Our Lady of Emmitsburg
Gianna Talone-Sullivan

Our Lady of Emmitsburg

Gianna Talone was born the youngest of three children in Phoenix, Arizona. Her early childhood was filled with love and rejection, material comfort and subsequent need, all centered on a career in show business.1

After taking a trip to Medjugorje in the late 1980s, Gianna began hearing voices from the Blessed Mother. Apparitions and messages from Mary continued to follow her after she returned home. Gianna then began to experience Marian apparitions almost every day. Eventually, she joined others from the Scottsdale area who were also experiencing heavenly locutions after their trip to Medjugorje.2

During this time, Michael Sullivan MD was conducting a lecture in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Medjugorje. He was invited to witness a private apparition that was occurring to Gianna Talone. During the apparition, the spiritual entity pointed out Dr. Sullivan to Gianna, and invited Gianna to enter into marriage with him. After reflecting on this recommendation, Gianna Talone and Michael Sullivan were married in 1993.

A few months before they were married, Gianna went to meet with Michael's family. During this trip, the couple visited some of Michael's favorite sites, among them was the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg. It was during this visit that the Blessed Mother appeared to Gianna and invited her, along with her future husband, to move to Emmitsburg, Maryland.3

The couple accepted the invitation and moved to Emmitsburg on November 1, 1993. Two days after moving to Emmitsburg, Gianna and Michael Sullivan attended their first "Marian Prayer Group" in the chapel at St. Joseph Church. During the Rosary, "Our Lady of Emmitsburg" allegedly appeared to Gianna, and has continued to do so every since.

As word spread about the Blessed Mother's appearances, hundreds of people flocked to the meetings. Three months after the first apparition occurred, the chapel could no longer hold all the participants. From that time forward, Gianna began to experience weekly apparitions. After each apparition, a message for the world was given through Gianna, from Our Lady of Emmitsburg, and then distributed among the faithful.4

The messages from Our Lady of Emmitsburg closely reflect those of other condemned sites. Jesus is usually portrayed as a  hostile warlord whose only intention is it to inflict terrible chastisements upon the entire human race. Mary is always glorified as the Savior of the world, the one who is holding back the hand of her angry Son's wrath. The threats of end-time disasters ring with a tone of urgency, leaving her followers only one way to protect themselves—praying more Rosaries and consecrating their lives into this entity's protection and power.

On June 7, 2003, the Archbishop of Baltimore, William H. Keeler issued the following decree of constat de non supernaturalitate. Since that time her published works and prayer meetings have been banned from Church property for the following reasons:5


Archdiocese of Baltimore - Our Lady of Emmitsburg

Statement concerning Archdiocesan action regarding alleged
apparitions to Gianna Talone-Sullivan in Emmitsburg, Maryland

On Friday, September 8, 2000, Archdiocesan officials met in Baltimore with Mrs. Gianna Talone-Sullivan to inform her that the Church found it impossible to permit, in a Catholic church, the continuation of prayer services centered around apparitions she alleges to experience with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mrs. Sullivan claims to receive messages from the Blessed Mother six days a week and one of these allegedly occurs at a public prayer service each Thursday at St. Joseph's parish in Emmitsburg. At each of these prayer services, Mrs. Sullivan claims to receive a message from the Blessed Mother that is then read to those present.

The following official statement was provided to Mrs. Sullivan last Friday and was also read to St. Joseph's parishioners at Mass during the weekend of September 9 and 10.

1. Following a careful examination of recently available information relative to the alleged apparitions, the Archdiocese of Baltimore finds no basis for them.

2. The Archdiocese of Baltimore has directed that the Thursday night prayer group meetings held at St. Joseph Church in Emmitsburg, Maryland be discontinued at this time.

3. The Archdiocese of Baltimore is unable to support the message of the video "Unbridled Mercy" and has asked that sales of the video be discontinued immediately.

