It all started when Mother Celine Thérèse found out that Pope Francis had blessed five pilgrim statues of Our Lady of Fatima. Mother wanted our Residents, especially those who could not go out on a pilgrimage, to be able to venerate a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during this 100th anniversary of the apparitions. She did some research and then wrote and answered many emails until finally the date was set. Our Lady of Fatima would arrive at Queen of Peace on Thursday, May 25.
Mother got a call toward the end of Mass on that day telling that the pilgrim statue would arrive shortly. Mother Provincial Alice Marie Monica, the Provincial Council and the communities of Queen of Peace and the Novitiate, along with the novices and postulants, were at the front door to meet the statue around noon. Those who accompanied the statue got it ready to be placed on a decorated cart. Mother Celine put the crown on the head of the statue and then we went in procession to the chapel singing the “Ave of Fatima.”
The Residents had stayed in the chapel after Mass and were there to greet the statue as it was processed in. After all was settled, one of those accompanying the statue spoke for several minutes while most of the Residents made their way to their respective dining rooms.
For the next five days, we were privileged to be able to pray in front of and venerate the statue. It was touching to see the infirm Residents as they approached the statue. One of those who accompanied the statue was usually available to place part of the mantle over each person kneeling before the statue. There was a special mantle for those in wheelchairs and those who could not kneel. After each person venerated the statue, they were given an image of Our Lady of Fatima that was touched to the statue. There were also rosary beads and scapulars that were touched to the statue. Anyone who wished could also have their own rosary beads touched to the statue.
Sunday, May 28, was the day set aside for public veneration. Many people came and stayed. Others prayed for a time and then left. The chapel was filled to capacity for Mass and many were there for the rosary and Evening Prayer. Couples had the mantle placed over both of them and families had the mantle placed over all of them together. From the expression on faces after venerating the statue and the visible tears, we concluded that people were touched by Our Lady of Fatima from Heaven.
The community of Queen of Peace profited of this special occasion to pray Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and the rosary before the statue during these days. On the last day, at the end of Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, white hankies were taken out of pockets and waved as we sang the “Ave of Fatima.”
Our Lady has visited her children in Queens. We are certain that many graces and blessings are ours because of this visit. The face of the statue was beautiful. If that was so, how much more will we recognize the beauty of Our Lady of Fatima when we see her face to face?!!