Fowler Breaks Ties With Group Over Fund Raising
A Guest News Report
[As originally published]
Archdiocese of Atlanta
Nancy Fowler Breaks Ties With Group Over Fund Raising - 'New Directions'
Georgia Bulletin, March 11, 1999
by G. K. - Staff Writer
ATLANTA--Nancy Fowler has publicly dissociated herself from Our Loving
Mother's Children, Inc., the non-profit group that owns and maintains
the Conyers site of her reported Marian visions and publishes material
based on the messages.
Following a disagreement with Bob and Bernice Hughes of Fairfax, Va.,
who are officers of Our Loving Mother's Children and who have been
close associates of Fowler since 1991, she met with Archbishop John F.
Donoghue, gave an interview to The
Georgia Bulletin and issued a statement separating herself from
Our Loving Mother's Children and its future activities.
Areas of disagreement surfaced very recently, Fowler said, probably in
January or December. The Oct. 13, 1998 gathering at the White Road site
known as “the Farm” drew tens of thousands to hear what Fowler said was
the last public Marian message and vision she would receive. The
events, drawing pilgrims from across the U.S., Mexico and Latin
America, began in 1990.
After October 1998, a monthly recitation of the rosary on the 13th at
the Farm was being transmitted live by satellite by Our Loving Mother's
Children. However, Fowler said she has not attended the rosary, praying
Fowler cited three concerns with the “new direction”
taken by Our Loving Mother's Children that she said diverged from their
past patterns and approaches and with which she disagreed.
One was a request for specific and potentially large financial
donations in the November/December newsletter distributed to
supporters. The newsletter, reproduced on their website, suggested a
range of donations from $25 to $10,000 to help underwrite the cost of
monthly satellite transmissions of the rosary from the Farm.
“It has been
common knowledge that we need donations to help support the publishing
of the books, but there was no pressure, just whatever they felt - if
they wanted to leave a dollar or two, or if they wanted to leave ten,
but there never was encouragement for them to spend”, Fowler
said. “So I
think of it as a relatively new change.”
“There seems to
be a more aggressive action to get people to come”, she added. “I've always
maintained that the Holy Spirit will inspire people's hearts and Our
Lord and Lady will bring them. It is not a human endeavor. If you are
called there to pray, then you come ... I think it is important to
preserve that spirituality and not to humanize that effort.”
She said that she could no longer advise others to support the group
financially since the direction appeared to be changing and her name
and experiences were being used in a way she opposed.
Fowler also said that a book of compiled messages from Conyers,
Children of God”, was being published without her final approval
including, against Fowler's wishes, references to the visions and
messages of a reported Bolivian stigmatist, Catalina (Catia) Rivas.
Fowler also said that a “new direction”
of Our Loving Mother's Children was attempting to bring the events in
Conyers together and link them with a movement in Bolivia called the
Great Crusade of Love and Mercy tied to the reported visions and
messages of Rivas.
She cited a postcard to supporters promoting the Feb. 13 Conyers
satellite telecast which quoted a message reportedly received from the
Blessed Mother by Rivas. The postcard said Rivas was at the Conyers
site Jan. 13 when she received this reported message and would return
Feb. 13. However, because of an airline strike Rivas was not in Conyers
Fowler said she was asked to attend the rosary of Jan. 13, kneel next
to the visiting visionary and pray alongside her, but declined to come.
upset”, she said. Fowler said she picked her son up at school
and took a long route home instead, praying the rosary.
Fowler said that a meeting between herself and Mr. and Mrs. Hughes in
February had not resolved the differences. She then requested a meeting
with Archbishop Donoghue and released the statement dissociating
herself from the organization which was formed to publicize and support
the reported Conyers apparitions.
“If they want
to change the apparition site and promote something else, then I think
I can only dissociate myself from that because I can only be held
accountable or responsible for what I have received”, she said.
Our Loving Mother's Children owns the property associated with the
visions, except for Fowler's home, where there is also a well believed
by pilgrims to have blessed water and a prayer site known as the “Holy
Fowler said that she would no longer go to the Farm in order to
separate the events for which she feels spiritually accountable from
any new activities that she does not endorse.
“We have always
kept the apparition site focused to one apparition and I'm accountable
to Our Lord and Our Lady ... for what I say”, Fowler said. “I don't want to be
held accountable for other messages of other people and other
directions that we are going or literature that is going out that I
don't have knowledge about.”
“I have no
objections to people publishing other people's messages per se. That is
their right to do”, she added. “I do object to the use (of) the
apparition site for something other than what it is intended for.”
She said from its inception she has not been on the board of Our Loving
Mother's Children because she wanted to remain focused on prayer. She
said that she receives no money from the organization.
of the Blessed Mother have ended on Oct. 13”, she said. “I have prayed
in unison with everyone in the quiet of my home. If I am now back at
the apparition site, it would be confusing.”
