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Ngome, KwazauluNatal, South Africa (1955)


Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

Vatican Approved
Bishop Approved
Coptic Approved
Approved for Faith Expression
Apparitions to Saints
Unapproved Apparitions

Mary, Tabernacle of the Most High

Please note: This apparition has been approved for faith expression at the site but the authenticity of events has never been confirmed.



During the time that Sr. Reinolda worked at the Catholic Mission hospital at Nongoma she claimed that she experienced ten Visions of "Mary, Tabernacle of the Most High"


Oct 21, 1901

Sr. Reinolda May (Francisca) was born in Germany, one of eight children, and was brought up on a farm. She was a lively and charming child with a strong devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Due largely to the zealous efforts of the parish priest, she was encouraged, along with many of his young parishioners, to consider religious life. Consequently she joined the Missionary Benedictine Sisters but after having been taken ill she had to return soon after this to her family. After her recovery, she tried a second time and was accepted.

Feb 10, 1925

Her religious profession took place.

June 21, 1925

She received the mission cross and left for South Africa where she first worked as a seamstress.

Feb 12, 1928

She made her final vows on 12th February 1928. She learned the Zulu language with enthusiasm and determination. Later she became a midwife and was made head of the maternity department at Nongoma hospital. Not far away at Ngome, the Benedictines had a large farm.

August 22, 1955

Her first 'encounter' with the Blessed Virgin reportedly happened immediately after Sr. Reinolda had received holy communion during Mass. Our Lady revealed herself to Sr. Reinolda as "the Tabernacle of the Most High" and expressed the wish to be venerated under this title, emphasizing that more people should become tabernacles of the Most High. Sister was ordered to tell her priest and others about it.

Oct 20, 1955

The second had a similar message for Sr. Reinolda, but, in addition to it, Our Lady allegedly urged Sr. Reinolda to tell everybody about it.

Oct 22, 1955

The third encounter.

March 15, 1956

At the fourth encounter , Our Lady pointing in a north-westerly direction (Ngome is situated north-west of Nongoma) allegedly asked Sr. Reinolda that "a sanctuary be built at a place where seven springs well up and meet." Graces would flow from that place and a great number of people would be converted and return to God.

June 5, 1956

The fifth encounter.

March 15, 1957

The sixth encounter.

Dec 8, 1957

After she had visited a sick person at Ngome, Sr. Reinolda gained certainty that Ngome was the place where the requested sanctuary should be built. After consulting Fr. Ignatius Jutz, the parish priest of Nongoma, a number of wells were found in the forest below the Ngome School.

April 17, 1958

The eigth encounter between Sr. Reinolda and Our Lady took place. Sister then began to feel the need for a picture of "Our Lady, the Tabernacle of the Most High". With the consent of Bishop Aurelian Bilgeri of Eshowe and the support of Archabbot Suso Brechter of St. Ottilien, a Munich artist, Joseph Aman, painted the picture according to the instructions given to him by Sr. Reinolda. The painting was taken to Ngome on May 1, 1963.

March 15, 1966

The first pilgrimage to Ngome took place. The people who participated were mostly from Nongoma. Afterwards Bishop Bilgeri did not allow any more pilgrimages to Ngome.

May 29, 1966

Urged by Fr. Ignatius Jutz, Bishop Aurelian Bilgeri allowed Bro. Jacob Riedmann to build a tiny chapel at Ngome. Fr. Ignatius Jutz blessed the chapel on Pentecost Sunday. The picture of "Our Lady the Tabernacle of the Most High", which had been put up in the church at Nongoma first and then in the Ngome School, now found a permanent place in the little chapel.

March 28, 1970

Sr. Reinolda wrote about her ninth encounter with Our Lady in her journal: "During the previous night I had a terrible apparition of the devil. It was all light when I was woken up. Who was at my side? It was Mary, the Tabernacle of the Most High. She took me in her arms and comforted me saying: 'I know how you suffer. I am at your side.' Before she disappeared she said to me: 'Look over to the other side.' There was (the Archangel) Michael wearing a breast-plate and carrying a lance in his hands. At his right side was a cherubim dressed all in white with hands folded over his chest. After one or two minutes they disappeared and the bright light was gone, too. It was a great consolation for me."

May 2, 1971

The tenth and final encounter allegedly happened at the little chapel at Ngome. After Mass, she went back to pray with a few women in front of the picture of Our Lady, the Tabernacle of the Most High. "Suddenly I realized that the picture was alive. She moved a bit forward and her face was unbelievably beautiful. I was so excited that I shouted: 'Look at Mary!' I was convinced that the women, too, had seen Mary. I was so overwhelmed that I left without saying anything."


Sr. Reinolda celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Benedictine nun.


She retired from her position as head of the maternity department. She continued to visit the sick, comfort the dying and reconcile the lapsed to the Church.

April 1, 1981

She spent the last 8 years of her life at the missionary station near Inkamana where, on 1st April 1981, she died. Her funeral brought an unusually great number of mourners. She was laid to rest at Inkamana Abbey cemetery.