Mrs. Sullivan is on record as having allegedly experienced apparitions of the Blessed Mother while living in the Diocese of Phoenix. Since her relocation to the Emmitsburg area approximately seven years ago, these alleged apparitions have continued. The Archdiocese of Baltimore, as the Diocese of Phoenix before, has until recently taken a neutral view on the authenticity of Mrs. Sullivan's alleged apparitions. St. Joseph's parish in Emmitsburg has hosted her Thursday prayer services over the past several years and attendance has grown to several hundred attendees each week.

Prayer services and prayer groups (there are over 30) are encouraged and common around the archdiocese, where parishes make dedicated efforts to provide for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and adoration of the Lord (two parishes provide Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and many others offer Eucharistic Adoration on a regular basis), the opportunity to seek the Blessed Mother's intercession through prayer, and often the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. The Thursday prayer services at St. Joseph's had combined these elements. More importantly, however, they had primarily become a platform for promoting Mrs. Sullivan's alleged apparitions in a setting which suggests Church approval of both their authenticity and theological content.

This action by the Archdiocese comes after a review of several months by Archdiocesan officials and theologians. Although the Archdiocese does not intend to detail a point-by-point theological analysis of the content of any of the messages Mrs. Sullivan claims to have received, it finds elements in them that cannot be reconciled with the teaching of the Church, including material that deals with predictions for the future and visions of an apocalyptic nature. Additional information presented in a video by and about Mrs. Sullivan entitled "Unbridled Mercy" played a significant role in this review and its result. For those who may be disappointed by this action, the archdiocese encourages continued prayer. The Archdiocese calls on the faithful to strengthen their resolve to follow Jesus through reception of the sacraments, personal prayer, study of our Catholic faith, devotion to the Blessed Mother, and participation in the life of their parishes.6

After Archbishop William H. Keeler issued the decree of constat de non supernaturalitate on June 7, 2003, Gianna, has continued to spread her alleged locutions throughout the world, and by doing so, has caused a great deal of harm and division among the faithful. Due to the magnitude of this problem, the Archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin F. O'Brien, issued the following statement on October 8, 2008:

"The alleged apparitions to Gianna Sullivan have not been recognized by the authority of the Church. Studied in detail by experts in theology and other pertinent fields, the investigations have come to the conclusion that the alleged apparitions are not supernatural in origin. This has been confirmed by the authority of the Church.

"Therefore, I strongly caution all the faithful regarding these purported apparitions to be guided by the Magisterium which cannot affirm them as authentic. The confusion and division that have come as a result of these apparitions have prompted me to take this public and decisive step.

"I also strongly caution Mrs. Gianna Talone-Sullivan not to communicate in any manner whatsoever, written or spoken, electronic or printed, personally or through another in any church, public oratory, chapel or any other place or locale, public or private, within the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Baltimore any information of any type related to or containing messages or locutions allegedly received from the Virgin Mother of God.

"Further, I strongly caution those who participate in any activity surrounding these alleged apparitions or who seek to disseminate information and promote them here in the Archdiocese. To do so is a great disservice to the Church and creates further confusion and division among the faithful."7



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  1. Messages of Our Lady of Emmitsburg: http://www.centeroftheimmaculateheart.org/messages/mysticalexperiences.asp
    View a PDF version of Crackdown on Medjugorje
  2. The Beginning of the Mystical Experiences: http://www.prourladyofemmitsburg.org/backgroundinfo/howthemysticalexperiencesbegan.html
  3. Private Life and Private Revelations Bloom: http://www.prourladyofemmitsburg.org/backgroundinfo/privatelifeandprivaterevelationsbloom.html
  4. Apparitions at St. Joseph Church: http://www.prourladyofemmitsburg.org/backgroundinfo/apparitionsatstjosephschurch.html
  5. Decree issued by the Archbishop of Baltimore. View PDF version of the Decree issued by the Archbishop of Baltimore
  6. Archdiocesan Bulletin 257— 9/14/2000 http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/statements/emmittsburg.html
  7. Statement by the Archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin F. O'Brien: http://www.emmitsburg.net/cult_watch/oct_10_warning.htm
    View a PDF version of Archbishop, Edwin F. O'Brien's statement