In an interview, Bob Hughes said that after receiving Fowler's Feb. 26
statement dissociating herself from the organization, he had turned the
text of the upcoming book over to her associate, George Collins, and
would not publish it without her approval.
basically returned the book to George and it is in their hands”,
He said that the text had been available to Fowler throughout the
pre-publication process and the content was not in dispute until
He said he would refund money to an estimated 1,500 people who have
already ordered the book if the dispute over the content is not cleared
up by the end of March. He confirmed that Fowler has never been on the
board of Our Loving Mother's Children or involved in the administration
of the pilgrimage site.
The current board of directors of Our Loving Mother's Children is Mr.
and Mrs. Hughes, Collins and Michael O'Connor, according to attorney
Stephen DeBaun. The organization received non-profit status from the
Internal Revenue Service in December 1991.
Hughes said that the fund raising in the November/December newsletter
was not new or a departure from prior procedures. “We've always had
fund raising”, he said. Donations are requested for copies of
the books compiling messages from Conyers, Hughes said. The
organization has also mailed out envelopes to supporters in the past to
raise funds to put in roads at the site, he added.
The $10,000 amount is in this newsletter, Hughes said, because that is
the cost of one of the satellite broadcasts. He said that the appeal
brought in one donation of $10,000 from California.
Hughes also said that “the Lord has put
Bolivia and Conyers together”.
Fowler was invited to speak in Bolivia in 1993, Hughes said, and after
hearing her speak, Rivas had a conversion experience. Hughes also said
a statue in Bolivia has had unexplained phenomena, shedding tears and
blood, and is believed by people there to be a sign from God linked to
Fowler's visit. Fowler visited Bolivia again and on one visit was
observed medically and psychologically to evaluate the authenticity of
her prayer experiences. Dr. Ricardo Castañon, who did this evaluation, “was an atheist”,
Hughes said, but is now associated with Rivas and the Great Crusade of
Love and Mercy.
Since her initial conversion, Rivas is reported to have received the
stigmata during a visit to Conyers and to have written 900 pages of
spiritual material in two weeks that have been published in Spanish
with the approval of her local bishop, Hughes said.
The Conyers website lists both Fowler and Rivas as speakers at a Marian
conference in Pittsburgh last October and on a program in Australia
Following the end of the public apparitions in October, Hughes said Our
Loving Mother's Children began the monthly rosary telecasts, but Fowler
declined to come to the Farm for these broadcasts in November and
Catia got a message from Our Lord to come and help for five months ...
Nancy left and would not come”, he said. He characterized the
dispute as stemming from human nature and said he believed jealousy was
In February an airline strike prevented Rivas from reaching the U.S.
and the Bolivian woman reportedly received a new message that she would
not have to return since her efforts to help had not been accepted. “She won't be back”,
However, Our Loving Mother's Children has also produced a new mission
statement. The organization's “transition from
apparitions” will include broadcasting the rosary on the 13th of
each month from the Farm by satellite and on the Internet. This
broadcast will also be linked to a “New Evangelization”
effort and to the Great Crusade of Love and Mercy, the mission
Hughes said he did not consider the Great Crusade of Love and Mercy a “new direction”.
He said it would include praying the rosary, forming prayer groups and “living the messages”
that had been given to Fowler since 1990.
Both Hughes and Fowler said that the relationship between the Conyers
housewife with reported visions and the Catholic couple from Virginia
who helped her for the past eight years had been close and supportive
“I believe the
apparitions are true. I believe Nancy is true. It is human stuff we are
talking about”, said Hughes.
Fowler said that “it is very
difficult ... to dissociate yourself from an organization that has
helped you over the years. I find it one of the most painful
“I have to
protect what I have received ... I don't have any direction from heaven
to be joined with any other apparition”, Fowler said. “This is my
life's work. Let us keep it pure.”
Text of statement
released by Nancy Fowler February 26, 1999
I have been associated with an
organization, “Our Loving Mother's Children, Inc.”, in the publication
of messages that I have been receiving from Jesus, His Mother, Mary,
Our Loving Mother, but I must disassociate myself from this
organization. My total obedience has been, and will continue to be, to
God through my Bishop. Recent developments in Our Loving Mother's
Children, Inc. soliciting large sums of money and joining in an
association with other groups, movements and/or individuals makes it
contrary to the principles upon which I stand. I have never been
associated with any other organizations, movements or individuals, and
neither have I received any money from Our Loving Mother's Children,
Inc. In order to be obedient to my Bishop, I have chosen to continue on
the same path. I divest myself of interest in and to Our Loving
Mother's Children, Inc. or from any individuals distributing my
messages in writing or speaking for me or in any way using my name.
I am grateful to Robert “Bob”
Hughes and Bernice “Bernie” Hughes, of Fairfax, Virginia, president and
vice-president of Our Loving Mother's Children, Inc., and all the
volunteers, for their help and support over the years. But I remain
firm in my decision to keep pure the teachings of private revelations
that I have received.
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