The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio.
Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding his mother Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited controversy. The Catholic Church endorses a fraction of these claims, and various visionaries it accepts have achieved beatification, or even sainthood.

The very first reported visions of Christ, and personal conversations with him, after his resurrection and prior to his ascension are found in the New Testament. One of the most widely recalled Resurrection appearances of Jesus is the doubting Thomas conversation (John 20:24-29) between him and Thomas the Apostle after his death. The last book of the Bible itself is based on a series of visions. In the Book of Revelation, the author, often identified as John of Patmos, recorded visions that became part of the New Testament.

Acceptance and impact :

Some visions predate the Protestant Reformation, yet among Christian denominations, the Catholic Church has made more formal comments on visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Author Michael Freze argues that Catholic practices such as Eucharistic adoration, rosary devotions and contemplative meditation with a focus on interior life facilitate visions and apparitions. The first step in the mysticism of Saint Teresa of Ávila, a Doctor of the Church who reported extensive visions, was "mental prayer", i.e. devout contemplation or concentration, the withdrawal of the soul from without and specially the devout observance of the passion of Christ and penitence (Autobiography 11.20).

In recent centuries, people reporting visions of Jesus have been of diverse backgrounds: laity and clergy, young and old, Catholics and Protestants, devout or casual believers.

The Holy See Guidelines :

The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican has published a detailed set of steps for "Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations" that claim supernatural origin.

After some time and detailed examinations, the Holy See has, however, recognized a few post-Ascension conversations with Jesus as valid. In his 1928 encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor Pope Pius XI stated that Jesus Christ had "manifested Himself" to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th Century. The encyclical refers to the conversation between Jesus and Saint Margaret Mary several times. The Vatican biography of Saint Teresa of Ávila refers to her gift of interior locution and her conversations with Jesus. The Vatican biography of Saint Juan Diego discusses his conversation with the Virgin Mary. The Vatican biography of Saint Faustina Kowalska not only refers to her conversations with Jesus, but quotes some of these conversations.

As a historical pattern, Vatican approval seems to have followed general acceptance of a vision by well over a century in most cases. The reported visions of Jesus and Mary by Benoite Rencurel in Saint-Étienne-le-Laus in France from 1664 to 1718 were only recognized by the Holy See in May 2008, making them the first Marian apparitions and visions of Jesus to be approved in the 21st century. According to Father Salvatore M. Perrella of the Mariunum Pontifical Institute in Rome, this is the 12th Marian apparition approved by the Holy See from a total of 295 that have been studied through the centuries.

The Controversies :

Many visions of Jesus following his ascension have been reported after the Book of Revelation was written. But the Book of Revelation itself specifically mentions the case of “false prophets” (Rev 19:20) and undoubtedly not everyone claiming to converse with Jesus can be believed. Over the years, a number of people claiming to converse with Jesus for the sake of monetary gain have been exposed. A well-known example was the Charismatic Protestant televangelist Peter Popoff who often claimed to receive messages from God to heal people on stage. Popoff was debunked in 1987 when intercepted messages from his wife to a small radio receiver hidden in his ear were replayed on the Johnny Carson national television show.

Another example is messages from Jesus reported by Catalina Rivas, which have been exposed in a number of cases as less than truthful. A number of messages which Rivas reported as having been received from God were later found to correspond to exact pages of books previously written by other authors (e.g. José Prado Flores), and published instructional literature for Catholic seminarians.

Some reported messages from the Virgin Mary have also involved controversy. Reported Marian messages from Veronica Lueken were declared invalid by Bishop Francis Mugavero of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and reports of Our Lady of Surbiton claiming that the Virgin Mary appeared every day under a pine tree in England were flatly rejected by the Vatican as a fraud.

The Catholic Church has, at times, taken a harsh view of some people who have claimed religious visions. In December 1906, during the reign of Pope Pius X the former Polish nun Feliksa Kozlowska became the first woman in history to be excommunicated by name as a heretic. Some visions of Jesus have simply been classified as hallucinations by the Church, while in a few cases the Church has chosen to remain silent on the authenticity of claimed visions.

