On April 2nd, 1968, two muslim mechanics worked late into the evening at a garage across the street from St. Mary's, a Coptic Orthodox Church in the poor community of Zeitoun. A few women were on the street at the time, but little else was happening. Some sudden movement on the Church's dome caught the attention of both mechanics and women.

What they saw astounded and frightened them: a young woman stood holding onto the cross at the dome. One mechanic, thinking she was about to commit suicide, screamed at her not to jump. Another ran for the priest--who could see nothing at all. It was the women who cried out, "It is our Holy Mother Mary!"

Thus began three years of almost nightly visits by Mary, visits heralded by extraordinary lights and immense clouds of incense. She was seen sometimes vaguely, often quite clearly, smiling, bowing, waving an olive branch, blessing, praying deeply, holding fast or kneeling before the cross of Her Son.

These apparitions, often lasting throughout the night, were photographed, televised, witnessed by millions, written about in the international secular and religious press, and seen by both religious and political dignitaries such as Abdul Nasser, president of Egypt and self-proclaimed Marxist.