History of the Holy Queen’s Grotto by Sr. Stella Maris

There is a grotto of the Holy Queen, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ in Pro Labore Dei Compound. The grotto came up as a result of what happened on the 30th of November 1997 at about 4:00pm.

I was saying goodbye to some friends from IITA (International Institute for Tropical Agriculture) who came to visit. We were standing by the staircase to my house when I saw twelve arms of beautiful light rays such as I had never seen before, descended from the sky and spread all over the compound even down to the boundaries, all of the same colour.

Picture of rays

This period was when people were saying the world was going to end and Jesus Christ was coming. I thought that this was the Rapture and that the trumpet would sound any moment. I stood watching together with Mrs. Mathilda-Mary Awoyokun, a member-teacher who was also in the compound. We were hoping, waiting for the end, but not knowing that it was the beginning of something marvelous and incredible.

The rays remained in that position for about thirty minutes, and then the light turned itself around like an inverted umbrella and faced the opposite direction. At this point we went over to where the grotto now stands and one of two Dominican students (Bro. Damien and Julius) joined us. They came with a camera to take photographs of David, one of my children.

We then saw the cloud right above the grotto coming nearer to us.  It then began to vibrate very heavily and separated in the centre. As it separated, brilliant lights flashed through the aperture created by the separation. Green florescent light was followed by flashes of brilliant light in other colours. There was no colour that did not manifest in the flashes and with every flash the separation became wider and wider. Meanwhile those rays remained elegantly positioned over the compound and looked so beautiful. They did not move. Only the center point from which they came was separating. It was truly scary and we all fell to the ground face down in fear but it was really the beginning of many great things.

After some time the children and everybody in the compound began to scream look at this woman appearing in the sky from the aperture which was being created. The children were shouting saying, “Look at this woman standing like this.” They were trying to describe the woman. It took a lot of energy to stop them from shouting. I said to them “Keep quiet and let’s say the rosary.”  We started and stopped so many times out of fear. Remember there was a very heavy vibration, as we tried to pray the Rosary, light continued to flash. Each time it did we were so scared that we stopped praying and fell to the ground face down.

Picture of people looking up

After sometime the children started shouting, “She has gone.” Then I prayed aloud, “Mother please don’t leave us just like that. If you are going, please go with us.” I thought it was rapture and was praying for eternal life. In a short while the children started screaming again “She is back! She has gone to bring her child!” Again I tried to hush them so that we could say the Hail Mary. Then the Dominican brother with the camera started singing “Ave Maria.” I stopped them and appealed to them to say a Hail Mary and to pray for eternal life because I was sure we were going to die or disappear. I don’t know how long all this lasted as I was not looking at my watch, but at some point everything stopped. The cloud began to close, the vibrations and the flashes of light stopped and the rays began to vanish. I remained kneeling on the ground still carrying the baby, David, whose photograph we wanted to take before the incident started. The baby was held tightly in my arms so that when I fell to the stony ground, I was still protecting the baby, cradled in my arms.

It was as if I was glued to the ground until something jolted me to reality. The only sister we had at that time came to collect the baby from me. However, seeing me, she ran back screaming and calling everybody to come and see. She said “Sister, look at you. Everything has become gold!”  My teeth, dress and everything on me was gold as they said. I didn’t see myself, but looking at the compound, everything was gold coloured including the grass, stones, building and the cars that were parked. I mean everything in the compound was golden in colour.

I remembered at some point I saw the Dominican student with the camera courageously taking photographs of all that was happening. Before he began, he made the sign of the cross and took pictures but the arms of beautiful light rays did not really appear. However, the pictures are available as evidence of all that transpired on that fateful day. Every part of the incident is shown in the pictures; the gradual separation of the cloud till the aperture became wide, people shouting with their hands up and some with faces down and many others. The chapel was also covered in gold colour and my Lord and Mother began to appear there. It was an experience I will never forget. It was terrific at the same time joyful.

The villagers also saw the golden light. In particular there was a Muslim Baba who was working in his farm that Sunday. He said that as he was making mounds, the ground suddenly changed colour to gold. He did not understand what was going on and he heard loud screams from the compound.

After that, the rays continued to appear such that the villagers noticed and began to ask questions about them. Even the man who painted the Chapel saw it one day and exclaimed that, since he was born, he had never seen such rays and he was about 70 years of age.