November 20, 2006
One to watch in the months ahead:
Thousands of people gather on the first Saturday of the month to pray at an ash tree on the outskirts of El Escorial, 30 miles northwest of Madrid, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a cleaning lady 25 years ago. Many are members of the Foundation of the Virgin and come to hear Luz Amparo Cuevas deliver the message she claims to receive every month.
In recent months, another group has been present, bearing photographs of relatives who have “disappeared” since joining the sect.
The Association of Victims of the Appear-
ance of the Virgin of Dolores has lobbied the Catholic Church to stop the cult and claims that 26 people, some with a history of mental illness, have vanished since joining
However, Antonio Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, has assigned it two chaplains and Juan Carlos Bueno Suescun, 46, the president of the victims’ association, said: “By doing this they are tacitly approving Mrs Ceuvas’ activities.”
Losing 26 people is careless, to say the least—even for a sect.
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