Our Lady of Aokpe The Mediatrix of All Graces and Day of Grace

By Rev Fr Cosmas Okechukwu Ebebe


Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary testify to her active presence in the life of the Church and are a special manifestation of her maternal love by which, “she cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son who still journey on earth” (LG 62). The purpose of an apparition is not to bring a new revelation but to recall and focus attention on this or that aspect of the Gospel teaching.

Mary can only repeat in all her messages, what she said to the waiters at Cana when directing them (and us) to Jesus: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2: 5). In a true apparition, the Blessed Mary tells believers in Christ to do whatever Christ says with reference to the sins and mistakes that need to be corrected in each time or place. (J. Giens, “Apparition” in Dictionary of Mary, (Revised and Expanded Edition), 1985, p, 45). While the apparition in Aokpe is still under investigation, let us discuss some of the messages and try to know  to what extent, and how her messages deepen the message of our salvation in Jesus Christ the Saviour.

  1. Mediatrix of All Graces

At the incarnation, the angel called the future mother of Jesus “full of grace” (Lk 1: 28). This title or middle name/ alternate name of Mary came as a surprise to her just as the choice of the mother of God. In her apparition at Aokpe as in other apparitions, she sends a reminder to us that she is full of Grace and her graces are not for herself just as Jesus was not her personal possession.

Her fullness of grace is for dispensation to all the children of her Son, Jesus Christ. She visited the visionary, Christiana, a girl in her early teens and told her that she wants to be honoured at Aokpe as “Mediatrix of All Graces”. The message was too deep for the young Christiana who had to ask some questions. It was on August 4, 1995, the Blessed Lady appeared as promised and said to the visionary, “Honour me here as the Mediatrix of All Graces.” (Christiana Agbo, The Apparition of the Virgin Mary at Aokpe).

The interesting thing about the event of the day was that Christiana asked the Blessed Visitor this question, “What does it mean?”  The Virgin Mary answered, “I am the Lady who receives all graces from God and in turn I give them to the children of God”. Notice that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not say that she ‘received’ all the graces from God but that she ‘receives’ all graces from God.

The statement that she receives all graces from God is in the present simple tense. The greatest theological significance of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Aokpe Nigeria is the declaration by her claim of the title, MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACES. Just like the Divine choice of the remote village of Aokpe as the place of apparition, and the choice of the lowly girl Christiana as the visionary, the information that she should be honoured at Aokpe as Mediatrix of All Grace was by divine initiative.

It is noteworthy that Christiana did not know what Mediatrix of All Graces meant. In the early days of the apparition, the Heavenly visitor told Christiana at different occasions that she is the Mediatrix of All Graces. She did not understand, and it was on August 4, 1995, that Christiana asked for the meaning of what she was told earlier.

The first day of Grace was on August 4, 1994, but Mary’s declaration that she is the Mediatrix of All Graces was on August 4, 1995 on the second anniversary of her call to observe August 4th as the Day of Grace.

The Blessed Mary’s fullness of Grace is based on the grace of Christ her Son. Her grace is the grace of her Son.  In the message to Christiana during Lent on February 21, 1994, the Blessed Visitor said,

“This is the time to ask and receive graces from me your Holy Mother. During this time of the memorial of the suffering of Christ, offer reparation and you will receive many blessings from Jesus. What your Divine master wants of you is love.

Love for the Blessed Trinity, love your neighbour, love greatly and you shall see the face of God. I want you all, especially you my child, to abandon yourself to the Holy Spirit so that you will become his instrument. Be always mindful not to sin against the Holy Spirit. Walk in the light, pray earnestly and God will grant your request.”

Again, the grace from the Holy mother is anchored in the Blessed Trinity. It comes to those who abandon themselves the Holy Spirit and are ready to be instruments in His hands. The graces are the many blessings from Jesus to whom we should offer reparation.

  1. The Day of Grace

On July 1st, 1994, the Blessed Lady appeared and said to Christiana, “The 4th of August of this year is the day of graces to be bestowed on those who will ask.”  She urged the children of God to do a nine-day preparation for the DAY OF GRACE. After mentioning nine days of preparation with prayers for the day of Grace, she said. “Whatever you ask with open heart will be granted you.” In preparation for the day of Grace, the Blessed Lady gave Christiana the prayer to be recited nine days before the 4th of August.

This is the prayer we know today as the PRAYER OF OUR LADY OF AOKPE or the LADY OF PURITY OF HEART PRAYER. It was later translated from Idoma Language in which it was given to the visionary, Christiana to English Language. It is noteworthy that the last sentence of the prayer which the Blessed Visitor dictated to Christiana on that 1st of July was completed on a different day on July 22, 1994. The current approved English translation of the prayer reads:

Lady of purity of heart,

Lady of good heart,

Lady of honour that humbles herself,

Sweetness of Angels,

Your heavenly wisdom and patience

Surpass all others,

The whole of your life,

Is a purity of heart that has no stain.

Lady the Mediatrix of All Graces,

Make us worthy to receive

The gift that has been given to us

So that we may become holy.

Give us the grace to go and greet Our Lord Jesus

Help us to be pure, so that we may see heaven.

Father, fill us with the Grace of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The words: ‘FATHER, FILL US WITH THE GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AMEN’ were the concluding part of the prayer given on July 22, 1994. In that prayer, Our Blessed Mother showed the Trinitarian character of the grace she gives. The preceding part of the prayer before this addition reads, “GIVE US THE GRACE TO GO AND GREET OUR LORD JESUS. HELP US TO BE PURE SO THAT WE CAN SEE HEAVEN.

HELP US TO DO THE WILL OF JESUS SO THAT WE MAY SHARE IN HIS GLORY’’.  So, in this prayer of Our lady of Purity of Heart we see the affirmation that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Trinity of one God) give the grace that our Blessed Mother dispenses.

Recall also that August 4th, 1994, that first day of Grace and the first day of the Aokpe public apparition was also the day an Angel gave Holy Communion to Christiana.

  1. Conclusion

It is noteworthy that the first Bishop of Oturkpo, Most Rev Fidelis Ogah, gave the imprimatur to the English version of the prayer of Our Lady of Aokpe.The significance of August 4, is in connection to the Mediatrix of All Graces. It is the Day of Grace. The Novena to Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces begins on July 26, so as to end on August 3, on the eve of the DAY OF GRACE. Devotees are encouraged to do the novena anywhere they are, while August 2-4 have been set aside for pilgrimage to Aokpe for the feast day celebration.

Fr Ebebe is a lecturer at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA) Port Harcourt, Nigeria.