(Note: As refuges are so frequently seen in revelation, both public and private, one will easily find even more references to them than Mr. Bannister so deftly describes in this well researched and accurate article below. For example, Mark Mallett has noted that both a Church Father and a Saint have taught about physical refuges for the Faithful in the latter times (see The Refuge for Our Times). The Church Father Lactantius wrote that “When these [persecutions of the last days] shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes.” St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church, referring to the same times, wrote “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).” Note that the reference to Revelation 12 is within the quote, and is from St. Francis himself. We also see, in 1 Maccabees Chapter 2, Mattathias leading 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, in the New Testament, also describes the early Christian Communities — that in many ways resemble what Fr. Michel and others 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 while there are doubtless multiple layers of this Biblical prophecy, such that it cannot be said to refer merely to refuges, it is likely that the faithful remaining protected in physical refuges is one legitimate understanding of the Book of Revelation 12:6, which Mr. Bannister refers to below, the entirety of which reads “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.“)
In the second part of this response to the critiques of Fr. Michel Rodrigue, recently made by Dr. Mark Miravalle and Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, I [Peter Bannister] would like to challenge the notion that his predictions and recommendations place Fr. Michel outside the Tradition, with specific reference to the question of refuges. (For recent articles in response to Dr. Miravalle and Fr. Iannuzzi’s “negative judgment” on Fr. Michel Rodrigue, click here for part 1 of this article, here for a response by Christine Watkins, here for a response by Professor Daniel O’Connor.)
Here I would like to make two fundamental points in response to the allegations of Fr. Iannuzzi. Firstly, 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!
Fr. Iannuzzi’s assertion that nowhere in the New Testament do we find an exhortation to construct a physical refuge may be technically correct, but this is demonstrably untrue when it comes to the Hebrew Scriptures, as the building of Noah’s Ark 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).
Secondly, it needs to be pointed out that Fr. Michel Rodrigue is far from being the only or the first alleged mystic to speak of places of refuge (corresponding to Revelation 12:6’s reference to the place in the desert prepared for the Woman, i.e. Mary as Mother of the Church, pursued by the Dragon). While Fr. Iannuzzi is doubtless correct in saying that many false messages have circulated in recent decades concerning the establishment of physical refuges, there is no reason why this should logically imply that the concept of a physical refuge is itself necessarily false. After all, it would seem to be a matter of common sense that refuges will be needed for refugees whose needs are not only spiritual but also extremely concrete, above all when faced with the predicament of how to survive during the reign of a totalitarian, anti-Christian dictatorship that will make buying and selling without the infamous “mark of the Beast” impossible (Revelation 13:16).
Once again, it surely has to be seen as coherent with the deep logic of Salvation history that a spiritual concept should be incarnated in the material realm. In Catholic mystical tradition, the idea that the elect will be protected in a place of refuge during a time both of persecution and Divine chastisement can, for example, be seen in the visions of Blessed Elisabetta Canori Mora (1774-1825) whose spiritual journal was recently published by the Vatican’s own publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana: here it is St Peter who makes provision for the Remnant in the 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.
While the language here is evidently allegorical, we can also point to mystics for whom in which this notion of Divine protection takes on a concrete geographical aspect. For example, 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)
In our own times, several alleged visionaries other than Fr. Michel Rodrigue, and unconnected with him, have also asserted that they have received heavenly communications regarding refuges which confirm many points expressed in the Canadian priest’s messages and teachings. This can be seen by quoting from four* purported mystics who can either claim express Church support or who are currently under observation by the ecclesiastical authorities (see also an extensive list of some of their prophecies concerning refuges at the end of this article).
