Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal

A visit to Portugal led us to one of the world's most sought after pilgrimage site, Our Lady of Fatima.  In 1917, three children---Lucia and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco were herding their sheep when a bright light led to an apparition of Our Lady. 

Our Lady was dressed in all-white, came with a brilliant flash of light and talked to the children.  She shared the three secrets of Fatima.  The first secret was a vision of hell.  The second secret included Our Lady's instructions on how to save souls and convert the world to Christian faith.  The third secret was a vision of the death of the Pope and religious figures.  The prophesies gained fame throughout the world because of its mention of a possible world war and the conversion of Russia.

Hundreds of thousands pilgrims gather every May 13 and October 13 to pray and take part in the processions.  In 1930, the visions of Fatima were officially declared "worthy of belief" by the Church.

The Holy Rosary is also propagated that "there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families in the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary."
Basilica of the Rosary

Tourists can also ride this mini train/shuttle to tour the small village where Lucia and company grew up.    Below is a small chapel built in Lucia's home town.

A lot of souvenir shops selling religious items and statues of Our Lady of Fatima are all over the streets of Portugal. I got this hand-painted necklace as a special remembrance for this trip.

What struck me was seeing the image of Our Lady of Fatima upclose and personal.  She looks so simple but her essence is one beautiful woman.  Her purity is astonishing.  There are things that cannot be explained---one just have to trust and believe.

This is the prayer that Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco recited during one of Our Lady's apparition:

"O my God, I believe. I adore.  I hope and I love Thee.  I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee."

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