Fatima Center Vignettes: The Attention the Canadian National Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima Statue Attracts
It has always been a most edifying experience travelling with the Pilgrim Virgin Statue. Over the years our production and TV departments have taken many beautiful pictures as seen in our literature. But the pictures cannot convey the full beauty of the statue.
The statue draws people like a magnet attracts metal. Many years ago while preparing a conference hall in a hotel for a Rosary Rally, a woman approached me outside the conference room and asked how long we would be there and if the event was open to the public.
She and her family were staying at the hotel and were just leaving for a day trip when her 5-year-old daughter saw the statue, which was already on the stage, as they were passing the room on their way out of the hotel.
She said, “My daughter just loves the Blessed Mother. I don’t know where she gets her devotion from, but she really loves Her.” She said they were in a hurry but wanted to come back later, if they returned on time, so her daughter could see the statue up close.
At the end of the day, after the Rosary Rally was over and we were packing up our supplies to leave, I realized that the young girl had not been back to see the statue.
After packing up the statue in the special metal box the apostolate had made for its secure transport, we were just moving the box out of the conference hall when the child and her mother arrived.
Seeing one so young with a love for Our Lady, who really wanted to see the statue, was very moving, and we opened the box for the little girl to see.
In October 2001, Father Gruner and The Fatima Center traveled to Rome for our World Peace Conference titled: “Know Fatima, Know Peace”. Though arrangements for the conference had been made more than 6 months before, at the time of scheduling only God knew how significant the dates selected for the conference would be.
We travelled to Rome less than 3 weeks after the Twin Towers Terrorist Attack!
During the conference week, attending the weekly papal audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning was part of the conference schedule.
We took the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima statue – securely mounted on a processional platform – to the audience with us to serve as a reminder to the pope of his duty to heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima and consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Our group was located considerably far back from where the pope was seated during the audience. But that didn’t stop people from seeing the statue. Throughout the entire papal audience people were turning around to look at the statue and those sitting behind us were walking up to look at, and take pictures of, Our Lady’s beautiful image.
That alone was edifying, but the best was yet to come. After the papal audience ended, we had to take the statue back to our apostolate office (in Rome), where the statue transport box had been left. Our Rome office is within walking distance of St. Peter’s Square.
From The Fatima Crusader, Issue 69: Procession from the Vatican
Father Gruner began to lead the young men carrying the statue in a procession back to the office. Instead of going directly out of St. Peter’s Square, he first led the statue all around the inside of the square. And as the statue passed by, many people began to follow in the unscheduled procession.
The line of followers continued to grow and by the time we left the square there was a long line of people following Father and the statue along the Vatican wall. As we processed past a member of the Carabinieri – the Italian military police force – the officer stood to attention and saluted Our Lady’s image as it passed by.
Many tourists and others stopped and took pictures. The crowd of those processing, followed us all the way across Piazza Risorgimento and right up to the outside of the building where our office is located. It was magnificent!
One more thing, for the entire morning of the papal audience the sky was cloudy and gray and there was the continuous threat of imminent rain.
Some of us were praying that the rain would hold off until after we had the statue safely secured indoors. Our prayers were heard, it didn’t rain until we arrived with the statue to the office building and literally the moment that the statue was carried inside the entrance of the building, it began to pour! But the statue was safely inside.
Stay tuned for more stories about our beautiful Canadian National Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima statue in future Fatima Center Vignettes.