Influence :

Despite the expected controversies, post-Ascension visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary have, in fact, played a key role in the direction of the Catholic Church, e.g. the formation of the Franciscan order and the devotions to the Holy Rosary, the Holy Face of Jesus and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Key elements of modern Roman Catholic Mariology have been influenced by visions reported by children at Lourdes and Fatima.

Reported messages from Jesus have also influenced papal actions and encyclicals. For instance, the 1899 consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pope Leo XIII in the encyclical Annum Sacrum was due to the messages from Jesus reported by a nun, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart Droste zu Vischering. Pope Leo XIII performed the requested consecration a few days after the death of Sister Mary and called it "the greatest act of my pontificate".

Some visions have helped maintain the strength of the Catholic Church through the centuries before being accepted by the Vatican. Saint Juan Diego's reported vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in 1531 was instrumental in adding almost 8 million people to the ranks of Catholics between 1532 and 1538, right in the midst of the Protestant Reformation of 1521 to 1579 which saw a large number of people leave the Catholic Church in Europe. Juan Diego was declared venerable in 1987.

Reported Visions :

Churches built based on reported visions of Jesus and Mary attract many millions of pilgrims each year. According to Bishop Francesco Giogia the majority of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world are vision based, in that with about 10 million pilgrims, in 1999 the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City was the most visited Catholic shrine in the world, followed by San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy and Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, each with about 6 to 7 million pilgrims per year. Given about 5 million visitors per year to Our Lady of Lourdes and 4 million to Our Lady of Fátima, the major vision based churches receive over 30 million pilgrims per year.

Predictions :

Some of the reported visions of Jesus simply fade away by virtue of predictions that fail to materialize. On the other hand, some predictions based on visions continue to gather interest decades after they were made. Messages from Jesus reported by John Leary in Rochester New York in 1999 had predicted that Pope John Paul II would be forced out of Rome and sent into exile amid chaos. Bishop Matthew Clark of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester disallowed these messages at the time, but with the election of Pope Benedict XVI the debate about the validity of these messages seems to have been rendered mute.

On August 19, 1982, some teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda reported visions of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, as Our Lady of Kibeho. The teenagers reported truly gruesome sights such as rivers of blood and the visions were accompanied by intense reactions: crying, tremors, and comas. Some today regard the visions as an ominous prediction of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and particularly in that specific location in 1995 in which some of the teenagers died a decade after their vision. The apparitions were accepted by the local Roman Catholic bishop but have not been given final approval by the Holy Office.

Visions of the early saints :

The Bible includes primarily pre-Ascension visions of Jesus, except for the vision of Christ by Saint Stephen just before his death (Acts 7:55), the road to Damascus voice heard by Saint Paul and the conversation between Jesus and Saint Ananias in Damascus in which Saint Ananias is ordered to heal Saint Paul (Acts 9:10-18). The Damascus appearance is the last reported vision of Jesus in the Bible until the Book of Revelation was written. However, in the following centuries, many saints reported visions of both Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saint Francis of Assisi : In 1205, while praying in the Church of San Damiano just outside Assisi, Saint Francis of Assisi reported a vision in which an image of Jesus came alive and told him: "Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins." This vision lead Saint Francis to renounce the outlook of his merchant family, embrace poverty and form the Franciscan order. The Franciscans became a key force in the renewal of the reach of Christianity.

Saint Francis of Assisi
During another vision in 1224 Saint Francis reportedly received the very first recorded case of stigmata. Two years before Francis, the faithful servant of Christ, gave his soul back to God, he was alone on the top of Mt. Alverna. There he had begun a fast of forty days in honor of the archangel Michael and was immersed more deeply than usual in the delights of heavenly contemplation. His soul became aglow with the ardor of fervent longing for heaven as he experienced within himself the operations of grace.

As he was drawn aloft through ardent longing for God one morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and was praying on the mountainside, he saw what appeared as a seraph with six bright wings gleaming like a fire descending from the heights of heaven. As this figure approached in swift flight and came near the man of God it appeared not only winged but also crucified. The sight of it amazed Francis and his soul experienced joy mingled with pain. He was delighted with the sight of Christ appearing to him so graciously and intimately and yet the awe-inspiring vision of Christ nailed to the cross aroused in his soul a joy of compassionate love.

