The following is the story of Lori G., an astonishing convert and locutionist, as recounted by her husband John Gudinas. Since this was written, John himself passed to his heavenly reward on November 9, 2008.
Lori was a forty year old mother of five and a convert from Judaism to Catholicism in 1992. She had been receiving messages which she was instructed to record from our Lord and the Blessed Mother daily since April 30, 1994. Over a period of two and a half years, until September 17, 1996, Lori would record over 800 messages from Jesus and the Blessed Mother consisting of over 265,084 words. The messages were in the form of a dictation- the Lord or Blessed Mother would speak and Lori would write down what she heard (Lori would receive a message from the Blessed Mother roughly every 10 days). These were interior locutions, whereby a distinctive “voice” is received directly from a “sense within”, without external use of the ear, or tangible sound waves. Lori never had an apparition (three dimensional views) of Jesus or the Blessed Mother. However, to encourage her to identify her sufferings with his, the Lord asked her to begin the Saint Bridget prayers honoring the wounds of his Passion. During the practice of this devotion, Lori began having interior visions (two dimensional, as if watching a television screen) of various Passion scenes.
In the course of these extraordinary experiences, Lori had met with many respected theologians and priests of the Catholic Church noted for their discernment in matters of alleged spiritual locutions. Not one has contested the validity of her claims nor has there been any doctrinal objections to statements found in the messages. Among them was the Reverend Rene Laurentin, a prominent theologian, world renowned mariologist, and meticulous investigator of supernatural phenomenon. He had authored many books as a result of his research – the most noted was his 1987 text on Medjugore (Scientific and Medical Studies on the Apparitions at Medjugore) where he expounds in a manner that is quite persuasive of belief. Ironically, ten years later after thoroughly interviewing Lori for almost five hours in July of 1996, he published three positive articles on Lori in the March, April and May 1997 issues of his own French devotional magazine, Stella Maris.
Understandably, the official Church is very reticent and cautious in endorsing any one claiming to have private revelations. Nonetheless, we have been obedient to the Church (and the Lord’s directives) since this all began. In the year 2000 the Lord blessed us when the local ordinary of Miami, Archbishop John C. Favalora, granted the Nihil Obstat (literally, nothing stands in the way) and Imprimatur (there is nothing printed in the text that is contrary to the official teachings of the Church) to the messages that Lori had received.
While I am immensely grateful for these messages to have reached theological favor and ecclesiastical status, I would like to introduce the reader to Lori on a more personal level. My wish is that you might come to know her as if you had been longtime friends. Like all persons who legitimately profess to having been called by God in an extraordinary manner, Lori obediently followed a path that was indeed life-altering. This consisted of a radical shedding of the former self and a restructuring of a personality that lived constantly in the presence of her Lord. Toward the end of her life there was little question among her friends, who witnessed this transformation, that she had reached a high degree of heroic virtue. Even if you had encountered Lori since her conversion, you might come to the conclusion that she was one of the most simple, humble, and God-loving persons that you had ever known. However, I can assure you that she was not always this way.
Lori was born on September 3, 1955, in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents. There wasn’t any family worship of God. Even a bible could not be found in her home. Her family never visited synagogue. Those of us who knew her came to realize how dramatically this deficiency would affect Lori for the first twenty five years of her life.
Lori left home in her teens and the world turned her into a very self-centered egotistical human being. She cared only about herself and would do whatever was necessary and expedient to survive. She struggled with addictions and as she herself claimed, “I had the biggest chip on my shoulder and cared about no one.” She believed that she was alone and her life would always be this way. But God had a different plan for Lori. A plan that would change her life forever.
On occasions, during her young adult life, she would hear a voice speak to her. This voice would only say that he (she sensed it was male because of its deep resonance) loved her and was with her. She dismissed these experiences by either thinking she might be going crazy or attributing it to the effects of the alcohol or pills she consumed the night before. She forgot about the voice quickly and went about her life, which now at the age of twenty-three included a baby girl.
