Maccabees Chapter 2, Mattathias leads the people to secret refuges in the mountains: “Then he and his sons fled to the mountains, leaving behind in the city all their possessions. At that time many who sought righteousness and justice went out into the wilderness to settle there, they and their children, their wives and their animals, because misfortunes pressed so hard on them…[they] had gone out to secret refuges in the wilderness.” The Book of Acts also describes the early Christian Communities (that in many ways resemble what several mystics describe as the refuges), even speaking of the Faithful taking refuge outside of Jerusalem when a great persecution broke out there (cf. Acts 8:1). And finally, there is the reference to God’s protection over the “woman” of Revelation 12:

This Woman represents Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, but she represents at the same time the whole Church, the People of God of all times, the Church that at all times, with great pain, again gives birth to Christ. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug. 23, 2006; Zenit

St. John sees in vision that “The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”[2]Rev 12:6 St. Francis de Sales refers specifically to this passage when speaking of future physical refuges at the time of a global revolution:

The revolt [revolution] and separation must come…the Sacrifice shall cease and…the Son of Man shall hardly find faith on earth… All these passages are understood of the affliction which Antichrist shall cause in the Church… But the Church… shall not fail, and shall be fed and preserved amidst the deserts and solitudes to which She shall retire, as the Scripture says, (Apoc. Ch. 12). —St. Francis de Sales, The Mission of the Church, ch. X, n.5

Most notably — in contradiction to those who insist that physical safe-havens are not found in Sacred Tradition — is the prophecy of Early Church Father Lactantius regarding this lawless revolution that marks the coming of the Antichrist:

That will be the time in which righteousness shall be cast out, and innocence be hated; in which the wicked shall prey upon the good as enemies; neither law, nor order, nor military discipline shall be preserved… all things shall be confounded and mixed together against right, and against the laws of nature. Thus the earth shall be laid waste, as though by one common robbery. When these things shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes. —Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Ch. 17


Physical Refuges in Private Revelation

In the revelations to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, Our Lady clearly expands upon the protection that her Immaculate Heart will provide to the Faithful:

In these times, you all need to hasten to take shelter in the refuge of my Immaculate Heart, because grave threats of evil are hanging over you. These are first of all evils of a spiritual order, which can harm the supernatural life of your souls… There are evils of a physical order, such as infirmity, disasters, accidents, droughts, earthquakes, and incurable diseases which are spreading about… There are evils of a social order… To be protected from all these evils, I invite you to place yourselves under shelter in the safe refuge of my Immaculate Heart. —June 7th, 1986, n. 326, Blue Book

According to the approved revelations to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Jesus said:

The divine justice imposes chastisements, but neither these nor [God’s] enemies get close to those souls who live in the Divine Will… Know that I will have regard for the souls who live in My Will, and for the places where these souls reside… I place the souls who live completely in My Will on earth, in the same condition as the blessed [in Heaven]. Therefore, live in My Will and fear nothing. —Jesus to Luisa, Volume 11, May 18, 1915

In the Preface to the 24 Hours of the Passion dictated to Luisa, St. Hannibal recalls Christ’s promise of protection to those who pray the Hours, stating:

If on account of only one soul doing these hours, Jesus would spare a city of chastisements and would give grace to as many souls as there are words of these sorrowful hours, how many graces might a community [or any group of individuals] expect to receive?Divine Will Prayer Book, p. 293

Then there is the American seer Jennifer (whose last name we know, but withhold out of respect for her husband’s wish to preserve their family’s privacy). She was encouraged by figures within the Vatican to diffuse her audible locutions after they were translated into Polish by the late Fr. Seraphim Michalenko (vice-postulator for the cause of St. Faustina’s beatification) and presented to John Paul II. Several of these messages speak of “places” of refuge.

The time is soon coming, it is rapidly approaching, for My places of refuge are in the stages of being prepared at the hands of My faithful. My people, My angels will come and guide you to your places of refuge where you will be sheltered from the storms and the forces of the antichrist and this one world government… Be prepared My people for when My angels come, you do not want to turn away. You will be given one opportunity when this hour comes to trust in Me and My Will for you, for that is why I have told you to begin to take heed now. Begin to prepare today, for [in] what appears to be days of calmness, darkness lingers. —Jesus to Jennifer, July 14th, 2004;

Similar to how the Lord led the Israelites in the desert with a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, Canadian mystic Fr. Michel Rodrigue says:

