The Apparitions of Our Lady of Nicaragua in Cuapa, Nicaragua:
In Cuapa, Nicaragua, a man named Bernardo Martinez took care of the sacristy in a small chapel here. Very poor, he owned only a single calf and bathed in a nearby stream.
On two different nights in April of 1980, Bernardo had gone to the sacristy, where he found the lights turned on. Bernardo was sure some of the local women had left the lights on, and he had scolded them for doing so.
Then, on the night of April 15, 1980, Bernardo again saw the glow of the lights from the sacristy, and entered to turn them off. But this time he was amazed to see the statue of the Virgin Mary illuminated all by itself. He told the local people, asking them to keep it a secret; however, it was not kept secret and he was ridiculed by some who thought he was imagining things. Even the priest doubted him.
Bernardo prayed that the Blessed Mother not request anything from him, as he had enough problems already. However, that was not to be.
On May 8, 1980, Bernardo had gone fishing. He was returning around 3 o’clock to go feed the animals, and then go to the chapel to pray the Rosary with the people at 5 o’clock. As he was going on his way, he saw 2 lightening flashes. On the second flash, the a woman appeared to him. Naturally startled, he asked her name, and she replied that she was the Mother of Jesus. Asking here what she wanted, she replied that she wanted the Rosary to be prayed every day. The people in the parish were already doing so, since May was the month of Mary. But the Blessed Mother said that she wanted it prayed every day, not just in May.
“She told me that the Lord does not like prayers we make in a rush or mechanically. Because of that She recommended praying of the Rosary with the reading of bible citations and that we put into practice the Word of God.”
The Blessed Mother went on to give him many other instructions.
After this first vision of Our Lady, there would be five more visions of Her, and one vision of an angel.
Not wanting any more problems or ridicule from the people, Bernardo kept the vision to himself, and began to avoid the area where the vision had occurred. He felt guilty for remaining silent, and felt as though he had a great weight upon him. On May 16, 1980, Bernardo was walking through a pasture on his way to take his calf to the river to water it. Once again he saw 2 lightning flashes, and Mary appeared before him.
Bernardo then told all the people who came to his house about his vision, and then he told the priest. The priest told him that what he had already seen he could tell the people, but if he had any more visions he was to tell no one but the priest.
On June 8, 1980 Bernardo had a night time appearance from Our Lady. She showed him 4 visions that Bernardo described as being like a movie in the sky. First, he saw a large group of people dressed in white, their bodies radiating light, singing and marching towards heaven. These were the first Christians. Second, he saw another large group of people (Dominicans), dressed in white with large luminous Rosaries in their hands. One of them carried a very large book. He read, then everyone silently meditated on the words, and then they all prayed the Our Father and ten Hail Marys
On July 8, 1980 an Angel appeared to Bernardo and foretold several events which shortly took place. One of those events was the murder of Bernardo’s cousin which could have been prevented if he had listened to Bernardo’s warnings.
On September 8, 1980, Mary appeared to Bernardo as a child of six or seven years old. Her message to him was the same as the first time and Bernardo asked Her if She wanted a church built in her honor, as one man had already given him 80 Cordobas for that purpose.
On October 13, 1980, Mary appeared to Bernardo at Cuapa for the final time. She gave the following message:
“Nicaragua has suffered a great deal since the earthquake, and will continue to suffer if all of you don’t change. If you don’t change you will hasten the coming of the Third World War.
To protect Bernardo, the Church brought him to a seminary where he devoted himself to gardening and took great joy in telling the seminarians about his visions.
In 1995. at the age of 64 years, Bernardo was himself ordained a priest in the Cathedral of León, Nicaragua. He would later celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection in this same cathedral. Bernardo Martinez died in 2000.
The apparitions were recognized as “worthy of belief” by the Bishop in 1982 and by the Nicaraguan episcopal conference.