We had been warned…
“Rome will be without a Shepherd”:
Virgin Mary to holy Abbess Maria Steiner in 1840s
It behooves Catholics to beware of private revelations — certainly of those that have not been approved by the Church, which must be avoided, but even of those that have been approved. Although the latter are judged by the Church to be free from error in Faith or morals and therefore safe to familiarize oneself with, it is important not to get attached to this kind of revelation because it is not necessary for our salvation and is given only to specific people, at a specific point in time, for a specific purpose.
We rarely, therefore, talk about or promote private revelation on this web site. However, in this post we will do so because there is a largely unknown prophecy out there, given to a mystic, that appears to confirm what we already know through a study of the Catholic Faith and the experience of the last 60 years and may thus be helpful to a number of souls.
And so we present today the prophetic testimony of Sister Maria Agnes Clare of the Sacred Side of Jesus. She was born Theresa (Theresia) Steiner on Aug. 29, 1813, in Taisten, South Tyrol. In 1838 she entered a convent in Assisi and subsequently joined religious life. In 1844 she was called to Nocera Umbra, where she established a convent for the Poor Clares, whose abbess she became four years later. Having lived a life of great devotion and generous suffering to appease the wrath of God for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls, she died there on Aug. 24, 1862. The process for her beatification was opened on Mar. 18, 1909. (Sources used for this biographical blurb include Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon and WikiTree.)
Two brief excerpts of the revelations given to Abbess Steiner are mentioned in Fr. Gerald Culleton’s book The Prophets and Our Times (imprimatur 1941) on p. 200 (n. 164). The book can be borrowed electronically here or purchased in paperback here (full disclosure: we earn a small commission from purchases made using this link).
The following is our translation of excerpts from the book Kurze Lebensgeschichte der Dienerin Gottes Maria Agnes Steiner von der Seitenwunde Jesu (“Short Biography of the Servant of God Maria Agnes Steiner of the Sacred Side of Jesus”). It was written in Italian by her former confessor, Fr. Franziskus von Reus, and translated into German by Fr. Peter Paul Außerer. The German edition was published in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1882, during the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII. It bears the ecclesiastical approbation (Apr. 12, 1881) of Abp. Franz de Paula Albert Eder (1818-90), Archbishop of Salzburg.
As the text can be somewhat confusing, we must clarify up front that the narrator is Fr. Franziskus von Reus; the quotations are by Sr. Maria Steiner; and the words in bold that appear within the holy nun’s quotations are the reported words of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
…[W]ell known are the efforts of the infernal secret societies openly declaring war on God and His anointed one with brazen godlessness and ungodly acts that continually provoke His wrath. But since God in His unending clemency wanted to be kept from executing upon the world the punishment it deserves, He with great clarity revealed these things to His beloved, in order to enable her by means of prayers, penances, and sacrifices to appease His just anger and help prevent the demise of so many souls rushing towards hell. That is why she wrote on Aug. 20, 1842: “Since I have lots of time now, I keep watch at night and pray for sinners, in accordance with the mandate of obedience, contemplating the Passion of Jesus. The Mother of God once told me: My Son must punish the world on account of the great ingratitude, sins, and weak faith of Christians, who are called to be true children of holy Church. …”
…But in order to urge her even more to double her prayers and sacrifices, the Lord showed her what she wrote down in 1843 in the following words: “Several times I saw the world and the hearts of its inhabitants, and I confess that it seemed to me as if I was going to die at the sight. One time the most blessed Virgin told me that chastisements would have to come if men did not improve and beg for mercy. Even she, the most blessed Virgin, pulled back her hands, as if she was no longer going to intercede. Then I said: But there are many who are just. — Thereupon I was shown that in truth there were only few who were just. Granted, I did see many who were in the grace of God or without grave sin; but their prayers were not very pleasing [to God] because they had divided their hearts in two or more parts. I asked what punishments there would be, to which the Most Blessed [Virgin] answered me: Many; but the greatest of God’s punishments is that so many are not saved who have abused the countless graces and inspirations that were given them; and then there will be three more kinds of punishments. These will in fact be many sudden deaths, the loss of faith in many, and persecution against the holy Church, together with disorders in villages and cities.”
“…The Mother of God revealed to me that the world deserves to be punished within one year, if a remedy is not applied, and Rome will be deprived of the Holy Father. I did not, however, understand how this was to happen; but that will not be the end of the punishment. …The Mother of God also told me: Because the inhabitants of the earth did not use the many graces and illuminations they had received, the hand of the Lord will strike them [come upon them]. If people do not pray, begging God to spare them, the time will come when the sword and death will be visible, and Rome will be without a shepherd. I don’t recall everything now [that I was told]. I heard that the world would be chastised, sooner than one would believe in fact, on account of sin and unbelief.”
To that she [Sr. Maria Steiner] adds: “When I prayed for sinners after [receiving] holy Communion, I was shown a paper that I read with horror because of the loss of the shepherd, because of the end of the world that would occur before its time, and [I was told] that the time was near when so many devils of hell were coming to earth, endeavoring to bring about a great falling away from the faith….”