When the vision vanished after a mysterious and intimate conversation it left Francis aglow with seraphic love in his soul. Externally, however, it left marks on his body like those of the Crucified as if the impression of a seal had been left on heated wag. The figures of the nails appeared immediately on his hands and feet. The heads of the nails were inside his hands but on top of his feet with their points extending through to the opposite side. His right side too showed a blood-red wound as if it had been pierced by a lance, and blood flowed frequently from it.

Because of this new and astounding miracle unheard of in times past, Francis came down from the mountain a new man adorned with the sacred stigmata, bearing in his body the image of the Crucified not made by a craftsman in wood or stone , but fashioned in his members by the hand of the living God.

Saint Juliana of Liege :

Saint Juliana of Liege
Starting in 1208, Saint Juliana of Liege had visions of Christ which she kept a secret for almost 20 years. In these visions she was reportedly told to institute a solemn feast for the Blessed Sacrament as the Body of Christ.

When she eventually reported her visions to her confessor, the information was relayed to the bishop. Years later, in 1264, Pope Urban IV (who was formerly the Archdeacon of Liege) formally declared the feast of Corpus Christi for the whole Latin Rite, as the first papally sanctioned universal feast for the Latin Rite.

Saint Simon Stock :
Saint Simon Stock

The Blessed Virgin Mary is traditionally said to have appeared to the English Carmelite priest St. Simon Stock in 1251, and given him the Carmelite habit, the Brown Scapular, with a promise that those who die wearing it will be saved. 

Also known as the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the brown scapular is perhaps the best known, and most widespread of all small scapulars.

Saint Catherine of Siena :

Saint Catherine of Siena,
Doctor of the Church
by Tiepolo, c. 1746

was a withdrawn Dominican tertiary who lived, fasted and prayed at home in Siena Italy. In 1366, when she was 19 years old she reported her first vision of Jesus after which she started to tend to the sick and the poor. In 1370 she reported a vision in which she was commanded to abandon her life of solitude and to make an impact on the world. 

She corresponded with Pope Gregory XI and other people in authority, begging for peace and for the reformation of the clergy, writing over 300 letters. Her arguments, and her trip to Avignon, eventually became instrumental in the decision of Pope Gregory XI to return the Avignon Papacy to Rome where she was summoned to live until her death. She is one of only three female Doctors of the Church.

Saint Julian of Norwich :
Saint Julian of Norwich

In 1372 Saint Julian of Norwich was on her deathbed and had been given her last rites when she reported a series of visions of Jesus, followed by a sudden recovery. Almost twenty years later she wrote about these visions in her book “Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love” perhaps the first book in the English language written by a woman, presumably because she was unfamiliar with Latin. Her book mentions her illness and her recovery as she saw the shining image of Christ. 

The sixteen revelations start with the crown of thorns and proceed through the death of Jesus, ending with his resurrection and how Christ still dwells in the souls of those who love him. She is celebrated in the Anglican Church.

Saint Juan Diego :

 In 1531, Saint Juan Diego reported an early morning vision of the Virgin Mary in which he was instructed to build an abbey on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico. The local prelate did not believe his account and asked for a miraculous sign, which was later provided as an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe permanently imprinted on the saint’s cloak where he had gathered roses. Over the years, Our Lady of Guadalupe became a symbol of the Catholic faith in Mexico. By 1820 when the Mexican War of Independence from Spanish colonial rule ended Our Lady of Guadalupe had come to symbolize the Mexican nation. Today it remains a strong national and religious symbol in Mexico.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Saint Teresa of Avila : 

On St. Peter's Day in 1559, Saint Teresa of Avila (Teresa de Jesús) reported a vision of Jesus present to her in bodily form. For almost two years thereafter she reported similar visions. Saint Teresa’s visions transformed her life and she became a key figure in the Catholic Church eventually being recognized as one of only three female Doctors of the Church. 

One of her visions is the subject of Bernini's famous work The Ecstasy of St Theresa in the basilica of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.

Venerable María de Jesús de Ágreda :
Venerable María de
Jesús de Ágreda
In the early 17th century, Venerable María de Jesús de Ágreda reported a number of mystical experiences, visions and conversations with the Blessed Virgin Mary. She stated that the Blessed Virgin had inspired and dictated passages in the book Mystical City of God as a biography of the Virgin Mary. 

