Statue of Our Lady of Fatima – Shrine of Fatima – Portugal
13 October 2010
Together with the gift of the Rosary to Dominic at Lourdes and the Zambian landscape, this photograph is one of the three “official” images chosen for the Jubilee of the foundation of the Order of Preachers.
And our Jubilee announces another: in 2017, it will be followed by the centenary of the Fatima apparitions! Another occasion to celebrate the Lord through Mary!
This photo was taken at the end of the great procession of 13 October, a few years ago. Hundreds of thousands of faithful were present. After the singing of the Adeus, everyone waved a white handkerchief to hail the one they call Rainha de Portugal, the Queen of Portugal, as the statue returns to the Capelinha.
Why choose a photo of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima?
Certainly, there is this Jubilee of the 100 years of the apparitions, but here Mary gives her name: “I am Our Lady of the Rosary” and, several times, she asks the children to pray the rosary every day in order to obtain peace.
In addition, the Fatima apparitions establish a link between the Rosary and the Eucharist. The angel of Portugal which appears before Our Lady shows the host to the children. They will have a great love for “hidden Jesus” whom they visit often in the church. Like the angel, Mary will show them her Son.
Also, during the apparitions, Mary wears a rosary, like at Lourdes. Of course she does not pray the rosary –she doesn’t say Hail myself…!– but Bernadette is categorical: when she said her rosary, the Lady’s lips did not move but she fingered her rosary beads at the same speed as the child’s prayer. I like to think that when I say my rosary Our Lady lets hers slip through her fingers, in heaven, in union!
Finally, another important element features in this image: Mary wears a crown.
It is a gift from the women of Portugal to thank the Virgin because their country did not go to war during the Second world conflict. They offered up their jewellery so that Mary could be crowned.
In this crown – under the blue globe where it fits perfectly – lies the bullet fired at John-Paul II on 13 May 1981 –the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima!– in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. The Holy Father is positive: « A hand –that of the terrorist– pulled the trigger, another –that of Our Lady– diverted the bullet. »
What a fine example of the power of Mary’s intercession!
Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, OP
General Promoter of the Rosary