One day Lori was desperate, needing $300 to pay her rent which was overdue. The only possession Lori had, that was of any value, was an upright piano. She offered to sell the piano to a woman who wanted to teach her own son to play. Lori agreed, but later that same day met someone who offered her $600 for the piano. She accepted that offer also, not caring about the other woman. It was during this occurrence that the Lord began teaching Lori. He told Lori, “My daughter, you are being greedy. I desire that you sell the piano to the woman with the small child.” Lori asked, “Who are you?” The Lord told her he was Jesus, the Lord, and that he loved her. She, being Jewish subsequently asked, “Why are you talking to me?” The Lord responded, “I speak to all my children but many do not listen.”
The Voice was so persuasive that Lori sold the piano to the woman with the small child. This was the beginning of Lori’s conversion, a conversion that would take many years. As time went on, Lori began to hear the Lord speak to her more frequently. She wanted to know him and began on her own initiative to search out Christian houses of worship even though she had never been formally taught about Jesus. Naturally, due to living in a predominantly Christian culture, she heard the name of Jesus, but that was the extent of her knowledge.
In her quest for the proper church, Lori began her period of experimentation. As Lori would be driving along the streets of South Florida on a Sunday, she seemed to be drawn into the parking lots of different Christian churches. Once inside, she would listen to the pastor’s sermon, and subsequently, would request to join the church and be baptized. Lori had a strong desire to rid herself of the guilt associated with her present life-style and sought relief through the process of being baptized.
However, she would never return to the same church. Whenever the accumulated guilt would get to the point of causing her some unsettling anxiety, she would seek another Christian denominational church, request to join, assert that she had not been previously baptized, and again be admitted upon her baptism. This pattern went on for many years.
I met Lori in 1986. We fell in love and moved into an apartment building next to Saint Gregory Catholic Church in Plantation, Florida. I was Catholic and she was insatiable in her hunger to discover all she could about my religion. We spent a large amount of our time in discussion about God or reading the bible into the late hours of the night. At this time I did not possess any knowledge concerning her experiences with the Lord. She kept these experiences entirely to herself for some time.
Nevertheless, she amazed me at her questions and made me think of doctrines concerning my faith which I had forgotten. I am embarrassed to state that I was at a loss to answer many of her queries. I knew how she had suffered throughout her life and she was now questing for a spiritual anchor. As for myself, I remember how joyous I was at the time in the fact that she was seeking God with a zeal I had never witnessed. I prayed that this quest would give her the peace she was seeking.
At the time, we had four children between us. In addition, we were taking care of her father who had cancer. Yet no matter how busy we were with the children or occupied with the obligations of daily life, the hunger inside her to know about God was never satisfied. Then one day, a day I will never forget, she found an opening in the fence that led to Saint Gregory’s and she entered the Catholic Church for the first time.
Returning home, Lori was shaking with excitement and told me that she finally found what she had been seeking her entire life. I had never seen anyone so joyous and filled with the Holy Spirit. Her hunger to be in the Lord’s presence accelerated and she would spend many of her free waking hours attending Mass daily or sitting alone in the chapel. Truly, the Holy Spirit was transforming Lori into what God had wanted her to be.
At Mass Lori always followed as everyone else did concerning the rubrics. She mimicked their every movement, although she had no clue as to the rationale for their behavior. Hence, when they received Communion, so did she and she recounted to me later how she had such a tremendous feeling of love that she had never experienced before when she participated in the Eucharist. At Church one day, she had met a nun whom she had previously known in a professional capacity only. The nun was a patient of a physician with whom Lori had been employed. This nun befriended her and became the major source of information concerning her inquiries about Jesus and Catholicism. In a way, I was replaced by this knowledgeable person for whom I was very grateful since my own understanding of Catholicism was rudimentary. She had encountered a friend in the Church, and now felt secure in the belief that she truly belonged. But Lori was about to become disappointed for the first time since she entered that Church. Within a short period of time, the nun, upon discovering that Lori was Jewish and not Catholic, explained to her that only Catholics were allowed to celebrate the sacraments and she would have to cease reception of the Eucharist until she attended RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) classes sponsored by Saint Gregory’s Church.
