About Our Lady of Light Ministries
Almost from the outset, in her visits to the Batavia visionary, Our Lady indicated that much work needed to be done to get out the word about the need for prayer in the world at large. Yes, there would be signs. Yes, there would be a local groundswell in support of the visionary and her messages, but the work at hand would not be without conflict and resistance. And it was meant to sweep beyond local purview, and on to national scope and beyond. Eventually Our Lady began to talk of her “ministries” and let it be known that there was more to her visits here than just accepting her apparitions and messages. As in all faith altering events, the faithful were called to action.
The first of the Our Lady’s ministries was Our Lady of Light Foundation, established to support local priests committed to the promulgation of devotion to Our Lady, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to dissemination of the messages to the visionary. The foundation set out to raise monies for such purposes, publishing a book describing the visionary’s early experiences at fields in southern Indiana, near Batavia, Ohio, then at St. Joseph Church in Cold Spring and beyond. When the messages continued, and further messages needed to be published, a second entity was born, called Our Lady of Light Publications.
With the advent of a need for a home for Father Leroy Smith’s Gospa prayer groups (composed of hundreds of the Faithful who had a strong allegiance to what was occurring in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia at the time), a new problem needed to be addressed. Father Smith was retiring from his position as pastor at St. Joseph Church and the local diocese was hesitant to be associated with an alleged apparition reported to have occurred at the church. A facility was available, but direly in need of repair. Eventually Father Smith made arrangements with Father Richard Wilhelm, who owned a large site in Norwood (Cincinnati), Ohio, to reside there and bring his prayer groups with him.
The founder of Our Lady of Light Foundation, Gerry Ross, became engaged in raising funds for this site, a former seminary complex, which at the time went under the name of Monks Retreat. The task was monumental, and several key volunteers began work on the windows and doors (hundreds needed to be repaired and replaced), and the roof (thousands of square feet of roofing, neglected for more than twenty years, desperately needed rework) needed attention just to prevent irreparable damage to the main 500 seat chapel and surrounding complex. As work proceeded on the physical rehabilitation of the facility, Mr. Ross set about organizing a priests’ prayer group, eventually hosting as many as 25 local priests in a monthly Marian Movement of Priests prayer cenacle.
The Foundation also actively supported the refurbishing of the former archbishop’s residence as a home for retired priests. After years of disuse, it too required an overhaul from top to bottom. When Fr. Smith moved there in early 1993, the archbishop’s residence provided the only safe enclave wherein to escape falling plaster and dangerous scattered debris at the seminary complex.
As work progressed on what eventually was named Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, other demands began to occupy the foundation. A second local visionary, Sandy, had experienced apparitions from Our Lady at the Center and elsewhere in the area, eventually being visited at a farm near Falmouth, Kentucky by Mary the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. Our Lady had asked that a chapel be built on the grounds, eventually appearing there over a period of several months. The complication to any construction was that the farm was only partially owned by the person committed to the validity of Sandy’s apparitions, so building a chapel would have to involve the purchase of the land. Mr. Ross set out to raise the monies necessary to purchase the farm, eventually succeeding. But the farm needed major work to allow the erection of the chapel and the road improvements necessary to allow parking, and even simply the walking of the grounds. The Farm, subsequently named Our Lady’s Farm, continued under the ownership of the Foundation until 1995 when it was deeded over to Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center for $1.
Mission Statement of Our Lady of Light Ministries
“To promulgate the messages of Our Lady of Light, to expand her ministries, and to create, organize, and implement innovative services in her name.”
Originally only a name assigned to the books published by the Foundation, this ministry was devised to stand alone as a publishing entity, with the goal that any surplus funds generated would help to support priests in residence at the Center. Eventually a total of five books of messages and experiences of the Batavia visionary have been published, with the sales of early volumes paying for the later ones.
But publications went far beyond just books called Personal Revelations of Our Lady of Light. Pamphlets, brochures, and eventually books by other authors were published and promoted by the publications group. When Fr. Ed Carter founded Shepherds of Christ Ministries, the first several books published by that organization were edited and designed by Our Lady of Light Publications. The Shepherds of Christ Newsletter, at one time printed bi-monthly in a volume of 5000 per issue, and mailed to destinations all over the world, was printed and mailed with the Foundation’s help.
To date Our Lady of Light Publications has published some 15 books, numerous brochures and pamphlets, and a myriad of other spiritually oriented materials. All of these materials are directed toward an increased spirituality among the faithful. All are designed to point us to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In an effort to reach out to the world with the messages of Our Lady of Light, a website has been designed and put on line. It is intended to let the world know that Our Lady’s messages in the Greater Cincinnati area, while they have ceased in their direction toward the public, are nevertheless very apropos to the times we live in. Through the published materials and the activities sponsored by the Ministries, the website is meant to emphasize that the work of Our Lady here goes on. To that end, a section of the site is devoted to reading materials, to various activities sponsored by the Ministries throughout the year, and to links to other sites which will aid the web browser in developing his or her own spirituality.
