Police fear cult mass suicide

The Age, August 7, 1999
by Greg Roberts

The leader of a Catholic cult has accused the media and the Catholic Church of conspiring to destroy her group after police revealed they are treating seriously claims that its members may be preparing for a mass suicide.

Mrs Debra Geileskey dismissed as a joke police plans to use the Catholic church in Helidon, west of Brisbane, as a command centre to monitor her group, the Magnificat Meal Movement (MMM).

The church has warned the movement's followers to leave the cult and that the ingredients are in place for a tragedy.

The movement has several hundred members in Helidon and thousands of followers around the world. Its headquarters is a former Catholic seminary near the church, where Mrs Geileskey claims to regularly see and be given messages by Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Mrs Geileskey's estranged husband, Gordon, claims his wife had prophesied she would be burned to death on 9September - the ninth day of the ninth month of 1999 - and that the movement's headquarters would be consumed by fire.

Mr Geileskey, who is locked in a legal battle with his wife over control of the company that owns the movement, said he fears a Jonestown-style mass suicide could unfold in Helidon.

Sergeant Howard Glass, of Helidon police, said police were treating reports of a possible mass suicide seriously.

The Catholic priest in Helidon, Father John Ryan, said he had agreed his church could be used by police. Father Ryan said while he did not think a mass suicide likely, "the ingredients for a tragedy are there'' because

Mrs Geileskey's followers had a "blind allegiance'' to her. Mrs Geileskey said that on 9September her followers would be partaking in the church feast of the mother of God and would not be committing suicide.

She said the church and the media were to blame for spreading the reports as part of an ongoing campaign to destroy the MMM.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.