In response to our country’s consecration, great love and honor of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady appeared in private revelations. The revelations included apparitions of Our Lord, St. Joseph, St. Gabriel and St. Michael, as well as apparitions of The Blessed Virgin Mary as “Our Lady of America, The Immaculate Virgin”. The visionary, Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil) of the Precious Blood Sisters, said she was asked by the Blessed Virgin Mary to draw a picture according to the vision of Our Lady of America and that a statue be constructed accordingly. She further asked that this statue be carried into the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in solemn procession by the Bishops and then remain therein. The Blessed Virgin Mary wishes to be honored in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin. Our Lady says that if this is done, the United States of America would turn back toward morality and the shrine would become a great place of pilgrimage.
It was on the eve of the feast of the North American martyrs, September 25, 1956, that Our Lady appeared to Sr. Mary Ephrem. In 1938, Sister began to have what seemed like mystical spiritual experiences. She thought little of them, presuming all religious have them. As these visits took on the nature of a specific program of devotion to Mary which Sister was asked to propagate, she then turned to
Monsignor Paul F. Leibold. Monsignor Leibold, later Archbishop of the Cincinnati, Ohio Archdiocese, would be her spiritual director for many years until 1972, when he suddenly died due to an aneurysm. Archbishop Leibold had become so convinced of the authenticity of this message that he approved Sister’s writings and placed his imprimatur on the design of the medal.