By DEXTER DUGGAN
A campaign to launch sales of a religious medal by an internationally known seer who claims to be God’s last prophet was reaffirmed despite a statement by the archbishop of Dublin, Ireland, that the visionary has “no ecclesiastical approval.”
The seer, who goes by the title of “Maria Divine Mercy” (MDM), is believed to reside in the Dublin Archdiocese. Her messages warn of worldwide devastation and the end times.
On May 16 the “Midway Street” web site (midwaystreet.wordpress.com), devoted to debunking the visionary, reported that web pages “are appearing in anticipation of taking orders for the ‘Medal of Salvation,’ with the magic power to save ‘billions’ of souls.”
In July 2013, Midway Street said, the seer “claimed a vision from the Virgin Mary commanding that a medal be struck showing a crown of thorns above her head with crossed swords on the back, available in bulk and ‘freely distributed.’ The ‘seer’ has been exposed as Dublin resident Mary Carberry.”
In mid-April the Dublin Archdiocese said: “Requests for clarification have been coming to the Archdiocese of Dublin concerning the authenticity of alleged visions and messages received by a person who calls herself ‘Maria Divine Mercy’ and who may live in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
“Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wishes to state that these messages and alleged visions have no ecclesiastical approval and many of the texts are in contradiction with Catholic theology,” the statement said. “These messages should not be promoted or made use of within Catholic Church associations.”
Last November The Wanderer had sent two e-mail inquiries to the Irish archdiocese’s media office but received no reply. This newspaper said, “The Irish seer Maria Divine Mercy has drawn some international attention. Would you please comment on the diocese’s position on her or her authenticity? If you have not taken a position yet, when would you expect to?”
The Wanderer has met personally with the writer of the Midway Street web site. He lives in the U.S. Southwest but asked that his location not be disclosed, and that he be identified by his online pseudonym Mark Saseen, because of his concern over possible adverse reaction by fervent followers of MDM.
In an e-mail exchange, Saseen, a Catholic, told this newspaper that he wants to make sure to share credit with Midway Street’s international team of researchers. “They are the heroes….Not one of us knows Carberry personally. We are in four continents and six countries and were gathered together by a [United Kingdom] resident who had discovered early information on the identity of the anonymous ‘seer’.”
As to the size of MDM’s faithful audience, Saseen said: “We can only guess, of course, as to the number of followers worldwide. The numbers tend to be overstated. A concerned Nigerian has written that there are millions of followers in Nigeria. A Catholic priest living in Switzerland believes that more than half of Swiss Catholics have had ‘some contact’ with MDM. A few dozen active MDM followers could cause quite a ruckus in any diocese.
“We know that the numbers are significant based on the public announcements of seven bishops worldwide who found it necessary to ban the promotion of the MDM messages in their dioceses,” he said. “I’m thinking more than 100,000 active followers, and many more who have had ‘contact’.”
Saseen, a journalist with a public-relations background, said he originally was impressed with MDM, but was “stunned” when he discovered that Carberry does public-relations work herself.
“I think part of the uniqueness here is that MDM is totally anonymous and totally Internet,” Saseen said. “…A significant boost to public awareness of her was an interview she gave in late 2011, about a year into her visions. We have a complete transcription of that 45-minute interview, given to a Pittsburgh Catholic radio station. So we knew the ‘voice’ of the visionary, which was clearly Irish. That was a big tactical error for MDM. A short time later, she appealed to her followers not to refer to that interview.”
After initially being impressed by hearing the interview, Saseen said, “I started keeping up with the many visions, almost daily, posted at MDM’s web site. They sure seem to have a spiritual source. And the 100-plus prayers tossed into the mix are so darn good. But thank God for [my] sense of humor, a touch of humility, and a measure of doubt.
“The turning point was finding a reference on a Facebook page early last November that gave a name to the ‘visionary.’ With that little piece of information, I started to research the name and was stunned by what I found,” Saseen said. “She’s a PR girl! I began posting my findings at one of the social-media pages devoted to addressing the truth of the messages.
“From those postings,” he continued, “I was invited to join a small-group international team who were devoted to researching and exposing the identity of the mysterious seer. It was members of the team who originally brought forth the seer’s identity. They had amazing information but were hesitant to go public. That’s where I helped.
“Unbelievably, only about ten days after my learning the Irishwoman’s name, Midway Street was born,” Saseen said. “It is still the primary source of information worldwide on the identity of the seer and her business and ‘spiritual’ associates. But there are other equally important web sites devoted to exposing the supposed visionary, many administered by members of the team.”
He said the researchers are “all faithful, practicing Catholics.”
Midway Street has various articles. One, posted last November, is headlined, “Maria Divine Mercy: The Woman Behind the Curtain.” It begins:
“Since November 8, 2010, a woman identifying herself as Maria Divine Mercy, a Catholic messenger from God and the Last Prophet, has posted nearly 1,000 messages from Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and God the Father on the web site TheWarningSecondComing.com. She has nearly 35,000 international Facebook followers and dozens of worldwide geographically local Facebook sites.
“The main FB site, Jesus to Mankind, shows an image of a happy Jesus as messages report of cataclysmic global devastation and Satanic influences leading to the end times, and schismatic separation of her followers from the institutional Church,” the article says.
Saseen told The Wanderer, “It was becoming evident over the three years’ worth of visions that they were promoting a schismatic break from the organizational Church. But that was not evident early on. The ‘visions’ speak of a church separate from the established Church, that the time of anti-Christ is now, and that the Pope is suspiciously un-Pope-like.”
He said a German business ally of MDM “is registering various new businesses outside his home country under his sole ownership to sell the Irishwoman’s medals that could generate a million dollars in sales. Our team has identified four business addresses associated with the ‘seer’ that turn out to be unstaffed mail drops.”
The German ally, Saseen said, “related a story of German friends visiting the ‘seer’ at her home, and her demonstration of automatic writing to answer a visitor’s question. That was the turning point for many former MDM followers. So we have on-site evidence of her communication with the spirit world. Does MDM believe she is truly a God-sent angel to save the world? That’s a question for her….
“Her threat — and others like her — is enormous,” Saseen said. “When we look outside the Church for answers and comfort, we are at the mercy of those we follow. We desperately want clarity in our faith. When churchmen contradict each other in their explanations and applications of the faith, the faithful become vulnerable to influence from anyone’s claims to have an exclusive on truth.”