It is well-known that Rome saw itself deprived of the Pope in 1846 through the death of Pope Gregory XVI and in 1848 through the escape of Pius IX to Gaeta. Who knows if the extraordinary penances and prayers of this Servant of God, [offered] in union with so many others of the Church militant and with the intercession of those dwelling in Heaven, have not spared the world from the worst of the threatened punishments so far, and have not, on the other hand, obtained the swift and wonderful election of the immortal Pius IX, of this Pope who, [although] surrouned by so many sufferings, reigned holy Church for an unprecedented length of time!
(Franziskus von Reus, Kurze Lebensgeschichte der Dienerin Gottes Maria Agnes Klara Steiner, trans. Peter Paul Ausserer [Innsbruck: Felix Rauch, 1884], pp. 84-88; our translation; bold print given; underling added.)
The above paragraphs contain a lot of information. Much of it speaks for itself; some of it is obscure.
That God will chastise the world for its sins, but in His mercy does not wish to do so if enough souls can be found to appease Him through prayer and works of penance, which draw their merit from the Passion of Christ, is a common prophetic idea that goes back to the times of the Old Testament. Certainly there is not much there to be confused about or to question. However, the types of punishment God sends vary, and in the last few hundred years one punishment that we have not only seen predicted but also found fulfilled is that of the persecution of the Church, not only by secular powers but also quite specifically by secret societies such as the Freemasons. The Popes themselves had sounded the alarm:
Obviously, spiritual chastisements are always much worse than merely physical punishments, such as disease, wars, or natural disasters.
Before going further, we would like to draw attention to some important insights with regard to prophecy given by Fr. Culleton:
There are certain characteristics of prophecy which it is well to know. For example, events are portrayed as it were in a deep mist. Thus a prophecy may be in process of fulfillment before one’s eyes and he may not be aware of it. Christ’s birth, life and death are clearly forecast in the Old Testament; yet, in all Judea scarce a hundred of His contemporaries recognized Him.
Then, too, a prophecy often reminds one of an Egyptian picture. There is no perspective. Events centuries apart may be forecast in one vision with divine disregard for time. The reason for this is to be found in a certain nontemporal relationship of spiritual events. One that happened in one century may be the type of another to come a thousand years later, or again an earlier may be the sign of a subsequent one. Thus St. John the Baptist was both a type of Christ and a sign of His near approach, whereas the destruction of Jerusalem was a type of the destruction of the world. In this connection it must be remembered that one prophetic utterance can portray even several types of a great spiritual event, as well as the event itself. The prophecy in the Apocalypse concerning Babylon refers to ancient Rome, its emperors and its fall, but the text is not exhausted with this. For a certainty the civil government of Anti-Christ is also spoken of and there is reason to believe that the words foretell the future of all cities or governments which substitute materialism for true Christianity.
This peculiarity of prophecy makes the oracle credible by virtue of reason, as well as by virtue of faith, for when the type or sign is verified it is reasonable to expect the main event.
On the other hand, one momentous event is often forecast by many separate prophecies, from various angles and often over many centuries. In these instances, as the generations go by and the individual utterances increase, man gradually gets a more recognizable picture. Yet even here the event may have come and gone before all of these separate references are recognized as facets of one majestic gem. This feature is best noted in the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah.
Prophetic ideas are often conveyed in visions. The recipient may not understand the meaning of the picture which passes before his mind. Sometimes further divine aid enlightens his mind. This aid may come immediately after the vision, later on in his life or not to him at all but to some one else. The “someone else” may be a contemporary or may not come into being till hundreds or even thousands of years later. In some instances, only the incomprehensible vision proceeds from God. Actual history, probably centuries later, gives the first inklings as to what the picture means. The seer may give his personal opinion as to the meaning of one of his visions but such remains merely his opinion. In scripture divine inspiration guarantees that the revelations and their interpretations, when given, are free from error. We have no such guarantees in the case of the private prophecies.
(Rev. R. Gerald Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times [Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1974], pp. 11-13; underlining added.)
Keeping these things in mind, it is clear we must approach any kind of prophecy about the future with humility as to its meaning. We certainly do not pretend to have an authoritative, much less definitive, interpretation of what was revealed to Abbess Steiner. In fact, the quotations given are only a small part of what is found in the book anyway, but they seem to be of particular relevance to our times.
The reported words of the Holy Virgin to Sr. Maria Steiner with regard to Rome being without a shepherd, indeed “deprived” of him, may very well admit not only of more than one interpretation (meaning) but also of more than one fulfillment. It would be unwise, therefore, to think that since the Pope reigning at the time of the revelation — Gregory XVI — died shortly thereafter, that must have been what the prophetic words were about.