The book Mystical City of God is still frequently studied in college and university programs of Spanish language and culture. However, the book (which makes a number of somewhat unusual claims) has remained controversial within the Roman Catholic church, having been banned and restored a number of times, and her process of beatification (started in 1673) has not been completed.

Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque : 
Saint Marguerite
Marie Alacoque

From 1673 to 1675, Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque recounted a series of visions of Christ speaking to her. In December 1673 she reported that Jesus permitted her to rest her head upon his heart, and then disclosed to her the wonders of his love. 

This led her to the founding of the Devotion of the Sacred Heart. Initially, her life, actions, beliefs and writings became the subject of extreme scrutiny by the Catholic Church. However, she was eventually declared a saint in 1920 and the Feast of the Sacred Heart is now officially celebrated 19 days after Pentecost.

Saint Veronica Giuliani :

 At her profession as a Capuchin Poor Clare nun in 1678, Saint Veronica Giuliani expressed a great desire to suffer in union with the crucified Jesus for the conversion of sinners. Shortly after that time she reported a series of vision of Jesus and the Virgin Mary that lasted a number of years. 

She reported a vision of Christ bearing his cross and of the chalice symbolizing the Passion of Christ. On Good Friday 1697 she received the five wounds of Christ as stigmata.

19th Century visions

Anne Catherine Emmerich
Anne Catherine Emmerich :  was told by Our Lord that her gift of seeing the past, present, and future in mystic vision was greater than that possessed by anyone else in history. Born at Flamske in Westphalia, Germany, on September 8, 1774, she became a nun of the Augustinian Order at Dulmen. She had the use of reason from her birth and could understand liturgical Latin from her first time at Mass. During the last 12 years of her life, she could eat no food except Holy Communion, nor take any drink except water, subsisting entirely on the Holy Eucharist. From 1802 until her death, she bore the wounds of the Crown of Thorns, and from 1812, the full stigmata of Our Lord, including a cross over her heart and the wound from the lance.

Anne Catherine Emmerich possessed the gift of reading hearts, and she saw, in actual, visual detail, the facts of Catholic belief which most of us simply have to accept on faith. The basic truths of the catechism–angels, devils, Purgatory, the life of Our Lord and the Blessed Mother, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the grace of the Sacraments–all these truths were as real to her as the material world. Her revelations make the hidden, supernatural world come alive. Below are some of the most enthralling of these revelations :

  • She saw that each parish and diocese, each city and country has its own particular and powerful guardian angel.
  • She saw that the Church never has allowed children of Catholics to be raised outside her fold, and that as soon as solidly established, she banned mixed marriages.
  • She saw how the various indulgences we gain actually remit specific punishments which otherwise would await us in Purgatory.
  • She revealed that to gain an indulgence we must approach the Sacraments with true repentance and a firm purpose of amendment–or we do not gain it.
  • She deposes that it is more holy to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory than for sinners who are still alive.
  • She describes the nature, extent and power of victim souls, and their role in the life of the Church. She describes the condition of St. Lydwine of Schiedam, a victim soul during the time of "three popes," and how her body came apart into three pieces, joined only by the slenderest of sinews. She saw only 6 victim souls in her time working like herself on behalf of the Universal Church, and about 100,000 Catholic people worldwide who were great in their faith.
  • She revealed that saints are particularly powerful on their feast days and should be invoked then.
  • She saw that many saints come from the same families, the antiquity of which often extends far back into the Old Testament.
  • She saw the strong link–even long after their deaths–between holy souls in Heaven and their descendants here on earth, lasting even centuries.
  • She saw that the Garden of Eden, with all it contained, was a perfect picture of the Kingdom of God.
  • She revealed that Enoch and Elias are in Paradise where they await their return to the world to preach at the End of Time.
  • She revealed that Our Lord suffered from the wound in His shoulder more than from any other.
  • She continually saw a false church, and wicked men scheming against the Catholic Church and doing much harm–both in her own time and in the future.
  • She saw in a vision the enemies of the Church tearing it down and trying to build a new one on strictly human plans–but none of the saints would lend a hand. Later, this church of men is destroyed and the saints of God join in to rebuild the true Church of God, which becomes more glorious than ever before.
  • She saw the revival of the priesthood and the religious orders after a period of great decadence.
  • She describes in detail her visions of heaven, which she saw as "the Heavenly Jerusalem."

