Theresa Lopez
Mother Cabrini Shrine

Alleged Marian Apparition

A local housewife named Theresa Lopez had visions of Mary and promised an apparition. Six thousand of the faithful stared up at heaven near Lookout Mountain. People thought the sun was spinning in the sky. Some of them stared directly into the blazing light.

Theresa Lopez said she saw the Virgin “wearing a gold gown... surrounded by pink, sparkling lights.” A few others saw what appeared to be spectacular signs in the heavens, but the vast majority only saw the blue sky and stabbing sunlight.

When the day was over, one woman named Kathy left Mother Cabrini Shrine near Denver disillusioned. She had brought her two-year-old son, who is mentally and physically disabled, because she thought the Virgin would help him.

Now yellow and green dots danced before her eyes. A doctor told her that when she stared at the sun, she burned both her retinas and damaged the central line of her vision. “I go up there to pray with one disabled member of my family and come home with two,” she said bitterly. “I'm done praying. In a way, I’m angry with God.”1

Denver’s Archbishop J. Francis Stafford advised Catholics to stop going to the shrine in the hope of visions. He warned about unreliable “private revelations” and appointed a committee to examine the Lopez case.

The following declaration is the result of Archbishop J. Francis Stafford’s commission:2



On December 9, 1991, I appointed a commission to investigate alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Mother Cabrini Shrine and other places within the Archdiocese of Denver to Theresa Antonia Lopez. On February 22, 1994, the commission completed its investigation and presented its findings to me.

As Archbishop of Denver, I have concluded that the alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Theresa Antonia Lopez are devoid of any supernatural origin.

Because of my concern for the spiritual welfare of the people of God, I direct the faithful to refrain from participating in or promoting para-liturgical or liturgical services related to the alleged apparitions.

Furthermore, anyone encouraging devotion to these alleged apparitions in any way is acting contrary to my wishes as Archbishop of Denver.

It remains my constant hope that all the faithful will promote devotion to our Blessed Lady in the many forms which have been approved by the Catholic Church.

J. Francis Stafford
Archbishop of Denver
March 9, 1994



  1. "How To Believe in Miracles," By Lance Morrow, December 30, 1991:,8816,974553,00.html
  2. Declaration concerning alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Mother Cabrini Shrine and other places in the Archdiocese:
    View a PDF version of Archbishop Francis J. Stafford's statement