Returning home, she was sobbing in a manner that I had never seen. She said she could not live without receiving Jesus and took me by the hand to the church office where we made arrangements to begin classes immediately. Later that evening as we sat in our old van, she confessed hearing the Lord speaking to her on several occasions; and at that very moment, I believed, without any doubt, as to the truth of this revelation. I had never encountered anyone so animated with a hunger for Jesus as Lori. She was already special in my eyes but I never anticipated how uniquely she was chosen by God. The closer she came to God through her prayer life and liturgical activity, the more I observed a series of mini-deaths occurring to the former self-centered, slightly arrogant Lori. Every day I witnessed an ongoing metamorphosis that would one day soon release this most devout butterfly to her loving God. He was molding Lori with his own hands. Little did I realize what the next few years would hold in store for the two of us, our family, and nearly everyone we would meet.
The Lord began speaking to Lori more frequently after her Baptism and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil Mass in 1992. He was teaching her about himself, his Blessed Mother, and his many attributes, especially his mercy in a manner that could only come from Jesus. There is no other comprehensible way this could be occurring to Lori other than through these supernatural means. On April 30, 1994, the Lord asked her to begin writing the messages, assuring her that he would soon inform her what to do with the writings. I will not dwell on the content of the messages she received at this time but rather continue to focus on Lori, the person.
In the late spring of 1994, the Lord asked Lori and I to be suffering souls (see message of June 4, 1994) but He went one step further with Lori and asked her if she would walk with Him to Calvary. Lori willingly accepted. The Lord had compared his cross to a piece of coal but it had the potential of becoming a diamond. He described this process so eloquently in one of his later messages stating that the cross has an unattractive outer appearance but it is truly a most priceless gem. (see Message of September 23, 1995)
Actually, the Lord seemed to begin purifying Lori when the occurrences of messages as well as her prayer and spiritual life began to accelerate in the early months of 1994. It began with the experience of carpel tunnel syndrome which caused her excruciating pain.
I remember spending countless nights holding her arms in ice water as Lori cried in pain. Yet she never abandoned her prayer life. As she lay in pain, her rosary was her armor and the cross she carried was to become her sword. Lori relied totally on Jesus and the Blessed Mother for her strength. Even at this early period in her spiritual growth, she was learning to offer up her suffering to the Lord in reparation for his lost children. The doctors told us that they had never seen a case as bad as this. Day after day she had to go to the hospital for pain management treatments that were more painful than the carpel tunnel itself. The doctors had to give her several injections into her neck, spine and arms. In addition, the therapists would apply a tourniquet to her arms, cutting off all circulation so they could begin to move and rotate her fingers and wrists with minimal pain. This process lasted several months to the point that surgeons had to operate. They operated on the right wrist first – the one she wrote with. Lori felt some relief but her recuperation was very slow. Even the writing of the daily messages from the Lord lasting twenty to thirty minutes was a struggle and source of discomfort for her. However, the Lord was infinitely patient with her, and as she responded to therapy, the other wrist was subsequently operated upon several weeks later.
Lori went through several different ailments during the next two years.
Understandably, I can’t discuss them all, but the following deserves some attention because they proved great learning experiences for both of us, but for her in particular. Lori was having some discomfort with one of her teeth. The dentist told her she had a cavity that needed to be filled and that she should come back as soon as possible for treatment. She had only a slight ache and asked the Lord if she could offer this pain up for lost souls. Thinking the Lord had said yes, she did not visit her dentist as planned. Within two days the pain in her mouth was so severe that she was almost unable to speak. I recall driving with her from Church and questioning why she did not go to the dentist. After hearing her explanation, I told her that I did not think that the Lord would want her to suffer this much. I asked her if she had tested the message to be certain that it was from the Lord. The Lord had taught her to address the voice at the first instant in the form of a question prior to proceeding further, in order to ensure the message was from him or the Blessed Mother and not the evil one (see message of July 13, 1994). She said she had not, saying that it sounded like it was Jesus. Immediately she inquired of the Lord if it was he who said it would be all right for her to suffer this pain for lost souls. He answered, “My child, Satan is the perfect mimicker. It was not I who gave you that message.” In addition, he reminded her to always test the messenger as she did when receiving the daily dictation. The next day Lori went to the dentist to find, that in the span of two days, not only had the first tooth become infected, but the two adjacent teeth and the jaw bone itself was rotting. Only by pulling the three teeth and ingesting some strong antibiotics was Lori saved from a serious operation. I am sure that the Lord healed Lori quickly so that she would not have to suffer this pain any longer. Although Lori was still to bear many more crosses, she had faith in the Lord’s words, “we are to share everything with him, he will turn the bad into good, and take her sorrow and turn it into growth.” (see message of June 8, 1994).