Sister Marie of St Peter : 
Sister Marie of St Peter

In 1843 , a Carmelite nun in Tours France reported visions of conversations with Jesus and the Virgin Mary in which she was urged to spread the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, in reparation for the many insults Jesus suffered in his Passion. 

This resulted in the Golden Arrow Prayer. The devotion was further spread from Tours partly by the efforts of the Venerable Leo Dupont (also called the Apostle of the Holy Face) and influenced Saint Therese of Lisieux.

Saint Bernadette Soubirous : 

Saint Bernadette Soubirous
In 1858 Saint Bernadette Soubirous was a 14-year-old shepherd girl who lived near the town of Lourdes in France. One day she reported a vision of a miraculous Lady who identified Herself as the Virgin Mary in subsequent visions. In the first vision she was asked to return again and she had 18 visions overall. According to Saint Bernadette, the Lady held a string of Rosary beads and asked Saint Bernadette to drink water from the spring nearby and to request that the local priests build a chapel at that site of the visions. 

Eventually, a number of chapels and churches were built at Lourdes as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes - which is now a major Catholic pilgrimage site. One of these churches, the Basilica of St. Pius X can accommodate 25 thousand people and was dedicated by the future Pope John XXIII when he was the Papal Nuncio to France.

Venerable Marie Martha Chambon : 

In 1866 Venerable Marie Martha Chambon began to report visions of Jesus telling her to contemplate the Holy Wounds, although it is said that she had received her first vision when only five years old. 

She was a member of the Monastery of the Visitation Order who lived in Chambéry, France, and is in the process of canonization by the Roman Catholic Church.

Saint Gemma Galgani : 

In 1899 Saint Gemma Galgani reported a vision of Jesus after which she experienced recurring stigmata. She reported the vision as follows: “At that moment Jesus appeared with all his wounds open, but from these wounds there no longer came forth blood, but flames of fire. In an instant these flames came to touch my hands, my feet and my heart.” 

Thereafter she reported receiving the stigmata every week from Thursday night to Saturday morning, during which time she also reported further conversations with Jesus. The Congregation of Rites has so far refrained from making a decision on her stigmata.

20th Century visionairies

Padre Pio : 

Padre Pio
The Franciscan Italian priest Saint Pio of Pietrelcina reported visions of both Jesus and Mary as early as 1910. For a number of years he claimed to have experienced deep ecstasy along with his visions. 

In 1918, while praying in the Church of Our Lady of Grace he reported ecstasy and visions which this time left him with permanent and visible stigmata, the five wounds of Christ. The stigmata remained visible on his hands and feet for the next fifty years.

In 1916, during World War I, Claire Ferchaud — in religion Sister Claire of Jesus Crucified — lived in the Convent of the ‘Rinfilières’ at Loublande, France. At that time, she claimed to have been given a vision of Christ himself showing his heart "slashed by the sins of mankind" and crossed by a deeper wound still, atheism. On 12 March 1920, however, a decree of the Holy Office disavowed her revelations and stated that belief in the visions of Loublande could not be approved. The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Léon-Adolphe Amette declared that regretfully he was unable to discover a supernatural inspiration in her statements.

The visions of the Virgin Mary appearing to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal, in 1917 were declared "worthy of belief" by the Catholic Church in 1930 but Catholics at large are not formally required to believe them. However, five popes — Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI — have supported the Fátima messages as supernatural. Pope John Paul II was particularly attached to Fátima and credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life after he was shot in Rome on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fátima in May 1981. He donated the bullet that wounded him on that day to the Roman Catholic Sanctuary of Fátima, in Portugal. Every year on May 13 and October 13, the significant dates of Fatima apparitions, pilgrims fill the country road that leads to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima with crowds that approach one million on each day.

 Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar :

Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar, in Portugal, reported many private apparitions, messages and prophecies received directly from Jesus and Virgin Mary. In June 1938, based on the request of her spiritual director Father Mariano Pinho, several bishops from Portugal wrote to Pope Pius XI, asking him to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

At that time Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) was the secretary of the state of the Vatican, and he later performed the consecration of the world.