Bishop Mansuet Biyase gave permission for a bigger chapel to be built at Ngome. Fr. Albert Herold who was parish priest of Nongoma started a building fund. Donors from overseas contributed the bulk of the money due to the efforts of Fr. Albert Herold, Fr. Justus Gämperli and Fr. Meinrad Gerstl. Fr. Conrad Heckelsmüller of St. Ottilien (Germany) drew up the plan and Lawton Construction of Durban was given the contract. The church, built in an sixagenal shape, is situated on a solid rock overlooking the Ngome Forest, about fifty metres away from the tiny chapel erected in 1966.

Aug 1985

Fr. Albert Herold OSB becomes custodian of the Shrine

Aug 31, 1985

Bishop Biyase blessed the church

Aug 1988

Fr. Joseph Rosa-Gomes becomes custodian of the Shrine

June 6, 1988

In 1988, Fr. Michael Mayer invited "priests (of the Diocese of Eshowe) who support the Ngome Pilgrimage" to come together and "reflect on the role it could play in the life of the Church in our diocese". The meeting was held at Mahlabatini on June 6, 1988. As a result, a Ngome Shrine Committee was established under the chairmanship of Fr. Michael Mayer.


The Ngome Committee compiled a small booklet about Ngome and distributed it among the priests and religious in the Diocese of Eshowe early in 1989. A Zulu version of the booklet came out in 1990. Ngome prayer-cards and postcards of "Our Lady, the Tabernacle of the Most High" were published in English and Zulu in 1989. The postcards were sold for 20c each and the prayer-cards for 5c.


Bishop Manuset Biyase and Fr. Michael Mayer met with Fr. Paul B. Decock O.M.I., the chairperson of the TAC (Theological Advisory Commission of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference), to discuss the Ngome Affair. At their request, Fr. Paul B. Decock compiled the following statement: "There is nothing objectionable in this (the promotion of the sanctuary at Ngome and the veneration of Our Lady under the name of Tabernacle of the Most High)..."

Oct 1991

Fr. Victor Makhetha becomes Custodian of the Shrine

Dec 1991

Fr. Michael Mayer OSB becomes Custodian of the Shrine

Oct 3, 1992

Bishop Mansuet Biyase blessed the open-air altar and celebrated Holy Mass with several hundred pilgrims who had come from the Diocese of Eshowe and from farther away.

March 27, 1993

The first major diocesan pilgrimage to Ngome took place.


Bishop Mansuet Biyase of Eshowe took part in three major pilgrimages to Ngome

Photo Gallery

No images currently availble from Ngome.

Description of the Virgin

The Virgin Mary appeared as a beautiful woman, dressed in white with a long white veil. Sr. Reinolda said that she saw the Blessed Virgin standing 'upon the globe, robed in shining white...on her breast rested a big Host surrounded by radiant light.'


During the time that Sr. Reinolda worked at the Catholic Mission hospital at Nongoma she experienced ten Visions of "Mary, Tabernacle of the Most High"

Click here to read the messages of Ngome.

Miracles and Signs

Numerous healings have been reported at the Shrine of Ngome. A few cases are listed on the Shrine's official website.

Church Approval

During 1989, Bishop Manuset Biyase (the local Bishop of Eshowe - the diocese in which Ngome is situated) and Fr. Michael Mayer O.S.B. met with Fr. Paul B. Decock O.M.I., the chairperson of the TAC (Theological Advisory Commission of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference), to discuss the Ngome Affair. At their request, Fr. Paul B. Decock compiled a statement about Ngome in which he said:

"There is nothing objectionable in this (the promotion of the sanctuary at Ngome and the veneration of Our Lady under the name of Tabernacle of the Most High). One does not need divine sanction to start a sanctuary and venerate Our Lady. Pilgrimages could be allowed even if we are not sure of the 'authenticity' of the visions...The content of the visions is doctrinally acceptable. These views can be put forward in sermons and leaflets." (Cf. Paul B. Decock, The Ngome Visions, 07-05-90; Ngome File).

Read official Church statements about Ngome.


Mother of the Redeemer and Tabernacle of the Most High, we greet you. In the first instant of your life God made you the sanctuary of his presence. The Son of God found in you a dwelling place on earth. You received Jesus with undivided heart and became one with him.

Mary, Mother of Christ and our Mother, may we become more worthy tabernacles of God by your prayer. Show us Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Implore your Son to grant us conversion of heart.

Mary, our Mother we thank you. Together with you we give all glory and honour to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.


Books and Videos

Decock, Paul B.The Ngome Visions. 1990

Mayer, Michael and Engelbreght, John. Ngome Booklet.

Sieber, Godfrey. The Benedictine missionaries of St. Ottilien: Their origin and the challenge of inculturation in Africa. 1986

Sieber, Godfrey. The Benedictines of Inkamana. EOS Verlag (1995)

The Message of Ngome Part 1 - A Metanoia Production - 63 minutes
The Message of Ngome Part 2 - A Metanoia Production - 63 minutes


Ngome Shrine


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