Throughout the year Our Lady of Light Ministries sponsors a number of events of interest to those committed to personal spiritual growth. OLL Ministries continues to support the many activities at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center such as healing masses, Friday masses with prominent guest speakers, and Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In addition, OLL Ministries actively promotes devotion to the Blessed Mother through radio ads, tours of prominent historical Cincinnati area churches and apparition sites (such as Our Lady’s Farm), and even appreciation for the place of private revelation in the recent and distant past of the Catholic Church.
On practical matters such as attention to the moral issues of our times Our Lady of
Light Ministries is especially vigilant. For example, in 2011, OLLM cosponsored,
with Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center (Norwood, Ohio) a dinner presentation by
Dr. Meg Meeker, a noted speaker on the subject of morality in today’s Christian
families. Dr. Meeker, a pediatrician, mother, and best-selling author, is one of the
country’s leading authority on parenting teens and on children’s health. To see her
presentation see http://vimeo.com/37482102.
Special devotion to our Blessed Mother as Our Lady of Light is naturally a big part of the Ministries. The organization continues to offer prayer cards, specially struck medals, descriptive brochures, and other materials to interested parties. The website welcomes input from the casual visitor and makes further email communications available. Activities include:
Each year the days of August 31 and September 1 are set aside as Anniversary Days, also called Days of Divine Mercy, celebrating the first public apparition of Our Lady of Light in the Greater Cincinnati area. Various information booths are set up, tours are available at the Center and to other local churches mentioned in Our Lady’s messages. Presentations about Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, Sacred Heart Radio (now housed at the Center), certain Church-sanctioned private revelations, and other timely topics are available during both days. Activities on August 31 conclude with midnight Mass, highlighted by hymns and an address by Fr. Smith. September 1 presents more of the same, beginning with morning Mass, and extending through the day.
As described in detail on the OLL web page entitled “Image/Card,” this special activity simply puts prayer cards of Our Lady of Light into the hands of interested parties. Since its inception, this program has placed tens of thousands of prayer cards in wallets, pockets, and purses in every state in the union and in a growing list of foreign countries.
Special Apostles Prayer Groups
Per Our Lady’s requests, each of us is called to be her “Special Apostle,” to adopt a deeper commitment to prayer than ever before in these critical times. To that end, Our Lady of Light Ministries strongly promotes structured assemblies for those interested in forming prayer groups. Individuals, those able to dedicate themselves even further to Our Lady’s cause, are encouraged to participate in weekly Eucharistic Adoration and weekday Mass as often as possible. For details concerning an OLL prayer group, click on Prayer Group Format. Should you decide to form a prayer group, we ask that you let us know who you are and the name of your group by sending us a note to us at OLL@fuse.net. Your help is urgently needed. Your involvement will be generously rewarded.
Our Lady of Light Ministries initiates, supports, and sponsors a variety of activities at local churches and within the community at large. Volunteers (some might call them “Special Apostles,” defined under its own heading on this site), working in concert with religious organizations, provide support services that lend enrichment to many a spirituality-oriented program. Guiding tours of local churches, providing the speaker on private revelations to fill out a healing Mass program, organizing a spirituality program for teens — all of these small threads form a fabric strong in the spirituality espoused by Our Lady in her visits here.
The Embarke Foundation
Our Lady of Light Ministries proudly supports several programs under way through Greg Dougherty and the Embarke Foundation. The foundation seeks to achieve Christian solidarity and regain America's moral integrity through promotion of Catholic principles. Greg began an apostolate at Warren Correctional Institution, a high security state prison in Lebanon, Ohio, working by way of the book Discovering Virtues Through Poetry, a unique vehicle teaching the seven virtues as defined in the Catholic Catechism. Greg also teaches at St. Peter Claver School for Boys in Cincinnati's impoverished Over-the-Rhine community.
The Embarke Foundation is working to integrate Discovering Virtues through Poetry into every Catholic school reading curriculum in the U.S. and to use the public version of the course to bring God back into our public schools. One Nation Under God: Presidential Speeches Acknowledging God's Divine Sovereignty and Discovering Virtues: A Story of a Young Turtle are two books published by the Embarke Foundation to help achieve this goal.
In upholding the universal truths of the Catholic faith, the Embarke Foundation has declared war on the culture of death. The young men at St. Peter Claver and Cincinnati's home school community came together on the steps of Old St. Mary's Church to film The Declaration of Life which boldly upholds the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. A video of The Declaration of Life can be seen on the link: