Lady of Fatima statue to visit Dowagiac

Published 8:15 pm Thursday, March 31, 2005

By Staff
The International Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be visiting Dowagiac Saturday, April 2, while touring Michigan during April and May.
Knights of Columbus is sponsoring a 57-day rosary pilgrimage throughout Michigan of the 39-pound piece of mahogany that stands 46 inches high.
She has visited more than 100 nations since 1947.
Holy Maternity of Mary Church, 210 N. Front St., Dowagiac, is hosting from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (with an 11 a.m. service) the statue that prompts prayers for peace as it stays in the Diocese of Kalamazoo from April 1 to 7.
The tour through the rest of the state lasts through May 27.
The statue is a representation of Our Lady of Fatima and the miracle in Portugal on May 13, 1917, in which the Blessed Virgin of Mary appeared to three children to ask for prayer for the conversion of Russia.
The peasant children saw a white light above an oak tree.
Believers say the light was an apparition of the Virgin Mary, who they say appeared to the trio five more times, on the 13th of each month.
Soon after the apparitions, two of the children died in an influenza pandemic as Our Lady predicted: Francisco Marto, 11, and Jacinta Marto, 10.
On May 13, 2000, the 83rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, Pope John Paul II beatified the two children.
The pontiff is a big believer in the Virgin of Fatima.
When he survived an assassination attempt on May 13, 1981, the pope credited her with saving his life. He later visited the basilica and donated the bullet that nearly killed him to the shrine there. The bullet was later placed in the crown of the permanent Fatima statue of Mary.
The last surviving seer of Fatima, Lucia Santo, was 97 years old and a Carmelite nun in Coimbra, Portugal, at the time of her recent death on Feb. 13, 2005.
During Her tour of the New Orleans diocese in July 1972, the statue shed tears on numerous occasions.
It is believed these manifestations are related to the legalization of abortion.
Abortion was being debated and decided at that time, just before the landmark Jan. 22, 1973, Supreme Court decision.
Mary appeared to the children to deliver "The Peace Plan from Heaven." For peace in the world, people should offer up each daily act as a sacrifice for sin and to pray the rosary. With enough prayers, souls in hell could be saved from damnation and Russia, which would develop into an oppressive society, could be freed.