A wife and mother of seven who resides in Phoenix, Arizona, Estela has received apparitions and messages since December 3, 1988. Mary appears as "Our Lady of the Americas" with messages for all of us. These messages are read to the crowds of people that come to her home. Our Lady appeared to Estela almost daily in 1989, and all of her seven grown children were converted to lives of holiness. Unlike her husband, Estela had been a skeptic of apparitions and messages until Our Lady began appearing to her. When her husband went to Medjugorje in September of 1988, she was more interested in beginning a career after raising seven children. While walking by their home, she heard the beautiful voice of a woman say, "Good morning, daughter." Her first response was to think that she was hearing things. Two days late, after forgetting about the incident, the same thing happened again. She began to think it might be real. After his return from Medjugorje, she looked into the eyes of her husband of thirty years, and he looked different. Something had changed him. Estela realized that Our Lady was changing her as well.
Several months later, in December of 1988, the Blessed Mother began to appear to Estela. During the first apparition, Our Lady told her, "I have come to ask you to be my messenger, and I want to know if you will do it? I'm going to help you and your children make many changes. There will be a period of time where I will prepare the family and I will send many messages to the family." Since then, the family has all experienced conversions resulting in great changes. A son who was addicted to drugs has been completely healed and is now a powerful witness for Our Lord.
A message received by Estela on January 19, 1991, is not unlike those in many other parts of the world. It referred to the basics of prayer, conversion, and fasting. Mary said, "For those who have listened to my call I now ask that you commit yourselves to my work. Begin your life of prayer in earnest and let nothing keep you away from that commitment. I am now asking the Americas for fasting as a sacrifice of love. Begin your fasting immediately. I need your commitment of prayer and sacrifice. There is no more time to dwell on your small self concerns. Leave self-pity and anger with others. There is no more time for that behavior. If you have not yet learned to love those around you, how can you expect the world to learn the love of which I have been speaking about ... I ask that you offer two fasting days a week for peace in the world. We must not and cannot give up hope..." On one occasion, Our Lady appeared to Estela Ruiz at the Immaculate Heart Church in Phoenix. Estela reported, "I asked Our Lady who she was, what she was doing, and who had sent her. Our Lady said, "I am the Immaculate Heart of Mary." She then said, "This is my reign -- this is the time of my reign. I am here to bring my children back to my Son. The one who sent me is God, Our Father.' I the asked her who she was and she said, 'I am the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but I am the same one that has appeared all over the world.' She told me, 'Look around this church and see all the different forms in which I have appeared.' "
Estela said that in this church they have statues of Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady said: "Yes, I am the Mother of God, and I have appeared in different places. There is only one and that is I and I am all of these. But I come today, at this time, as the Immaculate Heart of Mary as this is the reign of my Immaculate Heart. And I've come to call my children back to God." In another message given on March 2, 1991, Our Lady said, "I ask that you continue to pray for peace in the world. You need to understand that peace is not brought about by victory in a battle, but by change in men's hearts and lives ... Men need to understand that if hearts do not change, the devastation and destruction of each other will continue throughout the world..."
The diocese of Phoenix established a commission of inquiry under Bishop Thomas O'Brien to investigate the claimed apparitions. The bishop stated, after reviewing the findings of the commission: "It is our assessment that no harm is presently done to either the Church as an institution or to the faithful by the devotions.... As Our Lady of the Americas, Mary is inviting us to recognize the true meaning of our lives and to strengthen and intensify devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ."