Those of you who read UK national newspapers in the early 1990s may remember the strange full-page adverts that appeared from time to time in the name of someone called Sister Marie, prophesying doom and cataclysm if its author's words were not heeded. Sister Marie claimed to have successfully predicted in 1986 that Halley's comet would explode in 1991 (which it did), and that global extinction would occur if pornography was not banned immediately (which it didn't).
As part of her campaign against worldly evils, Sister Marie (alias Sophia Marie Gabriel, alias Zoe Richmond) also published this enormous, copiously illustrated book documenting her visions and her attempts to publicise them. Its nearly 800 magazine-size glossy pages are filled with photographs, diatribes (all in uppercase) and reproductions of letters from the hard-pressed representatives of notables politely thanking her for her correspondence. She also includes much material relating to a series of disputes with the authorities, most notably her disturbing accusation that NHS staff deliberately starved her father to death while he was under their care in hospital.
According to her own account, Sister Marie was born Zofia Sagatis in 1941 in Poland. From there her family fled the war, eventually reaching the UK in 1946. At the age of 9 she says she was greatly injured in a road accident which left her with what she calls a heart problem. At 14 she became a "mystic", after, as she puts it, "falling in love with God after a divine romance in the convent chapel" at her Catholic school in Leicester. Here's another passage which describes events closer in time to this publication:
THE VIRGIN MADONNA BEGAN TRANSMITTING IMPORTANT MESSAGES TO A MYSTIC IN LONDON SINCE 1981 SHE COMMANDED SOFIA MARIE GABRIEL TO RECORD ALL THE MESSAGES IN A WRITTEN DOCUMENT WHICH WAS THEN DISTRIBUTED TO ALL THE MAIN EMBASSIES AND NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS IN LONDON SINCE 1982. SOFIA MARIE GABRIEL IS A PLAIN-CLOTHES, RELIGIOUS SISTER, OR TERTIARY CARMELITE HER RELIGIOUS NAME IS SISTER MARIE GABRIEL. SHE LEADS THE LIFE Of A CONTEMPLATIVE SISTER, PRIVATELY. AT HOME, OUTSIDE THE CONVENT WALLS. THE ESSENCE OF THE VIRGIN MADONNA'S SERIOUS MESSAGE IS AS FOLLOWS; IT DEALS WITH GOD'S FINAL ULTIMATUM TO BRITAIN, EUROPE, USA AND ALL NATIONS! VIZ, COUNTRIES MUST DRASTICALLY AND IMMEDIATELY REDUCE ALL CRIME BY 85% AND DESTROY ALL TRACES OF PORNOGRAPHY OR MANKIND WILL FACE GLOBAL EXTINCTION BY A COSMIC COLLISION WITH A GIGANTIC FIREBALL ASTEROID VERY SOON. THE EXPLOSION AND ERUPTION OF HALEY'S COMET IS THE WARNING SIGN PRECEDING THE COSMIC PENALTY. THE VIRGIN MADONNA SAID GOD WILL WIPE OUT MANKIND ON ACCOUNT OF THE GROSS OBSCENITY OF WOMEN TODAY. THE VIRGIN MADONNA ORDERED SOFIA, A RELIGIOUS MYSTIC, TO BE HER MESSENGER, LIKE THE POPE JOHN PAUL II, SHE COMES FROM POLAND. SOFIA. KNOWN AS SISTER MARIE GABRIEL, WENT TO LOURDES TO THE GREAT HEALING SHRINE OF THE MADONNA IN FRANCE AND THERE THE VIRGIN MARY INSTRUCTED HER TO BE GOD'S MESSENGER AND TO MAKE KNOWN HIS FINAL MESSAGE TO ALL NATIONS AND GOVERNMENTS AT TOP SPEED. FOR OVER TEN YEARS SISTER MARIE HAS BEEN LIVING HIGH UP IN A TOWER BLOCK, NEAR QUEENS PARK, LONDON, WHERE THE VIRGIN MADONNA HAS APPEARED TO HER, AND WHERE CHRIST HIMSELF CAME IN A VISION AND ORDERED HER TO BE HIS AMBASSADOR AND MISSIONARY IN ENGLAND. SISTER MARIE HAS BEEN DELIVERING COPIES OF GOD'S WRITTEN ULTIMATUM RECORDED IN A MANUSCRIPT, TO ALL THE MAJOR EMBASSIES IN LONDON, RUSSIA, FRANCE, ITALY, SPAIN, GERMANY, POLAND AND SAUDI ARABIA ETC. ON 29TH NOVEMBER, 1990 TWO YEARS AGO, SISTER MARIE GABRIEL WENT TO THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY TO PERSONALLY HAND IN HER WRITTEN PREDICTION THAT HALEY'S COMET WOULD UNDERGO A MASSIVE COSMIC ERUPTION. THIS AMAZING FORECAST OF HERS CAME TRUE TWO MONTHS LATER WHEN ASTRONOMERS SAW HALEY EXPLODE ON 12 FEBRUARY 1991, EXACTLY AS SISTER MARIE HAD PREDICTED TO THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY. THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR'S SECRETARY SENT HER PREDICTIONS ABOUT HALEY'S COMET, TO THE SOVIET ACADEMY OF SCIENCES IN MOSCOW ON DECEMBER 1990. WHEN THE COMET ERUPTION CAME TRUE, IT PROVED SISTER MARIE CAN ACCURATELY FORECAST COSMIC EVENTS WELL AHEAD OF ALL ASTRONOMERS AND IN ADVANCE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TELESCOPES.
