Teenager who claims she saw Mary submits story to church authorities

Cape Town, South Africa - Francesca Zackey, who claims to have had visions of the Virgin Mary, submitted a written account of her experiences to the Roman Catholic Church last week.

The church refuses to reveal the contents of the manuscript, which it is believed is intended to be published in book form.

Fr Chris Townsend, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, confirmed yesterday that the Benoni teenager had submitted her manuscript to the church authorities.

Townsend said: “The manuscript has been submitted to the archbishop and a team of priests is investigating her claims that she has seen the Virgin Mary several times. The manuscript will form part of the investigation.”

Zackey claimed that she was instructed by the Virgin Mary to write a book on her mystical experiences and was told by the Virgin to finish it by last Wednesday, which coincided with the Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

Zackey’s visions sparked national interest in July. People flocked to Benoni to be blessed by her.

The front room of Zackey’s house was converted into a place of prayer.

But Zackey was told by the church not to speak to the media after a woman was reported to have been blinded after taking the teenager’s advice.

It is alleged that 37-year- old Amal Nassif was told by Zackey that the Virgin Mary would appear to her if she gazed into the sun.

Nassif’ s eyes were seriously damaged.

A disclaimer posted outside the Zackeys house states that the family takes no responsibility for any loss or damage to the property of the people who visit them.

The status of the church’s investigation into Zackey’s claims, and the contents of her manuscript, are unknown.

But it is believed that people are continuing to visit Zackay’ s home to be blessed by her.

Townsend said: “I have received reports that she is still receiving visitors. The church’s investigations are continuing.”