House of Prayer (Christina Gallagher)

A controversial center of prayer with alleged supernatural phenomena and financial disputes.

The House of Prayer, established by Christina Gallagher in 1993 on Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland, has been a subject of controversy within and outside the Catholic Church. Gallagher claims to have received messages from the Virgin Mary, urging the establishment of the House of Prayer as a center for prayer and spiritual healing. Despite attracting followers worldwide and establishing additional centers in the United States and Mexico, the organization has faced significant scrutiny.

In 1996, Archbishop Michael Neary initiated an investigation into the alleged supernatural phenomena associated with the House of Prayer, concluding there was no evidence to support such claims, although the individuals involved were deemed sincere. The House of Prayer lost its charitable status in 2005 after the Irish Revenue Commissioners revoked its tax exemption amid a wider crackdown on organizations. Gallagher herself has been at the center of financial controversies, including living in multimillion-euro properties without a clear source of income, which has led to increased scrutiny and criticism from both the public and the Catholic Church.

The organization has also faced legal challenges, including investigations by the Garda Síochána (Irish police) in 2008 following complaints from donors, leading to substantial refunds in out-of-court settlements. Additionally, all directors of the House of Prayer’s limited company resigned in 2011 amidst growing concerns and controversies surrounding Gallagher’s lifestyle and the organization’s financial operations. Despite these issues, the House of Prayer has continued to operate and generate significant revenue, primarily from donations and sales of religious objects​​.

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