- the American visionary, Jennifer, encouraged to diffuse her material by figures within the Vatican subsequent to translation and presentation of her locutions by Fr. Seraphim Michalenko (vice-postulator for the cause of St. Faustina’s beatification)
- Agustín del Divino Corazón from Colombia (already mentioned in part 1 of this article)
- Luz de Maria de Bonilla (a stigmatist Fr.om Costa Rica living in Argentina, whose messages from the period 2009-2017 received the Imprimatur and personal endorsement From Bishop Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara)
- Gisella Cardia, seer of the Trevignano Romano apparitions (the object of several published studies), in connection with which a number of scientifically as yet unexplained phenomena have been documented: lacrimation of blood from a figurine of the Virgin Mary and a Divine Mercy image in the visionary’s house, stigmatization, religious texts appearing in blood under Gisella’s skin, solar phenomena captured on film at the apparition site. Beginning in 2016, the alleged apparitions in Trevignano Romano have gained international attention in 2020 largely due to a message received on September 28, 2019, and attributed by Gisella Cardia to the Virgin, in which it was predicted that new diseases would shortly emerge from China and infect the air…
Common to the following messages is the complementarity of the spiritual and material aspects of refuges, the latter being the practical outworking of the former, as during the first generations of the Church. When presented cumulatively alongside one another, the overall coherence of the “prophetic consensus” on which we have been attempting to focus at Countdown to the Kingdom ought to be self-evident. We remain convinced that Fr. Michel Rodrigue’s purported revelations have their place within this consensus, as many of the themes familiar to those who studied his material can also be found in the locutions below. Nonetheless, it ultimately matters very little whether readers believe the following on the basis of credence in any particular seer. What is far more important is the overarching message, one which can hardly be regarded as lacking clarity or repetition:
My child, this is a time of great preparation. You must not only prepare by cleansing your soul but also by putting food and water aside and my angels will lead you to your place of refuge. My child, many will deny that a warning is coming. Many will mock you for your willingness to follow my ways and not the world’s way. These are the souls, my child, that need the most prayer. (Jesus to Jennifer, July 2, 2003)
These historic times in which you live are to be times embraced with great joy, for each time I come to you with My words I am warning you out of love. These events will purify this earth and restore mankind back to the way I intended it to be. I will come in glorious splendor and claim each one of My faithful. […] You are in times of preparation before your time of journey. For some it will be your eternal journey to your moment of judgment. For some you will be called to your place of refuge, you must allow My angels to guide you, for this will be a time that you will need to place your full trust in Me. Now go forth and continue to prepare. Do not concern yourself with your worldly possessions because, for many, it will be a battle to survive. Now go forth and be at peace for the hour is at hand before My justice falls upon mankind. (Jesus to Jennifer, May 17, 2004)
My people, do not be fooled by the comforts in which you live. Do not be fooled in thinking that your days are not numbered. 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)
My child, be prepared! Be prepared! Be prepared! Take heed to My words for as the time begins to close in the attacks that will be unleashed by Satan will be at unprecedented proportions. Diseases will come forth and culminate My people and your homes will be a safe haven until My angels guide you to your place of refuge. […] Storm after storm! War will break out and many will stand before Me. This world will be brought to its knees in the blink of an eye. Now go forth for I am Jesus and be at peace for all will be done according to My will. (Jesus to Jennifer, February 23, 2007)
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. (Mary to Agustín del Divino Corazón, 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. (Mary to Agustín del Divino Corazón, January 27, 2010)
By the cross and consecration to my Immaculate Heart, you will win the victory: it is enough to pray and make reparation, for the cup of the Father is flowing over, chastisement will soon come to humanity like a hurricane, like an impetuous storm, but do not be afraid, for the elect will be marked with the sign of the cross on their foreheads and hands; they will be protected, kept within the refuge of my purest Heart. (Mary to Agustín del Divino Corazón, January 9, 2010)
Be fraternal. 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 de Bonilla, October 10, 2018)
Do not continue living in the same way, learn how to share fraternally, as you will be living in community in order to protect yourselves from the evil that will possess many of my children, and my Heart bleeds because of this. (Mary to Luz de María de Bonilla, January 14, 2019)
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)
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. (Jesus to Luz de María de Bonilla, January 12, 2020)
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)
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)
“Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 2:29)
—Peter Bannister, MTh, MPhil