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Thousands Flock to Shrine Hoping to See Image of Mary

December 9, 1991

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) _ More than 6,000 people flocked to a shrine where a woman claimed she saw the image of the Virgin Mary.

Theresa Lopez, a homemaker from Highlands Ranch, said she has seen Mary twice at the Mother Cabrini shrine in the foothills above Denver. Lopez claims to have seen Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, a total of eight times.

Lopez said the image asked her to gather people for a blessing Sunday. Word spread quickly, and the crowd Sunday overflowed into the shrine’s parking lot.

Lopez claimed Mary appeared to her again on Sunday, and a member of her entourage also reported seeing the image.

She arrived flanked by bodyguards, saying she had received numerous death threats.

″She was all dressed in gold and around her dress were all pink sparkling lights,″ Lopez said.

She said the Virgin Mary had a brief message for the faithful at the shrine: ″My dearest angels, I ask you to begin a novena of Holy Communion.″

One woman took pictures that she said showed faint images of Mary, an angel and the gates of heaven.

The Roman Catholic church doesn’t officially support Lopez’s claims, but two priests were on hand Sunday, said Bernadette Casciano, assistant administrator of the shrine.

A handful of anti-religion demonstrators jeered visitors, and a few entrepreneurs tried to sell T-shirts with pictures of the shrine. They were escorted from the shrine by security guards.

The shrine is dedicated to Frances Xavier Cabrini, an Italian-born nun and the first American saint. She died in 1917.

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