Saint Faustina Kowalska :

The Holy See has, at times, reversed its position on some visions. In 1931 Saint Faustina Kowalska reported visions of a conversation with Jesus when she was a Polish nun. This resulted in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as a prayer and later an institution which was condemned by the Holy See in 1958. However, further investigation resulted in her beatification in 1993 and canonization in 2000. Her conversations with Jesus are recorded in her diary, published as "Divine Mercy in My Soul" - passages from which are at times quoted by the Vatican. Divine Mercy Sunday is now officially celebrated as the first Sunday after Easter.

Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli :

Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli 
On the first Friday in Lent 1936, Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli, a nun born near Milan in Italy, reported a vision in which Jesus told her: “I will that My Face, which reflects the intimate pains of My Spirit, the suffering and the love of My Heart, be more honored. He who meditates upon Me, consoles Me”. 

Further visions reportedly urged her to make a medal with the Holy Face. In 1958, Pope Pius XII confirmed the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus as Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) for all Roman Catholics. Maria Pierina De Micheli was beatified by Benedict XVI in 2009.

From 1944 to 1947 the bed ridden Italian writer and mystic Maria Valtorta produced 15,000 handwritten pages of text that she said recorded the visions of her conversations with Jesus about his life and the early church. These pages became the basis of her book The Poem of the Man God. The Catholic Church placed it on the Index of Forbidden Books. While the Index no longer exists, the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger stated in a letter of January 31, 1995 that the condemnation still "retains its moral force", and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that the visions "cannot be considered supernatural in origin."
Some people who are said to have received interior locutions or messages from Jesus prefer not to discuss them in detail. For instance, while the Vatican biography of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta refers to her interior locutions and messages from Jesus, she often referred to them in terms of a “call within a call”.

Types of visions

Visions vs dictations :

Some visionaries merely report conversations and images while others also produce large amounts of handwritten notes. Saint Julian of Norwich wrote a book based on her reported visions, the book was written twenty years after her first vision and she did not declare it to be a dictation. At the other end of the spectrum is the case of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich who narrated her messages to Klemens Brentano, who transcribed them in his own words. Another case was that of Sister Consolata Betrone who would repeat her reported conversations with Jesus to her confessor Father Lorenzo Sales. After her death, Father Sales wrote the book "Jesus Appeals to the World" based on her reported messages.

Visions should also be differentiated from interior locutions in which inner voices are reported, but no visual or physical contact is claimed. For instance, the messages written by Father Stefano Gobbi for the Marian Movement of Priests are reported as interior locutions rather than visions. The same happened with the messages received by Mother Carmela Carabelli.

There have been other mystics who have produced large volumes of text, but considered them meditations rather than visions or interior locutions. For instance, the Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida's over 60,000 pages of text were never represented as visions, but as her own meditations, often in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, during Eucharistic Adoration.

Physical Marks :

Some visionaries report receiving physical signs on their bodies as they experience visions. Saint Francis of Assisi was one of the first reported cases of stigmata, but the best known recent example is a Capuchin, Saint Padre Pio, one of several Franciscans in history with reported stigmata.

Physical Contact :

Some visionaries have reported physical contact with Jesus. The Bible suggests that post-resurrection (yet pre-ascension) physical contact with Jesus is possible, for in John 21:17 Jesus told Saint Mary Magdalene: ”Don’t touch Me for I have not yet ascended to the Father”. In John 20:27 Jesus ordered Saint Thomas the Apostle: “Put your hand into My side”. But the Bible does not mention if Saint Thomas followed that command. Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque reported putting her head on the heart of Jesus.

Physical artifacts :

Some visionaries produce artifacts based on their reported visions, although this is rare. A well-known example is the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which is reported to have been miraculously imprinted on the cloak of Saint Juan Diego.

Unreported visions :

Some visions remain partially reported, or unreported. For instance, Saint Juliana of Liege kept her reported visions of Christ a secret for almost 20 years and then revealed some of them to her confessor. Years later, her visions were the subject of the papal bull Transiturus de hoc mundo which established the feast of Corpus Christi. However, in the meantime, due to a conflict with a local church official, she was driven out of Liege and lived in seclusion at Fosses-la-Ville until she died. On her deathbed she asked for her confessor, supposedly to reveal to him some secrets regarding her visions. But neither he nor any of her friends from Liege arrived and other secrets regarding her visions remain unknown.