…you will see a little flame in front of you, if you are called to go to a refuge. This will be your guardian angel who shows this flame to you. And your guardian angel will advise you and guide you. In front of your eyes, you will see a flame that will guide you where to go. Follow this flame of love. He will conduct you to a refuge from the Father. If your home is a refuge, he will guide you by this flame through your home. If you must move to another place, he will guide you along the road that leads there. Whether your refuge will be a permanent one, or a temporary one before moving to a bigger one, will be for the Father to decide. —Fr. Michel Rodrigue, Founder and Superior General of The Apostolic Fraternity of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre (founded in 2012); “The Time of the Refuges”
Outrageous? Not if you believe Sacred Scripture:
See, I am sending an angel before you,
to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.
Be attentive to him and obey him. Do not rebel against him,
for he will not forgive your sin. My authority is within him.
If you obey him and carry out all I tell you,
I will be an enemy to your enemies
and a foe to your foes.
(Exodus 23:20-22)

In French mystical literature since 1750, there have been at least three famous convergent prophetic predictions that Western France will be (relatively) protected compared to other parts of the country during a time of chastisement. The prophecies of Abbé Souffrant (1755-1828), Fr. Constant Louis Marie Pel (1878-1966) and Marie-Julie Jahenny (1850-1941) all concur in this respect; in the case of Marie-Julie, it is the whole region of Brittany which is designated as a refuge in words attributed to the Virgin during Marie-Julie’s ecstasy on March 25, 1878:

I have come to this land of Brittany because I find generous hearts there […] My refuge will also be for those of my children whom I love and who do not all live on its soil. It will be a refuge of peace in the midst of plagues, a very strong and powerful shelter that nothing will be able to destroy. The birds fleeing the storm will take refuge in Brittany. The land of Brittany is within my power. My Son told me: “My Mother, I give you complete power over Brittany.” This refuge belongs to me and also to my good mother St Anne (a prominent French pilgrimage site, St. Anne d’Auray, is found in Brittany).

Blessed Elisabetta Canori Mora (1774-1825) whose spiritual journal was recently published by the Vatican’s own publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, recounts a vision of such providence. Here it is St. Peter who makes provision for the Remnant in the allegorical form of intriguing symbolic “trees”:

 At that moment I saw four green trees appear, covered with very precious flowers and fruits. The mysterious trees were in the form of a cross; they were  surrounded by a very resplendent light, which […] went to open all the doors of the monasteries of nuns and religious. Through an interior feeling I understood that the holy apostle had established those four mysterious trees in order to give a place of refuge for the little flock of Jesus Christ, to free the good Christians from the terrible chastisement that will turn the whole world upside down.

And then there are the messages to the seer Agustín del Divino Corazón:
I want you to be gathered in small communities, taking refuge in the Chambers of our Sacred Hearts and sharing your goods, your interests, your prayers, imitating the first Christians. —Our Lady to Agustín, November 9, 2007

Consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart and surrender completely to me: I will enfold you within my Holy Mantle […] I will be your refuge, a refuge in which you will contemplate the prophesied events that will shortly come to fulfillment: a refuge in which you will not feel afraid of my Marian warnings in these end times. […] A refuge in which you will not be noticed when the Man of Iniquity [i.e. Antichrist] will make his appearance throughout the world. A refuge that will keep you hidden from the perfidious attacks of Satan. —Ibid. January 27, 2010

This sense of being suspended in protective grace was also elucidated to Fr. Stefano, again, moving past the presumption that the Immaculate Heart only offers spiritual refuge:

…my Heart is still a refuge which protects you from all these events which are following one upon another. You will remain serene, you will not let yourself be troubled, you will have no fear. You will see all these things as from afar, without allowing yourself to be in the least affected by them. ‘But how?’ you ask me. You will live in time, and yet you will be, as it were, outside of time…. Remain therefore always in this refuge of mine!To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, message to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, n. 33

In this regard, one could simply say that, wherever they are, if they are in the Hearts of Christ and Mary, they are “in refuge.”
The refuge, first of all, is you. Before it is a place, it is a person, a person living with the Holy Spirit, in a state of grace. A refuge begins with the person who has committed her soul, her body, her being, her morality, according to the Word of the Lord, the teachings of the Church, and the law of the Ten Commandments. —Fr. Michel Rodrigue, “The Time of the Refuges”
And yet, the wealth of private revelation suggests that there are designated “places” set aside for at least some of the Faithful. And this only makes sense:
It is necessary that a small flock subsist, no matter how small it might be. —POPE PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
Here is the Costa Rican seer, Luz de María de Bonilla:

