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June Keithley probes tale of visionary OFW

By Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:47:00 06/26/2009

Filed Under: Television, Overseas Employment

MANILA, Philippines?Emma de Guzman is the Filipina visionary who is the subject of the latest series of ?The June Keithley Reports,? which deals with encounters with the Divine. Keithley returns with a video documentary on a phenomenon that can draw inspiration for believers and derision for unbelievers.

?Emma,? a two-hour documentary directed by Leo Rialp and written and reported by Keithley, will be shown tonight at 7 on NBN-4. It follows the life of Emma de Guzman, a former OFW who worked as a domestic helper in Singapore, and whose move to Canada led to a life-changing spiritual experience that she and the people around her claimed to be encounters with the Divine?with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, St. John, and a number of angels and saints.


Emma?s transformation from an ordinary domestic helper and widow started in the ?90s. One unusual happening led to another, until her ?special? experience eventually became too much for her to keep from friends and the rest of the world.

During those supernatural encounters, glitters?which some described as gold dust or escarchas? materialized on Emma?s face and surroundings. Some individuals testified that the golden glitters were miraculous as they cited their various healing experiences.

In some of her trances, Emma manifested stigmata in her hands, feet and body. The visionary suffered as she prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of Christ?s suffering.

If the escarchas on Emma?s face and the blood on her hands, feet and body failed to convince, Emma, in one of her trances, suddenly felt a sharp, piercing pain in her chest. Then, the video showed the visionary taking out three roses from inside her dress. Witnesses later said that they examined Emma?s chest and, at the center, felt a soft tissue that looked like a hole!

In her encounter with St. John, the simple and uneducated woman was able to write in koine, a dialect of the Greek language, which turned out to be part of St. John?s Gospel. How could a simple OFW, who developed her proficiency in English only after years of working in foreign countries, have written such passages in an archaic language?

Of course, cynics and unbelievers can cite various reasons for the manifestations?the escarchas were industrial glitters, the stigmata was psychologically-induced, the appearance of the roses on Emma?s chest was a sleight of hand, the auto-writing was a prepared script, etc. As the clich goes, for unbelievers, no amount of proof will suffice, and they will forever question their authenticity.


Beyond the supernatural phenomena, what is perhaps more intriguing is Emma?s message to Filipinos: One of her visions is a mountain of love, peace and joy. In one of her visits to the country, it was on a mountain in Batangas where she experienced the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A shrine has since been erected on the mountain, now referred to as the Mountain of Salvation.

Emma says that the country is blessed with the gift of faith, and this is what we can share with other countries. This belief seems to dovetail with the spread of Overseas Filipino Workers around the world, and there?s an underlying mission to this diaspora. The choice of an ordinary OFW as visionary is not by chance.

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