Brasher points out that prior to the age of mass communication, apocalyptic messages could take decades to disseminate (165). Today, the Internet allows for apocalyptic fervor to be transmitted instantly, and to a vast audience. I have explored the websites dedicated to Veronica Lueken and Our Lady of the Roses; these websites function as tools for disseminating the prophecies received by Veronica Lueken that urge people toward salvation through prayer, penance, and atonement (and veneration of Our Lady of Roses). The Lady warned Veronica, “Know that the light, the voice of truth, will be dimmed in your world, so great is the darkness of the soul! Mankind shall go through a crucible of great suffering! The Father plans to chastise those He loves. It will be in this way that many shall be recovered.” One of the specific impetuses for the impending cataclysm delineated by Leuken is the practice of abortions in the United States. Lueken’s apocalyptic vision is charged with specifically Roman Catholic values as well, necessitating, according to Lueken, partaking in the Eucharist and reciting the rosary to achieve salvation. Lueken is said to have a duty, because of her Catholic faith, to spread word of these prophecies. On many of the site’s webpages are opportunities to donate money to “help spread Our Lady of the Roses’ messages to the world.” Veronica Lueken’s biography describes her as an ordinary woman who became extraordinary in 1968 through the apparitions she began receiving. The site authors legitimize her as a mystic through the physical suffering she experienced through her life, noting that Our Lady called her a “victim soul” charged with saving the Church.
Brasher notes that the Internet has created a platform on which popular Marian devotion has been able to flourish; it has not been so widespread since the Middle Ages. The site authors assert the legitimacy of the Bayside Prophecies within Roman Catholic practice, despite several bishops attempting to ban their dissemination. One aspect of the website that seems to align the Bayside group with Medieval popular Marian devotional practices is the practice of selling items “recommended” by Our Lady—amulets, CDs of the prophecies, home protection kits, etc. Rather than a “vengeful virgin,” however, the apocalyptic Mary of the Bayside group is in many ways a fount of mercy—a protectress, intercessor, and powerful healer of the sick (the website offers a vast multitude of testimonies on these subjects). The official Roman Catholic Church, rather than dismissing apocalyptic Marian fervor, has chosen to control and defuse it through a more peaceful rhetoric.