In order to pay for the production of this book and the newspaper advertisements, it would seem that some mystery benefactor or benefactors gave her money which must have amounted to thousands of pounds. Sister Marie herself claimed to live in poverty, at one point giving vent to a lengthy complaint against the "sadists" of the DHSS (the Department of Health and Social Security, responsible for state benefits).
Of course no volume of this nature would be complete without some terrible poetry, and you'd be disappointed if I failed to pass it on. So here's "PLEASE SAVE OUR WORLD", which I presume is meant to be read as a rap as it's addressed to the "kids":
LISTEN BOYS, LISTEN GIRLS WE'VE JUST GOT TO SAVE OUR WORLD, IT NEEDS HELP, IT NEEDS A CURE, IT NEEDS SALVATION AND THAT'S FOR SURE. WHAT ARE WE ALL GOING TO DO? LISTEN KIDS I'M TALKING TO YOU. WE'VE GOT TO SAVE OUR PLANET TODAY, WE'VE GOT TO HELP IT RIGHT AWAY. LET'S STOP ALL THE GREED, LET'S STOP ALL THE CRIME, LET'S STOP THE WARS WHILE THERE IS TIME. LET'S STOP ALL THE HUNGER, LET'S STOP ALL THE PAIN, LET'S STOP ALL THE TEARS THAT FALL LIKE RAIN. LET'S STOP ALL THE CHEATING, LET'S STOP ALL THE LYING, LET'S STOP ALL THE FIGHTING AND ALL THE CRYING. LET'S SAVE THE RAIN FORESTS, LET'S SAVE OUR FRESH AIR, LET'S SAVE THE OZONE LAYER THINNING UP THERE. LET'S STOP THE POLLUTION, FROM MILLIONS OF CARS, LET'S GIVE UP ALL SMOKING, THAT FILLS LUNGS WITH TAR. LET'S SAVE OUR OCEANS, RIVERS AND SEAS, LET'S SAVE OUR COUNTRYSIDE, MEADOWS AND TREES, STOP CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, STOP HUNTING FOR FURS. STOP ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS, WHICH POISON AND HURT. LET'S SAVE ALL THE ELEPHANTS, LET'S STOP IVORY'S TRADE, LET'S SAVE THE DOLPHINS AND THE WHALES GOD HAS MADE. LISTEN BOYS, LISTEN GIRLS WE'VE JUST GOT TO SAVE OUR WORLD, IT NEEDS HELP, IT NEEDS A CURE, IT NEEDS SALVATION AND THAT'S FOR SURE. WHAT ARE WE ALL GOING TO DO? LISTEN KIDS I'M TALKING TO YOU. WE'VE GOT TO SAVE OUR PLANET TODAY, WE'VE GOT TO HELP IT RIGHT AWAY. EARTH NEEDS LOVE, O LISTEN PLEASE, OUR WORLD NEEDS MERCY, TRUTH AND PEACE.
I just hope the kids are prepared to listen, unlike Andrew Lloyd-Webber who mean-spiritedly would not even accept her generous gift of a gold-framed picture of Jesus Christ Superstar. Like so many others, he failed to recognise the strange woman on his doorstep as a holy messenger from God. Poor chap, he probably thought she was some kind of nut.