In May of 1994, Lori found that she was with child. It was a wonderful blessing and we could not have been happier. But with the pregnancy, Lori had begun to experience many difficulties. She complained to doctors that she felt something growing inside her stomach and believed it wasn’t just the baby. After many tests on several different occasions, she was told that nothing was wrong. Nevertheless, despite their assurances, she continued to experience a great amount of discomfort and vocalized this belief of suspected growth to her physicians. Again, she was told that nothing was wrong with her. The pain increased as the pregnancy progressed. Finally, on February 15,1995, Lori gave birth to our daughter, Jessie Taylor. Lori was initially relieved and looked forward to weight loss and getting back in shape. Unfortunately, this would not happen for Lori.
Soon, she continued to experience severe pain and her abdomen became filled with fluid, making her look as if she had never given birth. Finally, in a desperate effort to find the source of this problem, she was admitted to the hospital for several tests. I will never forget that Friday afternoon, September 11, 1995 when Lori called me from the hospital. She had called earlier in the day to say that a specialist had come to see her and had informed her that they were going to remove some fluid from her belly in order to test for cancer. She told me not to worry and said she was going to say the Rosary while she waited for the results of the test. About 4:30 in the afternoon, she called saying that she had advanced ovarian cancer and they were transporting her by ambulance to another hospital where they were going to perform emergency surgery the next morning. Lori never recovered from this serious illness. After three major surgeries, several varieties of chemotherapy and much suffering, Lori walked the last steps with the Lord to Calvary.
All of us who knew Lori – her family, friends and the Disciples (the Lord referred to those whom he called to assist him in disseminating the messages as Disciples of Mercy) were amazed at her strength of spirit in the light of the foreboding news of the physicians. Despite all of her suffering and apprehension, she continued to constantly pray, speaking to various prayer groups throughout the state on the messages, and always continued to care about others. She knew and proclaimed on a number of times that celebrating daily Mass and participating in Communion was what kept her alive. The Body and Blood of Christ was the nourishment that sustained her spirit and body. She died on September 23, 1996, twenty days after her forty-first birthday, on the same anniversary date of Padre Pio’s passing to his reward twenty-eight years prior. There is no coincidence that Lori and Padre Pio died on the same day. The Lord had formally requested that we were to pray for his assistance (see message of Good Friday, April 14, 1995). Incidentally, the Lord gave the Disciples of Mercy an angel (Stephen), a Saint, (Maximilian Kolbe), and Saint Faustina and Padre Pio as intercessors for our Disciples of Mercy Prayer Group.
Lori’s passing at such a young age was indeed difficult to grasp not only by me and the children but by many of the coterie of disciples that supported the messages. We all thought that the Lord would suddenly grant her a dramatic healing that she would be able to recount to the various audiences who would come to hear about the messages she had received. But the Lord had other plans for Lori – to be with him in heaven for she had completed the mission which he has sent her on earth to perform. In a way, Lori taught us by her example to have implicit trust in the Lord so we can take solace in the words of St.Augustine, “God is not a deceiver, that he should offer to support us, and then, when we would lean upon Him, should slip away from us. ” May the Lord grant us the faith and fortitude to continue to spread the messages he and the Blessed Mother have confided to Lori and to the four corners of the earth.