The time will come when you will have to gather in small communities, and you know it. With My Love present within you, transform your character, learn not to hurt and to forgive your brothers and sisters, so that in these difficult moments you might be those who take My Comfort and My Love to your brothers and sisters. —Jesus to Luz de María, October 10, 2018

As it becomes increasingly clearer that many will be excluded from participating in society without a “vaccine passport”, perhaps these messages anticipate the inevitable:

In families, in communities, in as far as it will be possible for you to do so, you should prepare refuges which will be called Refuges of the Sacred Hearts. In these places, obtain the food and everything necessary for those who will come. Do not be selfish. Protect your brothers and sisters with the love of the Divine word in Sacred Scripture, in keeping before you the precepts of the Divine Law; in this way you will be able to bear the fulfillment of the [prophetic] revelations with greater strength if you are within the faith.Mary to Luz de María de Bonilla, August 26, 2019

Echoing also the messages of Fr. Michel that there will be temporary places of refuge before “permanent” ones, Jesus says to Luz de María:

Gather together in groups, whether in families, prayer groups or solid friendships, and be ready to prepare places where you will be able to stay together in times of severe persecution or war. Bring together the necessary items for you to be able to stay they until My Angels tell you [otherwise]. These refuges will be protected against invasion. Remember that unity gives strength: if one person grows weak in the Faith, another will lift them up. If one is sick, another brother or sister will assist them, in unity. —January 12, 2020

The time is soon coming, it is rapidly approaching for My places of refuge are in the stages of being prepared at the hands of My faithful. My people, My angels will come and guide you to your places of refuge where you will be sheltered from the storms and the forces of the antichrist and this one world government. —Jesus to Jennifer, July 14, 2004

And finally, the Italian seer Gisella Cardia received the following messages that apply especially to those who feel moved to prepare such “solitudes”:

My children, prepare safe refuges, because a time will come when you will not even be able to trust my sons the priests. This period of apostasy will lead you into great confusion and tribulation, but you, my children, always be tied to the word of God, do not be caught up in modernism! —Mary to Gisella Cardia, September 17, 2019)

Prepare safe refuges for the times to come; persecution is underway, always pay attention. My children, I ask you for strength and courage; pray for the dead that there are and will be, the epidemics will continue until my children see the light of God in their hearts. The Cross will soon light up the sky, and it will be the final act of mercy. Soon, very soon everything will happen quickly, so much so that you will believe that you can take no more of all this pain, but entrust everything to your Savior, because he is ready to renew everything, and your life will be a receptacle of joy and love. Mary to Gisella Cardia, April 21, 2020

Of course, one considers these messages in a spirit of prayer, wisdom, and prudence — and if possible, under spiritual direction.

Prepare safe refuges, prepare your houses like little churches and I will be there with you. A revolt is near, both inside and outside the Church.Mary to Gisella Cardia, May 19, 2020

My children, I ask you to make reserves of food for at least three months. I had already told you that the freedom granted to you would be an illusion – you will be forced once again to stay in your homes, but this time it will be worse because civil war is near. […] My children, do not accumulate money because a day will come when you will not be able to acquire anything. Famine will be severe and the economy is about to be destroyed. Pray and increase prayer cenacles, consecrate your homes and prepare altars within them. —Mary to Gisella Cardia, August 18, 2020

These dire warnings concur with our Timeline, which also explains these “labour pains” of war, economic and social collapse, persecution, and eventually the Warning, which gave way to the final chastisements that include the Antichrist. 

All this said, perhaps the most important private revelation on what our mindset should be was given again to Pedro Regis of Brazil recently:

Be of the Lord: this is My desire — seek Heaven: this is your goal. Open your hearts and live turned towards Paradise. —Our Lady, March 25th, 2021; “Seek Heaven”

Seek first the Kingdom of God, said Jesus. When one does this with all his heart, soul, and strength, suddenly the plane of this world begins to disappear and the attachment to not only one’s goods but one’s life begins to be severed. In this way, the Divine Will, whatever it brings: life, death, health, sickness, obscurity, martyrdom… becomes the food of the soul. Self-preservation, then, is not even a thought, but only the glory of God and saving souls.

This is where our eyes need to be fixed: in a word, upon Jesus

..let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
(Heb 12:1-2)


—Mark Mallett is a co-founder of Countdown of the Kingdom and author of The Final Confrontation and The Now Word


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1 eg. Jesus feeds five thousand (Matt 14:13-21); Jesus fills the Apostle’s nets (Luke 5:6-7)
2 Rev 12:6
Posted in From Our Contributors, Messages, Physical Protection and Preparation, Time of Refuges.