BY GRETCHEN KEISER
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 privately instead.
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, entitled “Be 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
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 Feb. 13.
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. “They were 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 Hill.”
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
“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.
“My apparitions 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
“We have basically returned the book to George and it is in their hands,” Hughes
He said that the text had been available to Fowler throughout the pre-publication
process and the content was not in dispute until January.
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
The Conyers website lists both Fowler and Rivas as speakers at a Marian conference
in Pittsburgh last October and on a program in Australia Dec. 18-20.
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 December.
“In January, 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 involved.
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,” Hughes said.
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 statement says.
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 until now.
“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 experiences.”
“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.”
of statement released by Nancy Fowler Feb. 26
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.