This becomes more evident when we look at the context of the prophetic utterances revealed to Sr. Maria. The death of a Pope is a rather frequent occurrence, and, although tragic when it happens, not terribly remarkable. In fact, Gregory XVI’s immediate predecessor had been Pius VIII, whose reign lasted only for a year and eight months. It seems odd, then, that in the context of divine chastisement the simple death of a Pope should play a significant role.
Pope Pius IX’s flight from Rome and exile in Gaeta is a more serious contender for the fulfillment of the prophecy. The attack on the Papal States and the exile of their temporal ruler, the Pope, were certainly a significant negative development. At the same time, the exile was brief, and although it was difficult, the Pope was certainly still able to govern the Church and issue ecclesiastical documents (including the encyclicals Ubi Primum and Nostis et Nobiscum, and the allocution Quibus Quantisque).
One may suspect, therefore, that the Pope’s 1848 escape from Rome was but a sign, a type, of the much more serious and significant loss of the shepherd that would occur 110 years later. In other words, in a way similar to how “the destruction of Jerusalem was a type of the destruction of the world”, to use Fr. Culleton’s example, so perhaps Pius IX’s flight from Rome and temporary exile was a type of how “Rome [would] be deprived of the Holy Father” after the death of Pius XII through a lengthy interregnum that still continues to this day. What makes matters infinitely worse, of course, is the fact that whereas in fact no true Pope is reigning (as far as we know), false popes have usurped the Chair of St. Peter and are doing the infernal work of the secret societies. Their aim is the destruction of Faith, hope, and charity in as many souls as possible by replacing the supernatural Gospel of Christ with a Naturalist and indifferentist humanitarianism, whose preliminary high point has been reached in the Abu Dhabi declaration on human fraternity.
Especially when viewed against the unmistakable chastisement we have been witnessing the Mystical Body of Christ suffer through since the death of Pope Pius XII on Oct. 9, 1958, it would seem extremely odd that our Blessed Mother would warn of terrible chastisements to include Rome being deprived of the Supreme Pontiff if by this she meant merely the temporary exile of the Pope 75 miles away from Rome but not also the deprivation of the Holy Father for the entire Church which would last for decades while anti-Catholic usurpers-dressed-as-Popes work to turn the Church — to all appearances — into a tool of the Masonic revolution.
Cover page of the German translation of Fr. Reus’ book on Sister Mary Agnes Klara Steiner
Whatever may be the correct interpretation of the reported words of the Holy Virgin to Sister Maria, however, we ought not to use them as justification for Sedevacantism, as if the position were based on the interpretation and acceptance of private revelation. Rather, we should only present the prophecy as incidental confirmation of what we already know to be true from Catholic doctrine and recent history. Such confirmation helps to give encouragement to struggling souls who may find themselves overwhelmed by the insanity of what we are living through.
In a blog post published two years ago, we reported on a similar private revelation, which is also quite relevant to our times and makes for good supplemental reading to the present post:
It is important to remember, too, that the devil’s most ferocious persecution of the Church towards the end of time is not something only found in private revelation — it is actually also part of the Deposit of Faith, contained in essence in the New Testament and explicated in Sacred Tradition and the Church’s magisterium. This has been expounded by pre-Vatican II theologians such as Cardinal Henry Manning and Fr. Sylvester Berry:
- Fr. Berry on the Persecution of the Church in the Last Days (Part 1): Satan will Attack the Papacy
- Fr. Berry on the Persecution of the Church in the Last Days (Part 2): A False Church to imitate the True Church
- Fr. Berry on the Persecution of the Church in the Last Days (Part 3): A False Pope and a Vacant Holy See
- The Pope and the Antichrist: Cardinal Manning explains the Great Apostasy
Other highly relevant resources on this web site related to the subject of the persecution of the Church include the following:
- The Papacy and the Passion of the Church
- What does the Church teach about the Antichrist?
- Satan’s Attempts to Deceive even the Elect
- “Like Sheep Without a Shepherd”: 60 Years without a Pope
- Eclipse of the Church: The Case for Sedevacantism
- The End of the World and the Antichrist
- We Had Been Warned: Catholic Prophecies & Predictions of our Dark Times (topical page)
Christ Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church, and to this end He instituted the Papacy. But it is part of Divine Revelation that towards the end of time the “he who withholdeth” would be “taken out of the way” in order to fulfill the Divine Plan, much like the Jews were permitted, for a short time, to prevail against our Lord in order for Him to suffer His Passion and redeem the world. St. Paul spoke of this to the Thessalonians:
Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.
(2 Thessalonians 2:3-11)
Cardinal Manning explained this passage very well in his presentation on the end times.
Thus, it is clear that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church for as long as there is a Pope in office, and we find this confirmed in Church doctrine:
Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion.
(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7)
What happens when a true Pope is absent and the Chair of St. Peter is vacant for a long time, is precisely what we’ve been witnessing since Oct. 9, 1958.
May God grant us a true Pope and hasten the full and glorious restoration of Holy Mother Church.
Image sources: composite with elements from Shutterstock (Immaculate/David Carillet) and WikiTree / scan of book page
Licenses: paid and fair use / public domain